If not English, in what language is this proposal submitted?:
This proposal was copied from a section in the Participation backgrounder, because it is making recommendations and not just discussing the facts.
The background data sections should avoid making proposals, they should only show the background data. They should talk about the problems but not tell how to solve them. The solutions should be proposed in the proposal section.
We all have alternative ideas to solve these problems. We should remove the section from the Participation and just make sure the suggestions are represented as proposals.
At present, the Wikipedia interface has limitations in its ability to facilitate social interactions. For example, it is difficult to identify the core group of contributors who created most of the content in an article without extensive history browsing. As another example, MediaWiki (the software underpinning Wikipedia) is being used for both article creation and discussion, with some blog software offering discussion functionality that MedaWiki lacks.
Revamping the interface, with a focus on the social element of content creation, could have far-ranging effects. Introducing a more social atmosphere to Wikipedia could consist of several components:
- Users are granted space for pictures/avatars, thereby creating a visual representation of themselves
- Every article page would have a list of the top 3-5 contributors to the page, with pictures/avatars posted along with a link to the contributors’ user pages
- Users would be able to join topical groups, based on their editing interests (e.g., “18th century American history)
- Users would also be able to track the editing patterns of their friends, a la Facebook or Twitter (e.g., “Susie just changed an article on the Tyrannosaurs rex. Click here to see what she changed”)
Such an approach would make it easier for new contributors to:
- Quickly identify how best to contribute
- Quickly form social connections (via groups and “following”)
- Feel more comfortable in a new setting, with features similar to social networking sites
This would likely require a significant software revamp and might also require the introduction of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editing software, which eliminates the need to be familiar with Wiki syntax.
Potential options include:
- Social networking sites
- LinkedIn - particularly if people cite "professional development" as a reason for contributing to Wikipedia
- Libraries and other cultural institutions holding workshops with visitors
- Engaging high school teachers: contributing to Wikipedia articles may be an excellent way to teach students basic research and summarization skills
- International Organizations working with local populations in developing context appropriate educational materials
- Can Wikipedia just provide better APIS to these social networks or does it have to become one?
- How can we avoid scaring off our existing editors while attracting new ones?
Losing good editors.
Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Social Interaction Features.
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