Talk:Article chat box

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Wikipedia Community[edit]

moved from the English Wikipedia's village pump

Does anyone think Wikipedia (and its sister projects) could benefit from some features focusing on keeping the WP community a community? At the moment it's all geared towards writing a great Wikipedia. I just thought that adding a bit of community could make Wikipedia a bit more attractive... Any thoughts? --Kokiri 11:30, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Sure, I've wondered about it. But I'm not sure exactly how to pull it off. As a wiki programmer I often have to don my amateur sociologist hat. Wikis are predominantly a social phenomenon, and you have to understand that changes to the software can have wide reaching effects on the community. Sunir Shah (who I often talk to on this issue) is of the opinion that developers should code the simplest thing that could possibly work, and should avoid "playing God". By contrast I'm committed to keeping everyone happy by whatever means are available to me.
There's two things that come to my mind when I think of community. The first is friendship. Friendship comes through regular association over an extended period of time. When I was just editing Wikipedia, I found that occasional user talk page comments alone weren't enough to form strong social relationships. IRC is much better, as it provides for regular social interaction even when there is no article-related issue to talk about. However in my (possibly atypical) experience, the lack of emotional cues can lead to all sorts of anxious speculation about people's feelings towards you. Misunderstandings are frequent, and I think they can lead to the formation of negative impressions. So what do we really need? Voice conferences, video conferences and real life meetings, I guess. But IRC is better than nothing.
The second thing that comes to mind is identity. We need to feel that we are part of something. This already happens to some extent. I've speculated about things like team games, but I'm not sure how much that would help. Perhaps we should form small groups of people with common interests, and promote cohesiveness within each of them by encouraging regular high-bandwidth communication, like IRC banter or voice.
Practically what does this mean? I guess it might help to implement a gateway to an IRC-like forum which is not only accessible from most web browsers, but is also closely integrated with MediaWiki. Perhaps a chat room could be plonked into a talk page like a template, say {{chat:vfd}} to include a java applet accessing a chat room about VFD. -- Tim Starling 15:06, Jul 19, 2004 (UTC)
IMHO, we do not need community features. For one thing, they will overwhelm everything else; our treasured, overworked developers will be badgered to tweak echo-box software so we can talk to ourselves, rather than badgered to improve the wikipedia. For another, a sense of community already exists, growing out of improving the encyclopedia. That makes the community awkward and hard for newbies and non-transparent, but it also makes it genuine and long-lasting. The Internet is full of "communities" but wikipedia is unique. If we concentrate on the work, the community follows. - DavidWBrooks 20:05, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)
It's certainly true that the community on Wikipedia arose spontaneously when lots of people come together with the common goal of writing an encyclopedia. I agree that it would be wrong to concentrate on "community" features to the exclusion of all else, a sense of community will persist regardless. However the reasons Wikipedia is successful are social (to use the term broadly). Wikipedia is not perfect in social terms, it has well-known problems. I can't really talk about them openly on the pump because the discussion would get heated. Suffice to say that I don't believe discussing features to improve the Wikipedia community should be taboo. Let's brainstorm now and worry about how much time developers have later. -- Tim Starling 04:01, Jul 20, 2004 (UTC)
I wasn't thinking of a great deal of features, but maybe something to make newcomers a bit more welcome, make them feel a bit more part of the Wikipedia community. One disadvantage, imho, of Wikipedia is that it is so big... Maybe we should have smaller communities, or maybe what I suggest is more projects (these can be understood as communities). It's about bringing people together and thus stay. --Kokiri 07:33, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Note: There are now several chat extensions for mediawiki implemented. See mw:Category:Chat extensions --Waldir 16:18, 2 December 2008 (UTC)