Task force/Community Health/Weekly Report 03

From Strategic Planning

Task Force Weekly Report: week of 2009-November 23

Task Force Name:Community Health

Report of Activities

During this week, we:

Individual reports:

  • During this week I experienced at first hand the full extent of the hostility and abusiveness that now exists within en.Wikipedia (cf. my outpourings about the authonomy article). I can only contrast and compare this with recent experiences in a number of relatively controversial and difficult groups on Facebook, which I can only say are kindergardens by comparison, in tone, mode of behaviour, consideration and relative civility. I will document, contrast and compare these experiences, having reflected on them, in an article next week and set forward a number of steps which could reasonably be adopted to mitigate this. Sjc 08:45, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Taking note of Eekim's request for refactoring work I started and substantially populated the pages "Editor awards and rewards" and "Social features". I also attempted to keep up with all on-wiki developments by following recent changes and looking at the contribs of fellow Task Force members. Bodnotbod 13:46, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Interviewed an expert, who has the most comprehensive quantitative analysis of Wikipedia that I've seen thus far. Otherwise, continued to work with others on the task force, and continued to organize proposals from users as they come in. Randomran 16:05, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Planned activities for next week

Please be specific and aggressive. It is okay to roll activities from week to week if necessary.

Group planned activities

  1. Set a time to have a group discussion about progress of the task force.

Individual planned activities

  1. Plan to finish reviewing all the current collaborative editing projects, contests, and award/reward programs on English Wikipedia, Wikiquote, Wikiveristy, Wikisource, Wikinews, Wiktionary, Wikibooks, and Commons; and recruit other people to review Foundation wikis in other languages. See for preliminary review. And for other current contributor collaboration.
  2. Plan to review available research about motivation for contributing to Wikipedia and dispute resolution on Wikipedia English for facts to support Recommendations. List of studies.
  3. Identify published information about on line community policy development.
  4. Review strategic planning pages about information on the drivers of participation for facts to support a recommendation.
  5. Re-organize main task force talk pages to focus on answering questions gathered from research.
    FloNight 18:36, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

I plan to carry on responding to fellow TF members by trying to keep up with all their contributions, plus I will monitor recent changes to keep up with what other TFs are doing which might inspire our TF or overlap with us. RandomRan has pointed me towards a long report which I intend to read and hope to pull out relevant info to place on related parts of the wiki. FloNight has suggested I go out into the web in general to see if I can find evidence that some of our current 'awards and rewards' proposals are working elsewhere. I think all that is going to keep me plenty busy for the this week. Bodnotbod 13:51, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

My plans for this week:

  • Pull charts from that quantitative analysis, which is the deepest study I've seen.
  • Add these charts to our fact base if Bodnotbod doesn't beat me to it :) (I would appreciate the help, and the second pair of eyes.)
  • Wait to hear back from JohnF and/or Philippe about surveying former users
  • Look through expert interviews and identify patterns

And, of course, try to read others' contributions, and help out where I can. Randomran 16:16, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Resources needed

To complete our work, this task force needs the following resources or assistance:

  • Philippe said he would contact Dr. Pikorski to release some informational interviews to the task force.
  • We will likely need to survey former users to answer why users (new and veteran) leave.
  • Still need authoritative data that can answer these questions:
    • Why do new users leave?
    • Why do veteran users leave?
    • The influence of policy
      • ... the quantitative analysis from Ortega Soto is the first study I've seen that offers hard data about the influence of policy. If we can't find any other studies, then we will have to rely exclusively on this one. I'm ready to close this question in the next week, because it will soon be a month and I haven't found anything else. Randomran 16:28, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Might be helpful to know more about administrators, and if there have been changes in their activity over time
  • On the basis that JaapB (contribs) and Jcravens42 (contribs) are still AWOL this Task Force may be in need of additional staff; did Philippe or Eekim get in touch with them? Any news?


This week, this task force wishes to recognize for their assistance the following users:

User:Sjc for sharing with the task force his personal negative experience; and his decision to focus on the positive and stay involved with the task force. :-)

Other comments

Sorry for my silence so far. Online user hostility, online moderator hostility, rebellions in online communities, volunteer dissatisfaction -- none of this is new. None of this is unique to Wikipedia. And it's all been researched before, beyond the boundaries of Wikipedia. Remember USENET? Remember when AOL was the hot online social networking site? So much of what is happening now on Wikipedia regarding user/editor hostility reminds me of the situation AOL back in 1995 or so. Some of the user disputes on those "old" fora made the news. And I'm sure that there was academic and corporate research done on these and other cases. My point is that maybe it's time to do some looking to the past to see how to address these current situations? I don't have access to academic research/academic databases, but anyone who is a currently-enrolled Master's Degree student would probably have such (I did when I was such back in 2005). Would it be possible for someone who has the authority to do so to recruit an online volunteer through the Wikimedia community, VolunteerMatch or Idealist?

From memory, some things that AOL volunteer moderators were upset with once upon a time:

  • They felt like they had built AOL and made it the powerhouse it was, but were not appreciated for that role
  • They felt like complaints against them were not properly investigated; rather, a complaint got a volunteer moderator fired, period
  • They lost their free access to AOL, and as AOL was a for-profit company, they felt they were being expected to volunteer so that others could make a profit
  • They felt like their ideas for improvement were never read/followed-up on
  • They didn't feel sincerely, regularly thanked/recognized

And -- surprise -- these are largely the same complaints of any discontented volunteers, including those who aren't providing service online.

Finally -- I have no idea if I'm contributing correctly. So apologies if I've posted in the wrong place. Jcravens42 18:16, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Jcravens has the same difficulty I do feel now. This discussion is confusing, for when someone writes a question he she should mention the pages where the answer is expected. JaapB 22:09, 7 December 2009 (UTC)


Our notes or documentation can be found at:

Submitted by: FloNight.