German Wikipedia

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German Wikipedia is the German-language edition of Wikipedia, a free and publicly editable online encyclopedia. It is the largest of the non-English Wikipedias and was one of the first to be created.

Contents

[edit] History

The first non-English Wikipedia subdomain was the German one; it was announced by Jimbo Wales on 16 March 2001<ref>Jimmy Wales: [Wikipedia-l] Alternative language wikipedias, 16 March 2001</ref>. Creation of articles in the German Wikipedia started in May 2001<ref>First article was apparently Polymerase-Kettenreaktion</ref>, later than in the Catalan Wikipedia.

[edit] Size, coverage and popularity

Image:Meilensteine-german wikipedia.png
Article growth, 2001-2006

As of November 23, 2006 this edition had more than 500,000 articles, ranking second in size behind the English language edition. 97%<ref name="scp">http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediaDE.htm</ref> of the articles had more than 200 characters, 87%<ref name="scp"/> had more than 512 bytes, 42%<ref name="scp"/> had more than 2 KB, the average article size was 3647<ref name="scp"/> bytes or 404<ref name="scp"/> words. All these numbers were the biggest among the large Wikipedias.

Compared to the English Wikipedia, the German one tends to be more selective in its coverage, often rejecting small stubs, articles about fictional characters and similar materials. This is not always the case however; though all characters from Star Wars have been condensed into one article, characters such as Abu el-Hasan from the Thousand and One Nights and Wolverine have their own pages.

The January 2005 Google Zeitgeist announced that "Wikipedia" was the #8 most searched query on Google.de, ranking only behind the tsunami, George Bush, firefox, Schnappi, Rudolph Moshammer, Saturn, and Angelina Jolie. In February 2005 Wikipedia reached third place behind Firefox and Valentine's Day. In June 2005, Wikipedia ranked first.

[edit] Language and dialects

The German Wikipedia is written in the German language as recommended by the Duden. Swiss or Austrian idiosyncrasies are accepted only in articles of regional scope. The differences are smaller than those between American English and British English; for instance, the Swiss don't use the sharp S (ß) and write ss instead.

German dialects like Swiss German are not used in the German Wikipedia. Separate Wikipedias have been created for several German dialects, including Alemannic German (als:), Low German (nds:), Luxembourgish (lb:), Pennsylvania German (pdc:), Ripuarian (formerly Kölsch (ksh:), and Bavarian (bar:).

[edit] Characteristics

Image:Verhaeltnis.png
Daily requests for deletion, de facto deleted articles and the ratio of these two values

The German Wikipedia is different from the English Wikipedia in a number of aspects.

  • There are no fair use provisions. Images and other media that are accepted on the English Wikipedia as fair use may not be suitable for the German Wikipedia.
  • Many controversial articles are protected for months and cannot be edited [1]. On September 14, 2005, 253 pages were protected (compared to 138 in the English Wikipedia) [2].
  • Articles on indisputably notable subjects may be deleted if they are deemed too short. While the requirements for minimal articles (called stubs) are equivalent, the German and the English Wikipedia differ greatly when putting them into practice [3], [4].
  • On 28 December, 2005 it was decided to eliminate the Category "stub" (and the corresponding template identifying articles as stubs) from the German Wikipedia.<ref>German Wikipedia:Poll about the abolishment of the stub templace, 28 December 2005</ref>
  • Unlike the French, Polish or Italian Wikipedias, the German Wikipedia does not contain large collections of bot-generated stubs.
  • Unlike the French and English Wikipedias, the German one does not have an Arbitration Committee. Decisions to ban users are taken by public vote, requiring a two-thirds majority.
  • Articles are more likely to be merged, which results in many English articles pointing to a single German article.
  • Categories are singular and describe only one property. A female French chemist, for instance, will be in the categories "Chemiker" (chemist), "Frau" (woman), "Franzose" (Frenchman).
  • The equivalent to the English Wikipedia's featured articles and good articles are exzellente Artikel and lesenswerte Artikel.
  • The German Wikipedia has decided to phase out the use of local image uploads and will exclusively use Wikimedia Commons for images and other media.
  • Persondata, as introduced in the English Wikipedia in December 2005, was pioneered by the German Wikipedia in December 2004.
  • Like the Signpost in the English Wikipedia, the German Wikipedia also has its own internal newspaper, the Kurier. However, the Kurier is laid out on a single page and is not issued weekly but is continuously updated by interested Wikipedians, with older articles being archived.
  • Auftragsarbeiten is a page where users can offer various rewards for completion of Wikipedia-related tasks. Started in July 2005, the idea initially met with some resistance, similar to the recently proposed Reward board in the English Wikipedia.

