Of safety and anonymity: The diff that resulted in arrest and jail time in Belarus.
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Russia 1918-02-27 censored cover, sent registered from Yuzovka (now Donetsk) to Stockholm Sweden. Multiple censor markings, opened twice and resealed with censor tape. Arrival marking Stockholm 1918-08-26, indicating six months transit.

The Russian Wikipedia edit that resulted in arrest and jail time

On 11 March 2022, Belarusian political police GUBOPiK arrested and detained Mark Bernstein, a Wikipedian from Minsk editing the Russian Wikipedia article about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, accusing him of the "spread of anti-Russian materials".

The Signpost has identified one edit in Russian Wikipedia adding the text вторжения России на Украину ("of the Russian invasion of Ukraine", in a reference to the United Nations emergency special session resolution adopted on March 2, 2022), which we believe is the one that resulted in Bernstein's arrest and jailing. It is not clear what was the legal basis for the arrest, as the 2022 Russian fake news law presumably does not extend into Belarus' borders.

Bernstein was arrested in Belarus on March 11, charged with not obeying a police order, and sentenced to 15 days in jail. Early reports incorrectly suggested that he might face 15 years in prison under the new Russian law.

The story is international news, with articles covering it by Omer Benjakob, a frequent analyst of Wikipedia matters, the Associated Press, Radio Free Europe, Deutsche Welle, and the Financial Times. Due to community policies, The Signpost can not discuss all of the media reports in detail.

Concerning the matter, Jimmy Wales said on his talkpage:

With regard to the arrest of a Wikipedia editor in Belarus I am doing all that I can to make sure that he is released safely but taking what I consider to be highly reliable professional advice, going on a PR offensive is not likely to be productive and indeed may very well be counter-productive. My silence on the matter should not be interpreted as inaction nor a lack of caring – a knee jerk pronouncement is not always the best way to help in a very specific situation where other approaches may more likely prove fruitful.

On the more general issue of the tragic decline of rights of free expression in various places, I am happy to be publicly critical but me speaking out to say that journalism is a human right is not going to surprise or shock anyone nor change the course of human history. Sadly, the world doesn't really listen to me in that way. The question of blackouts does naturally arise, and in general I have been and will continue to be more supportive of carefully targeted blackouts by the community in an effort to protect the right to free speech and in particular the right of Wikipedians to write a high quality neutral encyclopedia without fear of criminal or civil penalties of any kind. However, a very key phrase in what I just wrote it "carefully targeted". We have to ask ourselves in every case whether a blackout will be influential or listened to. We have had successful and unsuccessful blackouts in the past. I am very proud of how the SOPA/PIPA blackout prevented the passage of terrible legislation in the US. I am regretful that we lost the vote on the European Copyright Directive by 1 vote when we failed to blackout – I am 100% sure that a blackout would have convinced at least 1 member of European Parliament to change their vote and we would have stopped that particular nonsense. In the current circumstance in Russia, it would take a lot of convincing for me to believe that a blackout would do more good than harm. Given the war in Ukraine, and the incredible state-level pressure being placed on Russia by the international community (sanctions, etc.) I do not believe that Russia is very likely to say "oh no, Wikipedia is blacking out, we have to reverse our new draconian anti-free-speech laws." Indeed, given that they have – to my understanding – currently blocked Facebook, twitter, BBC News Russia, Deutsche Welle, etc. – and given that – again, to my understanding – Russian Wikipedia is doing a decent job of remaining high quality and neutral in the face of enormous emotion and potential legal pressure – I am surprised that Wikipedia isn't already blocked. I think it a testament to how popular and respected Wikipedia is that even in Russia, people understand that it is a force for good and that to block it is a very bad sign of a government gone wrong. As ever, we should all continue to monitor the situation and reflect thoughtfully on the best path forward. It's important that even in emotional circumstances, we try not to become angry with each other – assume good faith and let's see how we can help.

Netzpolitik.org has a piece titled Festnahme und Drohungen wegen Artikelbearbeitung ("Arrests and threats on account of article editing") that mentions:

Netzpolitik was careful not to name the arrested individual and redacted the names of their sources who edit on Russian Wikipedia. B

Universal Code of Conduct Enforcement Guidelines ratification vote

The voting for the ratification of the Universal Code of Conduct Enforcement Guidelines opened on 7 March 2022 and concluded on 21 March 2022. Voting closed with 2352 votes across 128 home wiki projects. The final results from the voting process will be announced on Meta, along with the relevant statistics and a summary of comments as soon as they are available.

