Task force/Community Health/resources

From Strategic Planning

Below are a list of pages & references which may be of use to the Task Force. Feel free to modify and add to these as need arises.

see also: Fact base/Research for a summary of the research pulled together before the task forces kicked off.

It would be helpful if you provide a description of the material you place here, a summary of the content and pull out any quotes you find most relevant to the task force.

Summary of existing research

Quantitative research

Reasons for not contributing to Wikipedia

Jimmy Wales' report on the State of the Wiki (PDF)

  • Reasons for not contributing to Wikipedia:
    • Don't think I have enough info to contribute (52%)
    • Happy just to read, don't need to write (49%)
    • No time (31%)
    • Not comfortable editing others work (26%)
    • Don't know how (25%)
    • Afraid of making mistake and getting "in trouble" (24%)
    • Others already doing it, no need for me (19%)
    • Not comfortable with the tech (12%)
    • Waste of time, my edits would be reverted (7%)
    • Would never interact on the internet (5%)

Wikipedia: a quantitative analysis

Wikipedia: A quantitative analysis.

  • Number of authors, articles, and contributions: Summary: the amount of authors and contributions has stabilized
    • "the total number of logged authors in (the English Wikipedia) overwhelms that of any of the (other languages) in this study, which contributes to reach this unusually high number of user discussion pages" (page 74)
    • "In 2007, the total number of contributions becomes stable in all versions" (page 76)
    • "in all language versions, the most common length of standard articles is situated around 1,5KB, indicating that this might be considered as the expected length of a Wikipedia article." (page 80)
    • "the length of articles tend to increase as more different articles revise them, but there exists no direct correlation between these two variables" (page 88)
  • Talk page activity: Summary: contributions to talk pages have stabilized, but we continue to see more and shorter active talk pages
    • "Figures 4.14 and 4.15, show respectively the evolution of monthly number of revisions received by talk pages, and the number of active logged authors in talk pages per month. The same deceleration in the steady growing rate of early years, already found in previous graphs, happens here too." (page 88-89
    • "Nevertheless, if we inspect Figure 4.16, depicting the number of active talk pages, we find a different situation. The number of active talk pages in all language versions has continued its steady growing trend, even in 2007. This a completely new, and unexpected pattern." (page 89)
    • "outstanding proportion of talk pages per article found in the English Wikipedia, well beyond any limits reached by the other language versions" (page 90)
    • "Contrary to what we saw in the case of articles, the median of the length of talk pages tend to become lower as the language versions evolve over time." (page 95)
  • Author and article inequality: Summary: in all languages, most activity comes from 'core' users, and most activity centers on a set of popular articles
    • "the top ten language editions maintain a very skewed distribution, with less than 10% of the total number of authors performing more than 90% of the total number of contributions received by each version" (page 106)
    • "The graph shows that there exist very little differences in the inequality level exhibited by all communities under study, showing highly biased distributions towards a small core of very active logged authors in each language version" (page 114)
    • "The distribution of revisions among articles is more balanced, though there is a slight bias towards a group of more popular articles" (page 115)
  • Life cycle of authors compared to "core" authors: Summary: from 2007, author 'deaths' outnumber author 'births'. Probability of 'survival' drastically increases after 100 days. It generally takes 200 days to become a core editor, who are in the top 10% of active contributors. After becoming a core editor, it takes 200 to 400 days before contributions fall. Overall, contributing to FAs and talk pages greatly increase survival rate.
    • "for all language versions ... the increment in the monthly rate of deaths .. has overcome the number of births per month, from 2007 on" (page 116)
    • "Figure 4.36 shows that English core members are the fastest abandoning the project after leaving the core ... On the opposite side, former core members of the German still remain very active once the left the very active group of logged authors" (page 119)
    • "once the core author has surpassed the 100 days threshold, the probability that she remains in the core for a longer period of time raises dramatically, in all language versions." (page 121)
    • "the individual effect of contributing to FAs or talk pages do have some influence in enhancing the longevity of logged authors in the system. But the definitive improvement in authors lifetime is only registered for authors who both edited in FAs and participated in talk pages, at the same time" (page 121)
    • "It is interesting to see that the risk (of death) for young authors decrease following a log-linear pattern, for an age of less than 15 days, except for the English and German Wikipedias. The remarkably lower risk for young authors in these language editions might be a logical cause behind the more active production pattern in these language versions" (page 126)
    • "for all language editions, the restricted mean survival time to reach the core of very active contributors is concentrated around 200 days. Once the reached the core, the restricted mean of the time of membership (blue discontinuous line) varies between 200 and 400 days" (page 128)
    • "50% of authors who eventually joined the core in the top ten Wikipedias needed between 80 and 130 days to reach that status. On the other side, 50% of core members left the core after a period oscillating between 20 and 110 days" (page 129)
  • Patterns of FA contributors: Summary: established editors are the main contributors to FAs, but their growth pattern has stabilized just like all editors
    • "the lower population of younger authors has almost dissappeared completely, revealing that older authors are the main creation force behind the content revision process in FAs for all language versions." (page 135)
    • "It seems that the 'big crack' in the logged authors population, in summer 2006, had also a great impact in revisors of FAs as well" (page 140)
  • Lifecycle of Wikipedias: Summary: More articles are being handled by fewer editors
    • "the core of very active authors in progressively taking over a larger proportion of the creation process, though the differences among distinct years is not very significant" (page 149)

