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Wikivoices is a grassroots and utterly "unofficial" attempt to connect and inform editors of all foundation wikis, which started off as Not The Wikipedia Weekly on the English Wikipedia. We're running occasional Skype conference calls and skypecasts which are open to all, and we discuss various wiki issues of the moment.

Right now we are in a transitional phase as Not The Wikipedia Weekly completes its move to become Wikivoices. If you have any questions or suggestions at all, including any feedback about something you've heard, feel free to drop a note on the talk page, and someone will be happy to help you!

How to take part in Wikivoices
General notes How to join a WV discussion
Meet Samantha, executive producer and spokesmodel for Wikivoices. She heads our board of directors
Passive participation

You're welcome to listen to our latest skypecast or browse through our episode archives.

Active participation

To participate, you'll need to install the latest version of Skype onto your computer, have a Skype ID you don't mind sharing with the world, and of course you'll need a microphone and speakers, or headset.

It's not very difficult to host a Skypecast on your own, and you're welcome to propose a dedicated episode with participants and topics of your choosing, which would also Not be Wikipedia Weeklys. Consensus at this page will determine whether or not they remain officially NotTheWikipediaWeekly however! Please do get involved!

A word of caution

Please note that Skype is not a safe environment, and it is outside WMF. If you're at all in doubt, don't use it. Some suggestions to protect yourself from hacking and outing are described here. See also NTWW Skype chat — guidelines and usage hints

Method one
Method two
  • Another method that is available when a Skypecast room and number is provided is to click on the number or link below to enter the Skypecast room. A link to join the 'room' will appear on this page about half an hour before the scheduled start time of the conversation, if a Skypecast room is available (which will not always be true, given the time and Skype traffic).
  • If you have Skype installed on your machine, all you will need to do to participate is click on the link. It can take a few attempts to connect to the Skypecast. If you have any questions, other participants will be monitoring this page, the associated talk page, and likely be available on IRC and in the NTWW Skype public chat also. Feel free to ask for help if you are having trouble connecting. We'll do what we can to help.

The official chats are dual licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported. If you are unwilling to license your voice contributions under these licenses do not participate in an official chat.

(subscribe) (update)

Next Skypecast:
20:00 UTC November 18, 2008 (details/sign up)

Latest: [[Wikivoices#Our_latest_recorded_Skypecast|Episode Template:Wikivoices]] 26th September 2008

NTWW creates the article "Frog Legs Rag". Listen to us bounce back from speedy deletion and expand for DYK nomination.

Wikivoices is a project to support and encourage Wikimedians of all stripes to talk to each other, and about anything which tweaks their interest. Wikivoices hosts chats via Skype in text and voice, and records some of its voice chats to share with other Wikimedians.

Most of our work follows one of two formats:

  1. Roundtable discussions about one or more subjects.
  2. Real time editing: editors get together to create an article (or other type of text) and


Wikivoices began as Not the Wikipedia Weekly at English Wikipedia in spring 2008, doing podcasts on a roughly weekly basis about wiki-related matters. The project had always been welcoming of participants in sister wikis, and as interest expanded the participants contemplated a move to Meta in order to put all WMF sites on an equal footing.

WV also operates ongoing chats in text and voice via Skype and its members undertake collaborative content editing. Wikimedians who have questions are welcome to join (see instructions on the en:wiki pages) or contact Durova for assistance.

Our next Skypecast

Date and time

November 18, 20:00 UTC

  • 12:00 noon – Los Angeles
  • 3:00 pm – New York City
  • 8:00 pm – London

Suggested topics

All about SignWriting...

I was brainstorming with Valerie Sutton today about possible topics. I've added each topic as a section below. I added a lot of detail to some sections to help stimulate discussion and as notes for myself. -Steve 22:19, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

An ASL Wikipedia

There is a request for an ASL Wikipedia.

Written sign language as focus

Written sign language should be the focus of any Wikipedia. Video and illustration can support and supplement, but written sign language is key. You can read (or watch) a short article by Adam Frost entitled "Why SignWriting?" (part 1 and part 2), which deals with this issue.

