The Signpost

This article is about the Wikipedia newspaper The Signpost. For the publication itself, see Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost. For other uses, see Signpost (disambiguation).

The Signpost
Letter S symbol

Cover of The Signpost – February 24, 2016

Cover of The Signpost (February 24, 2016)
Type Fortnightly newspaper[1]
Format Online
Owner(s) Wikipedia community
Founder(s) Michael Snow
Publisher English Wikipedia
Editor-in-chief Pete Forsyth
Launched January 10, 2005
Language English
Website The Signpost
Free online archives Free online archives

The Signpost (formerly The Wikipedia Signpost[2]) is the English Wikipedia's newspaper.[3][4][5] Managed by the Wikipedia community, it is published online every two weeks with contributions from Wikipedia editors.[1] The newspaper reports on the Wikipedia community and events related to Wikipedia, including Arbitration Committee rulings,[6] Wikimedia Foundation issues,[7] and other Wikipedia-related projects.[8]

It was founded in January 2005 by Wikipedian Michael Snow.[3][9] Originally called The Wikipedia Signpost, the newspaper's title was later shortened to The Signpost.[2][10] Snow continued as a contributor until his February 2008 appointment to the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees.[11]

Former editor-in-chief, The ed17, noted that during his tenure from 2012 to 2015, the publication expanded its scope to report on the wider Wikimedia movement in addition to Wikipedia and its community. In January 2015, Wikipedia editors Gamaliel and Go Phightins! succeeded The ed17 as editors-in-chief.[12] After reporting on the changes to European freedom of panorama law in June 2015, The Signpost was consulted by a number of publications for further information.[13][14][15]

The Signpost has been the subject of academic analysis in Sociological Forum,[16] the social-movements journal Interface,[17] and the New Review of Academic Librarianship,[18] and was consulted for data on Wikipedia by researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Dartmouth College.[19] It has been covered by The New York Times,[20] The Register,[21] Nonprofit Quarterly,[22] and Heise Online.[23] The book Wikipedia: The Missing Manual called The Signpost essential reading for ambitious new Wikipedia editors.[24]


Casually dressed young man
Signpost founder Michael Snow later chaired the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees.[2][9]

The newspaper, first published in January 2005 as The Wikipedia Signpost, was later renamed The Signpost.[2][10] It was founded by Michael Snow, a Wikipedian and later chair of the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees.[2][9] Similar efforts had been made with Wikipedia:Announcements by Larry Sanger on November 20, 2001,[25][26] Wikimedia News on Meta-Wiki November 14, 2002,[27] and Wikipedia-Kurier in the German Wikipedia on December 10, 2003.[28]

Snow wrote in its first issue: "I hope this will be a worthwhile source of news for people interested in what is happening around the Wikipedia community",[29] and said that The Signpost's name was suggested by the Wikipedia practice of editors digitally signing talk-page posts.[29] He stepped down as editor of The Signpost in August 2005, continuing to write for the newspaper until his February 2008 appointment to the Board of Trustees.[11] Ral315 succeeded Snow as editor, writing in his first post: "I'd like to personally thank Michael for his work on the Signpost; it was a great idea that really helped Wikipedians learn more about the happenings on Wikipedia."[30] He conducted a survey for The Signpost in September 2007, estimating a weekly readership of approximately 2,800 Wikipedia users based on survey results.[31]

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

In July 2008 Ral315 wrote about transparency for The Signpost, acknowledging that at the request of the Wikimedia Foundation, the newspaper had decided not to publish an article about a pending legal case against the foundation.[32] According to the editor, "I feel this was an unfortunate, but necessary, move"; because of the newspaper's affiliation with the Wikimedia Foundation, an article about the lawsuit "might have had a severe effect on the case."[32] Ral315 expressed concern about the future impact of the decision: "I'm still rather troubled by the very nature of this situation, because it was the first time that I've felt pressured by the Wikimedia Foundation not to write or publish a story. This also leaves us with a dangerous precedent that I'm hoping only to keep in the most serious cases."[32]

