Editor awards and rewards

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"Working on Wikipedia is hard, and it does not offer many rewards. Editors have intrinsic motivation not extrinsic, but even so, not much is done to affirm or thank or recognize them." - Sue Gardner, Executive Director, WMF. (Interviews).

This article looks at awards and rewards for editors and should discuss whether these aspects need to be enhanced on Wikimedia projects.

In support of rewards

  • "Individuals contributed when they were reminded of their uniqueness and when they were given specific and challenging goals."

Wikipedias usually have a range of awards for the creators of featured content to display on their userpages, there is also the motivation that featured content gets displayed on the mainpage - greatly increasing the number of people who are likely to read that content.

Writers of featured content are also considered by some to have greater status in various ways, ranging from easier access to adminship to greater tolerance of incivility and other misbehaviour.

Other non-standard initiatives include:

  1. The English Wikipedia has a content creating contest - EN:Wikipedia:WikiCup. In 2010 its 4th year it started with a record 146 contestants. In 2009 it was limited to 60 but led to the creation of "around 1,500 pieces of featured, good, or Did you know? content [...] including nearly 40 featured articles, over 200 featured pictures and over 300 good articles."
  2. In 2010 there was a collaboration with the British museum, as part of which the British museum donated some gift vouchers as prizes for featured content related to British Museum exhibits. This had effects well beyond EN wiki, with FAs winning prizes from both the Latin and Catalan wikipedias.
  3. ?

Against rewards

"The idea that dangling money and other goodies in front of people will "motivate" them to work harder is the conventional wisdom in our society, and particularly among compensation specialists. [...] At least 70 studies have found that rewards tend to undermine interest in the task (or behavior) itself; this is one of the most thoroughly replicated findings in the field of social psychology."
-- Alfie Kohn - Challenging Behaviorist Dogma: Myths About Money and Motivation

"[...] laboratory and field experiments alike appear to be unanimous: financial incentives do not improve performance quality"
-- G. Douglas Jenkins, "Financial Incentives," in EA. Locke, ed. Generalizing from Laboratory to Field Settings. Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1986, p. 172.


Current situation

The English Wikipedia has Barnstars and quite a lot more besides.

Contests

Local project contests

Wikipedia Contests

Content contests sponsored by outside organizations

Contribution recognition and awards

  • Quality content recognition awards
    • Featured content
    • Good content

Proposals for awards and rewards

Traditional Volunteer Management Rewards and Recognition

Main Proposal:Traditional Volunteer Management Rewards and Recognition

Proposes a wide-range of potential ways to reward editors; small gifts, certificates, 'featured editor' style promotions and many others.

Reward editors

Main Proposal:Reward editors

Suggests that the WMF should issue letters and/or certificates to its most valued community members, the aim being a reward respected enough that it would impress prospective employers, friends and family.

Add game-like features

Main Proposal:Add game-like features

Recommends a means by which editors gain "points" and/or other fun incentives for their editing, including quests to complete and enticements to work on lesser-supported projects.

Proposal:Community sustainability

Main Proposal:Community sustainability

A wide-ranging proposal which suggests "cool prizes" for good content and other means of supporting the community.

Audio/visual Presentation Competition

Main Proposal:Audio/visual Presentation Competition

A competition where contestants produce video tutorials on using Wikimedia projects.

Include competitive approaches to creating content

Main Proposal:Include competitive approaches to creating content

Suggests some kind of points-based "jazzed up" editing experience, presumably through greater system to user feedback when working (eg rating your worth).

Proposal:Scholarships for contributors who bring vital articles to featured status

Main Proposal:Scholarships for contributors who bring vital articles to featured status

Awards significant money, certificate, trophy and subscription to useful online pay-databases to users who raise an encyclopedia's "vital articles" to featured status.

Proposal:Wikischolarships (individuals are granted online access to paid scientific publications)

Main Proposal:Wikischolarships (individuals are granted online access to paid scientific publications)

Community would award most valued contributors with subscriptions to pay-databases.

Tip Jar for Editors

Main Proposal:Tip Jar for Editors

To set up a payment system whereby readers can tip editors or pay into a central pool from which editors are awarded money.

Run an annual prize for best featured content

Main Proposal:Run an annual prize for best featured content

For "unashamedly elitist" annual awards for projects' greatest scholarly contributions.

Academic degree from Wikimedia

Main Proposal:Academic degree from Wikimedia

Proposes, through unspecified means and ways, that the WMF award degrees.

Further support

Thread:Talk:Task force/Movement Roles/What additional structures could be developed to connect volunteers to the movement and what would it take to develop these structures?