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October 12, 2015

Wikinews interviews painter Pricasso on his art and freedom of expression

Wikinews interviews painter Pricasso on his art and freedom of expression

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Wikinews interviewed Australian painter Pricasso on his unique artwork created using his penis, and how his art relates to freedom of expression and issues of censorship. He is to be featured at the upcoming adult entertainment event Sexpo Australia in Melbourne this November 5 to November 8.

File photo of Pricasso, 2012.
Image: Eva Rinaldi.

Background

Pricasso painting a portrait in Australia at Sexpo (2012)
Image: Eva Rinaldi.

Pricasso is the stage name of Australian painter Tim Patch, in a nod to the artist Picasso while using the word prick. Pricasso has been painting portraits using his penis for more than ten years.

Based in Australia, Pricasso paints his artwork using his buttocks and scrotum in addition to his penis. According to 640 Toronto News, Pricasso markets himself as “The World’s Greatest Penile Artist”.

Cquote1.svg I consider my work as satire just like late night TV, something that gives light relief to a serious subject. Cquote2.svg

Pricasso

He is able to create 20 paintings in one day. Pricasso also practices other styles besides portraits, including landscape painting and nudes. Typically his portraits take him not more than 15 minutes to paint. He told Coconuts TV he chose to specialize in creating artwork in this manner because he felt it was a niche market.

His fanbase is international; Pricasso has journeyed to locations including the United States, Holland, Germany, Brazil, Mexico and China to paint portraits for people. Though he is willing to travel to display his talent, Pricasso told In Touch Weekly most of his income is Internet-based.

Wikinews interviewed Pricasso about his artwork and asked for his thoughts on topics of censorship and freedom of expression. We discussed what are considered appropriate forms of parody and satire of public figures — protected in the United States following the Supreme Court case Hustler Magazine v. Falwell.

The interview touched upon a 2013 conflict which arose on our sister site for images and media, Wikimedia Commons, when an image of a portrait of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales painted by Pricasso was uploaded to the site. Wales called it “harassment” and a succession of deletion discussions ensued. We asked Pricasso about this as well as the different reaction from former-Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille, who called his painting of her part of a “free society” where artists “exercise their freedom in unusual ways.”

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Pricasso, thanks for agreeing to do this interview with Wikinews.

Pricasso: Thanks for doing this, great questions.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How long have you been painting in this particular fashion?

Pricasso: I first tried it over 10 years ago and realised it would be possible with practice to get as good with it but in a slightly more impressionistic style than I could with a brush, and I really liked the results, of course at first I had to work out the paint formula and what to paint on which was done by trial and error — and then finding somewhere to practice, which was a problem until I was invited to become a member of a Bondage club in Brisbane, my first patron. There I realised that there were so many people with totally different views on what is acceptable in society, and were always protesting over most censorship issues.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How long can you paint with your penis at one time before it gets too tiring?

Pricasso: At most Sexpo’s and Adult Expos I paint for 13 hours a day in half slots so I paint 20 plus paintings a day. When I am painting I have to concentrate hard and go into a meditative state; I don’t notice much going on around me until I have finished.

Example of Pricasso applying paint before creating a piece of artwork.
Image: Pricasso.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Other than your penis, what other parts of your body do you use in the painting process?

Pricasso: I quickly worked out that I could speed it up by using my testicles and butt cheeks to cover large areas in no time at all, but only recently do I paint the edges using my butt-crack, I call it the credit card swipe!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How did you come up with the name Pricasso?

Pricasso: That was the heading they christened me with in the Picture Magazine interview in 2006. I realised it was Gold and took out the website and trademark.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What’s the most positive reaction you’ve had to one of your paintings?

Pricasso: It is always satisfying to get applause when a painting is finished; at most adult shows this happened all the time; but I do like painting disabled people. I have painted several people with severe cerebral palsy and they are over the moon with the result; this gives me the most pleasure, as I do realise that they are still sexually active people and everyone should realise this.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have any of your paintings been featured in a gallery somewhere?

Pricasso: I have entered the Bald Archy Exhibition in Australia every year and sold a few. Also at an exhibition of politicians in Australia, and last November I went to Miami for the Art undressed exhibition and also painted 15 minute portraits there which was fun.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you consider it a form of freedom of expression to create your artwork in the way you do with your penis?

Pricasso: When I first thought of the idea I was really thinking I could get invited to a few parties as the entertainment which I do regularly, but now I am getting a good style about my work and want to take it to the next level and be accepted as an innovator.

Cquote1.svg A free society throws up these kinds of people, who exercise their freedom in unusual ways. Cquote2.svg

—Cape Town former-Mayor Helen Zille

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png In 2008, prior to a Sexpo event in South Africa, you uploaded a video to the Internet of yourself painting a portrait of then-Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille. Why did you decide to do this?

Pricasso: No particular reason on my behalf, it was the organisers of the Sexpo who got me to paint it mainly for publicity. But also to have a portrait on my stand, who people in Cape Town would relate to as I now know she is very popular and has a great sense of humour.

Cape Town former-Mayor Helen Zille
Image: Helen Zille, Democratic Alliance, South Africa.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille commented of your portrait painting of her: “This is a free country. A free society throws up these kinds of people, who exercise their freedom in unusual ways. And if this is how he wants to do it, I must accept his constitutional right to do so.” — what are your thoughts on her reaction?

Pricasso: Sounds a bit formal but that is how politicians usually talk, guarded and a totally correct response, the trouble is that if they spoke from the heart it might come back to bite them one day, but I did talk to one of her aides privately and she said they were all really impressed and loved the concept, I really should have offered to paint her too but I was probably flat out all day — I always am at the South African shows.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Mayor Zille further commented about the quality of your painting of her: “[Pricasso] has achieved a good likeness and I can’t imagine how he painted it without brushes or conventional equipment.” — what do you think of this assessment?