[edit] Reviewed versions

At Wikimania 2006, Jimbo Wales announced that the German Wikipedia would soon institute a system of "stable article versions" on a trial basis. Certain users will be able to mark article versions as reviewed; two different models are under discussion: one with a rather low threshold for review, intended mainly to catch obvious vandalism, and the other with a high threshold, intended to validate the correctness of articles. It has not been decided which default article versions to present to readers. <ref>The discussion takes place at de:Wikipedia:Gesichtete Versionen and de:Wikipedia:Geprüfte Versionen.</ref>

[edit] Unique projects and miscellanea

Image:Fünf Jahre Wikipedia IMG 0377.JPG
Exhibition "Five Years Wikipedia" at the Göttingen University library, March 2006

[edit] Community organisation

Since July 2004 some German Wikipedians have employed a web of trust known as Vertrauensnetz: they use a special template on a subpage of their user page to list all the other users whom they trust, along with reasons for the trust and links to the other users' trust pages. This "trust" is not meant as personal sympathy, but as testimony of serious engagement with the Wikipedia project. By using the "What links here" feature, one can then also obtain a list of all participants who trust a given user.

In August 2005 one user wrote the influential essay Playing Wikipedia in which he described Wikipedia as a "browser based massive multiplayer online game (MMOG)" with the "exciting world of encyclopedias" as subject. Within a framework of constantly changing rules, players are supposed to influence the construction of an online encyclopedia. The essay goes on to describe the various popular strategies employed by the players.

In February 2006 a new experimental project was started with the goal of evaluating users, providing feedback, and eventually eliminating the voting for adminships. Every participating user keeps a special evaluation subpage of their user page; others can leave positive or negative evaluations (with reasons) of the user on that page. A central page keeps track of the net number of positive evaluations received by every participant. See de:Benutzer:Brummfuss/Wahlen abschaffen.

[edit] Events

The first real-life meetup of Wikipedians took place in October, 2003 in Munich.

Each spring and autumn the German Wikipedia organizes a writing contest where a community elected jury rates nominated articles. Prizes are sponsored by individual community members and companies. The first contest was held in October 2004, among the 44 nominations the article Kloster Lehnin won. The second contest in March saw 52 contributions, the third in September 2005 already 70. A trial to extend the contest to an international level met with limited success, only the Dutch, English and Japanese Wikipedias participated in the end<ref>International writing contest, March 2005.</ref> For the writing contest in March 2006 the 150 nominations were split in three sections, history & society (56 nominations), arts & humanities (36) and science (46). The article on the Braunbär (Brown Bear) won, 27 articles reached featured status a few weeks after the contest.<ref>Writing contest (German)</ref>

German Wikipedians organized the first international Wikipedia conference, Wikimania 2005, in August 2005 in Frankfurt. Some 300 people from over 50 countries attended the three-day conference.

