Campaigns/Foundation Product Team/Event Discovery

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Community Content Campaigns

The event discovery project aims to create or improve tool(s) that make it easier for editors to learn about campaign events on the wikis. We hypothesize that, if more editors can stumble upon and learn about events, then more editors will join events and therefore improve the number of articles on high impact topics. This work is part of the effort in the 2023/2024 annual plan to address content gaps on the wikis.

Project introduction & problem analysis[edit]

What are the current problems with event discovery?[edit]

In the Wikimedia movement, it can be difficult to learn about campaign events. The current event promotion solutions have at least one of these problems:

  • They are not available to all organizers.
  • They are not available on all wikis.
  • They do not reach many people.

We believe that issues related to event promotion and discovery create the following problems:

  • Events receive lower participation rates.
  • Events produce less contributions on high impact topics (due to lower participation).
  • Participants and organizers may feel less motivated (due to lower participation).
  • Editors miss out on opportunities to join impactful events and connect with other editors who care about similar topics, in turn feeling less integrated into the Wikimedia movement.
  • There is limited exposure to the breadth of work being done and the types of events being created in the movement as a whole.

What are the current options available for promoting and discovering events on the wikis?[edit]

Right now, the main methods of promoting and discovering events are as follows:

CentralNotice: This is a banner that is displayed at the top of the wiki page. Organizers get their events displayed in the CentralNotice banner by issuing a request on the Request page. Additionally, organizers need to add their requests to the CentralNotice calendar. It is the responsibility of the organizer to ensure that there are no clashes with other banner campaigns targeting the same region and/or language. Requests are reviewed and banner campaigns are enabled by a very small number of active CentralNotice admins. The banner design is often done by the CentralNotice admins as well.

  • Benefits: CentralNotice is easily discoverable, so it is very effective in bringing editors for some types of campaign events.
  • Problems: CentralNotice only promotes some events. A huge number of events never make it onto the calendar or would be hard to support with Central Notice (i.e. events targeting very specific topics or geographies). In order to use CentralNotice, organizers need to understand complex technical and movement dynamics.
Example of a CentralNotice banner, screnshot by Islahaddow on Wikimedia Commons
Example of a CentralNotice banner on Wikisource, screenshot by Steinsplitter on Wikimedia Commons
Example of a CentralNotice banner on Wikipedia, screenshot by Benoit Rochon on Wikimedia Commons

MassMessage: If an organizer has the MassMessage right (see MassMessage senders), they can send messages to a bulk of user talk pages about upcoming events. Many users receive automatic emails when they get a talk page message, so they may also be emailed when they receive the talk page message.

  • Benefits: This is a mechanism for reaching people both on and off the wikis (if the editors have emails turned on for talk page messages).
  • Problems: This only works for people who may already be “in the know,” to a certain degree, because they have signed up for updates from the organizing community on a topic (i.e. a WikiProject, Newsletter, etc). Organizers are required to integrate a complex technical workflow into their communication plan.
Example of talk page message, distributed by the MassMesssage, to promote a Women in Red July 2023 event

SiteNoticeː This is a banner that is displayed at the top of the wiki page, and it is controlled by local site admins.

Benefitsː It is a simpler request process than CentralNotice, and it is often easier for non-English speakers to issue requests. Admins are local, which can be useful in some contexts.

Problemsː There is no targeting for different audiences, and it is not widely used in some wikis.

Example of a SiteNotice by Subhashish Panigrahi on Odia Wikipedia, as found on Wikimedia Commons

Geonotice: This is a notice on the Special:Watchlist page of English Wikipedia for users in a specific location similar to the global MediaWiki:Watchlist-summary. Organizers will add a request to have a geonotice.

  • Benefits: This can be an effective strategy to let active editors (who are more likely to check their watchlists regularly) know about upcoming events, especially in person edit-a-thons and smaller scale events.
  • Problems: It’s only on English Wikipedia, and it’s not useful for events that are online.
Example of a Geonotice by Unknown author on Wikimedia Commons

Homepage promotion: Some wikis promote events on their main page.

  • Benefits: It reaches a lot of people.
  • Problems: This isn’t a promotional strategy shared by all wikis, and it depends upon people actively and regularly going to a wiki homepage.
Example of a photo challenge call to action on the Wkimedia Commons homepage, image on Wikimedia Commons

Calendars: There are currently many calendars in the movement that presumably cover events, but they vary in how much they cover. Some of these calendars include: Calendars in the project namespace (such as Wikipedia Meetup Calendar for English Wikipedia and Wikipedia:Editatón for Spanish Wikipedia), Events list on Meta-Wiki main page, Events link on Meta-Wiki, Events list on, and thematic calendars, like the International Women’s Day Calendar.

  • Benefits: Editors can find events that may interest them (but that they don’t know about yet) on event calendars.
  • Problems: There is no central or cross-wiki events calendar that is available on the wikis, many events never make it onto the calendars, the process to add events can be confusing, most calendars don’t have any search filters or notification/subscription systems.
Meetup page on English Wikipedia Wikimedia Commons

What are the options for promoting and discovering events off the wikis?[edit]

Emails: If someone is on the email or mailing list of an organizer or affiliate, they may receive an email about an upcoming event.