People sitting around a long table with laptop computers
Wikipedia community members working on The Signpost at a conference in New York City, 2009

The Signpost published its 200th issue in November 2008.[33] A total of 1,731 articles had been published, written by 181 contributors.[33] Wikipedia user Ragesoss took over as editor of the newspaper in February 2009, in an issue which featured a new layout.[34] Ragesoss resigned as editor in June 2010, and HaeB took over as the newspaper debated changing its name from The Wikipedia Signpost to The Signpost.[35] That year, sister Wikipedia publications managed by volunteer contributors included The Wikipedia Weekly, a podcast, and The Wikizine, a news bulletin.[36][37]

HaeB resigned as editor after he was hired by the Wikimedia Foundation in July 2011: "It would make it too much of a conflict of interest if I were to continue to make final editorial decisions for a community-run publication."[38] After three interim editors-in-chief,[39] Wikipedia user The ed17 took over in May 2012 as The Signpost's eighth editor.[40] He previously edited The Bugle, the publication of the WikiProject dedicated to improving the encyclopedia's military history articles.[40] The International Business Times noted in a 2013 article that The Signpost's investigative journalism uncovered a link between the Wiki-PR firm and conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia.[41]

Blacked-out London Eye Ferris wheel, illustrating the effect of removing freedom of panorama
2015 reporting by The Signpost on changes to freedom of panorama copyright restrictions in Europe was covered by publications in several languages, including German,[42] Italian,[13] Polish,[14] and Russian.[15]

After its June 2015 reporting on the likelihood of increased copyright restrictions in Europe involving changes to freedom of panorama,[43] The Signpost was consulted for information by publications in several languages, including English,[44][45] German,[42] Italian,[13] Polish,[14][46] and Russian.[15]

Black smoke coming from the Sistine Chapel chimney before the election of Pope Benedict XVI
Heise Online highlighted the use of a papal conclave image in a Signpost article about controversy with Wikimedia Foundation executive director Lila Tretikov, saying that it symbolized pressure on the foundation's Board of Trustees.[47]

Wikipedia users Gamaliel and Go Phightins! became editors-in-chief of The Signpost in January 2015. The ed17 noted that during his tenure, the newspaper expanded its scope beyond the English Wikipedia to the wider Wikimedia movement.[12] In a January 2015 tenth-anniversary retrospective, Gamaliel emphasized that further improvements to the newspaper depended on collaboration and involvement by the Wikipedia community and invited users to contribute suggestions and join the editing team.[48] In their first issue of the newspaper as editors-in-chief, Go Phightins! and Gamaliel wrote about the unique role of The Signpost: "We will strive to maintain our voice and standing as an independent entity, separate from the WMF, Wikimedia chapters, WikiEd, or other entities."[49]

In January 2016, Fortune and Ars Technica relied on The Signpost in reporting a vote of no confidence by Wikipedia editors against Arnnon Geshuri joining the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.[50][51] While reporting in February 2016 about controversy and confusion at the Wikimedia Foundation concerning executive director Lila Tretikov remaining in her position, The Signpost illustrated its article with a photo of black smoke emanating from a chimney in reference to the papal conclave used to select a pope.[47] According to Heise Online, the photo indicated pressure on the board to take action.[47] Andreas Kolbe wrote for The Signpost "that the creation of a successful search engine would transform volunteers into 'unpaid hamsters.'"[52]


The Signpost publishes stories relating to the Wikipedia community, the Wikimedia Foundation, and other Wikipedia-related projects,[7][8][53][54] and is provided free of charge.[4][5] The Wikipedia community manages the newspaper, which is published every two weeks since July 2016, due to a shortage of contributors.[1] Readers may choose to be notified of a new issue by email or, with a Wikipedia account, on their user talk page.[24]

The newspaper informs Wikipedia editors about ongoing collaborative projects to improve articles on the site,[55] and is a location for centralized notices of recent academic studies about Wikipedia.[10] The Signpost includes an arbitration report, formerly known as "The Report on Lengthy Litigation", which details proceedings by Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee.[6]

