Barriers to Quality at Wikipedia (and potentially other Wiki projects)

Good work, keep going! This actually helps to share your outlook a lot more than descriptive words.

I have a major observation here: quality "forks" multiple ways (it's a big topic!). The forks overlap and are part of a whole, but are best examined as separate issues in their own right. We need separate dialogs for the following, because "quality" is too broad a word in retrospect.

If we were redoing this, I would suggest 2-3 more specific quality taskforces, focusing upon:

  • External (reader/user) quality -- quality of our public face. Includes both quality of content (our wikis) and quality of contact (the ability to reach all, communicate with all, involve all). The quality of our offering.
  • Internal (editorial) quality -- the way our editorial related processes work, how we invite new people to edit, who should/should not edit, content and sources, disputes, breadth of knowledge and coverage in the wikis, breadth of experience and interests in the editorial community, skill development and sharing to keep interest high, helping good content to stay, and the like.
  • Perception of quality -- what matters to the perception of quality, in the minds of third parties, readers, and editors, and in the media that they glean impressions from.
  • (And perhaps, quality as a guiding concept -- what matters in terms of "quality" for us, and which groups are looking at these.)

Originally, I thought (and still suspect) "quality" for this purpose designates 1/ the quality of our written content and 2/ the processes needed to create quality content. If it's going to include a very wide sense of the term, then it's subsuming all other taskforces and we have no chance of anything useful in the time allotted. We may need to assume that other teams will look at other aspects, and focus on a more narrow and "everyday" sense of the term. Just saying' !

FT2 (Talk | email)18:40, 30 November 2009

FT2, and all:

I like the idea of addressing quality as subcategories however, I think they all still belong here as they are, as you suggested intertwined (overlapping in your parlance.) Also, this is a Quality taskforce. No one said to us: just look at quality of content. I never saw it as such, although some of us may have. If we dont address quality on a basic structural level then its like building a beautiful house on a shaky foundation -- it won't last.

Yes, it is a very big task for the time allotted, which is why I keep trying to focus everyone to the bigger picture, which is where I think that quality comes from. If we refocus to the big picture, then we have a set of benchmarks to assess all suggestions, policies, rules, etc. against. (that benchmark is the "brand" work but I did not say the word "brand" here...mumble mumble mumble.)

In a way this asks the question: What should we be addressing as the Quality Taks Force? Should we be addressing minute details of how admins do their jobs or should we be addressing the larger quality issues and making recommendations that will later lead to addressing the minute details.

I go for door number two. Can we vote or try to come to some consensus on what we are doing? perhaps a supermajority?

I want to address what is standing in they way of making Wikipedia what it wants to be because that is the ultimate quality issue. (Of course that assumes we know what Wikipedia wants to be. mumble brand mumble.) (mumble see Beginning thread for outline/framework mumble mumble brand mumble.) Then I would like for us to craft a set of recommendations and continue the process after the recommendations are "shared," of crafting specific "fixes" for problem areas, for example: identifying what teenage girls want on Wikipedia, what kind of tools they might want/need to utilize and crafting a Wikipedia in the Schools program to expose kids to engaging in learning on Wikipedia.

All of this is going to drive new inroads into the minute details. For example: while rules and policies need to be consistent, there may be a different mentoring/rule approach to teen centered content or teen users/contributors. They may get a bit more oversight until they get the heng of how they should appropriately contribute. For self identified technophobes, we may have a mentoring/wizard approach that allows them to do very little other than type and choose something graphically, and those people may need editors who look at the content/wikis for different things such as obvious newbie non tech types of mistakes. Do you see how defining who and what you are, and what your purpose is drives actions? And it is those actions that create or negate quality on Wikipedia.

And, a last point, I cannot and will not assume that other task forces are handling big picture in their work. I don't have time to comb their LT and I feel that overall quality belongs here.

Yes, I admit it, I am a structure girl.

Bhneihouse19:09, 30 November 2009

If there is that big an uncertainty on the remit, we urgently need to pull in those who set up the taskforce and discuss, not assume. At the least we need to note the prospective scope and ask if they had understood we might look that widely before doing so.

And if we do look that widely, we still need to specifically look at quality of content. I would feel very disturbed to discover our recommendations were high level and not directly targeting content matters, all other taskforces looked at their areas, and therefore the collective conclusion of us all, included no actual actionable specific views on content quality as a result despite that being perhaps one of the main desirables of the whole process.

FT2 (Talk | email)19:22, 30 November 2009

Brenda here on Blackberry.

Tentatively yes and yes. I agree that it may be time to go back to the task force group for clarification. And if the job isn't "ours" I will ask that this job be given to an existing taskforce. More when on a computer.

And FT2 I decidely don't want to disturb you mumble brand mumble. ;), 30 November 2009

On your post: we're apparently considering _three_ doors here, but one seems to be agreed not helpful. Door #1 is very low level (how admins should act, etc), #2 is quality of content (and what approaches will have most substantive impact on it, and on the community's ability to create and sustain it), #3 is quality of project (ie what is Wikipedia's core and what does that drive elsewhere). I think we agree #1 isn't a suitable level, but we probably all agree that 2 and 3 are each valid and very useful.

So, a further possible thought: - I notice that new taskforces are easy to set up. Perhaps one option when seeking clarification, would be to spawn a specific sub-task, purely for quality of content. Same team, same membership, same users still contributing to both, but the approaches, focus, and such are very distinct.

Gut instinct. If we do have to consider broad quality remit (which I'm not averse to at all provided we don't overlook content quality by doing so)... then I think we will have so much to do that the big stuff for each is best worked out in its own "space". Their focus is very different (in scale and perspective). And both sets of conclusions will independently be very valuable.

FT2 (Talk | email)19:40, 30 November 2009

Will you do the "going back and getting clarification" bit?

FT2 (Talk | email)04:37, 1 December 2009

should it be me getting clarification?

Admins, content, big picture -- I dont see them as three doors, I see door number one as the micro level including admins and content and I see door number two as the macro or big picture.

I reread our mandate from the quality task force Wiki twice today. There was a large blanket statement about quality, not specific just to content. I still think we need to have a "talk" with those holding the strategy cards about what the concept of Wikipedia Quality covers to them, and then pitch a case for a wholesale look at the big picture if we feel it is necessary (obviously yes in my book.)

And, I never assumed quality of content would be subsumed by anything. If the quality of content is not there, then my mandate to myself to help Wikipedia be cite-able by college students will never come to fruition. :)

Bhneihouse07:40, 1 December 2009

Yeah. "We know what we mean" :) Go for it.

FT2 (Talk | email)19:01, 1 December 2009

Anyone else want to weigh in on this before I bring it up to the powers that be who set the task forces up?

Thanks for your vote of confidence, FT2. (I think that is what it was ;) )

Bhneihouse21:27, 1 December 2009

Please go ahead and ask them, more clarification is always welcome I guess :-)

Woodwalker06:36, 2 December 2009


Please do not let me forget your first few points in this post -- discuss and not assume; clarify the prospective scope with people before involving them; keep focusing on content; look cross task force to see if others are doing similar high level work.

) thanks.
Bhneihouse07:08, 4 December 2009