Strategic planning reports

Other reports

Interviews and qualitative research

Research related to motivations to edit

Interview based research related to either dispute resolution on Wikipedeia or about Wikipedians motivations to edit.


  • Interviews/Summary of interviews
  • Interview with Piskorski (PDF)
    • Too few regular editors.
    • People don't know they can edit.
    • Scarily limited demographic of editors.
    • People leave due to hostility.
    • Possibly in favour of social networking innovations.
    • Supports WYSIWYG.
    • Should study how people work together.
    • Supports mobile.
  • Interview with Riggs (PDF)
    • Certain types of contributions go unrecognized by WMF and the community.
    • No career path for volunteers.
      • Both those points could tie in with the "reward editors" chunk of proposals. --Bodnotbod 17:46, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
    • "The community" often merely refers to a very vocal minority.
    • There's no volunteer support from WMF. Her philosophy begins with "I'm here to serve the volunteers".
    • Policies create "huge transaction cost" and means editors have to give up their "personal culture" to participate.
    • Create more opportunities for volunteering aside from editing, eg giving talks, wikipods.
    • Need to ask big questions. Need to ask ourselves what our implicit and explicit messages are.
  • Interview with Schulenberg (PDF) - Head of Public Outreach.
        • I think we should note this person as a key WMF contact for our task force. --Bodnotbod 18:13, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Growth may be missing the point; focus on quality.
    • In favour of seeing social networking ideas.
      • Rating feature with link to what friends have rated, would lead users/editors to view content they may not have been aware of.
      • Add 'invite' feature like eg, Facebook.
      • Connect users by interest in topics. Have means to see what 'friends' have been doing.
      • Make it easier to create a user account with photo.
    • In favour of usability improvements / WYSIWYG
    • Works on Wikipedia Academies
    • Bookshelf, online videos and improvement in help system all already in pipeline.
        • This is something for me to remember since I had proposed video content to help newbies. --Bodnotbod 18:13, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Need wider demographic in editors. Has already worked with senior citizens to raise awareness.
    • Need to be more welcoming to newcomers.
    • Fears about having enough core community to look after content we have (fighting vandalism etc).
    • German Wikipedia had focused on quality rather than quantity (eg all Batman villains = 1 article)
    • Show newbies articles that need help in areas they have specified they're interested in.
  • Interview with Soto - Researcher at LibreSoft.
    • All Wikipedias have stabilized in terms of growth, despite language and policy differences
    • No growth may limit rate at which articles improve to featured status
    • Net loss of editors would eventually make it impossible to maintain Wiki in proper conditions
    • The reason that an open project would stabilize has puzzled the research community
      • Statistics from different language Wikipedia shows no correlation between policy and community growth
      • Interviews with editors suggest that administrators lack the original spirit of the project
      • Mailing list and feedback indicates increase in disputes
      • Other quantitative studies show an increase in the rate of reversion
      • This all points to Wikipedia becoming less friendly to new editors
      • Community stabilization is the result of behavioral patterns in the community, rather than policy
    • Suggests several solutions:
      • Take better care of new users, through tutorials, mentorships, etc.
      • Improve academic outreach, including high school, university, and R&D centers
      • Better usability and interface for editing and administrator tasks
      • More social features that aid collaboration, at least for administrators

Proposal summary page