Communications/Wikimedia brands/2030 movement brand project/RfC Should the Foundation call itself Wikipedia
On 18 January, 2020, a community-initiated Request for Comment was opened on Meta-Wiki entitled "Should the Foundation call itself Wikipedia?" The RfC remains open, but has become stable enough to produce an analysis. This report summarizes participation, support/oppose levels, and common themes of discussion in order to funnel that information into the 2030 Movement Brand Project.
The RfC's central question asks "Is it acceptable for the Foundation to use the name Wikipedia to refer to itself?" To contextualize the question, the RfC asserts that the 2030 Brand Project plan “states as a foregone conclusion that the endpoint of its process will include calling the Foundation and affiliates by the name Wikipedia”. It points out that, under such a system “‘Wikipedia France’ would likely be confused with French Wikipedia”. The RfC argues that the question of acceptability of this name change was not clearly asked during the 2030 research and planning community review. It asks users to respond to the central question in order to ascertain a truthful appetite for such a change.
As of 2 April, 2020 429 editors have left “support” or “oppose” comments in this RfC. Thirty-nine editors have responded affirmatively to the question, and 390 have opposed. Ninety-one percent of responding editors have left "oppose" comments.
While some users have commented explicitly on Wikipedia Foundation/Wikipedia France, some have discussed the general notion of using Wikipedia in branding, and others have debated the merits of changes to the brand more broadly.
The Wikimedia Foundation responded to the central question in the comments section, noting that a proposal had not yet been made for a naming convention. It instead asked volunteers to refer to the project timeline and provide feedback when a proposal was made.
At the time of the RfC's creation, the Foundation was communicating that the Foundation's new name would include 'Wikipedia'. For example, at the time of the RfC's creation, the movement brand project FAQ included the line "We do not know what the Wikimedia Foundation’s new name would be, only that it would utilize Wikipedia not Wikimedia."
- 429 total participants (support/oppose)
- 39 participants support
- 390 participants oppose
- 49 home wikis present
- Median edits: 38,466
- Average account age: 7.8 years
- Data last updated on 4-02-20 15:53 UTC
- "Home wiki" is defined using the CentralAuth definition, "This is the wiki at which the account was initially merged. Note that it may differ from the real home wiki of that user."
- Some users are more active on projects other than their home wiki.
- Participants without Wikimedia accounts (IP editors) were not included in the count of home wikis present.
- Participants without Wikimedia accounts (IP editors) were not included in the edit and age calculations.
Common themes of discussion
There were a number of central arguments and themes presented throughout the discussion. The most common themes were as follows:
Common themes in arguments in favor
- The Foundation has the right to choose its own name
- The current Wikimedia brand structure is confusing. A change that uses Wikipedia will help clarify
- Wikipedia is a widely recognized brand, and the movement should use it to raise global awareness
- Wikipedia is has a good reputation and is therefore an asset that should be leveraged
Common themes in arguments against
- Using the name the Wikipedia Foundation will create confusion
- "Pedia" has a very specific meaning that does not apply to the other projects or to the Foundation
- People will think that Wikipedia is the entirety of our movement
- This naming convention conflates the projects and the organization
- The Foundation and affiliates do not govern or speak for the projects
- Volunteers work on the projects and should not be conflated with paid staff
- Conflation of the projects and organization could have legal and political implications (see "the Wikimedia term is advantageous to many")
- Using the name Wikipedia Foundation undermines the sister projects
- Using Wikipedia and not a more general term gives the impression that the sister projects are secondary
- Privileging a single project in the Foundation and the movement's name makes the other projects invisible
- What if Wikipedia is eclipsed soon by Wikidata?
- The Foundation does not have the right to use Wikipedia in its name
- Wikipedia's reputation has been built and maintained by volunteers
- Contributors across projects have not agreed to this
- The Wikimedia term is advantageous to many
- It helps differentiate the Foundation, affiliates, OTRS and others from the projects and the content on them
- It provides us a window to be able to explain the range of projects and activities within our movement
- It is a good umbrella term because it is neutral to most in a way that Wikipedia is not
- It is mission-aligned in its broadness. Our mission is to bring free knowledge in many forms to many people
Similar common themes were noted in the 2030 research and planning community review.
What is happening with the feedback?
The RfC was reviewed by the Brand Project Team. The report is being shared with the project design partner as a reflection of important arguments and levels of concern and opposition. The common themes from the RfC are similar to those presented in the 2030 research and planning community review and captured in the qualities of good movement branding, which are under careful consideration during the creation of naming convention and brand design proposals. The common recurring questions that have been asked throughout the RfC have been added to the 2030 Movement Brand Project FAQ: