Therein lies the Hub

First it was the Knowledge Engine.  Did anyone ever figure out what that was?

Now it’s hubs.

Hubs are apparently the hot new thing in the strategy handoff, from Katherine’s office to the …well, we’re really not quite sure, but which we are told is now complete.

This in turn was announced on the mailing list, just before Katherine’s farewell message.

There is also a cryptic message on the mailing list from someone named Chris Keating about moving the strategy process forward by moving the Movement Charter process forward.  It asks you to endorse a proposal.

The proposal proposes a Movement Charter..

The Movement Charter will establish a solid base from which the future Global Council will be built, ensuring that it is representative of the Wikimedia Movement communities and organizations, and that it will facilitate a more distributed, aligned, and equitable decision-making mechanism.

Global Council?

The members drafting the proposal are listed. And then it adds:

We acknowledge the lack of diversity of the group behind that text. This work started as a friendly discussion and we were too far off in the work to include new people without tokenizing them.

Then they go into a long thing about why they say the progress is stalled, although they don’t say what is stalled about it.

However, there is stagnation concerning the implementation of Recommendation 4: Equity in decision-making. There have been productive conversations, but progress has halted.

This is caused by:

    • unclarity about the scope, responsibility, and duration/life span of the Interim Global Council;
    • unclarity about the process for ratification of the draft Movement Charter;
    • unclarity about who is in charge to drive this forward.

Summarising, there is an overall unease within the community about losing control and handing over responsibility for crucial decisions to an as yet undefined, unknown, and therefore untrustworthy, group.

“Interim Global Council”?

Well, guess what, they themselves can’t be bothered to have “Equity in decision-making”, because their own decision-making group has a “lack of diversity”.  They don’t know ANY non-diverse people they can ask?  And every single one of the non-diverse people they know is a “token”?  Dude.

But let’s go back to that very first link, about the hubs.  Here it is again, in case you don’t want to scroll up.

If you look at the footnotes at the bottom, you would expect them to reference some document or another.  But they don’t.  They reference notes taken during sessions.  I would guess this anonymizes the comments somewhat, at least more than people signing their names to RFCs. One of the big problems with RfC’s is that no one ever summarizes the points, they just plop down their own opinion without reading the others, and the RfC is often closed by some random person who doesn’t understand the issues. And one of the big problems of trying to communicate with WMF staffers is that you are never quite sure if they are paying attention.

But this has got to be a first. The WMF asked some volunteers for feedback, and they are actually compiling and organizing the responses.



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List of forgotten Arabic women scholars

Fatima Mernissi

The contents of the book Islamic Interpretive Tradition and Gender Justice: Processes of Canonization Subversion and Change, ed. NEVIN REDA, YASMIN AMIN has now been discovered on JSTORActually some of these are Islamic. The contributing authors from its table of contents is used as the basis for the start of this list.

Scholars who need more references

More sources:

List of scholars take from the anthology: Muslim women and gender justice: concepts, sources, and histories, Dina El Omari; Juliane Hammer; Mouhanad Khorchide (dude)

Dina El Omari (WorldCat)(VIAF)(LOC)

Juliane Hammer (WorldCat)(LOC)

Jerusha Tanner Rhodes (faculty bio)

Riem Spielhaus ( in English)

Irene Schneider (faculty bio)

Zainab Alwani (faculty profile)

Celene Ibrahim (faculty profile)

Arabic women in translation

This comes from the Ajam Media Collective on Facebook.  They also have a richly illustrated website that is well worth browsing.

This particular piece, by M. Lynx Qualey of ArabLit, has also been published in an online magazine, where it is somewhat easier to read:

Layla Ba’albakki

“Eighteenth and 19th century Orientalists focused largely on canonizing medieval men. Certainly, their writing was better preserved and thus more available to Western academics than women’s, yet even prolific female writers like Aisha al-Ba’uniyya (1456-1517) were largely overlooked. This pattern held for most of the 20th century, and many gifted female writers from the Middle East — Layla Ba’albakki, Samira Azzam, Saniyya Salih — still have no book-length translation in English.”

