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Proposal:Scholarships for contributors who bring vital articles to featured status

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

Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

Edit this page to help identify the priorities related to this proposal!

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


Editors who contribute to "vital articles" and raise them to featured status should be nominated for a Wikipedia scholarship. The winner(s) should receive recognition, money, and tools that enable further contributions.


Every major contributor to a featured vital article should be eligible for a Wikimedia scholarship.

  • Vital articles are top importance articles on key topics (see: vital articles).
  • Articles reach featured status based on whether a consensus of editors agree they meet a certain criteria (see: featured article criteria).

The scholarship(s) should eventually be awarded to the biggest contributors to the most vital articles. The scholarship should include:

  • Money (e.g.: $1000, or some other nominal sum that would be seen as impressive outside the WMF)
  • Recognition (e.g.: a certificate, a trophy, an invitation to a conference, publishing their work, etc.)
  • Tools (e.g.: a subscription to Nexis.com, JSTOR, or some other powerful research tool that can help improve articles)


  • Barnstars help keep people going on with their volunteer activities. But they're too subjective and small to motivate heroic contributions to challenging areas.
  • Money, tools, and global recognition would motivate the kinds of contributors we need for our vital articles.
  • I didn't know the "vital articles" list existed until literally today. A scholarship would help attract publicity to this list, and attract contributors who don't know where WMF needs help.
  • Let's start a trend that can be expanded in time. One day, let's have different scholarships for specialized areas. (e.g.: an award just for essential history articles, science articles, etc.)

Key Questions

  • What is a fair sum for a scholarship?
  • What tools would help encourage our greatest contributors to keep going?
  • How many scholarships can the WMF afford to give?
  • Do we have adequate processes for classifying an article as "vital"? For classifying an article as "featured"?
  • What is a fair process for awarding scholarships to the eligible class of contributors?

Potential Costs

  • Scholarship money is the biggest cost, but can be balanced against the benefit of improving vital articles.
  • Evaluating the eligible nominees will take some time and effort.
  • Creating a competitive environment may create feelings of hostility and bitterness.
  • Using prizes to motivate people may undermine the volunteer ethos of the WMF.


Sources of inspiration:

Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Scholarships for contributors who bring vital articles to featured status.

Wikimedia Canada is gearing up for a pilot project to test the effectiveness of a scholarship for medical students [1]

Want to work on this proposal?

  1. --Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:45, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
  2. .. Sign your name here!