Pricasso: Most people are impressed when they see it done, skeptical at first but after the initial shock they all usually stop to watch until I finish that particular painting, usually they take about 15 minutes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png If you could speak to Mayor Zille, what would you say to her about her reaction to your painting of her?

Pricasso: I would say I was impressed with her response, mostly girls are much more impressed than guys only a minority of guys I might add, lots of them love it and me too!! But in general she gave a responsible and educated reply and was not at all offended by the experience.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png In 2011, one member of the Gold Coast Sculptors’ Society quit in protest due to your participation in the ‘Exotic Erotic’ show — how do you feel when people react to your artwork in this way?

Pricasso: I guess I could say; This is a free country. A free society throws up these kinds of people, who exercise their dissaproval in various ways. And if this is how she wants to protest, I must accept her constitutional right to do so. There was that politically correct enough? Or maybe the silly old B***ch — but her reaction did get heaps of publicity for the show and they had record numbers coming through the doors so there was a silver lining. But obviously it is a bit confronting and not everyone’s cup of tea but if they could just see it before they get on their high horse they might have a different point of view.

The painting of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, the uploading of which Wales called “harassment”. 2013.
Image: Pricasso.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You painted a portrait of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales in 2013; a picture and a video file of the making of this painting were uploaded to Wikipedia’s sister site for images and media, Wikimedia Commons. Shortly thereafter, the files were nominated for deletion and a deletion discussion ensued — what are your thoughts on this discussion?

Pricasso: I did not think Wikipedia censored anything as on Jimmy Wales’ Twitter account his banner heading is: “Wikia guy. Free speech activist, entrepreneur.” Either this is misleading in the very least or blatantly untrue.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The deletion discussion at Wikimedia Commons resulted in keeping the photograph of your portrait of Jimmy Wales, but deleting the video of your making-of-the-portrait — do you consider a video of your portrait painting to be offensive?

Pricasso: Not in the least; it’s pure performance art.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png During the deletion discussion, Jimmy Wales commented “I encourage people to go to commons and work to explain to the community there some of the concepts behind Hostile environment sexual harrassment. I encourage everyone to seriously consider whether it is appropriate behavior to upload a clearly non-notable film of someone using his penis to paint a picture of a Wikipedia volunteer. It is harassment, it is trolling, and I am deeply disappointed to have to point this out to some people.” What do you think of his response to your artwork? Do you feel your paintings constitute harassment?

Pricasso: Harassment is when one continually annoys someone, over and over again; I only painted the one painting of him and it to my mind was not offensive, I consider my work as satire just like late night TV, something that gives light relief to a serious subject. There are many examples of political cartoon images on Wikipedia, so why are they still up there or is it just the things Jimmy Wales doesn’t like get taken down? By the way anyone who has not seen the offending Video can view it on Vimeo under Pricasso: http://vimeo.com/user10315938/review/68837137/893b31ca54

I paint about 1000 portraits a year and get paid by the sitters or a close friend of them to do so. I had a request to paint a portrait, to do [this] portrait of Jimmy Wales with a video of me painting, by Russavia (who is an editor at Wikipedia), something I do all the time and I have great feedback as to how funny the videos are; I had no idea who Jimmy Wales was at the time of the request, but painted him only once so it can’t be called Harassment. Is he just using his position of power to cut and censor … It took me a lot of effort and time to put this together so I was pretty upset. And would really like it to be republished next to the portrait as originally it was before Mr Wales had it removed.

[Editor’s note: Accusations of harassment focused on the uploader, rather than the artist; the successive heated discussions, over about six months, that ultimately led to the video’s deletion from Commons may be read here. Jimmy Wales expressed his position elsewhere and did not directly participate in the discussions themselves.]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How do you compare the reactions by Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille who said your portrait painting of her was a product of a “free society” and a reflection of how people “exercise their freedom” with the comment by Jimmy Wales calling the publication of your artwork “harassment” ? Which of these individuals do you feel is correct, Mayor Zille or Wales, and why?

Pricasso: I think Helen got it. They in South Africa are struggling with change from being suppressed to one of freedom as she said “a free society”. Jimmy Wales on the other hand although promoting himself as The Free Speech Guy is censoring things he does not agree with and calling it Harassment, not a good look Jimmy!!

I did put the video of Helen Zille being painted on YouTube. It was there for a few months but they too delete my work quite regularly so it’s probably long gone.

She is an experienced politician and would weigh up the fors and against before she acted, obviously the fors had it.

Mr. Wales on the other hand has probably not seen a lot of my work; if he had he would know I do it for fun and not really to be taken too seriously, it’s a comedy performance, but he could not see the unique talent of someone who has cornered the world market of penis portraits painting with no imitators for the past 10 years, so before too many people could have a small chuckle at his expense he had it deleted, I’m sure there would be many others who would like to remove things on Wikipedia but don’t have the muscle to do so.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have you experienced censorship or attempts by others to limit your freedom of expression? How so, and what was your reaction?

Pricasso: As I said before YouTube is always deleting my videos when someone complains, sometimes even when there is no genitals visible. Once one was taken down because the guy I was painting had the word (fuck) on his tee shirt; I mean how many films have this word in the dialogue. Also in Macau at the adult show, the people who make the rules make me perform inside an enclosed area, and people are wary of coming in through the door so is a bit slow there; and the guys that run the show are so polite and passionate trying to change China slowly, making it more open, that I keep on returning year after year.

Signed painting of a French Bulldog, by Pricasso. 2013.
Image: Pricasso.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you consider some of your art pieces to be forms of parody or satire of famous people?

