[Wiki Loves Monuments] Russia?

Yaroslav M. Blanter putevod at mccme.ru
Fri Sep 20 19:36:02 UTC 2013

On 20.09.2013 20:38, Maarten Dammers wrote:
> Hi,
> Can someone please tell me what is going on in Russia? Any plans to
> fix it? Please reply because this is affecting other countries and
> otherwise I'm forced to drop Russia.
> Maarten
> Ps Russia is not the only country with problems, see
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Monuments_database/Categorization/Statistics

Yes, sure.


Putnik and Lvova, the coordinators of WLM-2013 (and occasionally also 
WLM-2012) somehow decided that the Wikipedia community would not be 
interested in WLM. Therefore they decided not to make any announcement 
of WLM on Wikipedia or Commons. None of them have any WLM-related edits 
on Commons in September.

Last year, they have chosen to not use the lists, resorting to their 
own "database". This database is a deteriorated version of the official 
Russian monument database, which has all problems which the original 
database has, and a number of additional problems due to bad conversion 
and due to the lack of understanding what the cultural monument actually 
is. It only has one advantage - there are some coordinates over there, 
and monuments can be found according to these "approximate coordinates" 
which typically refer to the centers of closest big cities.

They were repeatedly told that this is not the way to go but have 
chosen to ignore this critique, calling it "unconstructive". Last year, 
several Commons users tried to make heritage lists of reasonable 
quality, which requires a lot of manual work. These lists are still 
available on Commons, but were not used for 2012 and 2013 contest.

This year, apparently after the meeting with Lodewijk in Moscow, they 
suddenly decided to participate and to use the lists. Indeed, they 
generated the "lists" from their database. As Maarten noticed, the 
"lists" are bot-generated, and adding the files there is useless since 
they are overwrited by bot. This completely excludes any community 
participation in the contest, except for uploading photos. On top of 
this, lists are full of errors. In particular, the list on Moscow 
Oblasts starts from three monuments allegedly located in the town of 
Kotelniki (all three not surprisingly have the same coordinates). In 
fact, the monuments are located in the Sakha Republic, 10K miles away, 
and this is pretty much obvious from the list.

When the Commons Russian community realized that we get several 
hundreds photos per day, which are not properly categorized and have 
wrong labels, and Lvova and Putnik are not available to help with the 
photos and also not available to help the uploaders who have questions 
or misunderstand smth, and the photos are not used anywhere and can not 
be used, I had to open the discussion which I referenced above proposing 
to stop the contest. Lvova and Putnik have chosen to not take part in 
the discussion, having a discussion instead on the internal mailing list 
of Wikimedia.ru to which none of the active commons users subscribed. 
Essentially, putnik said that we are troublemakers, and if we work on 
Commons with the photos, this is our problem. This is the link to the 
mailing list archives:

(everything that has WLM in the subject).

Lvova basically said she is not interested in what the community 

On the other hand, all Commons participants who took part in the 
discussion came to the consensus that the 2012 and 2013 organization was 
substandard and it should repeat in 2014. The Russian Wikipedia 
participants promised that in October, they will organize a drive to add 
photos to the articles (not to the lists, which are unusable). In the 
Russian Wikivoyage, where I am an admin, we are also interested in the 
photos, and we might be interested in working on compiling a 
high-quality cultural heritage lists. This issue is currently under 

The only strategy I see right now is to wait till October 1, and then 
for 2014, if there will be WLM-2014, find the organizers who do not 
regard community as a problem, and are more interested in doing the job 
and workimh together with the community. If such organizers for Russia 
would not be available, it is best that Russia does not participate in 

I personally will do my best in helping with the images on Commons (we 
currently have six users working there every day, including me) and with 
compiling the heritage lists from scratch, but this is more a longer 
term goal. May be if everything is really planned very well, the lists 
would be ready by September 2014, may be not. For the current lists, 
just forget them.


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