WikiProject Oregon was interviewed for the Wikipedia Signpost this week.

Pete did a great job writing an introduction- enough so that Mabeenot elected to let it stand as the lede for the interview.

To me, the most interesting sections were discussions about how the formal Collaboration Of The Week have ended and what that means, collaboration with other projects (where Pete explains why we have strong ties to the state), and Aboutmovies discussing why we need cash.

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One of the advantages of a wiki is being able to watch Recent Changes. It’s a nice way to see what is happening, either to watch for vandalism, to help collaborate on articles, or to see who is active.

The problem is that Wikipedia’s recent changes list is that it’s crazy busy. There’s no way for one person to watch it. Wikipedia has a project devoted to tracking vandalism through Recent Changes, and there are even software tools written for this.

Some members in WikiProject Oregon watch for changes on Oregon-related pages. I use a large watchlist, but a more authoritative way to do it is to watch all 9135 articles in the project through the RecentChangesLinked function. It’s even on this blog- look at the upper right part of the page.

This list is maintained by keeping a list of every article in the project. WikiProject Oregon member EncMstr has maintained this list by hand (and using a hand-run vim script). I realized this would be a great use of the MediaWiki API.

A long story later, but the code is done, released under the Berkley license and available on GitHub. It runs on my personal server daily; EncMstr used to run it every few months.

Seeing the recent changes list more frequently allows us to watch the newest articles- another bot usually finds 1-5 new articles per day that are related to Oregon, and these new articles can result in a lot of collaboration between us.

So, to echo a fellow Oregonian reporter, “I, for one, welcome our robot overlords!”

-tedder

I’m a bit of a geek and a motorcycle junkie. Combining them was natural, though it’s taken some time.

I uploaded my first photo on July 6, 2003, when I realized there was no article on redcedar bolts, which are blocks of cedar used to make shingles. Yes, I was out riding- in fact, I was dirt biking in far western Washington on July 4th.

Some of the following pictures came while we were motorcycling through Latin America. Here’s a replenishment ship from the Royal Netherlands Navy, just after leaving the harbor in Cartagena, Colombia, which we saw because we were getting our motorcycle around the Darien Gap using the services of a drunken pilot with a scary-small sailboat.

Now that we’re back in the States, I’ve really been enjoying contributing with the WikiProject Oregon. I’ve recently been tackling editing every high school in the state and getting them up to a minimum standard (infobox, refs, location, coords, photo). The photo is difficult, as many of them are a long distance away.

I started playing with Category:Wikipedia requested photographs in Oregon, then User:Para pointed out the recursive category export tool, which outputs kml. Nice!

I then used gpsbabel to convert the kml to gdb, Garmin’s format. Score! I can now get the requested photos in my GPS. A recent trip to Tri-Cities Washington is a good example of how I will integrate photos into an existing motorcycle trip: plan the basic route, then add in locations with requested photos.

I added 99 miles and 4.2 hours to my trip over, and 34 miles and 2.3 hours to my trip back by taking the photos. In total, I collected 29 photos for Wikipedia. Here are some of my favorites:


I use a Garmin 60-series GPS for routing and storing tracks, and a SPOT Messenger so people can keep track of me in case something bad happens. My “big” camera is a Canon T1i (EOS 500d), and the motorcycle is a Suzuki V-Strom 650:

I hope this encourages you to get out and help take photos for WikiProject Oregon, or for any other part of Wikipedia! It can be done on foot, on bicycle, or via motorcycle/car/airplane/rocket.