Pricasso: Oh yes I love creating something topical and painting a spoof on famous people, and painting with a penis really lends itself to this form of art, but I just painted a normal portrait of Jimmy Wales, as I said before I had no idea who he was before I googled him. And found this heading [on] his Twitter account (seems to me he has a few double standards) “Jimmy Wales
 Verified account
‪ @jimmy_wales You know, the ‪@Wikipedia and ‪@Wikia guy. Free speech activist, entrepreneur.”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are you familiar with the U.S. Supreme Court case, Hustler Magazine v. Falwell ? How do you feel after reading about the unanimous decision protecting parody as a form of freedom of speech in that case?

Pricasso: Thanks for sharing that with me, I had no idea about this case and it’s good to know that freedom of speech is alive and well in America. Actually I was a bit taken aback by the parody and slightly offended that I have been put in the same category, my painting is pure performance art and I don’t go out of my way to offend. And I am totally against censorship. It’s a shame the same is not true about Wikipedia and Mr. Wales.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Pricasso, thanks again for doing this interview with Wikinews, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Pricasso: Not at the moment. I’m exhausted! Thanks.



Related news

Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Pricasso
  • Commons-logo.svg Pricasso
  • Wikiquote-logo.svg Pricasso
  • Wiktionary-logo.svg Pricasso

Sources

Wikinews
This article is a featured article. It is considered one of the best works of the Wikinews community. See Wikinews:Featured articles for more information.
Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

External links

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

April 12, 2014

Wikimedian Cindy Ashley-Nelson dies at conference in Berlin

Wikimedian Cindy Ashley-Nelson dies at conference in Berlin

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Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

File photo of Cynthia Ashley-Nelson from 2006
Image: Cynthia Ashley-Nelson.

Cynthia Ashley-Nelson died the night before last while attending the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin, Germany. She was very active in the Wikimedia movement, and was named the vice-chair of Wikimedia’s Affiliations Committee on Thursday, the day prior to her death, after only having joined the Committee earlier this year. The day before she died, she spent a lot of time talking to a number of the event’s attendees and spent time with several members of the Affiliations Committee.

An announcement regarding her death was made on the main Wikimedia mailing list this morning by Bence Dakamos, a conference attendee and the previous chair of the Affiliations Committee. In part, the e-mail announcement said, “We are sad beyond words and so is everyone who came to Berlin to participate in the Wikimedia Conference. Her passing is a great loss for everyone in the Wikimedia movement. This morning all the conference attendees gathered together to grieve and talk about the loss of Cindy. We decided that all of us at the Wikimedia Conference could choose to continue the conversations about the future of the movement Cindy cared so much about, as well as spending our time here to remember and celebrate her. She will be greatly missed.”

Fellow Affiliations Committee member Gregory Varnum said, “The Lord giveth, and The Lord taketh away. While the passage of time may allow us to forgive whatever greater presence you may believe in for taking her away, the passage of time will not result in us forgetting the amazing person she was, her passion for our movement, or the brilliance she brought to her volunteer work.”

Wikimedia Foundation board member María Sefidari said in her part on her personal blog, “I got to know Cindy a bit beyond that, for she wanted to test ideas and potential directions in which to take the movement. We would send each other long emails about movement roles and how to move forward with the movement. And as it usually happens, conversations turned from the more formal to the informal, eventually including little snippets of our every day lives, the good things that happened to us and the not so good. When we met for the first time face to face two days ago, we gave each other a big hug. In the session we had during the AffCom meeting she once again showed her passion and commitment to help reimagine the role of AffCom and how to help emerging and new affiliates. And at the end of that session, she was confirmed as the new vice-chair of AffCom. That speaks to the impact she made inside the committee in such a short time. I think our last interaction was about getting together at some moment during the conference to just hang out and talk. She had a great smile.”

Ashley-Nelson was actively involved in many parts of the Wikimedia community beyond her position on the Affiliations Committee. She served as a moderator on the Wikimedia Foundation’s gendergap mailing list, a list dedicated to addressing the under representation of women as contributors. She became an Open-source Ticket Request System agent, handling requests from Wikimedia users who had problems they needed assistance with issues like copyright. She was an administrator on English Wikipedia. She had previously been a member of Wikimedia’s Grant Advisory Committee, where she assisted in reviewing grant applications submitted by members of the Wikimedia community. She was involved with Wikimedia’s Global Education Program, assisting students and professors with improving articles about global and United States public policy. She was also involved in the education program as an Online Ambassador, a member of the Ambassador Selection Team and Wikipedia Ambassador Steering Committee.

An active Wikipedia contributor since 2007, she made over 30,000 contributions to English Wikipedia. She wrote eight Did You Knows that appeared on the front page of the project, and contributed to two Good Articles, the Washington: A Life article and the Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury article. The day prior to her death, she welcomed a number of new users to the project and did other editing tasks like removing copyright violations and cleaning up promotional language found in articles.

A Washington state resident, she was the founder and Executive Director of Catalyst Resource Network, having started the organization in December 2006. During the course of her professional career, she also worked for the Sycamore Street Review as a staff writer, Hookers for Jesus as the organization’s Vice President, the Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council for the State of Washington, and several other roles for the State of Washington. She was honored several times in connection with her work.

Members of the Affiliations Committee got together for a breakfast before heading to the conference. A grief counselor was available at the conference. A brief tribute was held at the start of today’s proceedings, which Sefidari described as “touching”.



Related news

  • “Wikimedian activist Adrianne Wadewitz dies” — Wikinews, April 10, 2014

Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

April 10, 2014

Wikimedian activist Adrianne Wadewitz dies

Wikimedian activist Adrianne Wadewitz dies

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Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A video from 2012 where Wadewitz discusses the impact of Wikipedia
Image: Vgrigas.

News broke early this morning on Facebook that Wikipedian Adrianne Wadewitz died while rock climbing recently. Wadewitz was well known in the Wikimedia community for her activism drawing attention to the lack of female contributors on Wikipedia. She was also very involved in the Wiki Education Foundation, serving as a member of its board of directors.

