Facebook and wikimedia

    This is probably the best way to bring social features into Wikipedia: by working with a high-integrity social network like Facebook. The problem is going to be a collision of social cultures.

    • Facebook: social; Wikipedia: technical
    • Facebook: self-expression; Wikipedia: consensus-building
    • Facebook: friendly association; Wikipedia: debate and friction
    • Facebook: privacy permissions; Wikipedia: public trail
    • Facebook: real names; Wikipedia: anonymity
    • Facebook: diverse (relatively); Wikipedia: monolithic (male, white)

    I'll be the first to say that Wikipedia is not particularly friendly to newcomers. Not that it's necessarily hostile, but the learning curve can be steep. Definitely not the expert problem. Probably closer to the usenet problem, but at least Facebook users are somewhat savvy and accountable.

    This is a big opportunity. But we haven't done enough to fundamentally improve community health so that we can benefit from this kind of influx of new volunteers. I expect this experiment to quickly demonstrate a lot of the problems we identified in the community health task force. Although I certainly hope that I'm wrong.

    Randomran16:53, 20 April 2010

    This is a good experiment on many levels. Facebook has more readers than Wikimedia, and it's possible that the overlap is not significant. So if there's a way to reach more readers through Facebook and encouraging new participants to come to Wikimedia, then that's a good thing.

    That said, you're right, a lot of things have to continue to change if we're going to take advantage of this. Hopefully, a partnership like this will help catalyze change.

    Eekim08:54, 21 April 2010

    Yeah, I think this will be nothing but a good thing. We'll probably get a lot more readers, a few more contributors (relatively speaking), and gain some better insights into some of the community problems we're facing.

    Randomran19:27, 21 April 2010