Wikimedia Forum

← Discussion pages Wikimedia Forums Archives →
QA icon clr.svg

The Wikimedia Forum is a central place for questions, announcements and other discussions about the Wikimedia Foundation and its projects. (For discussion about the Meta wiki, see Meta:Babel.)
This is not the place to make technical queries regarding the MediaWiki software; please ask such questions at the MediaWiki support desk; technical questions about Wikimedia wikis, however, can be placed on Tech page.

You can reply to a topic by clicking the "[edit]" link beside that section, or you can start a new discussion.
Filing cabinet icon.svg
SpBot archives all sections tagged with {{Section resolved|1=~~~~}} and sections whose most recent comment is older than 30 days.

Message to readers from Wikimedia FoundationEdit

Given the unfolding global events, the Wikimedia Foundations feels it is important to reassure readers across the globe.

We'll be displaying a short message at the top of the projects reaffirming our commitment to keep Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects online, open and free for all. Readers often turn to Wikipedia for neutral information in times of stress. This is a critical moment for students who can't go to school, people who have to stay home with their families, and anyone who needs a trusted source of unbiased information.

We also want to take a moment to acknowledge the invaluable work of all the medical contributors on Wikipedia. Thank you for keeping a close watch and keeping misinformation at bay. Coronavirus topics have received tens of thousands of edits by thousands of editors since the start of the pandemic. The article has been read more than 30 million times, in English alone.

The message will be displayed just once to readers, and you can preview the banner. The draft is in English but we want this message to be multilingual. If you have a moment, please help translate this banner into your language. Thank you all, for your work and efforts.

Stay safe, and wash your hands! Seddon (WMF) (talk) 20:12, 19 March 2020 (UTC)

Do you have a link to where community consensus was established for this, with the required advance notifications to local communities? Banners must go through the proposal process and gain consensus in advance. --Yair rand (talk) 20:15, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
@Yair rand: As operators of the website, and given the extraordinary stress that a significant percentage of the world is currently feeling, and given that many of them are turning to Wikipedia for information, and given that many contributors are spending extra time dealing with the increased attention and activity that results from millions of people being isolated at home, we believe it necessary and important to reaffirm our commitment to being here for people in a time of need and to acknowledge contributors in their role in making it all happen. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 20:56, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
@Seddon (WMF): Okay, yes, their intention is to brazenly violate consensus and abuse their userrights. We'll deal with it, I'm sure it will all work out. (Also, you know, the normal way to express appreciation to contributors around here is usually something like a barnstar, not a hostile takeover of a community resource during a global pandemic, but I guess it's the thought that counts. :) ) --Yair rand (talk) 21:41, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
@Yair rand:: The banner is set to only show once to a user. A new feature was recently specifically developed that will allow the banner to be show once andfter that delivery is done it will not compete for space with any other running campaign. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 21:48, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
That's great, but I don't see the relevance. --Yair rand (talk) 21:54, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
I have many issues with the message (like "people who are staying home with their families", hmm there are many people who stay home alone because they have no family), but my main grievance is that the WMF should not make a statement that Wikipedia is to be trusted or that it is unbiased, or that it has "medical contributors", or that the priority of editors is the readers' trust. Wikipedia is not to be trusted and every seasoned Wikipedia editor knows that, because we see the gargabe that is there. Readers are lucky if they get good quality content but it's not guaranteed and never will be. -kyykaarme (talk) 22:26, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
@Kyykaarme: - I've trimmed the opening paragraph text based on feedback from yourself and User:GreenMeansGo. Let me have a think about the rest of your feedback. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 22:45, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
Thank you for the edits, it's better now. If I read the whole message with my uncynical hat on, it's not bad. I still have an issue with "anyone who needs a trusted source of unbiased information" because it implies that they will find it on Wikipedia. That's the goal, but it's not a promise we can make, especially in smaller projects that don't have high sourcing standards such as en:WP:MEDRS. (I did educate myself on viruses by reading enwiki articles and I appreciate the efforts of all those editors. My homewiki will probably never come even close to that quality because there just aren't enough knowledgeable editors for the amount of work that is required.) -kyykaarme (talk) 09:57, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
@Kyykaarme: - We've modified the banner further. 1) To make it clear that volunteers are doing the work 2) to make clear it's a task that is ongoing to achieve that goal. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 19:03, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
  • @Seddon (WMF): I don't mean to be overly critical, but it's just not...I...don't know that I would be married to the current wording. I would suggest something more condensed and less wordy:

With the uncertainty surrounding the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, we want to reassure our readers across the globe. Wikipedia will be online and available for everyone everywhere in need of a trusted source of unbiased information. Knowledge must and will remain open for all, now more than ever.