The Signpost archives are publicly available, facilitating study of the history of Wikipedia.[3]


In a 2009 article in the peer-reviewed academic journal, Sociological Forum, Piotr Konieczny called The Signpost an example of a subcommunity within the larger Wikipedia community.[16] In the social-movements journal Interface that year, Konieczny cited The Signpost as part of the "complexity and richness of those organizations" in which individuals can volunteer their time on the website.[17]

Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Dartmouth College relied on Signpost archives to track Wikipedia editing outages, presenting their findings at the 2011 IEEEIWIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence.[19] In her 2013 study of Wikipedia and its reputation in higher education in the journal New Review of Academic Librarianship, Gemma Bayliss reviewed the Signpost Twitter feed to confirm the timeliness of her research.[18]


If you expect to continue editing at Wikipedia ... subscribe to ... The Wikipedia Signpost.

 —John Broughton, Wikipedia: The Missing Manual[24]

In 2007 The New York Times called The Signpost a "mocked-up newspaper", with a retro style characteristic of Wikipedia and "its own special brand of kitsch".[20] In his 2008 book, Wikipedia: The Missing Manual, John Broughton recommended The Signpost as essential reading for aspiring Wikipedia contributors: "If you expect to continue editing at Wikipedia for any length of time, by all means subscribe to ... The Wikipedia Signpost."[24]

