Task force/Community Health/Questions and answers

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The community health task force was assigned several questions to guide their work. Here are some data-driven answers to those questions.

What key measures of community health exist and how have these measures changed over time?

Wikipedia versus other projects

Wikipedia contributors

Activity of Wikipedia contributors

What are the causes in the apparent decline in community?

Issues related to active users

Issues related to new users

How can these causes of the decline in community health be addressed? (i.e. cultural norms, technology solutions, communications)

A brainstorm among the community health task force revealed nine potential solutions to the decline in community health:

This largely overlaps with proposals from the community:

Are some projects more burdened with policies than others? If so, why and what has been the impact?

"Burden" is a loaded term.

There are policy differences between the different language Wikipedias. The German Wikipedia is considered more "exclusionist" than other Wikipedias, and was the the first project to embrace a policy of "flagged revisions".

Which policies have the most direct impact, both positive and negative, on contribution?

According to quantitative studies of across all Wikipedias, policy has no direct impact on contribution. Growth in active contributors has stabilized across all language projects, regardless of policy differences. This point was made clear in an expert interview, which stated: "Our results just showed us that this is true: policies have no influence on this stabilization effects. Instead, what is changing is the behavioral patterns in the community."

For more information, consult the interview.

Which policies are necessary for the functioning of the Wikimedia community? Which can be eliminated?

Experts have suggested that a task force of a few people would not have the legitimacy to make this decision on behalf of the community.

The task force has taken the position that the community wants to simplify, change, and strengthen policy, but they are not able to because of problems with consensus-building processes.

What 2-4 strategic opportunities for investment in improving community health would have the most positive impact on the attraction and retention of contributors?

The changes that would have the most positive impact on the retention of contributors can be found here:

Who is needed to support this strategy (e.g., Wikimedia Foundation, chapters, individual volunteers, external partners), and what do they need to do?

These recommendations require:

  1. Financial investment from the Wikimedia foundation
  2. Moral support from the Wikimedia foundation
  3. Technical changes from volunteers and partners in software development
  4. Administration and maintenance from a small but active group of volunteers
  5. Buy-in from the community at large

Because the community is in a declining state of health, requiring community buy-in may create a circular problem. The community must come to an agreement in order to fix the community, but we must fix the community in order for the community to come to an agreement. Improving the community's decision-making processes is a top priority for the foundation for that reason.