From 17 March to 15 April 2006, the Göttingen State and University Library held a special exhibition documenting the first 5 years of Wikipedia.<ref>Exhibition "Fünf Jahre Wikipedia, exhibition charts and photos</ref>

[edit] Contacts with Brockhaus

In April 2004, a complete list of article titles from the leading German encyclopedia Brockhaus was uploaded to the German Wikipedia, in an apparent attempt to facilitate the creation of still missing articles. A representative of Brockhaus asked for and obtained the deletion of what was believed to be a copyright infringement. As a result of the developing email conversation, a group of five Wikipedians visited the "new media" group of Brockhaus in Mannheim on 01 July 2004.<ref>Report: Wikipedia meets Brockhaus</ref> The friendly meeting saw a lively discussion of the differing approaches to writing an encyclopedia; it became clear that Brockhaus had closely observed Wikipedia for quite some time.

[edit] Article-free Sunday

On 23 November 2006, the number of articles at German Wikipedia reached 500,000. As a response to this and to the perception that quality control was not keeping up with article creation, it was proposed to declare 10 December 2006 "Article-free Sunday", a day where participants voluntarily agree to post no new articles, but instead focus on improving existing ones.

[edit] Wikimedia Deutschland

The German Wikipedians were the first to form a chapter of Wikimedia outside the United States. Wikimedia Deutschland was formed as Eingetragener Verein (e. V.) (registered association) on June 13, 2004. The chapter organized several Wikipedia presentations, among others at the computer fairs Cebit in 2005, the Systems in Munich 2005 and the bookfair in Leipzig 2005.

[edit] Reviews and research

In September 2004, the respected computer magazine c't compared the German Wikipedia with the Brockhaus Multimedia encyclopedia and the German edition of Microsoft's Encarta. On a scale from 0 to 5, Wikipedia 'won' with a total score of 3.4. [5] Video(RealMedia/German)

A few weeks later, the weekly newspaper Die Zeit also compared content from Wikipedia with other reference works and found that Wikipedia only has to "share its lead position in the field of natural science." [6].

The DVD version of Spring 2005 received a rather negative review by Björn Hoffmann (product manager working for the Bibliographisches Institut & F.A. Brockhaus in July 2005 [7].

In November 2005 the openusability project in cooperation with the Berlin based Relevantive AG conducted a usability test of the German Wikipedia.<ref>Usability test: Finding Information in the German Wikipedia - Test Results November 2005</ref>. The study focused on finding information and included a set of recommendations to change the MediaWiki interface. In February 2006 the openusability project led a second test which focused on the experience of new editors.<ref>Usability Test Results Available: "Editing in Wikipedia", 7 March 2006</ref>. The reports were published in English.

[edit] Off-line publication

[edit] CD November 2004

In November 2004, Directmedia Publishing GmbH started distributing a CD-ROM containing a German Wikipedia snapshot [8]. Some 40,000 CDs were sent to registered customers of directmedia. The price was 3 Euro per CD.

The display and search software used for the project, Digibib, had been developed by Directmedia Publishing for earlier publications; it ran on Windows and Mac OS X (and now also on Linux). (See screenshots: [9] and [10].) The Wikipedia articles had to be converted to the XML format used by Digibib.

To produce the CD, a dump of the live Wikipedia had been copied to a separate server, where a team of seventy Wikipedians vetted the material, deleting nonsense articles and obvious copyright violations. Questionable articles were added to a special list, to be reviewed later. The final CD contained 132,000 articles and 1,200 images.

The ISO image was distributed for free via eMule and BitTorrent. In December, the CHIP computer magazine placed the Wikipedia data on the DVD that it distributes with every issue. The Wikipedia materials are published under GFDL while the Digibib software may only be copied for non-commercial use, except the Linux version is GPLed.

[edit] CD/DVD April 2005

Image:Wikipedia 2005 Label DVD small.PNG
DVD Label of German off-line Wikipedia publication.

A new release of Wikipedia content was published by Directmedia on 6 April 2005. This package consisted of a 2.7 GB DVD and a separate bootable CDROM (running a version of Linux with Firefox). The CDROM did not contain all the data, but was included to accommodate users without DVD-drives. The DVD used Directmedia's Digibib software and article format; everything could be installed to a hard drive. In addition, the DVD contained an HTML tree, as well as Wikipedia articles formatted for use with PDAs (specifically, the Mobipocket and TomeRaider formats).