Brief History of SignWriting

You can read about the History of SignWriting and watch videos. You can look at the current online software SignPuddle.

International SignWriting Alphabet 2008 and the Open Font License

The ISWA 2008 is the latest symbol set of SignWriting. It is available under the Open Font License.

Sequential versus spatial writing systems

The major difference between SignWriting and other scripts is that SignWriting is spatial, and not sequential. Either left to right, or top to bottom, almost all other scripts put one character after another. The symbols of SignWriting are written spatially. Each sign, like a word, is written based on spelling rules. One symbol is used as the center and the other symbols relate or revolve around that center spatially. Each sign is therefore a spatial unit or cluster of ordered symbols.

The current technique to represent SignWriting data was created by Steve and uses a string of character codes and XY coordinates, informally called a build string. The character codes are finalized for the ISWA 2008 and use a double octet coded character set. The code pages are available online. The character codes were created using the character encoding model called Binary SignWriting.

Unicode Issues

When you strip away all of the terminology, the basic idea of Unicode is that each unique character is associated with a unique number. This information can be encoded in binary. This allows small storage requirements, fast processing, and program compatibility.

Unicode is written in stone. Compatibility is the top priority. Once a character set is added to Unicode, it can not be changed.

While Unicode is valuable, SignWriting may not be ready for Unicode yet. Valerie released the latest symbol set last month. It may be the last symbol set SignWriting will ever need, but maybe not.

Historically, the SignWriting symbols used a 6 part numbering system. The first symbol was named "01-01-001-01-01-01". This is a very meaningful name, but it's not a character code. With Binary SignWriting, the first symbol now has the character code of 256. Two small data files enable a bidirectional conversion between symbol name and character code.

Unicode has allocated 512 code points for SignWriting. This is insufficient. The ISWA 2008 has 639 BaseSymbols and 35,023 symbols.

Unicode has 17 planes, 11 which are unused. Each plane can support a double octet character set (16 bits). The Unicode consortium has decided that the unused planes will not be opened until Planes 0, 1, and 2 are filled. The Unicode Consortium does not see a day when all of the available planes will be filled.

Binary SignWriting uses 16 bit codes (double octet set). Once this character set has proven stable, it would be easy enough to devote Unicode Plane 3 to the sign languages of the world and rubber stamp the ISWA 2008 character codes as official.

Different character encoding models for SignWriting are possible, but standards are the main concern. Those standards are ready with the ISWA 2008. The official name of the coded character set is "x-iswa-2008". Steve will be preparing an Internet Draft so that the x-iswa-2008 is recognized as an official character set of the Internet.

Font Engine

None of the existing font engines can display a coordinate based script. The current font engine for SignWriting is a server side font engine: the SignWriting Image Server. The advantage of a server side font engine is that it doesn't require any special installation by the end user.

The same techniques could be used to create a client side font engine. This could be used in stand alone applications or developed as a browser plugin. Integration with existing technology will become easier as the SignWriting standards mature.

Each symbol of SignWriting is a character. Each character has a raster glyph. In time, SVG glyphs will be available as well. When glyphs are combined using coordinate based writing, the font engine returns a glyphogram: a spatial combination of glyphs.

User Interface Issues

It should be possible to localize the user interface for SignWriting. The SignWriting data can be entered into the user interface. The biggest problem would be the buttons. An input type of submit can not use an image as its value. A custom skin will need to be created to change the submit type to something that can use an image.

The page title could be represented in SignWriting data, but the associated URL and interwiki links could be a bit unwieldy. However, if the page title was SignWriting data, each page could supply it's own favorite icon for display in the browser next to the URL.

Searching in MediaWiki is based on sequential characters. SignWriting is spatial and would require a custom search page.

Sorting with SignWriting requires additional information besides the spatial spelling data. It uses something called the SignSpelling Sequence (pdf).

Current status of the SignWriting MediaWiki Plugin

The SignWriting MediaWiki Plugin has an alpha release. Steve has created an extension page on There is a live demo site.

Steve is looking for feedback and ideas.