Wadewitz was one of the most visible women in the media on the under-representation of women amongst contributors to Wikipedia, talking to media organizations like the BBC, the Huffington Post and non-English publications like Greek-language magazine LIFO. Some estimates put female participation rates at around 10% of contributors and there is a body of academic work talking about systemic bias against topics featuring women on Wikipedia.

She was involved in organizing several edit-a-thons aimed at encouraging greater female participation and improving content about women, including Wikipedia Takes America: Los Angeles, FemTech Edit-a-thon, Wikipedia Loves Eagle Rock, Wikipedia Loves WeHo, and Feminists Engage Wikipedia. Wadewitz’s own work to address systemic bias as an article contributor included improving English Wikipedia articles relating to women, including:

Cquote1.svg Adrianne embodied brilliance, determination, and enthusiasm in everything she did Cquote2.svg

—Tribute by a fellow Wikimedian

  • Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Thoughts on the Education of Daughters
  • Mary: A Fiction
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman
  • Timeline of Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Fanny Imlay
  • Mary Shelley
  • Anna Laetitia Barbauld
  • Sarah Trimmer
  • Mary Martha Sherwood

The funerary arrangement picture decorating the top of Wadewitz’s Wikipedia talk page.
Image: Mogens Engelund.

She started contributing to English Wikipedia in July 2004. She had taught two classes on collaborative work on the project, and was involved with FemTechNet Wikistorming, an academic effort to encourage more women involved in academia to contribute to Wikipedia. In the past month, she had written several blog entries on HASTAC, an online collaborative platform dedicated to changing the way people learn, about how to write about academics on Wikipedia.

Fellow activist Sarah Stierch said in a public post on Facebook, “My heart hurts. Adrianne was a leading voice – and her legacy still is – in the work we have been doing to get more women and more diverse peoples contributing to Wikipedia. Two days ago she was quoted in the BBC, for godsake.” Stierch went on to say, “A sarcastic, feminist, smart, brilliant, to the point delivery type of academic genius who held an honest love life for all to see and a life in LA that was becoming one she owned.”

At the time of her death, she was a Mellon Digital Scholarship Fellow at Occidental College. In 2011, she earned her PhD from Indiana University.

Wikimedians are memorializing her on her Wikipedia talk page, which is adorned with a picture of a funerary arrangement of flowers. A notice at the top of the page invites condolences, which have been arriving in their dozens. “This is a crushing loss, for the Wikipedia community and the world. There was no one else like her.” wrote one contributor. Another noted “Adrianne embodied brilliance, determination, and enthusiasm in everything she did.”



Sources

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

January 31, 2013

Main belt asteroid No. 274301 named \’Wikipedia\’

Main belt asteroid No. 274301 named ‘Wikipedia’

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

The “space Wikipedia” was discovered by the team of Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory, Ukraine

Space
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Scorpius-Centaurus Associazion
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A main belt asteroid, No. 274301, has been named after Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia. The information became available on the Minor Planet Center‘s website yesterday.

The decision of the Committee for Small Body Nomenclature to assign the name “Wikipedia” to the asteroid was published in the Minor Planet Circular of January 27, published online yesterday, page 82403. Wikimedia Ukraine board member Andriy Makukha proposed the name. It was submitted to the Committee by the head of the Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory in Ukraine, Yuri Ivashchenko.

The official dedication of the name says:

Cquote1.svg Wikipedia is a free, copyleft, collaboratively edited online encyclopedia launched in 2001. In 11 years of its compilation it became one of the largest reference works and one of the most visited web-sites on the Internet. It is developed in more than 270 languages by enthusiasts from all over the world. Cquote2.svg

The asteroid 274301 Wikipedia was discovered by the team of astronomers of Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory. At first it was observed by that team on August 25, 2008 at 22:47 (UTC). It was also observed on the next night and two weeks later on September 6. It received provisional designation 2008 QH24. Accurate calculation of its orbit showed asteroid 2008 QH24 is the same as 1997 RO4 and 2007 FK34. The asteroid had been previously spotted by observatories including Caussols-ODAS in France, and Mt. Lemmon Survey and Steward Observatory in Arizona, US.

On April 18, 2011 the minor planet received the number 274301.



Sources

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Main belt asteroid No. 274301 named Wikipedia

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The “space Wikipedia” was discovered by the team of Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory, Ukraine

Related stories

Scorpius-Centaurus Associazion
More information on Space:
  • Outer space
  • Spaceflight
  • Space and survival
  • Space exploration
  • Space portal

A main belt asteroid, No. 274301, has been named after Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia. The information became available on the Minor Planet Center‘s website yesterday.

The decision of the Committee for Small Body Nomenclature to assign the name “Wikipedia” to the asteroid was published in the Minor Planet Circular of January 27, published online yesterday, page 82403. Wikimedia Ukraine board member Andriy Makukha proposed the name. It was submitted to the Committee by the head of the Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory in Ukraine, Yuri Ivashchenko.

The official dedication of the name says:

Cquote1.svg Wikipedia is a free, copyleft, collaboratively edited online encyclopedia launched in 2001. In 11 years of its compilation it became one of the largest reference works and one of the most visited web-sites on the Internet. It is developed in more than 270 languages by enthusiasts from all over the world. Cquote2.svg

The asteroid 274301 Wikipedia was discovered by the team of astronomers of Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory. At first it was observed by that team on August 25, 2008 at 22:47 (UTC). It was also observed on the next night and two weeks later on September 6. It received provisional designation 2008 QH24. Accurate calculation of its orbit showed asteroid 2008 QH24 is the same as 1997 RO4 and 2007 FK34. The asteroid had been previously spotted by observatories including Caussols-ODAS in France, and Mt. Lemmon Survey and Steward Observatory in Arizona, US.

On April 18, 2011 the minor planet received the number 274301.



