Wikimedia, through Wikipedia and its other sister projects, has already expanded beyond encyclopedic content into several other content areas. This has occurred in an ad hoc manner based on participant drive and support.
How should Wikimedia approach expansion into different types of content areas going forward? Specifically:
- What role does expansion into content beyond core encyclopedic information have in advancing Wikimedia's vision of "the sum of all knowledge"?
- How, if at all, could expansion into other content areas (both within Wikipedia and through sister projects) detract from the quality of the core encyclopedia and Wikimedia's brand? How could it improve the quality of the core encyclopedia and brand?
- Does Wikimedia have a role to play in providing content in areas where it already has established projects (beyond Wikipedia)? Specifically:
- Topical information (Wikinews): Given that Wikipedia already provides topical content, does its presence precludes the need for Wikinews? If not why not? If so, what should be done with Wikinews?
- Educational content (Wikibooks, Wikiversity): What content beyond encyclopedic content can/should Wikimedia offer? What are the implications for editing principles and wiki-platform if Wikimedia is to provide educational content?
- Are there other types of content that Wikimedia should expand into? Should this expansion happen within Wikipedia or through new projects? What process, tools, and supports would be needed to make this happen?
- Who is needed to support this strategy (e.g., Wikimedia Foundation, chapters, individual volunteers, external partners), and what do they need to do?
The content landscape
Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has in many ways revolutionized the way that people find, consume, and create reference resources. Along with its sister projects and other successful Web 2.0 services, it has also fundamentally altered the content landscape - challenging traditional media and content providers and expanding the boundaries (breadth, depth, and types) of the information that is accessible to people around the world.
An illustrative way of thinking about this new, hybrid content landscape, including some of the most prominant participants and the current positioning of Wikimedia projects providing primary content, could look like this:
Figure 1 Overview of the content landscape
The position of current Wikimedia projects
To simplify the content landscape a bit (for the purposes of both assessing the current position of Wikimedia projects and identifying opportunities to improve and expand content), much of the information in these fact packages focuses on three broad types of content:
- Localized information
- Education materials
It also differentiates between Wikimedia projects that provide primary content and those that provide supporting content.
Using these considerations, here is one way to think about the position of the current Wikimedia projects:
Figure 2 Overview of current WMF projects
- Please note that the graph is a misunderstanding. Wikiquote and Wiktionary are reference works (dcionary and dictionary of quotations), and that applieas also to the previous figure, where moreover Wikisource should be under "books"; Commons is a more complex project.
And here is a look at the Wikimedia portfolio, by page views and basic statistics. Wikipedia dominates with 96% of total page views, while Commons and Wiktionary have ~4x as many page views as the other sister projects
Figure 3 WMF page hits by project
Figure 4 Basic statistics for WMF projects
Opportunities to improve and expand content
Related fact pages dig into some of the data, research, and community and outside perspectives around the current position of these Wikimedia projects, as well as Wikimedia's overall strengths, challenges, and gaps relative to the three broad categories of content.
For more information and resources, please see:
The Expanding Content Task Force is exploring these questions in greater detail.
New projects that have been suggested:
Projects that have requested to become part of Wikimedia:
Projects that have been closed:
- Nupedia (shut down because Wikipedia was doing the same job better)
- Klingon Wikipedia
- Esperanza (shut down because it was judged to be a community health issue)
Projects that were supposed to be closed:
- Simple English Wikiquote:  - Bugzilla bug 21676 was filed in November, 2009 to close the project.
Data and Analysis
- Proposals related to the work of this task force
- [...] insert proposals here.
- Erik Zachte, "Wikimedia in Figures", presented at Wikimania 2009