A quick Wikipedia inventory:

(to be continued)…

Women and the Islamic canon

“The Qur’an is written in straight lines between two covers.
It does not speak for itself; however, men speak for it.” -Ali

As Ramadan begins, maybe it is time to peek in at women in Islam and see how they’re coming along.

A deeply buried topic, but I have unearthed a book review in a local Canadian paper for “Islamic Interpretive Tradition and Gender Justice: Processes of Canonization, Subversion and Change,” edited by Nevin Reda and Yasmin Amin.  Shall we poke into it?

The reviewer is one Alia Hogben, who is otherwise unexplained, although “Alia” (meaning high, in the religious sense) is a common enough name for a Muslim girl. Might this be the same Alia Hogben who is the Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women?

Islam does not have any religious hierarchy, no centralized organized church nor priests. But this has not stopped the entrenchment of patriarchal interpretations, which are treated with great respect. These authoritative understandings of male scholars are so powerful that they have become the “canons” for Muslims over the centuries.

In contrast to Christianity, in Islam there is no formal religious authority that gives its stamp of approval for a text to be “canonized.” Even so, some early Muslim scholars’ works are seen as authoritative and as canons.

As the co-editor Amin states: “By providing interpretations that are ethical, gender conscious, and just, it is possible to construct a new, flexible canon.”

And that’s about as much light that is escaping from that particular black hole at the moment. The contents of this “new flexible canon”, or the names of the writers inside, are not seen anywhere. [See below] I guess you have to shell out the $144.95 for your own copy, or go over to WorldCat and look for one in a library.

But who are these editors, who curated the book?

Nevin Reda (red link) (WorldCat) (LOC) (ResearchGate) is assistant professor of Muslim studies at Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto and author of The al-Baqara Crescendo: Understanding the Qur’an’s Style, Narrative Structure, and Running Themes.

Yasmin Amin (red link) (WorldCat) (LOC) is a graduate students at the University of Exeter, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies., and the author of….well, there’s a list here, and just glancing down it, I see she also wrote something about Islamic food: “Peeling Onions Layer by Layer” that cites “the famous Sufi woman Rābiʿa l-ʿAdawiyya (d. 180/796)”, who, after a LOT of digging, is found on Wikipedia as “Rabia of Basra“, which you can hardly read, thanks to the templates plastered all over the top of the article. But it looks like Ms. Amin has been doing this exegesis thing for a while, and knows a bit about the female Islamic scholars.
Here’s another list of women Islamic scholars, from the chapter 2 of The Cambridge Companion to Sufism: “Early Pious, Mystic Sufi Women”, a book that is behind a paywall, although the sources are not:  I wonder how many of these are in Wikipedia’s category “Female Sufi Mystics”?
  • Abū ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān ās-Sulamī, Early Sufi Women: Dhikr an-niswa al-mutaʿ abbidā t aṣ ṣū fiyyā t by Abū ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān ās-Sulamī, trans. and ed. Rkia Cornell (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999). Google Scholar
  • ʿĀʾishah al-Bāʿūniyyah, The Principles of Sufism, trans. and ed. Emil Homerin(New York: New York University Press, 2014). Google Scholar
  • Afshan Bokhari, “Between patron and piety: Jahān Ārā Begam’s Sufi affiliations and articulations in seventeenth century Mughal India” in Sufism and Society: Arrangements of the Mystical in the Muslim World, 1200–1800, eds John J. Curry and Erik S. Ohlander (London, UK: Routledge, 2012), 120–142. Google Scholar
  • Beverly Mack, One Woman’s Jihad: Nana Asma’u, Scholar and Scribe (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2000), 198. Google Scholar
  • Razia Sultanova, From Shamanism to Sufism: Women, Islam, and Culture in Central Asia (London, UK: IB Tauris, 2011). Google Scholar
  • Kelly Pemberton, Women Mystics and Sufi Shrines in India (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2010). Google Scholar
  • Cemalnur Sargut, Beauty of Light: Sufi Teachings of a Living Female Saint, eds Tehseen Thaver and Omid Safi (Louisville, KY: Fonsvitae, 2015). Google Scholar

There are also some old links here and here. Names from the first link: Islamic scholar Amina Wadud, author of the book Inside the Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam; Dr. Ingrid Mattson is Director of Islamic Chaplaincy at the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. She was elected the first female President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in 2006; Moroccan Morchidates (red link) female religious preachers). From the second link, we learn of  “Voices and Faces of the Adhan: Cairo.”, a film written and produced by Anna Kipervaser (red link).  Trailer:

 Ramadan kareem.