Fortune called The Signpost "Wikipedia's insider newspaper".[50] In a 2016 article The Register's executive editor, Andrew Orlowski, described The Signpost as "Wikipedia's own plucky newsletter."[21] According to Ars Technica tech-policy editor Joe Mullin, documents were leaked to (and published by) The Signpost about the Knight Foundation's Knowledge Engine grant for a Wikimedia Foundation search-engine project in February 2016.[56] Writing about the Knowledge Engine controversy, Nonprofit Quarterly editor-in-chief Ruth McCambridge directed technically-minded readers to The Signpost "to better understand what was being planned."[22] In his article for the German magazine Heise Online, Torsten Kleinz wrote: "When official communications ground to a halt, The Signpost ... jumped into the breach, brought unknown facts to light and initiated an informed discussion."[23]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Brief notes". The Signpost.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Cohen, Noam (March 5, 2007). "A Contributor to Wikipedia Has His Fictional Side". The New York Times. p. C5. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 Phoebe Ayers; Charles Matthews; Ben Yates (2008). How Wikipedia Works: And how You Can be a Part of it. No Starch Press. p. 345. ISBN 978-1-59327-176-3. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  4. 1 2 Koebler, Jason (February 16, 2016). "The Secret Search Engine Tearing Wikipedia Apart". Vice. Archived from the original on February 23, 2016. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  5. 1 2 Geoffroy, Romain (January 16, 2014). "Une employée de Wikipédia débarquée pour avoir monnayé ses articles". Les Inrockuptibles (in French). Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  6. 1 2 Oz, Ayelet (September 1, 2014). "The Legal Consciousness of Wikipedia". Harvard Law School. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2572381. SSRN 2572381Freely accessible.
  7. 1 2 Paroutis, Sotirios; Heracleous, Loizos; Angwin, Duncan (February 1, 2013). Practicing Strategy: Text and Cases. SAGE Publications. p. 237. ISBN 978-1-4462-9047-7. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  8. 1 2 Waters, John K. (2010). The Everything Guide to Social Media. Adams Media. pp. 180, 270. ISBN 978-1440506314.
  9. 1 2 3 McCarthy, Caroline (July 18, 2008). "Wikimedia Foundation edits its Board of Trustees". CNET. Archived from the original on March 1, 2016. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  10. 1 2 3 Okoli, Chitu; Mehdi, Mohamad; Mesgari, Mostafa; Nielsen, Finn Årup; Lanamäki, Arto (October 24, 2012). "The people's encyclopedia under the gaze of the sages: A systematic review of scholarly research on Wikipedia". doi:10.2139/ssrn.2021326. SSRN 2021326Freely accessible.
  11. 1 2 Ral315 (February 18, 2008). "From the editor: This week, I'd like to congratulate and thank Michael Snow". The Wikipedia Signpost.
  12. 1 2 The ed17 (January 21, 2015). "From the editor: Introducing your new editors-in-chief". The Signpost.
  13. 1 2 3 "Libertà di Panorama: a rischio in Europa con una riforma del copyright". Blogo: Informazione libera e indipendente (in Italian). June 22, 2015. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  14. 1 2 3 "Chcesz robić zdjęcia znanych budowli Europy? Spiesz się. To mogą być ostatnie tygodnie". Gazeta Wyborcza (in Polish). June 24, 2015. ISSN 0860-908X. Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  15. 1 2 3 "ТРЕВОГА! Свободная съемка на улицах Европы – под угрозой" (in Russian). June 23, 2015. Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  16. 1 2 Konieczny, Piotr (March 2009). "Governance, Organization, and Democracy on the Internet: The Iron Law and the Evolution of Wikipedia". Sociological Forum. John Wiley & Sons. 24 (1): 167. JSTOR 40210340 via JSTOR. (subscription required (help)).
  17. 1 2 Konieczny, Piotr. "Wikipedia: community or social movement?" (PDF). Interface: A Journal for and about Social Movements. 1 (2): 212–232. ISSN 2009-2431. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 7, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  18. 1 2 Bayliss, Gemma (January 2013). "Exploring the Cautionary Attitude Toward Wikipedia in Higher Education: Implications for Higher Education Institutions". New Review of Academic Librarianship. 19 (1): 39. doi:10.1080/13614533.2012.740439. ISSN 1361-4533. Retrieved March 1, 2016 via EBSCO Host.
  19. 1 2 Yan, Guanhua; Arackaparambil, Chrisil (2011). "Wiki-watchdog: Anomaly detection in Wikipedia through a distributional lens". Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conferences on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology – Volume 01. IEEE Computer Society Washington. pp. 257–264. doi:10.1109/WI-IAT.2011.86. ISBN 978-0-7695-4513-4. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  20. 1 2 Dee, Jonathan (July 1, 2007). "All the News That's Fit to Print Out". The New York Times Magazine. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  21. 1 2 Orlowski, Andrew (January 12, 2016). "Wikimedia Foundation bins community-elected trustee". The Register. Archived from the original on February 4, 2016. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  22. 1 2 McCambridge, Ruth (February 16, 2016). "Knight Foundation Grant Request Tears at Wikipedia's Community". Nonprofit Quarterly. Archived from the original on February 24, 2016. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  23. 1 2 Kleinz, Torsten (February 27, 2016). "Kommentar: Wie geht es weiter mit der Wikimedia Foundation?". Heise Online (in German). Archived from the original on February 27, 2016. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  24. 