IRC office hours/2010-05-18

From Strategic Planning

PeterSymonds joined the chat room.

[12:58pm] AlexandrDmitri joined the chat room.
[12:59pm] eekim: hi everyone
[12:59pm] Philippe: hey eekim
[12:59pm] eekim: thanks for rounding folks up
[1:00pm] eekim: only seven more office hours remaining on this lil' ol project
[1:00pm] killiondude joined the chat room.
[1:00pm] Philippe: only seven more? Someone's marking a calendar.
[1:00pm] killiondude: i strategically joined the strategy party.
[1:01pm] eekim: welcome, killiondude
[1:01pm] killiondude: Thank you.
[1:01pm] eekim: Philippe, not that I'm counting. I'm calmly keeping track of time.
[1:01pm] • PeterSymonds gives killiondude a beer.
[1:01pm] killiondude: PeterSymonds is a lurker! o:
[1:01pm] • AlexandrDmitri hands out the canapés
[1:01pm] PeterSymonds: That's me.
[1:02pm] Philippe: mmmm... beer. canapes. I like this party.
[1:02pm] eekim: okay, folks, the topics for today's office hours...
[1:02pm] Ziko joined the chat room.
[1:02pm] eekim: movement priorities:
[1:02pm] Platonides joined the chat room.
[1:02pm] eekim: and organizing volunteers around proposals:
[1:03pm] eekim: would love people's thoughts on both
[1:04pm] killiondude left the chat room.
[1:04pm] eekim: wow, scared killiondude away
[1:04pm] PeterSymonds: Ran out of beer.
[1:04pm] • Philippe looks guilty
[1:04pm] Ziko: interesting vicious circle
[1:05pm] atglenn joined the chat room.
[1:05pm] _jem_: Hello... is a question about a possible new Wikimedia project appropiate?
[1:05pm] eekim: virtuous circle
[1:06pm] eekim: _jem_, the right place to ask is #wikimedia
[1:06pm] Ziko: eekim: sorry, I misread
[1:06pm] _jem_: Yeah, I did ask there a few days ago...
[1:07pm] eekim: _jem_, have you looked at:
[1:08pm] eekim: hey atglenn
[1:08pm] _jem_: Yes, eekim, and the idea is there, but it doesn't seem to advance further
[1:08pm] eekim: which idea is yours?
[1:08pm] _jem_: Wikidata
[1:09pm] Ziko: Reach drives a higher demand on quality. more quality drives more demands on contributors: more demands on contributors make less contributors
[1:09pm] _jem_: As a international project to supply data to all projects, especially variable data
[1:09pm] Ziko: less contributors are bad for quality...
[1:10pm] Ziko: low quality means less need
[1:10pm] eekim: that assumes that the contributor pool stays the same
[1:10pm] Philippe: _jem_: One of the things we're dealing with is how to create new projects, as a philosophy.... but the actual specifics of creating them are outside the realm of the strategy project really.
[1:10pm] eekim: more demands on contributors is okay if you continue to have more contributors
[1:11pm] Philippe: _jem_: I'm going to send you a private message and see if I can help out
[1:11pm] _jem_: Ok, Philippe, thanks. I'll keep on asking in #wikimedia. I think such a project is almost mandatory.
[1:11pm] Ziko: eekim: pool of contributors stays the same, or shrinks a little bit, but Wikipedia grows
[1:11pm] _jem_: Ok, thanks again
[1:11pm] eekim: that's true right now, yes
[1:11pm] eekim: this is why increasing contributors is such a huge priority
[1:11pm] eekim: we ought to capture that on that page if we haven't already
[1:12pm] Ziko: Kurt Janssons screem for help out of the machine roome
[1:12pm] eekim: perhaps you could add that ziko?
[1:12pm] Ziko: -e
[1:12pm] Ziko: eekim: first i should read the entire page
[1:12pm] eekim: good idea
[1:13pm] Ziko: i believe that the pool of people who might want to work on an encyclopedia is very small anyway; the more requirements the smaller the pool
[1:14pm] eekim: perhaps. the question is, is it bigger than those already contributing?
