Category Archives: Wiki

Wikidata Human Gender Indicators in the News

Data from my project the Wikidata Human Gender Indicators has started to be cited in the press (BBC, Bloomberg), which is a large dose of validation. Traffic to the data visualizations increased 500% on the day of the BBC publication to 1,000 views/day, which inspires confidence. Moreover, Wikimedia Foundation’s Grants team—who funded WHGI—praised the project in their year-end report, saying:

Grants for research and tools (such as WHGI) – which minimally contribute to the targets of people or articles – have been extremely valuable in improving our understanding of the gender gap and how or why it manifests.

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How A Small Bug I Wrote Started Helping Holocaust Deniers

In my early software education, I’d been taught about how untested  software could result in deadly radiation-therapy machines. But since I never planned to be in the medical devices industry, these sort of warnings didn’t apply to me – after all I was only writing Wikipedia bots. But this week I was proved wrong when another Wikipedian messaged me with a query unlike any I’d received before (empahsis mine):

Hi Max, I’ve pinged you a couple of times, but in case you’re not getting them, would you mind commenting?

It’s about an edit your bot made to Wikidata that changed the infobox of a featured article about a book about the Holocaust, Night.

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WIGI Update: Results from Usability Testing

Since the beta version of, our site dedicated to the biography gender gap on WIkipedia is progressing on the technical side, we decided  conducting usability study on to help improve interaction aspects. We conducted a usability study to find out more. It was fantastic to here people say ”this is the tool we’ve been waiting for,” and we also want to address issues that lead people to describe their experience as “burdensome”.  Thanks to Masssly for compiling the report. I repost his summary here, and the full report can be read on wikimedia commons:

Executive Summary

During the week of November 17 – December 1, 2015, WIGI was tested among participants pulled from the Wikimedia community, loosely described as anyone who edits Wikipedia-the-encyclopedia, or is a potential reader of any of its language versions.… Read the rest

WIGI, an Inspire Grantee

WIGI, the Wikipedia Gender Index, my project which looks at the gender representation in Wikipedia Biography articles, has won an Inspire Grant.

Over the last six months along with fellow Wikipedians we prototyped and extended this research into a paper Gender Gap Through Time and Space: A Journey Through Wikipedia Biographies and the ‘WIGI’ Index”. One aspect of the biography gender gap we were not able to observe however was the trend of female and nonbinary biography.  We were only ever looking at a single point in time because it’s too computationally complex to compare all the histories of the Wikipedias together at once.… Read the rest

Asking Ever Bigger Questions With Wikidata

This is a Guest-Blog I wrote for Wikimedia Deutschland: copied here:

German summary: Maximilian Klein benutzt Wikidata als als Datenfundus für statistische Auswertungen über das Wissen der Welt. In seinem Artikel beschreibt er, wie er in Wikidata nach Antworten auf die großen Fragen sucht.

Asking Ever Bigger Questions with Wikidata

Guest post by Maximilian Klein

A New Era

Simultaneous discovery can sometimes be considered an indication for a paradigm shift in knowledge, and last month Magnus Manske and I seemed to have both had a very similar idea at the same time. Our ideas were to look at gender statistics in Wikidata and to slice them up by date of birth, citizenship, and langauge.… Read the rest

Häskell und Grepl: Data Hacking Wikimedia Projects Exampled With The Open Access Signalling Project

In what could easily be a recurring annual trip,Matt Senate, and I came to Berlin this week to participate in Open Knowledge Festival. We spoke at the csv,conf a fringe event in its first year, ostensibly about the comma separated values, but more so about unusual data hacking. On behalf of WikiProject Open Access – Signalling OA-ness team, we generalized our experience in data-munging with Wikimedia projects for the new user. We were asked to make the talk more story-oriented than technical; and since we were in Germany, we decided to use that famous narrative of Häskell and Grepl.… Read the rest

Profiles of Inspiring Wikimedians I Met at Wikiconference USA 2014

Wikiconference USA 2014, in New York, just finished, and more than usual this conference instilled in me a lot of motivating social energy. Yes, I did present there, twice, on “Answering Big Questions With Wikidata“, and “Signalling Open Access References,” but more so than usual I enjoyed attending other presentations. On reflecting why that was, I came to realize it was the earnest authentic effort of other Wikimedians, that shone so brightly. These are some of the more inspiring characters from the conference, but by no means a complete list.

Sumana Harihareswara

Sumana gave the opening keynote wherein she talked about implicit versus explicit exclusion.… Read the rest

The Virtuous Circle of Wikipeda: The Poster

It may seem like a small piece of work, but I wanted to commemorate this moment – my first poster. I never had the need to manufacture one. Today I presented it at NetSci (Network Science) 2014, and received many useful comments on the research. We found a few other that are, like ourselves, translating  the ‘method of reflections’ into new domains. The paper related to this poster is in review, but you can also access a preprint files on github.

On the art side I’d like to thank unluckylion, for encouraging me to make a bold statement. I think it paid off, and I’m only mildly guilty about the blatant copyvio of the Wikipedia logo.… Read the rest