1 2 3 4 Broughton, John (January 25, 2008). Wikipedia: The Missing Manual: The Missing Manual. O'Reilly Media, Inc. p. 454. ISBN 978-0-596-55377-7. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  25. Sanger, Larry (November 20, 2001). "Wikipedia:Announcements (renamed to Wikipedia:Milestones in 2011)". Wikipedia. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  26. Lima, Kilo (June 13, 2011). "Wikipedia:Announcements moved to Wikipedia:Milestones". Wikipedia. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  27. Mav (November 14, 2002). "Wikimedia News". Meta. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  28. Elian (December 10, 2003). "Wikipedia-Kurier – Das internationale Wiki-Nachrichtenblatt" (in German). German Wikipedia. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  29. 1 2 Snow, Michael (January 10, 2005). "From the editor: Welcome to the Signpost!". The Wikipedia Signpost.
  30. Ral315 (August 15, 2005). "From the editor: As Michael Snow stopped operations on the Signpost last week, I chose to step in as editor". The Wikipedia Signpost.
  31. Ral315 (September 24, 2007). "From the editor: Last week, I asked readers to respond to a survey, in order to help us make the Signpost more relevant". The Wikipedia Signpost.
  32. 1 2 3 Ral315 (July 7, 2008). "From the editor: Transparency". The Wikipedia Signpost.
  33. 1 2 Ral315 (November 24, 2008). "From the editor: 200th issue". The Wikipedia Signpost.
  34. Ragesoss (February 16, 2009). "From the editor: A new leaf". The Wikipedia Signpost.
    • Ragesoss, Mono and Pretzels (June 7, 2010). "From the team: Changes to the Signpost". The Wikipedia Signpost.
  35. Chen, Shun-Lin (April 30, 2010). "Wikipedia: A Republic of Science Democratized". Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology. 20 (2). ISSN 1059-4280. OCLC 23860428. SSRN 1826325Freely accessible.
  36. Reagle, Joseph Michael (2010). Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia. History and Foundations of Information Science. MIT Press. pp. 9, 178. ISBN 978-0262014472.
  37. HaeB (July 11, 2011). "From the editor: Stepping down". The Signpost.
  38. Jarry1250 (September 19, 2011). "From the editor: Changes to The Signpost". The Signpost.
  39. 1 2 The ed17 (May 21, 2012). "493753928|From the editor: New editor-in-chief". The Signpost.
  40. Halleck, Thomas (November 8, 2013). "Wikipedia And Paid Edits: Companies Pay Top Dollar To Firms Willing To 'Fix' Their Entries". International Business Times. Archived from the original on January 31, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  41. 1 2 Diener, Andrea (June 27, 2015). "Geben Sie Panoramafreiheit, Sire!". FAZ – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Archived from the original on June 29, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  42. Heald, J. (June 17, 2015). "Three weeks to save freedom of panorama in Europe". The Signpost.
  43. Cheesman, Chris (June 23, 2015). "Photography of public buildings under threat after European rule change, MEP warns". Amateur Photographer. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  44. Taylor-Hochberg, Amelia (June 22, 2015). "Photographing public art and architecture in the EU may soon cost you". Archinect. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  45. "Parlament Europejski zlikwiduje "wolność panoramy"? Fotograf będzie potrzebował zezwolenia na zdjęcie zabytku". (in Polish). June 22, 2015. Archived from the original on June 25, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  46. 1 2 3 Kleinz, Torsten (February 25, 2016). "Revolte bei Wikimedia: Chefin Lila Tretikov tritt zurück". Heise Online (in German). Archived from the original on February 27, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  47. Gamaliel (January 21, 2015). "Anniversary: A decade of the Signpost". The Signpost.
  48. Go Phightins! and Gamaliel (January 28, 2015). "From the editor: An editorial board that includes you". The Signpost.
  49. 1 2 Groden, Claire (January 26, 2016). "Wikipedia Members Vote Against New Board Member". Fortune. Archived from the original on February 20, 2016. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  50. Mullin, Joe (January 25, 2016). "Wikipedia editors revolt, vote 'no confidence' in newest board member". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on February 25, 2016. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  51. Lonon, Sherri (March 2, 2016). "Wikipedia Search Engine to Take on Google – Or Not". Business Administration Information. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  52. Jemielniak, Dariusz (2014). Common Knowledge?: An Ethnography of Wikipedia. Stanford University Press. p. 231. ISBN 978-0804797238. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  53. Rosen, Rebecca (February 6, 2013). "If You Want Your Wikipedia Page to Get a TON of Traffic, Die While Performing at the Super Bowl Half-Time Show". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on March 1, 2016. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  54. Brooks, David (January 16, 2011). "More than a dozen people help out with Telegraph's Wikipedia project". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on March 27, 2015. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  55. Mullin, Joe (February 29, 2016). "Wikimedia Foundation director resigns after uproar over "Knowledge Engine"". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on March 1, 2016. Retrieved March 1, 2016.

Further reading

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wikipedia Signpost.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/12/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.