67 additional local votes were cast bringing the total number of enwiki registrants voting to 866 (36.82% of all voters). By comparison, enwiki registrants represent 33.95% of the electorate.

The 'home wiki' value used in these charts does not necessarily represent where a user was active during the eligibility period.

These figures should be considered preliminary.

enwiki: 866 (36.8%)dewiki: 233 (9.9%)frwiki: 134 (5.7%)ruwiki: 119 (5.1%)plwiki: 109 (4.6%)eswiki: 87 (3.7%)jawiki: 81 (3.4%)zhwiki: 81 (3.4%)itwiki: 69 (2.9%)metawiki: 57 (2.4%)commons: 51 (2.2%)idwiki: 31 (1.3%)ptwiki: 27 (1.1%)arwiki: 26 (1.1%)cswiki: 26 (1.1%)nlwiki: 24 (1.0%)kowiki: 21 (0.9%)trwiki: 21 (0.9%)cawiki: 20 (0.9%)hewiki: 17 (0.7%)fawiki: 13 (0.6%)107 addl: 238 (10.1%)Circle frame.svg
  •   enwiki: 866 (36.8%)
  •   dewiki: 233 (9.9%)
  •   frwiki: 134 (5.7%)
  •   ruwiki: 119 (5.1%)
  •   plwiki: 109 (4.6%)
  •   eswiki: 87 (3.7%)
  •   jawiki: 81 (3.4%)
  •   zhwiki: 81 (3.4%)
  •   itwiki: 69 (2.9%)
  •   metawiki: 57 (2.4%)
  •   commons: 51 (2.2%)
  •   idwiki: 31 (1.3%)
  •   ptwiki: 27 (1.1%)
  •   arwiki: 26 (1.1%)
  •   cswiki: 26 (1.1%)
  •   nlwiki: 24 (1.0%)
  •   kowiki: 21 (0.9%)
  •   trwiki: 21 (0.9%)
  •   cawiki: 20 (0.9%)
  •   hewiki: 17 (0.7%)
  •   fawiki: 13 (0.6%)
  •   107 addl: 238 (10.1%)

The 238 votes in the final category were from projects casting fewer than 11 votes.

See more statistics here. E

Wiki Unseen is seen... again

Wiki Unseen, reported on last issue in the Signpost, has been garnering discussion on Wiki. Conversations on the relevance of one of the paintings was initiated on Talk:Asquith Xavier, a Files for Discussion item was opened on whether to delete the fair-use equivalents of the portraits, and other discussion with the Wikimedia Foundation and related parties is visible at m:Talk:Communications/Wiki Unseen. The major questions include whether artistic portraits can replace photos in articles, or whether fair-use photos should be deleted once artistic portraits are available. E

Jimbo Wales hosts AMA on Waitroom

Jimbo Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, hosted an "ask me anything" on Waitroom, a software allowing for "authentic conversations" between celebrities and people. Wales says It was different and fun. I've suggested to the hosts that for the next one we switch to a 5 minute format as that's more in tune with me - I like to try to fully explain myself and tell a whole story and the 2.5 minute format was tricky for me. E

He's been around a while

User:BeenAroundAWhile, who will be 90 years old in April, started editing Wikipedia when he was 73. He recently made his 100,000th edit and is well on his way to 101,000. The Signpost congratulates him on all his achievements. Editors should feel free to congratulate him in the Comments section below with one caveat: he does not appreciate being called "dude".