Sources

Bookmark-new.svg

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

December 4, 2012

Australian Paralympian Janet Shaw dies aged 46

Australian Paralympian Janet Shaw dies aged 46

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

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Peter Marsh at a Wikipedia workshop in 2011
Image: Leighblackall.

Western Australian Paralympic bronze medalist Janet Shaw has died following a long battle with cancer. She was 46 years old.

A vision impaired cyclist, she and pilot Kelly McCombie earned a pair of bronze medals at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in the individual pursuit and road race/time trial events. She also won four medals at the 2002 IPC Cycling World Championships. Beyond cycling, Shaw worked as a motivational speaker and author, having written two memoirs, Beyond the Red Door and a follow up called Bit of a Super Hero: Choosing the Challenge – My Journey with Cancer.

Australian national team coach said of Shaw, “I was privileged to be a National Coach with the Australian Paralympic Team for Athens and have a role with Janet and Kelly leading into those Games. They dedicated themselves so solidly together, and came away medaling in two events…. Janet said losing her eyesight was the best thing that ever happened to her because it eventually led her to where she was standing, waiting to achieve glory in Athens. That quote has stayed with me ever since. She was an amazingly strong person who actually saw more than us.”

This is the second recent death of an Australian Paralympian. In late November, another Australian Paralympian, Peter Marsh of Queensland, died at the age of 64. He competed at the 1976 Summer Paralympics, 1980 Summer Paralympics and 1984 Summer Paralympics. Prior to his death, he was active in a project to document the history of the Paralympic movement in Australia on Wikipedia.


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Australian Paralympian Janet Shaw died

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Peter Marsh at an Wikipedia workshop earlier this year
Image: Leighblackall.

Earlier this week, Western Australian Paralympic bronze medalist Janet Shaw died following a long battle with cancer. She was 46 years old. A vision impaired cyclist, she and pilot Kelly McCombie earned a pair of bronze medals at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in the individual pursuit and road race/time trial events. She also won four medals at the 2002 IPC Cycling World Championships. Beyond cycling, Shaw worked as a motivational speaker and author, having written two memoirs, Beyond the Red Door, and a follow up called Bit of a Super Hero: Choosing the Challenge – My Journey with Cancer.

Australian national team coach said of Shaw, “I was privileged to be a National Coach with the Australian Paralympic Team for Athens and have a role with Janet and Kelly leading into those Games. They dedicated themselves so solidly together, and came away medaling in two events. … Janet said losing her eyesight was the best thing that ever happened to her because it eventually led her to where she was standing, waiting to achieve glory in Athens. That quote has stayed with me ever since. She was an amazingly strong person who actually saw more than us.”

This is the second recent death of an Australian Paralympian. In late November, another Australian Paralympian, Peter Marsh of Queensland, died at the age of 64. He competed at the 1976 Summer Paralympics, 1980 Summer Paralympics and 1984 Summer Paralympics. Prior to his death, he was active in a project to document the history of the Paralympic movement in Australia on Wikipedia.


Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

October 9, 2012

On the campaign trail, September 2012

On the campaign trail, September 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, September 2012

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The following is the eleventh in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: Wikinews chronicles three of the lesser-known speakers at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, a controversial pastor and write-in candidate talks to Wikinews about the unrest in the Middle East, and the ballot-qualified American Third Position Party (A3P) presidential nominee travels to Iran to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Summary

September opened with the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. On the convention’s first night, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro delivered the keynote address, the first Hispanic-American to do so. He discussed the communitarian spirit of the United States and reflected on how his mother “fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.” The speech was compared to Barack Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and garnered speculation that he would seek higher political office. First Lady Michelle Obama also spoke that night, discussing her husband on a personal level. On the second day, a ruckus ensued as Democrats moved to re-include “God” and support of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in the party’s official platform after removal of the items drew criticism leading up to the convention. That night, women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke and Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren each spoke before former President Bill Clinton took the stage to deliver a lengthy, policy-filled speech. In it, Clinton defended Obama’s economic policies, arguing that no previous president, including himself, could have fostered complete recovery this soon in the same economic climate. He concluded that the election was ultimately a choice between the “winner-take-all, you’re-on-your-own society” of the Republicans and the “we’re-all-in-this-together society” of Obama. On the final night, Vice president Joe Biden spoke before President Obama addressed the convention to officially accept the party’s nomination. In his acceptance speech, Obama asked voters to allow his administration to “finish what we started”, arguing “it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades” and Republicans offer only policies that have previously failed.

Castro delivers the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Image: DemConvention2012.

Foreign policy emerged as a major campaign issue after the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya came under attack on September 11, resulting in the deaths of four Americans including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. Allegedly, the attacks were the result of protests against a YouTube video trailer for the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, which the Obama administration condemned in the aftermath of the attacks. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney criticized President Obama for the response, arguing he “was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions.” An Obama spokesman expressed “shock” at Romney’s response, accusing him of “launch[ing] a political attack”. Shortly thereafter, Romney also criticized Obama for being unable to find time to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama then had an hour-long phone conversation with Netanyahu. Later in the month, Netanyahu appeared before the United Nations General Assembly with a cartoon of a bomb, voiced his concerns that Iran would attain enough enriched uranium to make a bomb by the summer of 2013, and called on the world to act. Obama and Romney each spoke with Netanyahu. Each candidate expressed similar sentiment in favor of further sanctions against Iran.