[Note: the contents of the book has now been located, see “List of forgotten Arabic women scholars“.]


Mystery trains

[Not mine] No longer a mystery, Martin has claimed these, he is also “Graaf Statler” on several forums. You can find him at where he writes about his family and posts historical photographs of the Netherlands.

This model locomotive was purchased from a friend who is a dealer.  It could never run again because of many technical issues. No one wanted it, except for parts to change a brown one to the rare blue version. It was probably returned under warranty, then was in a warehouse for many years, until someone bought it for display.

In the below photos, it was rebuilt for remote control with battery.

The car was build out of junk parts. Three other cars were built in the same way, and also spray-painted blue.

But by watching videos something else was noted. If the drive direction changed, the right headlamp changed to a red tail light! It was a lot of work to make it work in that way!  But, it works!


This locomotive was used about hundred years ago on the Rhaetian Railway. It was painted blue, it broke down, and they demolished it, probably for the parts. Two trains are still left for special occasions.

It is a CE 6/8 E-locomotive, better known as the “Crocodile”.

Here is an HO gauge Crocodile from Marklin, with a pantograph that can be raised and lowered.

Here is a Crocodile set: 3 different class Ce 6/8 III Swiss “Crocodile” freight locomotives in HO gauge for the 150th anniversary of Märklin.

You can also buy one on Ebay in the $400-800 range, but probably not in blue.

These are sold out on “catawiki“, whatever that is.

This one sold for EUR 679,90 in 2016.

What, no z-gauge?

Ah, here it is.

Prototype: 1 Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) class Ce 6/8 and 1 Swiss “Crocodile” in a paint scheme for the New York Central Lines.”  Starting bid US $629.10, and that’s without any track or power supply.

There is even more z-gauge.  These are really pretty.

Oh look, Maerklin has it new, an LGB special edition of the blue Crocodile for 2021: catalogue item

“Gauge G – Article No. 26602

Model train Class Ge 6/6 I Electric Locomotive

This product is currently not available. €3,590.00 incl. VAT shipping , planned delivery: 4th quarter 2021″

€3,590.00 euros is $4273 USD.  Someone will buy this.

More about model trains

GLAMwiki toolset deprecated

For ages people have been asking for the WMF to provide training on the GLAMwiki Toolset.  The only person who seems to be able to use it is Fae.

The advantage of this GLAMwiki toolset is the ability to upload to Commons directly from a URL instead of having to download everything to your PC first. One museum even went to the trouble to create their own Python-based program to upload their materials.

So instead it has been deprecated.

Ninkasi and national beer day

Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of [the] Tigris and Euphrates.
Hymn to Ninkasi,  19th c BCE

According to Wikipedia, today is National Beer Day in the U.S.

And you know what that means: a chance to check up on women in brewing.

The oldest known beer recipe is the Sumerian “Hymn to Ninkasi”, the goddess of beer.

In fact, until very recently, women dominated the beer industry.

“So if you traveled back in time to the Middle Ages or the Renaissance and went to a market in England, you’d probably see an oddly familiar sight: women wearing tall, pointy hats. In many instances, they’d be standing in front of big cauldrons.

“But these women were no witches; they were brewers.

“They wore the tall, pointy hats so that their customers could see them in the crowded marketplace. They transported their brew in cauldrons. And those who sold their beer out of stores had cats not as demon familiars, but to keep mice away from the grain…..

“Male brewers saw an opportunity. To reduce their competition in the beer trade, these men accused female brewers of being witches and using their cauldrons to brew up magic potions instead of booze.

