Openness and Participation

From Strategic Planning
(Redirected from Openness)

We are working on ways to promote openness, collaboration, and participation -- especially the attraction and retention of new editors. Openness is a founding principle of the projects, and this means more than simply giving people the technical ability to edit the Projects. This page is for aggregating proposals to reach this goal, motivated by the recent Board resolution on openness.

Please summarize and link to proposals from this wiki and elsewhere, and active initiatives (by the WMF, by individual wikiprojects, and by Chapters and partner or research orgs experimenting with participation and Wikimedian interaction). As a starting point, below are ideas generated over the past few months, since the Editor Trends Study and related brainstorming. Many more abstract ideas have been proposed on this wiki.


starting from goals in the April resolution; please add to these

  • Treat 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;
  • Improve 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;
  • Support 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;
  • Work 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
  • Work with colleagues to develop practices to discourage disruptive and hostile behavior, and repel trolls and stalkers.


starting from comments on talk pages hereand in recent meetings. please add to these, and add links to specific strategy proposals.

Broadcast this effort

Use sitebanners and notices to encourage focus on this.

  • Post to a Main Page or other highly visible page:
    The foundation's number one priority this year is attracting and retaining new users. We would like everybody's help converting new users in to long term contributors. This would mean spending less time deleting articles, reverting edits and other things that discourage new user participation and more time praising new users, encouraging them and teaching them how to create quality content.
    Please see [links] for more information. Thank you for your support.
  • Reach out to the thousands who signed up to help the Strategy Project at the beginning. Ask for their input on this particular topic.
  • Honor welcomers and social acts.
    I asked someone what they did within the projects, her answer was: "not much"...."I just welcome new people and help them find their way". we seem to value "editors" more than those that perform other tasks...
  • Allow editing on mobile platforms. This is tied directly to openness.
  • (comparing to Baidu Baike) Develop a better editor. WYSIWYG, no need to understand symbols. Allow cutting and pasting code, or posting without pasting.
  • (comparing to Baidu Baike) Add workflows/messaging to encourge amateurs to join.

Be Respectful: deletion and blocking

Replace deletion with more respectful process
  • The key point to attracting people is to value their work. wefa--value more than a PHD opinion then...hope
  • Apply notability guidelines evenly. (a long list of articles about what not to do in deletion discussions seem in practice to describe standard operating procedure)
  • Don't delete any articles (except for spam/nonsense/copyvios/vandalism) - make them invisible to others instead.
    Don't let anyone leave with the thought "I gave up, the administrator was a bully, I don’t have time to deal with that;" or "I just have published a small number of lines while still writing and few seconds after my article was erased, I hate this rudeness."
Create an incubation space/process for new topics
  • New articles should have a determined minimum time of existence (at least one week, can be extended) and own space (an Incubating/Draft Space) where admins cannot delete/revert
  • Deletion should be done by a random group (have article-patrol jury duty?), not a few admins working on hundreds of articles a week.
  • Combat gang mentality (in reviewing) - have a better process.
Limit blocking
  • Range blocks. "once an IP range is labelled as a "proxy" it is never looked at again"
  • Semiprotection. Over 15% of pageviews on en:wp are to a semiprotected page; so 15% of visitors see a page without an 'edit' button...
  • Rethink community bans. (specific bad examples given)
    Foster a userclass of facilitators who can resolve hard issues without viewing them as conflict that needs punishment.
  • How about greater openness in telling people when they've been named in SPIs? This is especially relevant to newbies... See talk page. Kalidasa 777 04:49, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Set a higher standard for respect and politeness.
  • Make hostility totally unacceptable, not one of many policies.
    "can you imagine a sign at your workplace saying 'dont be hostile to fellow workers' or a sign in a store saying 'dont be hostile to customers'? no." -
  • Use software to detect the tone and style of text-based interactions, such as Cataphora
  • Apply civility policies equally. (admins and well connected editors should not get a free pass)
    (thoughts from a non-editor) survey/debrief user/editors who have stopped participating
    create an independent group to address situations where established/powerful/admins are perceived to flourish.*
  • Ask bureaucrats or admins to use real names - it makes the process feel more human

Social support

  • Define our social network, and social tools. Acting as a team is key to our mission.
    How do we meet the expectations of editors? What are key drivers to make editors stay for years? Will you be around in 1 year? Do you feel part of a team?
    Share good team experiences. Is there already a place to share that? Anneyh

Teamwork and mutual support

The ten millionth file in Wikimedia Commons: a photograph taken by User:Leinad during a Wikiexpedition associated with Wikimania 2010 in Gdańsk
  • Run targeted campaigns to recruit new contribs to a wikiproject, then focus on making 'team chemistry' happen. Anneyh All but the best lack critical mass.
  • Help contributors receive voluntary donations from one another for their work (via a paypal/gift link on userpages) --
  • Organize Wikiexpeditions, like those organized before and after Wikimania 2010 in Gdańsk (see here). They were aimed at gathering information on regions or topics that are poorly represented in Wikipedia, but also at helping wikimedians get to know each other and make friends.

