May 2011 Update

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Hello,

I'm Ting Chen, the Chairman of the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees.

Two months ago, the Wikimedia Foundation published the results of our new Editor Trends Study (you can read the results here), which showed that over the past several years it's been getting increasingly difficult for people to edit the Wikimedia projects. Last month the Board had a lengthy discussion about this, and subsequently we have unanimously approved a statement asking you to join us in helping the Wikimedia projects become more open and collaborative.

Please read our resolution, and I ask you also to comment on it and share your thoughts.

Best wishes, and thank you for being involved with the Wikimedia projects.

Ting Chen
Chairman of the Wikimedia Board of Trustees

Resolution: Openness

We, the Wikimedia Foundation Board, believe that the continued health of our project communities is crucial to fulfilling our mission. The Wikimedia projects are founded in the culture of openness, participation, and quality that has created one of the world's great repositories of human knowledge. But while Wikimedia's readers and supporters are growing around the world, recent studies of editor trends show a steady decline in the participation and retention of new editors.

As laid out in our five-year Strategic Plan, and emphasized by these findings, Wikimedia needs to attract and retain more new and diverse editors, and to retain our experienced editors. A stable editing community is critical to the long-term sustainability and quality of both our current Projects and our movement.

We consider meeting this challenge our top priority. We ask all contributors to think about these issues in your daily work on the Projects. We support the Executive Director in making this the top staff priority, and recommend she increase the allocation of Foundation resources towards addressing this problem, through community outreach, amplification of community efforts, and technical improvements. And we support the developers, editors, wikiprojects and Chapters that are working to make the projects more accessible, welcoming, and supportive.

The Board resolves to help move these efforts forward, and invites specific requests for Foundation assistance to do so. We welcome and encourage new ideas to help reach our goals of openness and broader participation.

We urge the Wikimedia community to promote openness and collaboration, by:

  • Treating new editors with patience, kindness, and respect; being aware of the challenges facing new editors, and reaching out to them; and encouraging others to do the same;
  • Improving communication on the projects; simplifying policy and instructions; and working with colleagues to improve and make friendlier policies and practices regarding templates, warnings, and deletion;
  • Supporting the development and rollout of features and tools that improve usability and accessibility;
  • Increasing community awareness of these issues and supporting outreach efforts of individuals, groups and Chapters;
  • Working with colleagues to reduce contention and promote a friendlier, more collaborative culture, including more thanking and affirmation; and encouraging best practices and community leaders; and
  • Working with colleagues to develop practices to discourage disruptive and hostile behavior, and repel trolls and stalkers.

References