German Wikipedians have developed a special format for meta data about persons (name, birth date and place etc.) known as Personendaten. The main aim of this system was to aid the search features of the DVD. Personendaten were added to some 35,000 biographical articles on the live Wikipedia, partly aided by a somewhat automatic tool.

The vetting process was similar to the one for the CD described above and took place on a separate MediaWiki server. The process took about a week and involved 33 Wikipedians, communicating on IRC. To prevent duplication of work, editors would protect every article that they had reviewed; links to protected articles were shown in green. Lists of potential spammed or vandalized articles had been produced ahead of time with SQL queries. Unacceptable articles were simply deleted on the spot. While the XML articles for the earlier CD version had been produced from HTML, this time a script was used to convert Wiki markup directly to the Digibib format. The final DVD contained about 205,000 articles, with every article linking to a list of contributors.

Directmedia sold 30,000 DVDs, at 9.90 Euro each. This price included 16% taxes and a 1 Euro donation to Wikimedia Deutschland; production costs were about 2 Euro. The DVD image can also be downloaded for free.

Following the successful launch of the DVD, Directmedia donated high-resolution pictures of 10,000 public domain paintings to Wikimedia Commons (see related Signpost story).

[edit] DVD/book December 2005

The next edition of Wikipedia content was issued in December 2005 by the publisher Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, a sister company of Directmedia. A 139 page book explaining Wikipedia, its history and policies was accompanied by a 7.5 GB DVD containing 300,000 articles and 100,000 images. The book with DVD is sold for 9.90 Euro; both are also available for free download.<ref>Heise newsticker: Neue Wikipedia-DVD im Handel und zum Download, 9 December 2005 (german)</ref>

The vetting process for this version was different and did not involve human intervention. A "white list" of trusted Wikipedians was assembled, the last 10 days of every article's history were examined, and the last version edited by a white-listed Wikipedian was chosen for the DVD. If no such version existed, the last version older than 10 days was used. Articles nominated for cleanup or deletion were not used.

[edit] Wikipress series

The book about Wikipedia was the first in a series titled Wikipress. These books, published by Zenodot, consist of a collection of Wikipedia articles about a common topic, selected and edited by so-called "Wikipeditors" who may receive compensation from Directmedia. Wikipress books about amongst others the Nobel Peace Prize, bicycles, Antarctica, the solar system, Hip Hop have been released, and others on topics as diverse as Whales, Conspiracy theories, Sexuality, Manga, Astrophysics, and the Red Cross are in the works. The books are assembled on a separate server, http://www.wikipress.de

Every Wikipress book is accompanied by an "edit card", a post card that readers can send in to edit the book's contents.

[edit] Print editions

The publisher Zenodot announced in January 2006 that they intend to publish the complete German Wikipedia in print, 100 volumes with 800 pages each, starting with the letter A in October 2006, followed by two volumes each month thereafter, to end with Z in 2010. The project, code named WP 1.0, will be supported by 25 editors employed by Zenodot as well as a scientific advisory board. Changes made to articles before publication will also be available for incorporation into the online Wikipedia.

In March 2006, Zenodot organized a "community day" to meet with Wikipedians and discuss the project. Groups of Wikipedians had already begun to polish articles with titles Aa-Af in selected topics. In late March it was announced that the project was put on hold and no books would be published in 2006; the reason given was that community support was lacking.<ref>Heise newsticker: Wikipedia wird noch nicht gedruckt, 24 March 2006 (German)</ref>

[edit] Legal issues and controversies

[edit] Unauthorized uses

In March 2005, the German news magazine Der Spiegel published an article on the Rwandan Genocide in its online edition; it was a copy of Wikipedia's article. The article was taken down soon after and replaced with an apology. [11]

In April 2005, the encyclopedia Brockhaus published an article about the new pope Josef Ratzinger in its online edition. Because of its close similarity to Wikipedia's article, suspicion arose right away that the Brockhaus article might have been plagiarism. The article was removed soon after but Brockhaus did not apologize or admit guilt (see the Wikipedia Signpost's coverage.)