GMGtalk 22:28, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
@GreenMeansGo: - Feedback is important! I've trimmed the opening paragraph to your suggested text. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 22:45, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
@Seddon (WMF): Ah crap. I didn't read the rest. I'm being busy and silly. For goodness sake, drop We find ourselves in remarkable circumstances this month. The outbreak started in China in December. That's not the message you want to send. GMGtalk 22:57, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
@GreenMeansGo:I've quickly changed it to this year for now which is fair since the first death didn't occur till Jan 10 and the Wuhan shut down didn't occur till the latter half of Jan. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 23:04, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
@Seddon (WMF): Where is the source you're editing? I can't purge away the old banner to see the changes in the link you provided. GMGtalk 23:06, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
@GreenMeansGo: I'm editting the banners here. The cache can take up to 10 minutes to take effect. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 23:08, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
@Seddon (WMF): Are you on IRC? This may be easier that way. GMGtalk 23:40, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done Seddon (WMF) (talk) 00:25, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
Seddon, what is the take-home message? Am I missing some context? Thanks.--Mathieu ottawa (talk) 23:49, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
@Seddon (WMF):. Sorry, forgot to ping you the first time.--Mathieu ottawa (talk) 18:19, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
Why should the Executive Director put what is essentially a content-free blog message on every page at Wikipedia? Why should a banner be signed as coming from a particular person—is Twitter down? Regarding what the banner currently says, a good way to raise panic and doubt about Wikipedia's future is to reassure readers that there is no problem. What reader would think Wikipedia would be taken down by a virus? What reader who does think such a thing would be comforted by a marketing banner? If such a banner is wanted, please work out some actual content (other than don't panic), then polish the wording. BTW, it currently says "we have to one another" which is missing something. Johnuniq (talk) 03:03, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
Reassure users that projects will stay online? Who ever doubted that? Sounds like unnecessary terrorism. Please stop. Nemo 10:07, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
Hey @Nemo bis:. We've change that language based on yours and others feedback. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 19:20, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
I agree with Nemo. --MZMcBride (talk) 08:37, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
  • I went to the test page for this (the NASA article) and my browser gave me a warning message, "Content Security Policy violation detected! Tried to load something from". This seemed quite alarming and this is not a good time to be raising people's stress level. If a reassuring message is broadcast, it would be best to do it through normal channels rather using some novel means which might cause such technical trouble and so be counter-productive. Andrew D. (talk) 12:18, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
  • That's probably unrelated to this CentralNotice. * Pppery * it has begun 15:42, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
    I got the message as well. I think it’s an issue with Central Notice previews. RhinosF1 (talk) 15:49, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
I've also got this warning. ‐‐1997kB (talk) 16:20, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
Found this ticket. RhinosF1 (talk) 16:38, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
@Andrew Davidson, RhinosF1, 1997kB, and Pppery: Hey all, this a debugging feature that reports on the test outcome of the MediaWiki Content Security Policy to ensure no offsite scripts are being run. At the moment wmflabs is not a whitelisted domain but users will not see this warning. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 19:26, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
Hey Seddon, I spoke to the Technical team and found the phab task. I added a tracking badge to this discussion ealier. RhinosF1 (talk) 19:32, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Instead of simply using the word "reassure", please consider affirming words. Consider the impact, not in the sense of a complaint, but tell us to do our best with this issue, not simply hand out a word which otherwise has little meaning..? Tell us to take care and maybe even direct us to guidance, something like that? ~^\\\.rT'{~ g 15:47, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
@RTG: Based on feedback the opening now reads:

With the uncertainty surrounding the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, we want to reassure our readers across the globe that our volunteers are working to bring you a trusted source of unbiased information. Throughout these challenging times, knowledge must and will remain open for all.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the new wording. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 20:36, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
@Seddon:Yes I do prefer it actually, Seddon. I suppose the other one had a sort of panicky feel to the last sentence, we will go down last type of thing, whereas now it is a bit more, we are still standing don't worry, thanks, and safe journey to you all, o/ ~^\\\.rT'{~ g 22:18, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
Or well, you didn't change the last sentence, but I still prefer it. ~^\\\.rT'{~ g 22:20, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
  • By the way, I very much hope no message will run on non-Wikipedia projects which says "I want to acknowledge the invaluable work of all the contributors on Wikipedia". It's quite offensive if the WMF ED doesn't acknowledge the invaluable work of all Wikimedia projects' contributors. If that's meant to be a {{SITENAME}}, the language will need to be adapted. Overall this message seems a net negative which adds to misinformation (by implying there was some risk that projects would not continue), bad feelings (by offending contributors), systematic bias rather than diversity (by being focused on some countries where "social distancing" has been decided) and misconceptions (about Wikipedia being the only free knowledge project, and free knowledge being limited to "articles" and "neutral information"). I strongly recommend to radically reconsider this banner idea. We'll probably end up regretting it just as much as the 9/11 wiki; let's not always repeat the same mistakes please. Nemo 18:40, 20 March 2020 (UTC)
  • I concur with Nemo_bis that this banner is not the most brilliant idea. It still uses the old placeholder name "coronavirus" for COVID-19 to name the pandemic, which is basically a non-name, a misnomer, and very much outdated since the proper name was coined by WHO and announced last 11 February, already more than a month ago. Using "coronavirus" instead COVID-19 is also prone to be abused for disinformation and fake news, basically spreading confusion and misinformation while praising Wikipedia for being "a trusted source of unbiased information". As a volunteer, I also do not feel very comfortable with WMF staff first praising "Wikipedia" contributors, then speaking on their name telling "We will keep working around the clock to bring you reliable and neutral information.". The whole thing looks like self praising, it doesn't seem to pass a good message, and I really hope you would reconsider, and hopefully suspend that banner. We've already enough with what is going on. --- Darwin Ahoy! 19:46, 21 March 2020 (UTC)
  • The impression limits are not working. In a couple hours yesterday while on a device logged out, without trying to do anything special, I saw the banner about five times. I see that the text has not been changed radically. Given it's very USA-centric and English Wikipedia-centric, I'll note that many of the concerns above will be reduced if the banner is only shown on the English Wikipedia for USA users. Nemo 19:48, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
  • I honestly don't understand what message this banner should convey. When I saw it first some days ago, I clicked it away as a nuisance after reading it, since it had zero content except "Wikipedia will still be online and give you information". How very nice, was there ever any reason to doubt it? To me it looks like the counterpart to the usual scary fundraising messages "donate now or Wikipedia WILL shut down". An invitation (for non-registered users) to take this opportunity to start contributing (cf. CentralNotice/Request/Stay at home with Wikipedia) maybe would have been more useful. --MF-W 21:36, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
    • It really looks like this was just an excuse for Katherine Maher to inject her name at the top of every article. --MZMcBride (talk) 05:48, 24 March 2020 (UTC)
      • I'll assume good faith, but there is little doubt that the banner had such a self-promotion effect. If that was unintended, WMF communication will need to be recalibrated in the future. Nemo 09:16, 30 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Is there some significant part of this banner that I've missed? It's a bit hard to look at the history because it's in parts but the parts I've looked at [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] and some of the above discussion/concerns seem confusion. I mean some are obvious, e.g. the concerns of the mention of "Wikipedia" for other projects, disagreements over whether the banner has useful info or whether it creates more panic, disagreements over the process followed. Other parts, even having read the history I'm confused about. E.g. concerns over it being US centric. I mean there was the "this month" part, that was clearly a major error and it is unfortunate it lasted over 2 days [8]. But other than that, I'm not seeing anything particularly US centric. E.g. school closures have happened in a number of countries and actually began in countries before the US. Likewise the requirement to stay home with families, China especially Wuhan really pioneered that albeit it's starting to be less required there. (Actually I don't know if there is any country where it isn't suggested people who suspect they have the disease should stay home even if it's a step not practical for a large percentage of people in the world and many don't know about it. Maybe North Korea?) Of course there are vastly different levels in how strongly it's being recommended and for who.) So what am I missing? Nil Einne (talk) 03:10, 24 March 2020 (UTC)
    • The reference to social distancing is not suitable for a global audience because the phenomenon is not universal. While enormous, lockdowns and similar measures currently affect 20 % of the world population. The message seems to be playing by the domestic audiences closest to the WMF, it has no discernible meaning or goal for a global audience. It's always safer and wiser to restrict the CentralNotice to the main target you actually intend to reach and have thought about the most, rather than overshoot. We have discussed this many times about the CentralNotice guidelines, it becomes quite tiring when WMF is not able to follow standard communication protocols. Nemo 07:59, 24 March 2020 (UTC)
The entire country of India is shutting down for three weeks so that's a large portion of readers. The only certainty about COVID-19 is how rapidly the situation is changing. Liz (talk) 02:11, 25 March 2020 (UTC)
Yes, and does the population of India need or appreciates being told by someone in USA how they should take care of themselves? I suspect not. Nemo 13:23, 26 March 2020 (UTC)
Katherine's message, only displayed when not logged in