Expand scope

  • Anti-deletionism (Wnt and others): End deletionism, and growth will return.
  • Bring back the stub! Let articles grow naturally.
    Forumulate modest minimum requirements for a stub and give any stub a survival guarantee of 1 year provided it meets them.
  • Notability: Value reader input. Hit rates on an article themselves establish certain notability
  • Reduce source requirements for regions without adequate references (some countries do not have matured publishing industries and NEED wikipedia the most.) Nikhilsheth

Simplify first steps

Simplify first steps.
  • improve the intro/tutorials. Flatterworld writes "how to succeed in editing without really trying".
    don't start an article 'from scratch'. Find a similar article, cut-paste-change to get the formatting codes right, you're done.
    Have a User experience person review the Article Creation Wizard (en:wp)
  • Make it easier to remember logins and reuse old accounts.

Change through crisis

Address this as a crisis, not a gradual plateau problem.

  • KrebMarkt suggests big changes happen "near-exclusively through crisis".
  • Saeed.Veradi put this most graphically with a series of wikislides.

StrategyWiki has detected the maturity peak just in time. but some obstacles don't let us start solving the problem:

  • 1st: movement priorities aim "to Improve" the movement. not to "rescue" it.
  • 2nd: zero increase in readership, quality and innovation is not likely to harm Wikipedia in this 3 years, but the upcoming fall in participation will immediately and directly injure Wikipedia-movement...

Thus participation must become the main goal for 2 years. other priorities must be a tool for achieving it. this will be temporary until the challenge is over.

  • 3rd: neither the community, nor the StrategyWiki has predicted the fall in the participation (instead optimistically focusing on plateaus)
  • 4th: the community is not well aware of it's possible outcomes:

Wikimedia is not automated for many simple tasks, and relies on users more than on infrastructure.
Users don't rely on quality, innovation, or infrastructure, they need (other users)

  • 5th: the community is not going to solve this by chance. current proposals are great,

but idealistic and focused on unimportant aspects, as the community is optimistic about the future.


  • Offer a great web experience. See FB/Twitter as competitors in UI/layout/ease
    Howie: Solving the retention problem without improving the new user experience may lead to more frustrated people
  • Attract readers in focused areas (where they can work with one another) -- see wikiprojects.

Channel positive energy

  • A1. Attract readers to well-matched first-time projects
    Use the site banners, which we control: point people to tasks that need work.
    Organize specific wikiprojects who want to work with newbie participants.
    (Fix the platform elements that make specific kinds of new contrib. easy, useful, rewarding.)

  • A2. Amplify friendly community leadership
    Add a userflag for facilitators and welcomers. give them the power to protect pages, unblock people, and revert admins who bite newbies. make it clear they are leaders as much as any admin.
    Add tools to make cleanup and troll-fighting easier. This will reduce its % of our culture. [learn from MetaFilter's tools]
  • A3. Improve feedback loops in the platform
    Help people visualize other users -- who they are dealing with, their context (see MeFi tools as above)
    Provide a chat window 1:1 about an article just edited; if you are still logged in, get realtime feedback.
    Simplify typical tasks; deletion, cleanup-review, patrolling, user flagging (to direct more energy into positive tasks)