[1:14pm] Ziko: yes, i believe so. many of your pool don't edit because nobody told them
[1:14pm] Philippe: As a framing: I agree that the number of people who want to work on an encyclopedia is a small set: but I think that the number of people who want to write articles about the 1984 yankees or the Dodge Charger are higher... it's all in the positioning
[1:15pm] eekim: i agree with both ziko and philippe
[1:15pm] atglenn: marketing
[1:15pm] eekim: we have 90,000 active contributors right now. is 200,000 realistic?
[1:15pm] atglenn: sure
[1:15pm] eekim: 500,000?
[1:15pm] Ziko: philippe: true. but they might not want to write in an encyclopedic way. and we are in need of people who want to write not only about their hobby but who also do meta work
[1:16pm] atglenn: if they don't write in an encycolpedic way then editors can fix that
[1:16pm] Philippe: The point that I'm making is that it's not all about finding people to write an encyclopedia. It's about finding people to write about what they know.
[1:16pm] eekim: and, they can be encouraged to learn how to write in that way
[1:16pm] atglenn: frankly most people don't write in an encyclopedic way
[1:16pm] Ziko: atglenn: yes, and such editors who do the dirty work for others are scarce
[1:16pm] atglenn: most people that write novels have editors. for a reason!
[1:16pm] eekim: ziko, it's a percentages game
[1:17pm] atglenn: might have to look for ways to attract those folks too (just like people who categorize or organize)
[1:17pm] eekim: if so-called meta editors continue to be, say, 1% of all active contributors, then those numbers will grow together
[1:17pm] dafer45 joined the chat room.
[1:17pm] eekim: recruiting regular contributors helps recruit active contributors which helps recruit really active contributors
[1:18pm] eekim: hey dafer45
[1:18pm] Philippe: atglenn: absolutely, good point.
[1:18pm] dafer45: hi
[1:18pm] eekim: we're discussing the number of active contributors that would be a realistic goal
[1:18pm] Ziko: many editors start with writing about their hobby and later grow into meta work, that's right. but i don't know whether that is increasing or decreasing, relatively or absolutley
[1:18pm] sj|meeting is now known as sj|.
[1:18pm] Ziko: hhi sj, hi dafer45
[1:18pm] eekim: ziko, it's something we should start tracking
[1:18pm] eekim: hey sj
[1:19pm] lyzzy: eekim: do you know ziko' blog?
[1:19pm] atglenn: it's still true that most users think there are some sort of hoops you have to go through, some review process before your content shows up... or they don't know that you can edit. (That's right, in spite of the tab that says "edit")
[1:19pm] dafer45: what type of contributors? How many editors, how many developers, how many translators, etc.
[1:19pm] lyzzy: sry, maybe you have still talked about that
[1:19pm] atglenn: that's anecdotal evidence but i's repeated over and over and over...
[1:19pm] Ziko: i would be happy if we would keep at least those we are losing nowadays because they are bullied away
[1:19pm] eekim: lyzzy, I do now. is there a specific article you want me to see?
[1:19pm] Philippe: I'd love to see some sort of counts on the number of editors involved with governance work, translators, etc... what Dafer said
[1:20pm] lyzzy: the last was in mind
[1:20pm] Ziko: lyzzy: thanks for mentioning it - it seems that the feed to planet wikimedia is broke
[1:20pm] eekim: good post, ziko. and i like the pictures.
[1:20pm] • Philippe waves to lyzzy ... was good to see you in Berlin
[1:21pm] Ziko:
[1:21pm] eekim: i agree, it's a big problem
[1:21pm] eekim: it goes back to having a respectful, civil community
[1:22pm] Ziko: i have asked fellow mentors of de.wp about what they think about some rude user comments i showed to them. most of them think that saying "your article is shit" is rude but no personal attack, so no cause to intervene
[1:23pm] eekim: the way to get past that kind of short sightedness is dat
[1:23pm] eekim: data
[1:23pm] eekim: show that people are leaving because of those comments
[1:23pm] Philippe: That makes me a little sad. I'm not sure it's a personal attack, but that doesn't stop us from saying "We hold people to a higher standard than that here"
[1:23pm] Philippe: it SHOULDN'T stop us from saying that, i mean.
