Meet the bots!

The sum to all human knowledge is still 110 million articles short to be anywhere close to completion. It is a work in progress with 100K contributors who make >5 edits per month which is a good number of contributors though not enough-especially from the so called global south. These computer robots are used to run some automated tasks on articles to avoid redundaMeet the bots!nt work on Wikipedia. As much as they make work easier, their judgement is nowhere close to that of the humans’. There are about 1600 bots which do quite a lot of work because some have more than 4 million edits on Wikipedia which is a nice job.

There is this other bunch of bots that I have been encountering everytime I create a new article. They have been nominating my articles for deletion! While citing various reasons that to me seem silly and unfounded- be it ‘Notability’, ‘sounds like an advertisement’, ‘doesn’t meet the GNG‘ and so many more. Some mis informedly post on my talk page advising me as if I just created my account, I should visit the start page for newbies. I have more than 2000 edits in all Wikimedia projects and it is because am strong hearted to the extent that I have been taking kahawa tungu (bitter coffee) with the bots for 11 months or so. If it sounds like an advertisement, then there is the COE team who can do the necessary to ensure the language is encyclopedic and I will learn from it.

Most newbies have cited these deletions as the major reason of quiting or retiring from editing the English Wikipedia. Mostly, when you start to write about a Kenyan/African story it is not notable – on the contrary – I have been working on the backlog category of articles lacking description on the template person data and from what I see some articles are on Wikipedia for all the wrong reasons according to me.But thinking on giving it a second thought, that person could be notable in Mexico as a country or whenever he hails from.  While articles about the Nyayo House, Bring Zack Back Home and the List of places Moi opened are not notable.

It costs me a fortune in this part of the world to be connected on the Internet and people here do not have the willingness to invest their money doing free non-paid work. They prefer to tweet or facebook because no one will never delete the noise or party pictures they  post there.

Or can we have a en.wikipedia.org.ke! where we write about our country?

39th Chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation

Today we find ourselves today in the midst of an exciting time. Discussions of the precedences that will affect the future of our chapter are on the table. Ensuring the strength of that future is a tremendous responsibility and one that should never be taken lightly.

IMO, Our chapter has served the greater part of the East Africa region and a little bit of the Southern Africa region yet it is a small army of volunteers whose journey started at the Java house 565 days ago.

Since the Kiswahili Wikipedia Challenge that was the inception of the chapter, Wikimedia Kenya managed to undertake various successful projects with the blessings of the Wikimedia Foundation. The Wikipedia for schools which was a distribution of offline Wikipedia to schools in Nyeri, Mombasa and Kakamagega. 30 schools are now enjoying the fruits of the work of the great volunteers at Wikimedia Kenya. The chapter has also undertaken various outreach crusades across the country and region. The Strathmore ICT conference, Kabarak University ICT open Day, Tanzainia ITOCA workshop, Setswana Wikipedia Challenge.

This weekend, as we come together, we ought to pay tribute to all of those who have made incalculable contributions to the formation of the 39th Chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation. Each of these men and women contributions go far beyond their actual accomplishments. Contributions that were no doubt made possible, in part, by their common roots to share free knowledge.

You know this saying, “a dog wags its tail with its heart” – well, I am like that dog today. I want to say so much, but I can hardly find the words.

Am looking forward to meeting you on the Weekend at this meet-up.

Sihami

I think it is safaricom vs the rest, they are playing a home match!

IMO, Safaricom has played it smart and well. While they were busy slashing down the prices, Safaricom was busy improving its services and introducing new ones as well.

I would rather pay for a service that exists, rather than live by a promise of free services that I can’t even access. Be it calling, SMS or the internet access. If they were that good I think they would never be free.

Sometime back I used to roam nationally by having to migrate across networks for the reason they were cheaper and appeared better, as depicted from the adverts. Some of my friends had four mobile numbers on which they could reach me. I remember one time a friend asked me “kwani wewe ni mwizi? Hizi number zote ni za nini” (Are you a thief, what are all these phone numbers for?)

Remember the Ideos? The offer made the dream of many Kenyans to own a smart phone true. It was first introduced at what I would call ‘bei ya kupewa’ (a throw away price) of KES 8,499 plus KES 1,000 airtime and 600mb of data. When you do the mathematics right the net price was coming to KES 6,500!

Later came in the sambaza bonga points service. Some traded them for money with colleagues while some sambazad them for free and then there was this bunch that used to steal them. But again Safaricom came in with the PIN protection of the same.

The SafaricomCloud is an addition to the list.

The twitter customer care is awe-inspiring and cannot be matched with any other I know of.

The new M-PESA visa card is even better. Since almost everyone is going the mobile apps way, then the visa comes in convenient, either to pay for the app to be hosted in the respective markets or to buy an app. Online shopping is also setting foot and this shall require this Visa card that is easily topped up via M-PESA.

Keep up Safaricom!

I am a very contented customer for the services that safaricom offers me.

On other hand, the limit for internet speeds while on the unlimited tariff averts me from giving the entire 3 points for a home win.

Who will be the next President?

Whenever I think of January 2007,I get shivers.Not because it scares me but because I cannot process the madness we went through as a country.On my part,I considered buying an illegal gun-even a bazooka.I was prepared to decimate any aggressor on my path,seriously! Despite the violence and the shake-up nothing has changed.The turmoil has not taken us to a higher ground as a country. We had to abort the emerging order in favor of power sharing because our leaders were hungry for power and positions.

Now we have a cease fire gov’t that passes for a grand coalition,a forced “unity of opposites” that pretends to be one.In other words we are buying time with this coalition.Their lack of statesmanship made them rush for a half baked legless coalition. Now we have to start all over again in search for a new order.Who will midwife the new-order?A Kenya with a new constitutional and economic order;one with an equitable distribution of wealth and opportunities?