Brief notes

Mockup screenshot for implementation of IP masking. Note session-based temporary account ~Unregistered8712~ that was automatically created for an anonymous user.
  • Shrinkage: Active administrators shrank from the beginning of 2022 to an annual low count of 450 on 19 March – see previous Signpost coverage on declining admin cadre (January 30).
  • IP masking: Rollout to come later, with session-based pseudoidentity. See IP Editing: Privacy Enhancement and Abuse Mitigation – Implementation Strategy and next steps (25 February 2022)
  • Hackathon The 2022 Wikimedia Hackathon will be held May 20–22. More coverage is available in the Technology Report.
  • Alexa, what's a sound logo for Wikimedia?: "We are hoping to co-create a sound logo with communities to improve identification of Wikimedia material when it is used on audio platforms...including notifications in Wikimedia apps and third party apps that reuse Wikimedia content, audio feedback on Wikimedia and third party UIs, and branding on audio and visual content from and licensed by Wikimedia across video, TV, film, podcasts and events" according to m:Communications/Sound Logo and Diff which notes "Wikipedia content was used to answer between 81 and 84% of common desktop knowledge queries" on the top search engines.
  • Server issues: According to wikitech:Incident status and other Wikimedia Foundation documentation, multiple redundant network providers powering the United States West Coast server cluster "simultaneously experienced connectivity loss" on March 1, and all traffic was rerouted to another cluster after 20 minutes of downtime. The Signpost team is monitoring to determine if this represents some kind of attack on Wikipedia.
  • New administrators: The Signpost welcomes the English Wikipedia's newest administrator, Firefly, selected by unanimous !voting, and Sdrqaz, selected by near-unopposed !voting. Both are now listed at Wikipedia:Times that 200 Wikipedians supported an RFX, with the former noted as the highest !vote count for a unanimous RFA.
  • Leadership Development Working Group applications: Applications for the Leadership Development Working Group that the Signpost reported on last issue have opened. The application period is closing on April 10, 2022.
  • Let's Connect program launches: The Let's Connect working group launched their peer learning program on 25 March 2022. More details are on Diff.
  • Wikimedia Foundation case dismissed in Europe: The Wikimedia Foundation's case arguing that Turkey's ban of Wikipedia violated the rights of people in Turkey was dismissed. More information is on Diff.
  • Milestones: The following Wikimedia projects reached milestones this week: English Wiktionary (7,000,000 entries), Shan Wikivoyage (newly created), Gungbe Wikipedia (newly created), Hill Mari Wikipedia (100,000 page edits).
  • Articles for Improvement: This week's Articles for Improvement is Sikkimese cuisine. Please help to improve this article!
+ Add a commentDiscuss this story

Would someone please tell jimmy that we love him?[]35252600:387:C:6C31:0:0:0:4 (talk) 17:10, 28 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Happy birthday, BeenAroundAWhile ! You’re a legend around these parts, takes some serious dedication! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Inficiat (talkcontribs) 18:09, 28 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

  • he does not appreciate being called "dude" So, you're saying we should go with "bro-heim", then? So noted! (And Happy Birthday, Been!) FeRDNYC (talk) 14:10, 29 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Congrats on the 100,000h edits, nice work. Your Shatner-like accomplishment should be publicly trumpeted by those at the Foundation who get paid to trumpet, because, in what may be the most overlooked demographic for new editors, there are hundreds if not thousands of very good editorial, research, and otherwise accomplished professionals in their 70s and above who would love this place. Wikipedia would better fulfill its goals if many more elders got involved and used their skill and long-memory to add content, accuracy, and established knowledge into the world's best encyclopedia. As well as to further explain to the young pups still wet behind the ears, for example, just what it meant to the world for people to orbit and then walk upon the Moon (or, for film buffs, just who Veronica Lake was, bless her heart). BeenAroundAwhile, you are a Wikipedia role-model, and when we all meet in Vegas for the next North American Conference (hint, hint), remind me to buy you the best drink (or something) in town. Randy Kryn (talk) 21:57, 29 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • shouldn't the ip psudeoanynonimity thing replace the comma with a full stop? 晚安 (トークページ) 07:53, 30 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
If you are talking about the popup help text in the UI mockups, then I agree. It is poor English. The same error seems to exist in the task given to the developers: phab:T300263Bri (talk) 15:03, 30 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Re "It is not clear what was the legal basis for the arrest, as the 2022 Russian fake news law presumably does not extend into Belarus' borders": You forgot to add the obvious second half: "But then, of course, legal bases for arrests have not mattered in Belarus since 1917, the last time any rule of law existed there." Karmanatory (talk) 04:14, 1 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Re: "Due to community policies, The Signpost can not discuss all of the media reports in detail", could you be more specific? Which policies? What sort of media reports? 17:36, 2 April 2022 (UTC)2600:1700:D0A0:21B0:6172:11C0:CFAA:9946 (talk)
    • The rules can sometimes be very inconsistantly applied on Wikipedia. The one at play here involves the penalty that any admin can disappear you at will for linking to something off-wiki that includes an editor's name and username. We discussed this early in the month and I told staffers that they could decide whether to include such a link and I would respect their decision, but I didn't think the rule applied because the name and username were already included in a Wikipedia article. So I was good both ways. Strangely enough I almost switched my view, when a related discussion on another page started moving toward eliminating the username in the article. But they eventually saw the common sense of allowing the inclusion in that Wiki article. So I stuck with my decision and the wrier stuck with his. If the final product looks a bit inconsistent don't blame us, blame the folks who enforce the rules. Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:41, 2 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]


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