Future plans

Steve hopes to have a beta of the SignWriting MediaWiki Plugin ready in the first quarter of 2009.

Specific Questions

Feel free to ask specific questions below...


Sign below to give us an estimate of how many people are going to participate.

Proposed recordings and topics

Initial notes on proposed future episodes. Feel free to add!

  • Wikinews: real time editing--a group of people choose a story from the headlines and construct an article collaboratively in real time.
  • Signwriting: in-depth coverage of the movement to build wikipedias for the Deaf community.
  • English Wikipedia Arbitration Elections: interviews with this year's candidates.
  • If I Were God-King: each panelist gets 5 minutes to expound on their own biggest "big idea" of how to better Wikimedia and save the world.
  • Dr. Uncitable or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wiki: a discussion about how the conflicts between traditional academia and the wiki model may ultimately be resolved (should include at least one skeptical university professor as guest)
  • Sounds of the Wiki: A selection of short segments of diverse genres used on the Wikimedia projects are played, and each are discussed and reviewed by the panelists. Examples: spoken articles, pronunciations, music by Wikimedians, historical music, historical speeches, biological field recordings, etc.

Candidates: Thank you for offering your time to make a recording! Some instructions and such are given below, for your convenience. If you require alternative arrangements, do let us know and we'll bend over backwards to try and fit you in!

And, of course, good luck in your candidacy.

Arbitration Election Specials

English Wikipedia
Arbitration Committee Election 2008 

Wikivoices (formally NotTheWikipediaWeekly) will be making several pod casts with candidates running in the 2008 Arbitration Committee elections. Given the high number of candidates likely to be signing up during the nomination stage (likely to be around 45) it will be a very busy 2 weeks. It is recommended that candidates attend both formats of casts and we will try to be as flexible as possible.

There will be 2 formats being run over the next 2 weeks. The first will be general discussion with a small number candidates at a time with several experienced hosts from Wikivoices. Each candidate will be given 2-3 minutes to introduce themselves then the main body of the cast will begin. The topics discussed will vary in each recording to ensure fairness however the atmosphere will be generally free flowing. These will be running throughout the two weeks starting today.

The second format will be based on a similar style to the youtube debates (without the video obviously). Questions are to be suggested here by the community. A selection of these will then be put to a panel of larger panel candidates with short and concise 1-2 minute responses. Other than an introduction and hello from each candidate, there will be no opportunity for a lengthier introductions.

You will contacted closer to your arranged date to confirms detail of joining relevant chat and conference calls used during the recording of these programmes.


  • Computer microphone/headset. (Can be bought very cheaply, even a £4/$6 (or relevant currency) microphone will suffice.)
  • Skype. Available here. Recommended that latest stable version is used rather than beta version.

Discussion Podcasts

Durova is available

This Tuesday and Wednesday, 8am - 5pm U.S. Pacific time. Please contact to set up exact times. Durova 16:07, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Debate Podcasts

Delayed due to real life commitments

Signup for times

well I'll be around quite a lot, and will likely attend a session or two. cheers, Privatemusings 01:39, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

I am available 10 - 2 pm Eastern, and 10 - 12 Eastern. Jehochman 01:56, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

I can make myself available, as a rule, between 19:00 and 23:00 EST (00:00 to 04:00 UTC) any weekday, with a bit more flexibility (with advance notice) on weekends. — Coren (talk) / (en-wiki) 02:09, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Yankee evenings are better for me except on weekend when I'm more available. Weekdays 9 - 12pm Eastern (200-500 UTC), and weekends say 8am-9pm (1300-200 UTC) with advanced notice. Cool Hand Luke 02:26, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm available most evenings after 10:30 PM eastern on weekdays, and very flexible on weekends with prior notice. SirFozzie 03:11, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

I'll generally avaliable in evenings and weekends, US Eastern time. RlevseTalk 03:28, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

7-11 UTC, every weekday except Thursday. I could be flexible in UK daytime, especially on Saturdays, with advance notice. I would also want to know what questions would be asked in advance or at least the areas of conversation, so I can give thought-out, informed answers. Sam Korn 11:14, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Sundays work, as do wednesday afternoon/evenings (19-23 UTC). I don't know if i can currently set aside time to do this though. Wizardman 00:33, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Plan an episode

Want to do a recording? Great! Experienced WVers will be glad to answer questions and lend a hand. Remember that if you want a recorded session, you'll need at least one person with recording ability (through a service such as CallGraph) and audio editing ability (through software such as Audacity).

