Proposal:Announce new Wikipedia for new hope

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Status (see valid statuses)

The status of this proposal is:
Request for Discussion / Sign-Ups

Status (see valid statuses)

The status of this proposal is:
Request for Discussion / Sign-Ups


If not English, in what language is this proposal submitted?:

Summary

Apparently, the many ideas people have suggested will have the potential to shift into a "New Wikipedia" (and New Wikimedia Commons, etc.). When morale is as low as reports have indicated, then a major change is warranted. An announcement should be planned that pinpoints some major structural problems and how they have been improved.

Suggestion

Define a simple announcement which reveals the New Wikipedia (or New Wikimedia) will be based on some major changes to create a more friendly atmosphere, resolve disputes faster, and improve quality control of articles or images.

The important priorities seem to be (add more to list here):

  • System messages will ask for user responses rather than act only as warnings.
  • Previously, messages were sent as one-way notices by bots, but now a user's reply to a bot message will be read by assistants.
  • Formerly, articles had no method to specify major contents, but now layouts can be specified.
  • Because the layout of some articles will be controlled, consensus-groups can set "binding" decisions about the future contents of articles.
  • It will no longer be easy to "totally rewrite" any article, due to new controls about article contents.
  • Endless re-interpretations of policies will be curtailed by directive documents which explain the policy in particular situations.
  • Upper-level members will have a documented means to quickly resolve an issue for long-term application.
  • Crucial discussions can still be talk-archived, but leave a stable directive as the long-term outcome.
  • Major disagreements among numerous users can be resolved by small groups who represent each side of a dispute, to reach consensus faster.
  • People will discuss options in a more friendly manner, to seek true consensus on principles, but form a compromise when needed.

Motivation

It is important to show the system has "turned over a new leaf" by indicating some core changes about how things will work. For example:

  • Having bots issue warnings, to post user-talk messages, gave the impression that a user could not respond, but other people, now, can come to the talk-page to read a user's response to the bot message. Bot messages will no longer be considered to be one-way warnings, but rather, as the start of a dialogue with users.
  • Formerly, any article could, technically, be rewritten in a few hours, which gave the impression that an article's content could not be controlled. Now some articles will be tied to layout-pages, which provide some stability of content, so the structure of each article, and the related articles, can be decided by consensus-groups who act as "architects" of sets of articles.

Announcing major, fundamental changes, such as those above, will give disgruntled users new hope that significant improvements are coming soon. Some other possible improvements:

  • Allow limited POV-fork pages, because some issues have inherent systemic biases which need to be explained, by a separate article that dwells on the importance of the alternate viewpoint. For example, "Traffic signals for colorblindness" will summarize the differences, from the viewpoint of red/green (and yellow) appearing as similar colors.
  • Move to a system of demerits/merits so that a person could work to earn merits, to offset demerits from a policy violation. Admins will not threaten users, but total demerits will decide edit-blocks.
  • Allow experts to be invited to help define the key issues to be covered by a set of articles.

Potential costs

It is important to re-think the impacts of numerous user complaints, over the years, and devise an announcement that addresses the most deeply ingrained frustrations or conflicts. A message of new hope, to be believable, must emphasize that profound changes are coming, and those changes are being made to fix the problems which users have discussed. The enemy was not really other users, but rather a system with some major pitfalls. It allowed unstructured articles to be hacked away, where no one felt their contributions would last. Plus to allow quick notifications, messages were issued by automatic bots, giving the impression that user replies could not be read for bot notices. However, now a user can post a reply, and when people review the talk-page, they can discuss each user's reaction to the bot announcements. Many articles will become more stable, and 2-way dialogues between people will be a priority, despite the bot messages. Similar high-impact issues should be addressed, and that will require further analysis.


Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Announce new Wikipedia for new hope.

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