Change the rules

  • B1. Change community focus to attend to friendliness, respect, encouragement
    en:wp - Emphasize the last 2 pillars. Better support for Welcoming Committees; Wikiguides.
    describe how Wikimedia is a social project. ("we are not a social network" is often misused to discourage socializing and social bonding among participants) being social and friendly supports our work in a meaningful lasting way.
    Elaborate on what quality means to us. Discuss how notability-debates & deletion practice affect our mission.
    Invite known helpful iconoclasts to participate in revisiting policies who would not engage otherwise.
  • B2. Support good new ideas for change
    Idea-pool and Feedback tools: Help raise awareness about the best ideas. Traversing the proposals on strategywiki is hard; it should be 'as delicious as browsing kickstarter'.
    Summarization: Help sift through ideas and open threads (from the strategy/ideapool and mailing lists).
    Coordination: Gather a number of ideas for significant change (each of which will require broad consensus) and discuss them in a centralized place.
    Localization: Repeat the above in various languages.
  • B3. Protect newbies from nasty old-timers
    Provide a namespace which newbies can protect themselves (or through welcomers) and admins cannot unprotect.
    Provide a way for newbies to block/ignore interactions with specific users.
    Use an article incubator (such as on ru.wp).
    All admins will have their real names pointed out in their usernames (commitment it is fundamental for discouraging harassment/bullies; motivating dialogues, politeness and responsibility).
  • B4. Encourage new and old articles
    Articles nominated to deletions discussed only via committee members randomly gathered and convoked by means of software. Nominator (of deletion) cannot take part of the discussion.
    All speedy-deletions destined only to plain cases, such as pornography, and exclusively made by way of software (whole process runs without human intervention).
    Ban professional critics of articles. Any user has to own a quota of significant articles expanded or created by him regularly (checked by software) or will have not permission to criticize.
    Ban tendentious censure (religious, political, personal preferences cannot be tolerated as argumentation to criticism). Neutrality it is key point, it has to be imposed in any discussion. An article can have different points of view, and none can be deleted unless them openly support violation of human rights or cruelty against animals. A channel of right access will be available in every article of main space to registered users denounce improper deletions. The issues will be judged via committee members randomly gathered and convoked by means of software.
    Keep clean the façade of articles in main space, free of demands. Tags, issues and criticism only allowed in page of discussion or other.
    Punish impoliteness, encourage dialogues and civility. Newbees and everyone else have to be treated nicely. A channel of right access will be available in every article of main space to registered users denounce abuses. The issues will be judged via committee members randomly gathered and convoked by means of software.

Measure and share data

  • C1. Gather data constantly
    A/B tests for changes every week. ('web product' studies to complement harer 'buzzing society' studies)
    Other weekly data, qual and quant, on why people join, stay, leave. net promotion.
  • C2. Publish via community data-mavens
    Work with community to figure out what else should be measured - we have lots of great data geeks (bot masters, researchcom)
    Where do good long-lasting editors come from? How can we improve the hook that starts editing, and then convert them to /good/ contributors? are coi edits a valid entry?

Help me merge my wiki

There are tons of wikis out there that could be brought into Wikipedia. However, people don't want to 'loose' their wiki in the process... of course experienced Wikipeidans know about 'WikiProjects', communities within Wikipedia, and the huge benefits of being a part of this crowd, those facts are not clear to noobs (even wiki-literate Wikipedia-noobs).

So... help me integrate the content of my wiki into Wikipedia! Help me set up a community around the page that I'm adding. Help me to understand wiki-communities in action.

Cheers, --Dan Bolser 18:24, 13 May 2011 (UTC). [1].

Related research

  • essays/reports on projects known for friendly practices, like PGDP?
  • a review of wikitravel / wikia / wikihow practices, both have thought about this from a very familiar starting point

Requested research

Focus on what makes people stay.

Classify projects differently for analysis of participation:

those with former exponential growth that is declining
those with exponential growth now
those with linear growth now

how is growth evaluated by society as a whole? we must realize what is beneficial to making everyone happy all at once not one specific person being selfish in doing research for selfish purpose. what research has been done towards ultimate understanding? every mathematical formula has a purpose. it needs to be available in one place all at once for time travel discovery to be possible/ people need to learn to work selflessly without the incentive of money to maximize their own learning potential. the most important project on the wiki site is the language barrier. if people all over the world are smart than they need to be able to learn without going to school and needing money for a computer to read this information this site makes available. let the change be mass education and the elimination of money as an incentive to do work. this site is selfless unlike most selfish things in society because it runs off of donations

Becoming a target

I think that if anyone really exposes the problem, then that person will become attacked by the problem, such as with corporate whistleblowing.---w:User:John_Bessa

Lead us not into temptation

There's editing - adding valid material to articles or improving presentation. There's editing - taking stuff out you consider invalid. Then there's meta-editing - new page patrol, categories for discussion, checking media, dealing with incidents. The last is where the troubles enumerated above - gang behaviour, summary deletion, bullying, favouritism, incivility and all the rest - are mostly carried out (why? because selfishness exists in society, to fix this and begin to move forward instead of constant 'revision' we must eliminate selfishness and, and allow everyone to be happy all the time through mass knowledge source such as this). Wikipedia needs to restrict access to "meta-editing" - which is often visible through the sheer number of edits on random topics carried out - to those who have relevant experience and positive outcomes - say on WP:3O and the like.(are the outcomes positive to everyone? no they are not therefore we need to eliminate selfish information that jepordizes everyone elses right to be happy all the time without selfish intent)

Most of the rest is by editors who have a vast watch-list of pages they "own". Likewise, access to "watching" a page might be limited by a system of rewards and penalties. 23:23, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

I have to strongly agree with that last comment. It puts me off editing such articles as are listed on personal pages when I see a personal page which has a list of articles "that I wrote (they're mine! don't you dare edit them in a way that I disagree with)" (DISCLAIMER: that was not a quote - that was my opinion of what kind of attitude that kind list screams at me). Gott wisst 08:22, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Other writing on the topic