This message struck my eye this morning before logging in. I was, and am, shocked. Since then, I was looking for an explanation why this kind of self-praise happened and what the contributors were thinking about it. Now I found this discussion here, I am even more shocked to see that there was a lot of criticism from the start, and even here, the full text of this repellent bragging was and is deliberately hidden from those, who are talked about and "talked for". --SI 10:14, 26 March 2020 (UTC)

  • Strongly oppose as one of many major contributors to the English language Wikipedia article that this links to, this message is problematic for a number of reasons. I have seen it numerous times, at least once per day, I believe both when logged in and not logged in. the main reason I oppose at this stage is because this does not to my knowledge have preexisting community consensus and approval. —Almaty (talk) 12:40, 26 March 2020 (UTC)
    • please note that the advertisement led to my resignation from Wikipedia English. You should not have put us in that position. If you want to do a similar advertisement In the future, please link to the WHO FAQ rather than the covid 19 pages. I emailed legal (even though it probably isn’t a legal issue) my reasoning as to why. —Almaty (talk) 12:41, 29 March 2020 (UTC)
  • We are informed on User talk:Katherine (WMF) of the conclusion of the campaign. It would be useful to know the impression statistics for the banner, especially given it was malfunctioning for days. Nemo 09:16, 30 March 2020 (UTC)

Proposed Crisis-WikisEdit

(Apparently others strongly agree that Wikimedia Foundation should leverage the awesome power of Wiki to help in times of widespread crisis. Therefore, upon collecting and considering the 2 current proposals below, further propose:)


  • To reduce the chances of information for unrelated crisis-situations getting all mixed up, each such crisis should have its OWN completely separate mini-wiki with its own separate URL domain name.
  • Said wiki should be managed just like any other small sister project, but would specifically encourage ORIGINAL research that would otherwise violate important wiki-policies.
  • Said wiki should have a red, PERMANENT and uneditable, one-line disclaimer banner at the top of each page, stating name and start-date of crisis, and stating that all information therebelow is not verified, and only for use at own risk.


  • Whenever a situation becomes a recognized widespread crisis, Wikimedia should immediately create one such mini-wiki with minimal default table of contents, and begin PUBLICLY promoting it.
  • For duration of crisis, said wiki should also be promoted with a small light-red ONE-line announcement at the top of EVERY Wikimedia-project wikipage.
  • If there are alas multiple current crises then said announcement should link to a crisis-list page.
  • Said announcement should also urge experienced wiki-editors to come help out as overseers, with a hover-popup suggesting such things as organizing, indexing, cross-linking, formatting, vandalism, etc.
  • When crisis is finally over, all promotion of said crisis-wiki should end; and said disclaimer banner should be updated to add end-date of crisis, and changed to yellow -- and the wiki itself will simply assume normal status.

Proposed Coronavirus (COVID-19) sub-wikiEdit

Note: This post was not meant as merely a commentary-comment (henceforth italic) on responses to the above #Message to readers from Wikimedia Foundation post, but rather as an actual proposal intended to help address the issues listed herein -- and importantly, the same basic concept would have been helpful in other major disaster situations needing mass efforts to expediently find and implement local and especially microlocal solutions, such as the BP Horizon oil spill. Also see new post #Weaponizing Wikimedia to fight the coronavirus). Wikicat (talk) 04:00, 8 April 2020 (UTC)

(Kind of amazing, yet somewhat understandable given this weird world, how even the simplest seemingly good intentions can turn into such controversy. Came back to WP specifically to suggest something similar, that would NOT show just once, but rather more like CONTINUOUSLY, though seeing all the above objections, perhaps every 15 minutes would be a compromise given the critical global situation and how the world desperately needs volunteer efforts of all sorts. As to the main point...)

While there are already quite a few pandemic-related OPEN SOURCE projects scattered across the internet, too many are CLOSED VIEWING so visitors have to sign up just to even see their work, like [9], [10], [11]; or have clumsy editing and/or presentation interfaces, especially compared to WP, like [12], [13], [14], [15], [16]; or are open but with no way to freely participate, eg: [17], [18], [19] -- and all, including the freely editable (but most not wiki-like), such as [20], [21], [22] are too isolated, cannot be readily interlinked at whatever desired level of detail, and have to rely mostly on referrals from one-line links and various posts, like [23], [24], [25], [26], [27], [28].

Therefore, propose that Wikimedia Foundation should set up a special (using the name MOST people know) Coronavirus sub-wiki to facilitate or even help existing and new volunteers better organize, coordinate, and consolidate their efforts; and direct interested visitors thereto by means of a small light-red ONE-line announcement at the top of each hosted wikipage -- and in this case the Wikipedia:NOBLECAUSE is very much bigger than the usual non-profit effort. Given that Wikipedia is like a well established lighthouse for seekers of information of EVERY kind, many will hopefully see said announcement and thus also seek to contribute however they can.