Several sessions may be in planning at the same time. Please give proposed sessions names rather than numbers: we'll number them in the order they come back fully edited. We'll continue our numbering from NTWW, so the first WV episode will be numbered 37.

See /Template for formatting code.

WikiVoices/Episode 37

Editing underway


Real time newswriting 

Date and time

Monday, November 3 20:00 UTC


  • Durova
  • Dendodge
  • Mitchazenia
  • Gary King
  • SVT Cobra
  • Pharos

Format and topics

The participants discussed Wikinews and created an article, Grandmother of Barack Obama dies at 86. The article was accepted for publication and became the Wikinews lead story, topping the site's list of most visited articles later that evening. During the episode work started on a second article, Several businesses catch fire in Queens, New York.

2008 Election Results Special

2008 Election Results Special
WikiVoices holds special election episode 

Date and time

Tuesday, November 4, 23:00 UTC


Sign below to express interest in joining.

  • Dendodge
  • Pharos
  • Mitchazenia
  • Samekh
  • Durova

Episodes by topic and participants

Episode Date Topic Participants
01 Mar 04, 2008 What is NTWW?, Wikimania 2008, WMF News, FA Director Messedrocker, Privatemusings, Bstone, Raul654
02 Mar 07, 2008 Interview with Danny Wool, former WMF grants coordinator Privatemusings, Durova, Zginder, Danny
03 Mar 18, 2008 Interview with Sue Gardner, WMF Executive Director Privatemusings, Durova, Raul654, Majorly, Zginder, Sue Gardner
04 Mar 26, 2008 Arbcom security, SUL. A.P. Sloan donation, Pseudoscience and fringe theories Privatemusings, Durova, Raul654, Filll
05 Mar 31, 2008 Interview with Jay Walsh, head of WMF Communications, WikiProjects, SUL Privatemusings, Durova, Raul654, Filll, JayWalsh
06 Apr 04, 2008 Banned editors, mostly via Wikipedia Review participation Moulton, MyWikiBiz, WordBomb, Privatemusings
07 Apr 09, 2008 NTWW, 'proxying for a banned user', opt out, BLP Privatemusings, Filll, Ned Scott, Raul654, Durova, GTBacchus, Dtobias, FastLizard4
08 Apr 11, 2008 2000 FAs, migrating to CC license?, Arbcom, Medcom, legislative bodies, talk page clerking Durova, Privatemusings, AGK, Raul654, User:Filll, Dorftrottel
09 Apr 18, 2008 IRC, Real life safety, ethnic edit warring Privatemusings, Durova, Filll, Scartol, Steve Crossin, Dorftrottel, Zginder, Zero1328, E
10 Apr 19, 2008 BLP Durova, Filll, Kim Bruning, Privatemusings, Dorftrottel, User:Stwalkerster, Seth Finkelstein, Bluemarine, David Shankbone
11 Apr 24, 2008 Relation of wiki to the media Durova, Filll, Addshore, FT2, Awadewit, Xavexgoem, Kim Bruning, Dorftrottel, Seddon69, Zvika, Moulton, Brian Bergstein
12 Apr 25, 2008 Banned users at NTWW, deletion of Giovanni di Stefano, cabals, CU selection, misc Durova, Filll, Alison, Sunderland06, Martijn Hoekstra, Zero1328, Seddon69, Steve Crossin, Qst
13 Apr 30, 2008 Trustee changes, meta community petition, Veropedia, homoeopathy, POV pushers, CAMERA lobbying Durova, Filll, AGK, Alison, FT2, Seddon69, Shoemaker's Holiday, GerardM