[1:24pm] Ziko: i don't see how to change the rudeness. maybe the key is to have better communications with newbies anyway, to make sure that the rude people are at least not the only they communicate with
[1:24pm] eekim: we can change the tool, and we can also train editors
[1:25pm] AlexandrDmitri left the chat room.
[1:25pm] Philippe: There are some great research papers on how to introduce "Nice" to "mean" communities. That's not exactly the problem here, but i should dig some out and re-read. Generally speaking, though, it comes from personalizing, and from having a core of people who rise up and say "we simply won't tolerate meanness here"
[1:25pm] eekim: for example (and this is just an idea), we could disallow reverts of a user's first edit
[1:25pm] Ziko: i recently had a mentee who was insulted by the comment "quality enforcement - full programme" put on "his" article. i know that the user did not mean anything aggressive but my mentee was very upset
[1:25pm] eekim: an essential part of communication is knowing your audience
[1:26pm] eekim: one of our problems is that it's hard to know who our audience is
[1:26pm] eekim: in those situations, it's easy to assume that others are like us, which is generally not true
[1:26pm] Ziko: but maybe we get a little bit far from issue here
[1:26pm] eekim: perhaps
[1:26pm] eekim: on the goal front, i just want to share a quick calculation
[1:26pm] eekim: right now, we're at 350 million readers / month and 90 thousand active contributors
[1:27pm] Philippe: with active defined as 5+edits per month?
[1:27pm] eekim: that's 0.026% of our readers are active contributors
[1:27pm] eekim: yes, thanks Philippe
[1:27pm] Philippe: and actually, not to argue the specifics, but... I think the last number I saw is 371million readers
[1:27pm] Philippe: (that's actually a metric I track pretty closely)
[1:27pm] eekim: okay, that changes to 0.024%
[1:28pm] atglenn: is that en pedia or all projects?
[1:28pm] eekim: let's call it 0.025% just to make it a round number
[1:28pm] eekim: all projects
[1:28pm] Philippe: all projects, atglenn
[1:28pm] atglenn: ok
[1:28pm] Philippe: across all projects/all languages/all properties
[1:28pm] eekim: so if that percentage held, and if we were aiming for 600 million readers/month in five years...
[1:28pm] eekim: ... we'd be aiming for 150,000 active contributors / month
[1:29pm] atglenn: someone wanted to know if fokls are migrating to and/or from en pedia to other language versions
[1:29pm] atglenn: (editors). that would be nice to know
[1:29pm] eekim: yes, it would
[1:29pm] Philippe: atglenn: interesting question.
[1:29pm] eekim: atglenn, could you add that as a question to
[1:30pm] Ziko: i know about some editors in German dialect WPs that they left German WP because they were unhappy about something (rudeness, notability issues etc.)
[1:30pm] eekim: so let's be bold for a sec. let's say that we also want to increase the percentage of active contributors to 0.03%
[1:30pm] atglenn: which section to add it to?
[1:30pm] eekim: that's 0.0003 -- a tiny, tiny percentage
[1:30pm] Philippe: so, 180,000 per month then
[1:31pm] eekim: atglenn, community health or outreach
[1:31pm] eekim: that's right, philippe
[1:31pm] eekim: still below 200,000
[1:31pm] eekim: another thought experiment
[1:31pm] Philippe: (yay, 18 years of math wasn't a total waste... I can do elementary mathematics)
[1:31pm] eekim: what if, instead of 600 million readers in five years, our goal was 1 billion
[1:32pm] eekim: that would make our goal for active contributors 300,000
[1:32pm] atglenn: (I can't, Philippe )
[1:32pm] Philippe: At what point do we begin to shift our focus away from our traditional operations though? To get to 1Billion, to me, requires a much higher lift, because we're probably going to need to look more at offline readers, etc, right?
[1:32pm] eekim: in order to go from 0.024% to 0.03%, we would need to address the issues ziko and others are bringing up
[1:33pm] eekim: philippe, why?