In mid-September, Romney received negative publicity after the magazine Mother Jones released a video of a fundraiser at which Romney alleged, “there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … [because they] are dependent upon government”. He then said his “job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan distanced himself from the remarks, which he labeled as “inelegant”. Obama remarked in response, “We don’t want an inside job in Washington, we want change in Washington…It can’t happen if you write off half the nation before you even took office.” The Romney campaign hoped to shift focus from the video to newly-emerged 1998 footage of Obama in which he advocates redistribution of wealth. Additionally, Romney released his 2011 tax returns, as promised earlier in the year. The returns showed he paid $1.95 million out of the $13.7 million he earned on investments. However, less positive news continued for the campaign as September came to a close. Paul Ryan received boos while discussing the proposed repeal of Obamacare during a speech before an AARP forum, which President Obama also addressed. Plus, Obama increased his lead in the polls with Gallup showing a six point Obama advantage, 50 percent to 44 percent in a September 26 poll, up from the 46 percent to 46 percent tie prior to the publication of the Romney video.

Nevertheless, Obama was not the only candidate rising in the polls at the end of September. Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, rose to six percent support in a late September Reason-Rupe poll, up from the 4.3 percent showing earlier in a JZ Analytics poll. The Johnson campaign also increased activity. With the presidential debates looming, the campaign filed suit against the Commission for Presidential Debates, alleging anti-trust practices for denying access to third party candidates. With many polls still excluding Johnson at the end of September, Obama led Romney 48.7 to 44.6 in the September 30 RealClearPolitics polling average.

Lesser-known DNC speakers discuss their experience

While San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke, and Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren all formally introduced themselves to the national audience at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, they were not the only figures to do so. Small business owner Bill Butcher, firefighter Doug Stern, and mother Stacey Lihn were among the “everyday people” the party invited to address the convention and the nation. Wikinews reached out to these three to learn more about their DNC experience and the process of the convention.

Port City Brewing Company owner Bill Butcher.
Image: Bill Butcher.

Butcher, owner of Port City Brewing in Alexandria, Virginia, says he received the invitation after the Democratic Party found him online while searching for someone who had started a small business during the administration and benefited from its policies. Butcher was able to establish Port City Brewing after obtaining a loan through the SBA loan program, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (The Stimulus).

In preparation for his speech, Butcher worked with Obama speechwriters and rehearsed the morning before. Though he admits to being nervous, he discovered that fellow speakers backstage felt similarly. To break the ice, Butcher opened his speech with a joke, apologizing to the audience for not handing out free beer. He then turned to policy, defending Obama as “a president who’s on my side … [who has] kept middle class taxes low…[and] has fought for small-business owners”. According to Butcher, the speech was received positively, even among his Republican friends, who felt it “cool” that their buddy had addressed the DNC.

Fire fighter Doug Stern.
Image: Doug Stern.

Like Butcher, Stern, a firefighter and member of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), also received bipartisan praise for his speech. As a union advocate for the repeal of Ohio SB 5, which limited the collective bargaining rights of Ohio‘s public employees, Stern feels the party selected him due to his visibility. Because he received word of the invitation just days before the event, Stern did not have much time to prepare. Rather, he viewed YouTube videos of Presidents Obama, Clinton, and Ronald Reagan to find the right style for delivery. Nevertheless, according to Stern, the best input came from his twelve-year-old son, who advised him that delivering a DNC speech was not such a big deal, since “you give speeches all the time.”

In the speech, Stern introduced himself as a former Republican, but held that as a member of the middle class and as a public employee, the “party left people like me.” He applauded the Obama administration for continuing federal grants to fire fighters, and characterized Obama as someone who “respects middle-class workers like me and my family.” Fellow fire fighters, including those of different political stripes, commended Stern on his remarks, and about a week after the speech, Stern met President Obama in Cincinnati, where he received congratulations. Despite the recognition from his peers and presidential praise, the reception of Stern’s son was paramount. While watching a line from the speech replayed on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the 12-year-old admitted to his father that despite his previous comments, speaking at the DNC was “pretty cool.”

Stacey Lihn with her daughter Zoe at the Democratic National Convention.
Image: Caleb Lihn.

Similarly, for Lihn, the night held a special significance due to her family. Lihn, a mother of two daughters one of whom, Zoe, suffers from a congenital heart defect, previously worked with the Obama campaign in March to produce a video documenting how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) had helped her family pay for her daughter’s medical expenses. Looking for someone to discuss health care reform at the convention, the video’s producer called Lihn and invited her to speak.

Like Butcher, she rehearsed her speech in the morning prior, finding this to be more emotional than the actual delivery itself. In the heartfelt speech delivered with her husband and daughter onstage, Lihn articulated her appreciation of Obamacare and the fear that the election of Mitt Romney and possible repeal of Obamacare would prevent needed care for her daughter. After the speech, Lihn embraced First Lady Michelle Obama in what she fondly recalls as “a genuine hug — mother to mother.” Others appreciated the speech as well. Ed Pilkington of The Guardian wrote that it was not only “one of the most moving moments of the Democratic national convention … [but] possibly of the entire 2012 presidential race”.

For Lihn, despite the acclaim, she was simply speaking as one of many: “Our story is but one of thousands and I knew that, standing up on stage speaking, that I was speaking for all of the parents who’ve walked in my shoes. I felt the strength of the many babies born with Zoe’s heart condition who weren’t as fortunate as she and passed away before the age of two. I support the ACA [Affordable Care Act] and will continue to do so for those whose voices cannot be heard.”

Wikinews interviews write-in candidate connected to Middle East turmoil

Pastor Terry Jones in March 2011.
Image: Mark Taylor.

Wikinews caught up with Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida. Jones, a write-in candidate for president, is best known for his anti-Islamic activism, which has sparked protests across the Muslim world.

Jones leads an anti-Islam march in Washington, DC.
Image: Mark Taylor.

Jones first gained notice in 2010, after threatening to burn a Koran at Ground Zero on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The announcement prompted protests in the Middle East, causing President Obama to request that Jones not partake in the activity. He obliged, but later burned a Koran in March 2011, leading to violent protests in Afghanistan including an attack on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Mazar-i-Sharif, which killed at least 30 people.

