Wikimedia Blog/Guidelines

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Blog team[edit]

Please see the section below for review of blog posts. For questions about the blog in general, you can send an e-mail to wikimedia-blog at lists.wikimedia.org, or contact someone directly. As of October 2014, the people most involved in the blog team are Tilman Bayer (tbayer at wikimedia.org), Katherine Maher and Heather Walls from the WMF Communications team, and Guillaume Paumier (gpaumier at wikimedia.org, the primary editor and reviewer of posts from the Technology/Engineering team at the Foundation).

Get your post reviewed[edit]

We want to be sure that every post is reviewed by at least one person on the blog team who has been appointed to edit and review posts. A second pair of eyes helps to ensure readers will find your post appealing and informative, and helps to prevent errors. Our blog is a place of high visibility and Wikimedians are good at finding and pointing out mistakes, so we'd love to make sure there are few of them.

  • For other queries about the blog and for technical problems, please email wikimedia-blog at lists.wikimedia.org

Translation[edit]

The blog is multilingual - posts in any language are welcome, as long as they are accompanied by an English version. When drafting a post here on Meta, you can include translations on the same page, or (preferably) make the draft page into a translatable page using the Translate extension (with the help of a translation administrator). The blog team will take care of adding the formatting for multilingual posts when porting your draft to the blog for publication.

Schedule your post[edit]

In order to avoid clobbering someone else's super-important blog post, you are encouraged to use the Calendar to schedule when you expect to make your post and coordinate with folks posting on/around the same time.

Get the word out through Social Media[edit]

To increase readership, social media messages are sent out for most posts, mainly on Twitter (@wikipedia/@wikimmedia), Facebook (Wikipedia) and Google+ (Wikipedia / Wikimedia Foundation). When drafting a post, you can already include suggested messages (under "Notes"). The Social Media team, which includes the Wikimedia Foundation blog editors listed above, manages these social media accounts. Our general policy is to maintain a four-eyes principle where every proposed tweet and posting on Facebook and Google Plus is reviewed by at least one team member to minimize errors and typos. Most of this process is conducted via the public social media mailing list at social-media at lists.wikimedia.org, where you can participate in the reviewing and also directly propose a tweet or Facebook/Google+ post for review.

Social Media Channels

  • You can see this page for a list of other Social Media channels within the Wikimedia community.

General information about the Wikimedia blog[edit]

What makes blog posts from WMF staff different?[edit]

Ours is an "official blog". That simply means that all of our posts are representative of the organization as a whole. We limit representation from personal perspectives. We can always point to our own, personal blogs for that.

Target Audience[edit]

  • The entire Wikimedia community (readers, users, editors)
  • Major stakeholders and friend organizations, including donors
  • General audience (who may not understand the Wikimedia movement)
  • Media
  • Other bloggers
  • Business

Visibility[edit]

  • Global
  • Multilingual

What do we post?[edit]

  • Technical and programming developments / changes
  • Unique stories / media angles
  • Profiles of the Wikimedia community
  • Project milestones
  • Art and culture partnerships / GLAM-Wiki initiative
  • Periodic "Did you know?" posts / sister project updates
  • Appeals for assistance or support (calls for sponsors, job openings, etc.)
  • Elections info, new staff/personnel
  • Expert reflection on major changes in our operational environment (legal precedents, free knowledge victories, major stories in the news)

Wikimedia blog guidelines[edit]

See also: Best practices in blogging about the Wikipedia Education Program

We want to tell the Wikimedia story to the world, whether that is through the MediaWiki programming and developer community, or volunteer initiatives in various countries and languages. The Wikimedia movement is extraordinary and we want to share the people and initiatives behind it with everyone. We also want our communications on the blog to be a catalyst for encouraging new participants to join in the most extraordinary collaborative knowledge project in history.

Style[edit]

  • Individual posts are usually between 300-700 words. Rarely does a topic need more than that in the blog context, but occasionally we publish longer pieces.
  • Try to use the Inverted pyramid structure, so that people get the heart of the story from the beginning.
  • Use a strong lead sentence/paragraph that explains the most salient and important point of your story up front. Answering the Five Ws in the lead paragraph is usually a good practice.
  • Links are very important: use links in text to point a reader to the relevant source, rather than describing elements in length. Where possible, use links to previous blog posts and to Wikimedia projects.
  • Use pictures to tell the story more effectively. Some people only look at the pictures and their caption, so be mindful of the power of images.
  • Being succinct doesn't prevent you from structuring your post. On the contrary, if you structure it well, it'll be even faster to write.