[1:33pm] Ziko: i am bad at maths so i would put a different goal. i do not know whether there are X or Y people with Z in the world that makes our maths work. my goal: we should try that those people who may like to contribute are given a realistic chance (reach them, invite them, treat them nice, support them)
[1:33pm] Philippe: Total earth population is roughly 6 billion. How many of them have reliable access to teh interwebz? How many of those are (like my granmother) never going to use it?
[1:33pm] Philippe: It's a diminishing sum.
[1:34pm] atglenn: that's a moving target
[1:34pm] eekim: okay, i'm going to address philippe's point first, then ziko's
[1:34pm] Philippe: Obviously, for instance, the Indian subcontinent has a huge population: how many of them have reliable access? how many of them are culturally likely? etc
[1:34pm] atglenn: in another 20 years internet tech will look radically different than today's version
[1:34pm] Philippe: yes, but we're looking at 5 years (and agreed, it's still going to be radically different)
[1:35pm] atglenn: mobile devices in places where people don't type on laptops: already happening
[1:35pm] dafer45: Just one question, do we mean 600 million readers that access the material through an internet connection, or 600 million readers including offline access
[1:36pm] atglenn: if we want to convert % to editors, they had better have a means to edit = online
[1:36pm] eekim: dafer45, i would include offline, although we would have to figure out how to measure that
[1:36pm] Philippe: but those mobile devices aren't all smart phones. In many cases, they're "dumb" phones working from technologies like SMS. But even in those cases, we have to shift our focus to things like "how do we deliver effectively to those mobile devices"
[1:36pm] Philippe: "and allow them to edit in return"
[1:36pm] atglenn: yes, we do ( Philippe )
[1:36pm] eekim: atglenn, good points. offline for readers, but if that's a significant percentage of our readership in five years, upping the percentage of active contributors might be more challenging
[1:37pm] eekim: okay, back to philippe's point
[1:37pm] eekim: in india, there are 80 million Internet users right now and 350 million cell users
[1:38pm] eekim: right now, wikimedia penetration is below 30% (i don't have the exact number)
[1:38pm] Philippe: mind you, i'm not saying 1billion isn't a good goal. I'm just saying that at some point, I think there's a serious need for operations shift to things other than our traditional product
[1:38pm] eekim: i'm not sure that's true, philippe
[1:38pm] eekim: trying to test that assumption with my calculator
[1:39pm] Philippe: Even if it's not, getting from 1 Billion to 2 Billion without making that shift would be nearly impossible... I'm thinking about it as a forward moving process...
[1:39pm] eekim: ?
[1:39pm] eekim: 1 to 2 billion? i'm talking about 370 million to 1 billion
[1:39pm] Philippe: Well, let's say we can get to 1Billion without having to shift operational focus. What's the next goal?
[1:39pm] eekim: that's approximately 20% growth a year
[1:39pm] eekim: one goal at a time
[1:40pm] eekim: we're talking about five years right now
[1:40pm] eekim: we can talk about the next goal five years from now
[1:40pm] Philippe: Part of our five year planning should include planning fro the next five years, imho.
[1:41pm] eekim: okay, so if we were to get to 30% penetration in india in five years, that would be an additional 20 million users right there
[1:41pm] eekim: that's not counting mobile, and that's not accounting for growth
[1:42pm] eekim: there's going to be a huge shift in connectivity in the next five years
[1:43pm] eekim: 1 billion is doable, but it's definitely big, hairy, and audacious
[1:44pm] Philippe: I don't disagree
[1:44pm] atglenn: aim high
[1:44pm] eekim: if you believe that Wikimedia is nearing a crisis point due to community health, than 600 million is no sure thing either
[1:45pm] eekim: if you don't believe that, then 600 million is conservative
[1:45pm] Ziko: this number game, where is it leading to?
[1:46pm] eekim: trying to figure out what the right goals should be?
[1:46pm] eekim: (meant that to be a statement, not a question)
[1:46pm] eekim: it's not enough to say we want more readers or more contributors
[1:46pm] eekim: we should have a target
[1:46pm] mikelifeguard is now known as Mike||gone.
[1:48pm] Ziko: imagine i stand at a info desk at a hobby fair or educational convention. my goal to make me happy is: give a flyer to 1'000 people. Why? because i have 1'000 flyers and I don't want them wasted, they costed money. but i can not know how many people pass by and how many of them would take a flyer. this means that i make my happiness depending on something i cannot control.