Recently, Jones has received mention for promoting the film Innocence of Muslims, whose trailer allegedly inflamed riots in Egypt and Libya on September 11 due to its portrayal of Muhammad. During the riots, the American embassies in the two nations were breached, leading to the deaths of four Americans in Libya, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Jones told The Daily Caller he had remained in contact with the film’s director Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who was jailed September 28 on charges of violating probation. Jones’s involvement with the film has led to warrants for his arrest in Egypt, where authorities want to try him for insults to Islam, spreading lies, and harming national unity. Death is a possible penalty for such offenses. Nevertheless, Jones holds that Egypt “would definitely be better advised to put Muhammad on trial.”

With Wikinews, Jones discusses ballot access, the Innocence of Muslims, and how he would handle the riots in Egypt and Libya as president.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIn which states have you attempted to gain ballot access?

Pastor Jones: Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alabama, Oregon, Iowa, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wyoming

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are your thoughts on the film trailer for the movie Innocence of Muslims? Should the filmmaker bear any responsibility for the anti-American protests across the Muslim world?

Pastor Jones: According to many Islamic experts that I have talked to, and the studies that I have done myself, the trailer is very accurate. Muhammad led a very perverted life and a very violent life. On his deathbed in 632, he gave the command to his followers to cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of all unbelievers. That is what Islam has been doing for the last fourteen hundred years, killing, murdering and raping anyone that dares to have a different opinion or follow a different religion.
Absolutely not. In fact, what we have done is we have again demonstrated that Islam in its roots, in its foundation is a violent religion. The Koran is a very violent book. It promotes violence. As I said, Muhammad led a very violent life. In the last ten years of his life he had seventy-eight raids on other villages where he killed innocent people, civilians. It was not even an act of war. It was simply genocide. It was simply the killing of anyone who disagreed with him. It is the time that America and the world stands up and sees the dangers of Islam, the dangers of radical Islam.
As far as we are concerned, as far as our efforts are concerned, we are going to continue to press forward. We are going to continue to raise an awareness of the dangers of radical Islam. The western world must stop appeasing Islam or Islam will continue its acts of terror.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat is your response to President Obama’s reaction to the protests and attacks on the U.S. embassies? Was Governor Romney’s criticism of that reaction appropriate? If you were president, how would you respond to the events?

Pastor Jones: President Obama is an absolute disaster. As president, he bears some of the responsibility for what is going on right now in the Islamic world. President Obama has shown himself to be pro-Islam, pro-Muslim Brotherhood. Since the Muslim Brotherhood has taken over in Egypt, situations for minorities and Christians have gotten much, much worse. We know that President Obama favors Islam. He appeases Islam. He has welcomed CAIR into the White House. CAIR is nothing more than a suit-and-tie terrorist organization. President Obama and his appeasing of Islam has only given them a green light, opened up the door for them to feel as though they can attack our embassies and feel that absolutely nothing will be done. Even now as he has spent $70,000 of American taxpayers’ money to run ads in Pakistan appeasing the Islamic radical community, he definitely bears a responsibility.
Governor Romney, or anyone’s criticism, of President Obama’s presidency concerning Islam, his economic policies, and many of his policies whether it is immigration or same-sex marriage are indeed justified.
If I were president, my response would be much harsher to the Islamic community. I believe that we should close our embassies in Muslim and Koran controlled countries immediately. We should pull our people out of those countries. We in the west must realize that Islam is not compatible with western society. It is not compatible with western thinking because Islam is missing the basic elements of a free western society. Those elements are freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. Islam has continued to prove over and over and over again that it does not tolerate any criticism of Muhammad, the Koran, or Sharia. It has absolutely no tolerance of any other religion. Because of its past history and the past fruits of the religion, Islam and western society cannot coexist. This is why we should close all embassies in Koran and Islam controlled and dominated countries.

A3P nominee meets with the President of Iran

Filmmaker Merlin Miller, the presidential nominee of the American Third Position Party (A3P), attended a film festival in Tehran, Iran early in September, during which he spoke to an audience that included Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. After the speech, Ahmadinejad invited Miller to a private meeting, which lasted about twenty minutes. This was the first time a U.S. presidential candidate met with Ahmadinejad, a controversial figure who has called for the dissolution of Israel, questioned the validity of the Holocaust, and spurred Iran’s nuclear program, which the U.S. and Israel allege is not for peaceful purposes.

Merlin Miller shakes hands with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Image: Merlin Miller.

In contrast to such allegations, Miller tells Wikinews that his impression of Ahmadinejad was as “a humble man who deeply cares about promoting truths and the best for his people — including peace.” During the meeting, he gave Ahmadinejad a copy of his 2001 film Jericho and his book Our Vision for America. According to Miller, Ahmadinejad wanted it to be communicated to the American people that “Globalists and Zionists falsely portray Iran, as they seek conflict between nations” and that Iran actually desires peace. Miller says that though Ahmadinejad probably did not know much about the specific A3P presidential campaign and platform, he was “aware of the how Zionist interests control our two major political parties” and “was intrigued that alternative voices in America are starting to challenge the injustices of our current political system and the propaganda of our mainstream media.”

The A3P, which was founded in 2010, is among those “alternative voices”. Its program calls for a tougher approach to crime, economic nationalism, higher education standards, environmentalism, strengthening of the family unit, a non-interventionist foreign policy, opposition to “third world” immigration, border security, and preservation of “white identity”.

Critics such as the Southern Poverty Law Center accuse the A3P of being a white supremacist organization, a charge that Miller denies. Miller appeared on Iran’s Press TV, and discussed the use of the term on his Wikipedia profile, which he claimed to have unsuccessfully attempted to change. He argued that the label likely stemmed from his “criticism of Zionism, of Jewish control of [the U.S.] media, [and] of [the U.S.] foreign policy, which is Israel first”.

Miller and the A3P have attained ballot access in Tennessee, New Jersey, and Colorado, and have additionally qualified for write-in status in Maryland and West Virginia.