“… Women accused of witchcraft were often ostracized in their communities, imprisoned or even killed.”

Yeast from a branch

Oh, my.

Witches. Cauldrons. Brewing.

There was even a “Viking totem stick” for introducing yeast to the cooled must.

Magic wand, anyone? Abracadabra?

Women from Juellinge, Denmark, buried with a bronze sieve in her hand c 200 BC

And Viking women might be buried with their brewing equipment. There are even recipes for the ancient brew, based on analysis of grave contents.

“The ingredients included honey, cranberries and lingonberries (acidic red berries that grow in Scandinavia). Wheat, rye and barley — and, occasionally, imported grape wine from southern Europe — formed a base for the drink. Herbs and spices — such as bog myrtle, yarrow, juniper and birch resin — added flavor and perhaps medicinal qualities.”

Cuneiform beer tokens anyone? Or how about some drinking vessels from back in the day when you needed a straw to filter out the chunky bits.

How about some coloring?

Linehan’s trans friends

Graham Linehan is well known across the pond for his television comedies, in particular Father Ted, that changed the public perception of the Catholic church and made possible the the legalization of abortion in Ireland.

More recently he has taken on the subject of transgender identity politics. If the only thing you know about trans people is the crude death threats that seem all too common lately, (see “TERF is a slur” here is something completely different: Graham Linehan’s trans friends, on “trans day of visibility”.


“We have a number of our trans friends here today — these are trans people who don’t hate women, who don’t think JK Rowling wants to murder them, who actually like women, …”

Mood boards and vibe

All this is going on my mood board because it’s a vibe. -SNL

A week ago, an SNL sketch included Ella Emhoff, the step-daughter of Kamala Harris, who is apparently the latest fashion icon. It’s here at about 3:40.

Ella Emhoff

But you don’t have to be a fashion icon to get in on the latest mood board and vibe thing. You can simply collect your own photos from Pinterest, or a Google image search, or whatever, and put them together in one place. In this way you can procrastinate and avoid any decluttering you have not finished yet, and with any luck you will be satisfied to just look at the pictures before you actually start to shop for any of the items or spend any money.

So the other day I was thinking about plants and wondering if it was too early to obtain a few patio type varieties, and start enjoying the outdoors. In fact, yes, it is, but it is not too early to collect some pictures from sites like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters. Then you can look at them for a while and think about which you would rather have right now, a Victorian parlor palm or a pizza.

So here are some:

And here are some more:

So if you want to try this yourself, it might help if you had a social media influencer to talk you through it, so you could learn all the buzz words and the current trends. Who is hot on social media keeps changing.  The big deal is to get to a million subscribers, in order to command some decent money from advertisers. But at some point, nearly their whole presentation becomes a commercial, and they have to keep putting out a certain number of videos a week, whether they have any new material or not, so eventually they reach a point where they are not so interesting any more.

But if you want to test the waters, here are a couple of currently popular DIY types, so you can start to get your feet wet . If you are really hardcore, you can subscribe to the channels and get notifications every time they upload a new video. Then you can subscribe to their blogs, and the supplemental stuff on Instagram about what they had for lunch, and buy their merch so you can pretend to hang out with them and all that.

Or you can just watch for free and then spend the money on pizza.

  • Here is the YouTube channel for The Lone Fox, who is a bit heavy on the long testimonials for the current sponsored product, (which you can fast forward), but has spent some time in the home decor industry and cuts his videos and DIY stuff so as not to waste a lot of time with chitchat.
  • The Sorry Girls have a huge number of subscribers, but they have also been around forever. At first they seem a little ditsy, but eventually you realize they are very inventive, and much imitated by other vloggers who copy their techniques. This might be the best for learning techniques for various stuff or to watch for who they are doing collaborations with if you want to expand your horizons.
  • My latest discovery is this online seller, Laura Caldwell at Left Coast Revivals (she likes local Oregon stuff ) who has a thing for buying weird hats, and films herself thrifting for 80’s “antiques”, then sells her finds on her website.  For some reason I seem to have missed the 80’s and it’s a convenient way to catch up .
  • Just adding “DIY with KB“, she does way too many shopping videos for my taste, and her point is to impress people with large scale stuff rather than to feel comfortable, but she seems to have a design background and does teach some interesting techniques

Don’t forget to tidy up now. 😉


Maggie explains the new Strategy sausagefest

I oversee the functions of Community Development, Trust & Safety Policy, Trust &
Safety Operations, Human Rights protection, and, now, Movement Strategy. – Maggie Dennis

The Wikimedia Foundation is about to enter a Twilight Zone.