  • Benefits: They reach a targeted group of people who are more likely to be interested in the campaign.
  • Problems: It’s easy to ignore or forget the emails, and they only reach the people who have already opted into communication. Organizers are required to understand a complex network of subscription lists and audiences to use successfully.

Chat groups: There are various chat groups on Whatsapp, Signal, Facebook and other off-wiki platforms that bring together Wikimedians. These chat groups can also be a place to promote events:

  • Benefits: They reach a group of targeted people who have a high likelihood of being interested in the event.
  • Problems: It doesn’t capture people who aren’t already in the group, and it’s easy to read the message and then completely forget about the event.

Social media promotion: Organizers may promote on external social media platforms.

  • Benefits: This can help bring on newcomers who aren’t already present on the wikis, or it can help nudge who may be interested in an event but haven’t made the leap to sign.
  • Problems: This method may not be very effective. Our data shows that social media is a minor recruitment engine for looking at event pages. Social media communication by affiliates and other programs tends to be self-reinforcing, only communicating among existing Wikimedia groups and not reaching new audiences.

Off-wiki organizer calendars (such as Diff Calendar, Art+Feminism calendar):

  • Benefits: They can look great and may have a paid professional who is actively maintaining them, so they may be in pretty good shape overall
  • Problems: They are off the wikis, so they tend to not capture a large range of activities. By being off-wiki and outside the larger movement ecosystem, visibility of the work gets lost to other movement contributors, especially among people who only contribute on the wikis.

What’s next?[edit]

As a next step, we want to hear from you! We want to know how people are currently finding (or not finding!) events on the wikis, and we want to know how we can make it easier for people to find events that interest them. Once we receive more feedback from people, we will summarize our findings and share our proposed next steps. In the meantime, we invite you all to answer the questions below, which will be critical in helping us understand what we can do to fix the problem.

Once you have answered our questions (see below), we also invite you to attend our office hours on October 7 and/or October 10 to discuss this project with the team!

Open questions[edit]

  1. How do you learn about Wikimedia campaign events? For example: banners, email lists, talk pages, social media, etc.
  2. Do you think it’s easy to find all of the campaign events that interest you? Why or why not?
  3. Ideally, how would you like to hear about campaign events?
  4. How do you decide which events to attend?
  5. Have you ever missed an event because you didn’t hear about it in time?
  6. How do you remember to attend the events that you registered for?
  7. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Share your feedback on the project talk page!

Status updates[edit]

November 27, 2023ː Event Invitations Experiment[edit]

Hello, everyone! We are excited to share an update on the project. First, we have decided on the first focus area: Event Invitations.

With Event Invitations, we want to help event organizers reach out to new audiences of editors who may be interested in their events. This way, we hypothesize that more people can register for events and make impactful contributions. To do this, we plan to generate an Invitation List, which is a list of editors who the organizer can invite. The Invitation List may be based on some of the following criteria:

  • Interest in the topical area: We can select editors who have made a significant contribution (for example, a certain minimum number of bytes) within a certain period of time (for example, within the last 2 years) on at least one of the articles being worked on during the event. Alternatively, we could also select editors who are watching a page indefinitely that is on the organizer's worklist.
  • Recent editing activity: From this group, we can select editors who have made at least one unreverted edit on the wikis in the last 90 days, as an example.
  • Productive history of editing: From this group, we can select editors who have made a minimum number of contributions (for example, 500 unreverted edits) on the project of the event, as an example.

With this list, the organizer can then choose to invite the editors to the event. The method of invitation has not yet been determined, but we may have organizers use communication methods already available to them as a first experiment (such as talk page messages or wikimail). The hope is that since this group of invited editors are productive, active, and potentially interested in the specific topics of the event, some of the invited editors may be interested in joining the event.

To assess whether Event Invitations are useful, we will be asking questions like:

  • What percentage of invited editors register for the events?
  • What percentage of invited editors make any contributions during the event?
  • What percentage of invited editors make substantial contributions during the event?
  • How do organizers feel about the Invitation List? Do they find it useful? Why or why not? Would they use the Event Invitation list again to help promote their events?

With this information, we will then determine what next steps we will take. If we see fruitful results, we may continue to explore Event Invitations. For example, we may investigate how we can improve the communication infrastructure available to organizers, so it is easier for them to message invited editors directly. We can also potentially look into how we can build a generalized tool for organizers, which could have ways for participants to opt out of event invitations (either in general or from a specific organizer). Alternatively, if we do not see fruitful results, we may choose to pursue a different Event Discovery project entirely.

The engineering team has begun to investigate how we can generate an Invitation List. You can check out our Event-Discovery board on Phabricator to see some of the work that we will be doing now and in the future.

In the meantime, if you would like to join us in the experiment as an organizer, please reach out to us! We want to connect with organizers who will be developing campaign events in 2024 who are interested in inviting new audiences to their events. If that is you, please reach out on our Talk page or in our chat group for organizers.

Finally, if you have any feedback on the Event Invitations idea, please share it on our talk page!