No puffing[edit]

  • Don't try to oversell it. Let the facts speak for themselves. Puffery makes us look unprofessional and will often come back to bite you later. This is particularly risky with Wikimedians, who are used to NPOV and can spot buzzwordy fluff pieces instantly.
    Oppose Bad: We've done an amazing work at…, We've made terrific progress.
    Support Good: During this 2-week project, we implemented a…

Make yourself understood[edit]

  • In the interests of translation and global audience, avoid complex words, contractions, and slang.
  • If you're talking about complex financial or technical issues, provide links with more information (and hopefully in different languages).
  • Avoid inside references that may be specific to North America (or any specific culture to the exclusion of others) that may not translate well.

Provide context[edit]

  • Sign your post with your name and your title (or a reference that makes it clear who you are). Consider including a link to your user page on the Foundation wiki or another Wikimedia wiki.
  • Speak inside your area of expertise/knowledge: if General Counsel is posting, topic should be related largely to legal matters etc.
  • The broader your work, the broader your topic can be.

Choose a good title[edit]

  • The title of your post should always be a brief (fewer than 8 words, if possible) descriptive and summarize your whole story.
  • Avoid the blanket "Update on X" title.
  • Use the present tense whenever possible.
    Oppose Bad: Update on offline
    Support Good: Offline Wikipedia app gets new download manager
  • Edit the "slug". WordPress automatically generates a simplified URL for your post, but the URL may be a bit long. You can edit the "slug" to shorten it, but keep it specific, and keep hyphens for legibility.
    Oppose Automatically generated: /2011/05/12/offline-wikipedia-app-gets-new-download-manager
    Support Manually edited: /2011/05/12/offline-wikipedia-download-manager

Add categories and tags[edit]

(add guidelines and examples)

  • Choose one or more relevant categories (only create new categories if absolutely necessary — less is better).
  • If you're adding more than 2 categories, 3 at most, you're doing something wrong.
  • Tags are used as mini-categories and search terms for SEO. Use 1-3 keywords for tags that describe your post. Do not add a tag that is the same as a category. Very specific keywords are best.

Use images[edit]

  • Use images from Wikimedia Commons
  • Don't hotlink images from non-Wikimedia sites
  • Some prefer uploading a local copy in WordPress to make sure the image doesn't go away in case it is renamed or deleted on Commons. Make sure you appropriately credit the author and fulfill the license requirements, and link back to the original image page on Commons.
  • To generate a thumbnail for a Commons image to use in a blog post (either for uploading it locally to the blog, or for including it directly via "Add Media" -> "From URL" -> "URL"):
    • Edit any wiki page in preview mode
    • Insert "[[File:Example.jpg|600px]]" (with desired file name and width in pixels)
    • In the preview, right-click on the thumbnail to get the thumbnail's URL or save it to your harddisk
  • Add a caption; some people only skim through the text, but they look at the pictures and read the caption. The caption(s) should summarize the information developed in the article.

Check your links[edit]

  • Add links to the words that they explain, or expand on.
  • Avoid links labeled "click here" or "use this link".
    Oppose Bad: Click here to see our results.
    Support Good: Our results indicate that…
  • If possible, use specific keywords that describe what you are linking as your link. IE. "The results of the mobile design testing… " This helps with SEO.
  • Check all the links in your post before publishing it.
  • Try not to send too much traffic to wikitech.wikimedia.org, which is a single VM on a Linode instance and does not scale very well.

Add an excerpt[edit]

Excerpts are manually curated summaries of your post; they can be added using the appropriate field under the edit window.

If the introduction of your post follows the guidelines and you used the inverted pyramid, you can usually copy/paste your intro in the excerpt field. Links and formatting will be removed in the excerpt.

Draft your post[edit]

You can prepare a draft post right here on Meta-wiki. If you prefer or need to do it in Wordpress instead, or to move the copy from Meta into WordPress, follow these guidelines.