14 May 05, 2008 Cinco de Mayo Frivolity Durova, Filll, Shoemaker's Holiday, AGK, Seddon69, Steve Crossin, Dorftrottel, Martijn Hoekstra, Chetblong
15 May 09, 2008 Aussie WMF chapter update, how we appoint admins, admin IRC channel Durova, Privatemusings, Andjam, Anthony, Filll, Seddon69, Kim Bruning, Dorftrottel, Daniel, WJBscribe, Angela
16 May 16, 2008 Fiction, Lectures, banned users, policies, interview with User:Moulton Alison, Shoemaker's Holiday, Durova, Privatemusings, User:Moulton, Dtobias, User:Vassyana, User:Filll
17 May 24, 2008 start-up Wikipedias in African language Durova, Awadewit, GerardM, Seddon69, Shoemaker's Holiday, Steve Crossin, Sunderland06
18 Jun 02, 2008 Interviews with 2008 Board of Trustee candidates Steve Smith (Sarcasticidealist), Craig Spurrier, Gregory Kohs, Harel Cain, Matthew Bisanz (MBisanz), Ray Saintonge, Ad Huikeshoven, Ting Chen, Alex Bakharev (User:Alex Bakharev), Dan Rosenthal (Swatjester), Jussi-Ville Heiskanen (Cimon Avaro), Kurt M. Weber (Kmweber), Paul Williams, Ryan Postlethwaite (Ryan Postlethwaite), Samuel Klein
19 Jun 20, 2008 Wiki-stress, arbcom making policy, Parental advisory idea Durova, Seddon69, Dtobias, Privatemusings, Shoemaker's Holiday
20 Jun ??, 2008 ??
21 Jun 28, 2008 Recent arbcom events Durova, Mitchazenia, Seddon69, Shoemaker's Holiday, MBisanz
22 (& 22A) Jun 29, 2008 Arbcom follies and history Durova, Shoemaker's Holiday, Awadewit, Mitchazenia, possibly Jimbo
23 Jun 29, 2008 Ting Chen chat Ting Chen, Privatemusings
24 Jul 06, 2008 Wikiproject 24 report Mitchazenia, Seddon, Bstone, Durova, Gerard, Dave, Steve
25 Jul ??, 2008 ??
26 Jul 14-15, 2008 FPic and Sound candidates, Aphid, wikiprojects User:Durova, User:Filll, User:Mitchazenia, User:Shoemaker's Holiday
27 Jul 18, 2008 Special IRC log session Privatemusings
28 Jul 23, 2008 Commons plugin, flagged revisions, BLP and BOO, Wikimania, editor retention User:Durova, User:Filll, User:Privatemusings, User:Seddon, User:Kim Bruning
29 Jul 30, 2008 How Skype works, make FAs, COI in Australia User:Durova, User:Filll, User:Privatemusings
30 Aug 12, 2008 ?? Durova, Awadewit, Mitchazenia, Dendodge, AGK, Cometstyles, Stwalkerster, Qst
31 Aug 21, 2008 Interview with Newyorkbrad, arbitrator Privatemusings, Newyorkbrad
32 Aug 23, 2008 Discussion on copyediting Scartol, Awadewit, Filll, Yllosubmarine, Moni3
33 Sep 18, 2008 Projects and subprojects, featured sounds, checkuser & socking/rfa/crats/ Durova, Rlevse, FT2 (via chat), Bastique, Shoemaker's Holiday, Mitchazenia
34 Sep 26, 2008 Created the article "w:Frog Legs Rag" and expanded to DYK size in real time. Durova, Gary King, Shoemaker's Holiday, Mitchazenia, Xavexgoem, Zginder
35 Oct 25, 2008 Inclusionism and deletionism, DYK, Moving to Meta: it's been proposed that Not the Wikipedia Weekly head over to Meta under a new name. Like that idea? If so, let's brainstorm the new name, Sign writing, and Wikipedia:Service awards Durova, Gary King, Mitchazenia, AGK (via text), Privatemusings, Dendodge, Seddon, GerardM
36 Nov 2, 2008 Recap of the first 35 episodes
November 2, 2008 - Switchover to Meta (Now WikiVoices)

See also