[1:49pm] Ziko: a more useful goal is: i want to make contact with a lot of people, and i want these contacts to be suitable. if someone grumpy is passing by, i smile at him. if someone looks like if he wants to talk, i talk to him. if someone could benefit from a flyer i give him the flyer.
[1:49pm] eekim: imagine you're selling flyers for a dollar a piece, and you have a thousand flyers. wouldn't it be a great goal to sell all of your flyers? you don't have 100% control there, but it's a good goal
[1:50pm] Ziko: (maybe "appropriate" is the better word in English than "suitable")
[1:50pm] eekim: wikimedia's vision is the sum of all knowledge freely available to _everyone_
[1:50pm] eekim: is it realistic, given what we know, to have it in 600 million people's hands in five years?
[1:50pm] atglenn: so far we are pretty short of sum and pretty short of everyone (but not doing bad for only ten years in)
[1:50pm] eekim: (which is not even 10% of the world's population)
[1:50pm] Philippe: Frankly, I think 600 million is a sucker goal. It's almost too easy
[1:51pm] eekim: definitely, atglenn
[1:51pm] Philippe: but that's just me.
[1:51pm] eekim: Philippe, then you think editor attrition / acquisition isn't that big of an issue right now
[1:51pm] eekim: ?
[1:51pm] Philippe: I actually think it's a huge issue. But not unsolvable.
[1:51pm] Ziko: eekim: we don't sell flyers, we are not marketeers for a product
[1:51pm] eekim: ziko, my point is this
[1:52pm] eekim: you don't set goals for things you control completely
[1:52pm] atglenn: solvable easily? ( Philippe )
[1:52pm] eekim: if you did, then the goals would be totally uninteresting
[1:52pm] eekim: we don't totally control how many people access or contribute to wikimedia projects
[1:53pm] eekim: but we have some control, and if we set audacious goals, then we will be motivated to work harder at it
[1:53pm] Philippe: atglenn: Remember: I was saying that a reach of 600M is easy. Not that solving the editors/attrition thing is easy... but since you asked, yes, I do think it's solvable with a relatively small amount of pain. I'm a fan of the concept of social features because they personalize the interface beyond names.
[1:53pm] eekim: and if we achieve those audacious goals, it will make the process much sweeter
[1:53pm] atglenn: well one does set goals for things one can control completely (I'm going to go to the gym three times a week) but that's a different sort of goal-setting
[1:53pm] eekim: that's valid, atglenn
[1:53pm] Philippe: I also think that on some of the projects, we're seeing an increased number of people rise up and say "this is going to be a collegial environment, and I will own my part of making that happen"
[1:53pm] Philippe: and i think those things are self-perpetuating
[1:54pm] atglenn: Philippe: want to describe a couple social features and how they would make a significant impact on the "mean community" problem?
[1:54pm] eekim: i'll bite
[1:54pm] Ziko: so how will you count later that you have been successfull? when statistics show higher rates?
[1:54pm] eekim: ziko, that's why setting measurable goals is important: so you know whether you've achieved them or not
[1:55pm] Philippe: atglenn: "Suggest an article" features are great for that sort of thing. "View your friends edits" features are as well. It's about personalizing and developing social dynamics.
[1:55pm] eekim: Wikia stats showed that a Welcome bot increased new contributions
[1:56pm] atglenn: Philippe: how does that counteract mean behavior?
[1:56pm] Philippe: Welcome bots are good examples. Also "Here's a need" widgets could drive up contributions from new editors, especially if well targeted.
[1:56pm] atglenn: or are you not talking about that angle of the issue?
[1:56pm] Ziko: i have seen to many failures in interpreting our Wikimedia Statistics that i would put my aspirations on them
[1:56pm] Philippe: atglenn: If yo uwant to change the dynamics of a community, adding people with helpful dynamics are good. Creating groups of co-ordinated interests also help with that.
[1:57pm] eekim: ziko, say more
[1:57pm] Philippe: It can even be as simple as putting language on the interface "Is this edit kind? Is it helpful? Does it solve a problem"?