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July 14, 2012

Wikimania 2012 tackles diversity issues

Wikimania 2012 tackles diversity issues – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikimania 2012 tackles diversity issues

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mary Gardiner gave the keynote speech at Wikimania 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Image: Andrew Bennetts.

Jimmy Wales addresses attendees of Wikimania 2012 at the Library of Congress.
Image: User:Deror Avi.

Chinese language contributor Shang Zhang meets Jimmy Wales at the Library of Congress.
Image: User:Shujenchang.

Community leaders at the Wikimania 2012 conference, which is largely attended by Wikipedians and volunteers from other Wikimedia Foundation projects, focused attention on diversity within the projects and specifically on the inclusion of women, people who come from developing countries, and those people who, while not tech geeks, are potential contributors.

Wikipedia is the fifth top web site visited on the internet, according to Wales.

Mary Gardiner, co-founder of the Ada Initiative, delivered the opening address, where she encouraged conference participants to think about how they could be more inclusive, especially toward women, in their work. She is the first woman ever to give an opening address at a Wikimania conference. The conferences have been held annually since 2005.

Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, echoed the theme of diversity in his remarks during his annual State of the Wiki address and expanded on Africa and including more people who are not technically savvy.

Participants from 87 countries gathered in Lisner Auditorium on the campus of George Washington University, Washington, D.C. for the opening session on Thursday morning.

Mary Gardiner focused on the lack of gender diversity within the Wikipedia community. She said reader and editor surveys have shown that while over one third of the readers of Wikipedia are women, the number of women who are editors is around 10 to 15 percent in the English Wikipedia and as low as 8.5 percent for all Wikipedias. “As a project of social change, even if it’s not an activist project, the Wikipedia community has a responsibility both to its mission and to the people out there in the world to always be on a journey toward diversity — to increase the size of the umbrella of the world”, Gardiner said.

The Ada Initiative, co-founded by Gardiner, encourages women’s involvement in open source projects like Wikipedia, open-source software, and open government. Prior to the conference, the Ada Initiative sponsored an AdaCamp where women shared their experiences across these projects. Gardiner, who is a graduate student in Computational Linguistics, delivered the keynote, entitled “Fostering diversity: not a boring chore, a critical opportunity.”

Gardiner said Wikipedia should not only increase diversity because it would be good for the community to have more voices, but also the community should reach out with sincerity and both engage and hear women’s voices and be open to change from their contributions.

Jimmy Wales recommended Wikipedians “reexamine [their] premises.” As an example, he asked them to consider article topics that other audiences who are not currently being served well could find meaningful. He became involved in a deletion debate about whether Kate Middleton’s wedding dress was worthy of an article. He contrasted this topic choice with the large number of obscure pages about Linux and asked the audience to consider why important fashion events could be of interest to a different audience with other interests. He said if Wikipedia is not providing content for this audience, they will go elsewhere to create and read that content.

Gardiner also said when women or another subculture focus on their identity it can actually create a stronger Wikipedian identity. “The more you encourage people retain parts of their identity that are important to them, in my case as a woman, the more you enhance their other identity as a Wikipedian… You can encourage both identities by allowing minorities to acknowledge and embrace that they are a member of a minority.” Wikipedia has encouraged the development of subcultures through the creation of chapters, portals, and even individualized user boxes.

Jimmy Wales, on a personal note, announced that he and his partner had named their daughter Ada after Ada Lovelace, who Gardiner had explained to the audience is considered the first software programmer and was an inspiration for the Ada Initiative. Gardiner credits her fellow Ada Initiative co-founder Valerie Aurora, executive director, for naming the organization after Lovelace.

Wales devoted a large portion of his speech to Wikipedia’s footprint in Africa. Wikipedia is currently offered in 285 languages and of African languages, Yorùbá, Swahili, and Afrikaans are the largest. Wales described how in a one month period in 2011 Yorùbá jumped to first in the number of articles. Yorùbá Wikipedia User:Demmy created a bot that added 15,000 articles to the language in one month and his activity doubled the number of active editors to about four. Wales presented the second annual “Jimbo Award” to User:Demmy for his contribution to the Yorùbá language version of Wikipedia.

Wales said the Wikimedia Foundation’s mobile initiative would be an important part of bringing people from developing countries to Wikipedia and would even offer new editing tools for the community worldwide.

New software is in development that could also expand the number of editors of Wikipedia. Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, announced that Wikimedia Foundation is currently testing its Visual Editor Software that she says will make it as easy to edit Wikipedia as it is to update the status on a person’s Facebook account. “Editing is unnecessarily difficult,” Gardner said. “We’re using an older technology. And it’s an open-source environment and developers of that kind of software are not typically dedicated to design and usability issues” but to solving technical problems.

Wikimania is an international event and past conferences have been held in Frankfurt, Germany; Boston, USA; Taipei, Taiwan; Alexandria, Egypt; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Gdańsk, Poland; and Haifa, Israel. Next year’s Wikimania is to be held in Hong Kong, China.

The main conference has attracted over 1,000 participants and will be open through July 14.



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July 13, 2012

Wikimedia Foundation launches Wikipedia Zero

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Friday, July 13, 2012

The Wikimedia Foundation has set a goal of reaching 1 billion readers by 2015 and currently it is close to reaching only half that much. So how will the organization that serves Wikipedia and its sister projects meet its goal?

The Wikimedia Foundation is currently launching Wikipedia Zero with mobile telecommunication partners Orange and Telenor as a solultion to bringing it closer to its vision that “every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.”

According to Amit Kapoor, WMF Mobile Partnerships, Wikipedia currently has an audience of around 480 million, but the mobile phone initiative has the potential to tap into the population from developing countries who are part of the 5 billion mobile phone customers around the world.

Kapoor says the success of Wikipedia Zero faces several obstacles, such as cost and technology.



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