[edit] Large-scale copyright infringement (2003-2005)

In mid-November 2005, it was discovered that an anonymous user had entered hundreds of articles from older encyclopedias that had been published in the 1970s and 1980s in East Germany. The articles were mainly on topics in philosophy and related areas. The user had started in December 2003.

A press release was issued and numerous editors started to remove the copyright protected materials. This was made difficult by the fact that the old encyclopedias were not online and not easily available from many West German libraries, and that the user had used numerous different IP addresses. The Directmedia DVD had to be updated.<ref>Report on copyright infringement</ref>

[edit] Bertrand Meyer dead?

The death of well-known computer scientist Bertrand Meyer (creator of the Eiffel programming language) on December 24, 2005 was falsely announced by an anonymous user on December 28, 2005 in the article on Bertrand Meyer. The hoax was reported five days later by the Heise News Ticker and the article was immediately corrected. Many major news media in Germany and Switzerland picked up on the story, creating the German Wikipedia's (admittedly negligible) version of a Seigenthaler affair. Meyer went on to publish a positive evaluation of Wikipedia, concluding "The system succumbed to one of its potential flaws, and quickly healed itself. This doesn't affect the big picture. Just like those about me, rumors about Wikipedia's downfall have been grossly exaggerated."<ref>Defense and illustration of Wikipedia, by Bertrand Meyer, January 2006 </ref>

[edit] Naming Tron

In 2006, Wikimedia Deutschland was drawn into a legal dispute between the parents of the deceased German computer hacker Tron and Wikimedia. The parents do not wish the hacker's real name to be publicly mentioned, and in December 2005 they had obtained a preliminary injunction in a Berlin court against the American Wikimedia Foundation, requiring removal of the hacker's name from Wikipedia. The name was not removed. On January 19, 2006 they obtained a second injunction, this time against Wikimedia Deutschland, prohibiting the address www.wikipedia.de (which is under control of Wikimedia Deutschland) to redirect to the German Wikipedia at de.wikipedia.org (which is controlled by the American Wikimedia Foundation and hosts the actual encyclopedia) as long as Wikipedia mentions the hacker's name. Wikimedia Deutschland complied and replaced the redirect with a note explaining the situation, but without mentioning the Tron case specifically. The German Wikipedia remained accessible through de.wikipedia.org during this time. One day later, Wikimedia Deutschland achieved a suspension of the injunction, and linked from the note at de.wikipedia.org to the German Wikipedia. On February 9, the court invalidated the injunction, ruling that neither the rights of the deceased nor the rights of the parents were affected by publishing the name; this ruling was upheld on appeal, decided May 12.

[edit] Parodies and forks

Parodies of the German Wikipedia include Kamelopedia, born in April 2004, and the German version of Uncyclopedia, created in August 2005.

One longtime contributor to the German Wikipedia, frustrated with what he saw as the lack of quality and the inclusion of un-encyclopedic material, produced a fork known as Wikiweise in April 2005. It is ad-supported, uses its own software (but a similar wiki markup), admits only registered editors, and prominently displays the real names of every article's major contributors.

Furthermore, several MediaWiki-based German-language special topic encyclopedias have originated from the German Wikipedia.

[edit] References

<references />

[edit] External links and sources

Editions of Wikipedia with over 100,000 articles
English en: - German de: - French fr: - Polish pl: - Japanese ja: - Dutch nl: - Italian it: - Portuguese pt: - Swedish sv: - Spanish es: - Russian ru: - Chinese zh:
cs:Německá Wikipedie

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German Wikipedia

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