[1:57pm] Ziko: my goal is to have a better wikipedia. better written, highler quality. but this is hard to measure
[1:58pm] Philippe: Ziko: there are stats we can measure around that... primarily around complaint emails, things like that.
[1:58pm] Philippe: We have to start gathering them first tho
[1:58pm] eekim: exactly
[1:58pm] atglenn: Philippe: do we have a list of such proposed changes someplace?
[1:59pm] eekim: i'm not saying we should be overly reliant on stats
[1:59pm] Philippe: atglenn: nope.
[1:59pm] eekim: but we shouldn't avoid them either
[1:59pm] eekim: sure, we do Philippe and atglenn
[1:59pm] eekim:
[1:59pm] Philippe: I forgot about that page
[2:00pm] eekim: that strategy wiki is pretty cool
[2:00pm] Philippe: there's a whole category for them in proposals, duh
[2:00pm] Ziko: for example our statistics count edits. but some edits create a whole good article (=1 edit), others are vandalism (=1 edit)
[2:00pm] atglenn: ah, I meant specifically features that would impact the "mean community' syndrome, not social networking tools in and of themselves
[2:00pm] eekim: yes, ziko, i would be suspicious of goals around number of edits for this reason
[2:01pm] atglenn: are there edit wars on facebook?
[2:01pm] eekim: atglenn, many of those proposals are specifically to address the mean community syndrome. would be good to flesh that out, of course.
[2:01pm] eekim: what do you mean? facebook != wiki
[2:01pm] atglenn: no it isn't
[2:01pm] Philippe: atglenn: depends on how you define it. There are obviously tag/untag issues with photos.
[2:01pm] Philippe: But they're few and far between, comparatively.
[2:01pm] eekim: they're designed completely differently
[2:02pm] eekim: if you untag yourself, your edit wins
[2:02pm] Ziko: i once was courious how many "real, regular" contributors there are at a specific WP. i made up a definition and guarded the recent changes one week. that is much more work than looking at the stats for "active editors" who might not even speak the language in question.
[2:02pm] Ziko: or take the silly race for high article numbers
[2:02pm] eekim: again, ziko, i'm in agreement (i think)
[2:02pm] eekim: i don't think we should have a goal around high article numbers
[2:02pm] atglenn: if one group starts a "we hate X" group, what do X lovers do? start a competing group? invade the first group? is there a TOS, etc?
[2:03pm] eekim: again, my point is not that numbers are everything, it's that we should set sensible, measurable targets when appropriate
[2:03pm] eekim: atglenn, all of the above
[2:03pm] atglenn: just thinking about sources of conflict and what social networking does to them
[2:03pm] Ziko: and what if we say we want a "reach" of 300 mio over five years, or 600 mio - so what? if it is only 300 mio, are we disappointed?
[2:03pm] atglenn: (thinking about schoolyards and social conflict also)
[2:03pm] eekim: ziko, i think we need to consider the context to answer that question
[2:04pm] eekim: if we're at 370 million now, our goal is 600 million in 5 years, and we're still at 370 million in five years, yes, i think we're disappointed
[2:04pm] eekim: agree?
[2:04pm] atglenn: only a few mean people on the playground can really set the tone
[2:04pm] eekim: atglenn, true
[2:05pm] atglenn: I would say something about lessons to be drawn from american political parties as well... but probably best not to
[2:05pm] Philippe: lol
[2:05pm] eekim: okay folks, we're five minutes over
[2:05pm] eekim: (again, my numbers obsession )
[2:05pm] eekim: thanks for a really great discussion
[2:06pm] Ziko: i like those widgets philippe talked about
[2:06pm] Philippe:
[2:06pm] eekim: me too
[2:06pm] Philippe: OK, I'm going to have to duck out... but I'll get this log up asap
[2:06pm] eekim: ziko, i'll check out your blog. hope someone gets the planet feed fixed!
[2:06pm] eekim: bye everybody!
[2:06pm] atglenn: l8tr
[2:07pm] atglenn left the chat room.
[2:07pm] eekim left the chat room.
[2:07pm] Philippe: bye!