Suggest: [ In response to the current pandemic, Wikimedia Foundation has started a special Coronavirus wiki. Please view and participate here. ]

Provided that even just Wikipedia itself has ample space to keep growing, this should take up practically no significant resources, as well as be very quick to implement.

Wikicat (talk) 01:00, 29 March 2020 (UTC)

Weaponizing Wikimedia to fight the coronavirusEdit

I proposed a project named WikiCrisis. This can be an effective but simple and no cost weapon in combating the coronavirus Here's a prototype to give you an idea:

For example, WikiCrisis/Covid19 allows anyone in the world to get vital information about the Covid-19 pandemic in his/her local community, organization, village/baranggay, city, province/state, country and the world all in one central location. Each community, village/baranggay, city, province/state and country is responsible for creating and maintaining their own Covid-19 information page (wiki page). This allows leaders at various levels to give timely updates or changes on statistics and quarantine orders and instructions to their constituents. This also allows leaders to monitor the latest news and status of other jurisdictions near them, below them or above them so they can make better decisions and collaborate with other leaders. The leaders can give instructions to their citizens on the best way to contact them for questions and concerns. This allows anyone to monitor or get up to date status of their hometown if they happen to be far away so they can make better decisions in helping their love ones.

Based on my observations, many people are clamoring for a single go to place to seek vital information about the Covid-19 pandemic. People are worried sick about their love ones due to lack of information.

The great thing about this idea is that it can be used for future pandemics, epidemics or other calamities or natural disasters. I do not wish or expect any credit or acknowledgment on this idea. I simply want to help.

Wikipedia can deploy this weapon to the entire world by simply insert an announcement in all your Wikipedia pages to ask the user to create a covid-19 Wikipedia page and pressure the media and their administrative head of government (mayor, governor, president/prime minister) to inform the public about it. Here's a sample message:

sample message --------------------------------

Dear fellow citizens of the world,

Anyone in the mood for making history? Never in the history of mankind has there ever been a place, virtual or physical, where all levels of government in the entire world comes together to collaborate and share vital information to accomplish a common goal.

A very effective but simple and no cost weapon in combating the coronavirus is in your hands at this very moment: WikiCrisis/Covid19 can be used as a collaboration tool that allows anyone in the world to get vital information about the Covid-19 pandemic in his/her local community, organization, village/baranggay, city, province/state, country and the world ALL IN ONE CENTRAL LOCATION. Each community, village/baranggay, city, province/state and country is responsible for creating and maintaining their own Covid-19 information page (wiki page). this allows leaders at various levels to give timely updates or changes on statistics and quarantine orders and instructions to their constituents. This also allows leaders to monitor the latest news and status of other jurisdictions near them, below them or above them so they can make better decisions and collaborate with other leaders. The leaders can give instructions to their citizens on the best way to contact them for questions and concerns. This allows anyone to monitor or get up to date status of their hometown if they happen to be far away so they can make better decisions in helping their love ones.

[Basic editing is very simple: Simply type your text. There is no need to learn any special text-editing functions or commands. However, for more formal presentation... Wikicat (talk) 04:00, 8 April 2020 (UTC)] It only takes 15 minutes for an entry level web developer to learn the basic syntax of this powerful tool. An administrative head of government (president/prime minister, governor, mayor, village/baranggay captain) simply has to assign anyone with at least entry level web developing skills to read the main page of the covid-19 Wikipedia site. It only takes 30 minutes to create.

The staff at Wikipedia humbly and sincerely asks you to do your part in deploying this weapon. Create a Covid-19 wikipage for your town, city, province/state or country or ask someone you know with basic web developing skills to do it for you. Then go to the facebook pages of your local media and administrative heads of governments to pressure them to inform the public about the Covid-19 wiki site.

Together, we can stop this virus.

Sincerely, Wikipedia

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by IanCJCrystal (talk) - 06:33, 6 April 2020


Why was my page & history erased?

Why is there the empowerment of despots on Wikipedia?

Nantucketnoon (talk) 06:27, 5 April 2020 (UTC)

What page, what history? Do you have other usernames? Stryn (talk) 07:56, 5 April 2020 (UTC)
@Nantucketnoon: I am an admin at four of the five wikis where you have edited. I see zero deleted contributions at those four wikis, so can I suggest a bit of chill, and a little bit of civility. If you can explain with less angst and more detail, then we may be able to assist.  — billinghurst sDrewth 12:32, 5 April 2020 (UTC)