Let us begin with president K ibaki.Can he midwife?The answer is an absolute NO! Because I need to get an A this time round.End of discussion. What about his blue-eyed boys?Mr.Kalonzo Musyoka and Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta?In my view the two represent the old Kenya.The apparent Kibaki plan is to have Mr. Musyoka Succeed him and Kenyatta become prime minister or vice versa!But not likely..This is not a deviation from the Kibaki strategy of 2007 in which he gunned for “one-tribe-and-a-bit”.That is so long as he had the GEMA vote,all he needed was ‘a bit’ Support from Everywhere.This formula is home and will not bring healing to our country let alone order.

The other possible midwife is PM Raila Odinga.The man has potential,but I have beef with him.One I have studied him for the last one year and I have absolutely no idea what Mr. Odinga stands for.If there is someone out there with an idea I beg to be educated.T wo,and like Mr. Do To My Own Interest (D.T. Moi), he is more of a tactician than a strategist.For the term he has been PM,all he has engaging in is “rocking chair “politics.Like a rocking chair,The intention is to keep us busy.An example here is a stunt he pulled at the late Kirima’s burial.He managed to mumble some words in Gikuyu-had learnt at the back stage)which he to try and make fun.I think he was trying to to appraise the slogan of the Agikuyu“andu a nyumba”(people of the same house).He was trying to associate with the people of Mt. Kenya now that his friends of 2007 are his newest foes.He later started criticizing MOI on his views about the Constitution.Moi was only giving his views though at the wrong place.This Raila’s behavior is completely ‘moish’ and charming.Oh,and not forgetting Raila’s stunts here and there recently about the appointment of the jurors and one controller of budget. And not forgetting his other stunts saying he was now being targeted by mercenaries! This is what I am calling strategy to get empathy. He is trying to convince Kenyans that the government is up against him because he is upholding the constitution which his PNU counterparts have not so far. Even the nominated MP Miss Milly has recorded statements in the past but her security men said after they left her for the night at her hotel room they later so her sneak and left in her car to an unknown destination, then she later went to report that she had been threatened.

I do not see a plan or pattern to them. They can only be described as higgeledy-piggledy.This is what makes me doubt his ability to mid-wife a new Kenya does not have to be a politician, a Kenyatta or an Odinga for that matter. What about the opposition, can they midwife a new Kenya? In other words of Voltaire, the French philosopher”….I would rather be led by a lion than a hundred rats.” And this is how we must consider the opposition. Although many, they are like a hundred rats,no coordination and no oomph. So the question who can mid wife the new Kenya?

My Resignation Letter

I am here tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of a five year old again I want to think that sweets are better than a thousand shilling bill because you can eat them. That a 40-shilling coin is worth more than a thousand shilling bill because it is prettier and weighs more. I want to return to a time when life was simple. when all I knew were colors, multiplication tables and fairy tales I don’t want my day to consist of depressing news,gossip,financial frustrations and ‘politics’.I want to think the world is fair.That everyone is honest and good, I want to believe in the power  of smiles and hugs, a kind word,truth,dreams and imagination.
So here is  my check book, car keys, my credit cards, my ATM cards, my ID card, My insurance premiums, My jobs, My house and my email addresses, my mobile phone and my computer, my watch and most importantly my Voters card.

I am officially resigning from adult hood and if you want to discuss further you’ll need to chase and catch me.
Am now sounding reminiscent but I think I have missed the days of yore when the air was clean and sex was dirty. When we could go for nature walks in the now depleted forests, when we could go watch the spectacular water falls and when we had sustainable rains all year round.
I was so pitied recently as I was going through the local dailies, when I saw the Bongo antelope (a rare kind found on the slopes of mount Kenya)being returned back to Kenya after it had been taken to safe custody abroad. From my little biology I know that keeping such a noble creature away from its niche would certainly have negative effects and some positive ones too if any.

To end this litany we should try and at least restore our forests then the rest shall follow .Lets plant trees and let them live-it is such a cinch!!”

Last Editathon 2011

An edittathon is a small event that is organized by a group of editors who come together in a common course to do some collaborative editing, for this case they shall be editing the largest online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. This event is being hosted at the Strathmore University which is populous for its unique dress code. After travelling for two hours I finally get to the place on time and we start waiting for the rest of the team prior to the editing goes live. The first glitch I discern after powering on my laptop is that there is no decent Wi-Fi connectivity which would, if truth be told render our mission here useless. After deliberations with the host and some other members we come to a decision to raise some money so that we can buy our own internet that shall be shared using the connectify software. Not again, the safaricom service that we ought to use to buy airtime, M-Pesa is experiencing delays! We decide to buy scratch cards then later withdraw the money from M-Pesa and reimburse the volunteers who give their cash. All the anticipated attendants finally arrive and we start out edittathon. Some are newbies and they do not even have user accounts, so first step is to create user accounts then the rest follows. Something worth noting is, while they were creating user accounts there were some notifications about the usernames, For instance, “Username closely resembles another on the Wikipedia, please choose another”…..and so on and so forth. I think that the Media-wiki system should offer some suggestions like other mail clients do every time you choose a username that is already taken. This way the newbie will be saved the trouble of thinking of new names and making the process easier and enjoyable. Some newbies might even decide to quit and not give it a second look let alone the try.
Our internet is not that good as we are depending on

one of the volunteer’s laptops as the server, or is it someone who has not paused their torrent downloads?
We work on some articles that had been put on the agenda as we learn from each other good editing practices. My lesson, Wikipedia is so huge that only those passionate about it go the extra mile to dig more. But in a few words, No original writing, Information on Wikipedia should be verifiable, Articles should be of notable topics and they should be written from a neutral point of view.

 

You can view the photos HERE.