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Wikipedia Homepage Exposure For New MPs

The new Parliament will have its first sitting day on Wednesday and Aotearoa will welcome 42 new MPs. Wikipedia will mark this event by featuring 19 of those new MPs on its homepage (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page) from 1pm on Wednesday for 24 hours.

Wikipedia’s homepage covers a range of topic areas and is viewed by an average of 6.5 million people worldwide every day. One of those topic areas is “Did you know…?”, which features interesting and unusual facts from newly published Wikipedia articles. The community of New Zealand Wikipedians – all of whom are volunteers and are located all over the country – had prepared draft biographical articles prior to the election for those candidates expected to enter parliament as a newcomer. By early Sunday morning after election day, each new MP (as they were known based on the preliminary results) had an article live on Wikipedia. These new articles immediately attracted readers, with some articles receiving between 1,000 and 5,000 views in the first 24 hours after publication. The team of editors then had one week to meet quality requirements for homepage exposure; 19 biographies made the cut.

Below is the text as it will appear, accompanied by the photo montage shown:

Did you know...

... that 42 new MPs were elected to the 53rd New Zealand Parliament: 23 for Labour including Arena Williams, Ibrahim Omer, Helen White, Neru Leavasa, Ingrid Leary, Rachel Brooking, Anna Lorck, Tracey McLellan, and Shanan Halbert (all pictured); 5 for National including Joseph Mooney, Simon Watts, and Penny Simmonds; 9 for ACT including Toni Severin, Simon Court, Brooke van Velden, and Chris Baillie; 3 for the Greens including Ricardo Menéndez March and Teanau Tuiono; and 2 for Māori including Rawiri Waititi?

New Zealand Wikipedians have used the process of preparing draft bios for likely MPs since the 2011 general election. It means that when people wake up on the Sunday after election day, they will find an article for each new MP on Wikipedia. Obviously, those articles are initially often quite basic. But through input from a wide range of volunteers, article quality improves over time.

Axel says:

“For the 2020 general election, we wrote to all parties contesting the election to make sets of photos available of their candidates. Photos for Wikipedia are hosted on Wikimedia Commons and one of the requirements is that those photos must have a free license allowing re-use, even for commercial purposes. Only the Labour Party responded positively to that request, hence all photos used for this DYK are of new Labour MPs.”

Tamsin Braisher, one of the editors involved in submitting the DYK (Did you know) commented:

"As a newer Wikipedia editor, this was a great learning experience for me. It is rare for a 'Did you know' fact to get submitted referencing so many articles at once, so it caused a bit of a kerfuffle in the editing group to begin with. The community was very supportive, though, with a whole team of people tidying up the articles and helping us jump through all the procedural hoops. It is great to see the result of everyone's hard work on the front page of Wikipedia!".

If anyone would like to get into editing of Wikipedia themselves, the New Zealand Wikipedians currently run regular online training sessions for beginners: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Aotearoa_New_Zealand_Editor_Support

Photo montage to appear on Wikipedia’s homepage. Attribution: New Zealand Labour Party, montage by Canley, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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