I am talking about the departure of the CEO, Katherine Maher, effective April 15.  Her chief of staff,  Ryan Merkley, has also announced his departure.

Maggie continues on the mailing list:

Many of you are aware that our Chief of Staff, Ryan Merkley, has recently chosen to depart the Foundation. Movement Strategy was housed with him. A long time Wikimedian myself – user Moonriddengirl; pretty dormant right now but still very interested! – I am delighted to step in to do all I can to keep the momentum of this critical work going and to support however I can the movement and the Foundation in meeting these strategic goals. Kaarel Vaidla <>, with whom many of you have connected during this process, will be part of my division, reporting to Quim Gil <>.

Where to even start. There is so much in this post, and that is only the first paragraph.

Shall we take a look at the organizational chart? Just for reference, here it is on March 27 [archived], and here it is last year, in March 2020 [archived]. And considering Wikipedia’s close relationship with Internet Archive, maybe it is not a good idea to entrust the whole archiving thing to the Wayback Machine, so here is an additional save from today [archived].

So the first thing you notice about the organizational chart is that it has shrunk considerably from last year.

This is what it looks like now (at least the WMF Legal portion, where Trust & Safety lives):

Jan Eßfield is still there, but his entourage is now invisible, and his photo seems to have evaporated as well. .

(My shy twin over in the genderdesk statistics department says 1 picture = 2000 bytes, and has put this together as an aid to your contemplation of the mailing list post).

This is what it looked like a year ago, with 11 members in the Trust and Safety group. I’m pretty sure there are more than that now, but for some reason they have dropped off the organizational chart.  Perhaps they are hiding from the new CEO?

Count the Germans: Essfield, Sutherland, Steigenberger. Are they good at following orders?

In the top position, right under Legal, are Maggie Dennis and someone – a dude – named Quim Gil.

Now where have I heard that name before.

Ah yes, “Wikipedia Space”.

“How safe is Wikimedia Space?”

Someone, a woman moderator, linked to the above piece I did about the now-defunct platform Wikimedia Space. At the time, Quim Gil was also a moderator, and shut her down, and the entire post was deleted. So you can see how he has used his male privilege in the past to make sure the concerns of women are silenced.

And looking that this followup post here, it seems that the archive to the discussion has disappeared, along with any evidence of their role in the matter. The only thing left is my synopsis of my adventures. Here is what I wrote at the time:

An individual was able to go to this supposedly moderated, official WMF platform and make unsubstantiated accusations against someone, a woman, and was immediately believed, simply for being male. In fact, rather than ask for proof, the WMF employee merely thanked him for “the context”. This is why women do not trust any of the processes on Wikipedia.

Whatever internal “safe space” processes there are on Wikimedia Space did not work. The staff had obvious examples of a dox attempt and personal attack sitting right in front of them, and did nothing. I had to put it right in the first paragraph of the article they linked to, in order to get them to see it. There does not seem to be any other way to get their attention, for instance, buttons for anonymous flagging of comments.

They removed the attacks against me by removing the whole post. As a result, I was silenced, deplatformed. This is the old Wikipedia definition of “safe”. A “safe” woman is one who does not speak out, who “lowers her profile” as they told Lightbreather, when she went after the user who was making “deep fake” porn about her. When Wikipedia makes a platform “safe”, they do so by eliminating the voices of women.

This was what Quim Gil did.

This is why we need women in these positions.

But “Quim”, …hmm…there is something else familiar about the name.

Oh dear, not this again…

How unfortunate.

(to be continued….)