Participation Request for Input

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Request for Community Input

Please use the talk page to include your input on the questions below: In building out the fact base on "participation," here are some of the biggest gaps (we've identified) in data and current understanding of the situation.

These questions apply to the Participation section.

Got Data?
  • The most robust data exists on Wikipedia, and we have one data point on Wikibooks, but who are the participants of the other Wikimedia Projects?
  • What are proven ways for increasing community engagement across Wikimedia projects? What strategies have been successfully used to drive new content creation?
  • How have other mass collaboration portals (i.e. epicurious, yelp, facebook) reached out to new segments of users? Do these other examples hold any relevance for Wikimedia?
Got Opinions?
  • How could Wikimedia increase editors' perception that their contribution is valuable?
  • What could Wikimedia do to lower technical barriers for new contributors?
  • In what ways could Wikimedia projects attract new participants that participate in traditional or non-traditional roles?
  • What partnerships could Wikimedia projects form to attract new participants?
  • What kind of users (i.e. core vs. one-time) does Wikimedia most want to attract and why?
  • What would it take if Wikimedia were to focus on:
  • a) expanding the number of "core participants"?
  • b) encouraging more novice or one-time users?

What is Going On (WIGO)?

Based on an initial analysis, it looks like contributors begin dropping out after about 5-6 years of a Wikipedian's lifecycle. However, of course, an organization n-years old is going to see a maximum life-span of n: And wikipedia is about 6 years old...

  • What has caused the slowing growth trend in new content creation and peaking of number of contributors?
    • The number of articles that should exist is presumably finite: Is the growth in new content simply a result of asymptotically approaching that limit?
      • How does the number of articles compare to previous encyclopedias? How many searches don't hit an article (for reasons other than spelling?) If not many, then wikipedia is only missing things that no one would ever read.
    • Are there identifiable barriers to engagement for existing participants that have lead to this apparent limit?
  • Will the other Wikipedias behave similarly, if somewhat time-lagged?
    • Is the Russian Wikipedia on a different path ?
What are the Implications?

It looks like the ratio of articles per active contributor is growing:

  • Is the reason known?
    • A likely cause is that wikipedia has attracted and differentially retained highly competent people, whose high rate of productivity is simply apparent is these statistics.
      • In a stable state, we should expect numbers of articles edited to follow a 1 / n2 function. If so, this is normal, rather than a sign of a change,
    • Is there any evidence of bullying, as opposed to simple higher productivity?
    • What effect has this example of w:Lotka's law had on the Wikipedia community?
      • Users: Have they experienced enhanced, or decreased value from Wikipedia?
      • Editors: Is the increase in articles to which each active editor contributes
  • How is article quality affected by a smaller cohort of active contributors?
    • Are they behaving like a random sample of experts, raising quality? or a biased sample from this population, skewing quality and validity?