Editor Growth and Contribution Program/FAQ

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This page gives an introduction about the Editor Growth and Contribution Program in a form of questions and answers.

What is the aim of this program?[edit]

The ultimate goal of Editor Growth and Contribution Program is to raise the number of active editors on Wikimedia projects by understanding the needs of each project, and implementing solutions based on these needs. In particular we focus on small-to-medium sized Wikimedia projects, and we adapt an approach based on designing, testing, and implementing online programs. The program aims to increase the number of active editors on Wikimedia projects by working with the community to understand the online needs of each project, and taking a data-driven approach to implement solutions based on these needs. The pilots and programs on-wiki that Editor Growth and Contribution will use in order to encourage new editors are intended to serve as a compliment to off-wiki outreach activities already underway.

Why are you starting this now?[edit]

Wikipedia has been around for more than a decade, and in recent years many new websites have been launched which are based on generating contents collaboratively. Many of them are more attractively designed and easier to use than Wikipedia. We believe that supporting innovation by creating new tools and continuing to improve the user experience for editors will directly improve the growth ratio of the editing community. We also believe that understanding the community growth process and the factors that impact growth are the main steps toward building a healthy, sustainable and growing editing community.

What work will you do?[edit]

The work on Editor Growth and Contribution Program involves four main steps:

  1. Research : Learn about the underlying factors, reasons and motivations which drive new and potential users to contribute to various Wikimedia projects, as well as understanding the needs of the current editing communities
  2. Planning : Work with the local communities to prepare plans for programs to support community growth
  3. Action : Design, test, and implement programs based on the research findings
  4. Evaluation  : Evaluate the outcome of programs based on criteria defined in the planning stage for measuring success, improve the programs as needed, and support the community to expand programs that demonstrate success

How are you planning to understand editor growth and contribution?[edit]

There are various methods to understand editor contribution. Usability and A/B testing, editor surveys, community brainstorming, data analysis and creating abstract models may be some methods we use. We are also planning to learn from the work done by the Fundraising team, and the various programs running currently by the Editor Engagement Experimentation team.

Why is the Wikimedia Foundation launching this program?[edit]

Increasing participation is one of five strategic priorities for the Wikimedia movement. 2 targets in the Wikimedia strategic plan for 2015 are directly related to our work:

  • Encourage readers to become contributors by increasing the number of total editors who make at least 5 edits per month to 200,000
  • Support healthy diversity in the editing community by doubling the percentage of female editors to 25 percent and increase the percentage of Global South editors to 37 percent

This program is the first of its kind at the Wikimedia Foundation to specifically focus on the on-wiki needs of smaller communities, and we hope it will serve as an effective way to meet these 2 strategic targets and be a good compliment to other initiatives aimed at growing the editing community.

Why this work is being held at the Global Development Department?[edit]

Running our work as a part of the global development team will not only contribute to increasing the number of total editors on Wikimedia projects, but also work on achieving more diverse and healthy editing community as our work is focused mainly on small-to-medium sized Wikimedia projects. We believe that being a part of the global development team will enrich our work by collaborating with other running programs such as Wikipedia Education Program, Arabic Brazil and India regional programs, Grantmaking, and Global development research.

Do you focus only on small-to-medium sized Wikipedias?[edit]

No, all Wikimedia projects are within the scope of our program. However, when we take a look at small-to-medium sized Wikipedias (e.g. Arabic or Hindi Wikipedia), their sister projects are usually even much smaller (some even receive only a few edits a month). We believe that focusing our efforts on growing contribution to small-to-medium sized Wikipedias will result in increasing awareness about sister projects, and therefore increasing contribution.

Having this said, there is no doubt that methods which show success improving contribution on small-to-medium Wikipedias can be extended to cover other sister projects. Of course, there might be a need to adjust these methods to fit the nature of sister projects.

What Wikimedia projects will you be partnering with first?[edit]

In line with the Global Development Department's current strategic focus on India, Brazil and the Arabic language region, we plan to start designing and testing in Wikimedia projects that overlap with these regions. Arabic Wikipedia will be the starting point. A wider target could include more Global South language projects in the near future.

Why do you focus on small-to-medium sized Wikimedia projects?[edit]

Most Wikimedia projects (including Wikipedia) started with an English version, where the site design, editing procedures, policies, and even code of communication were optimized to fit the nature of the English community. However, as other language projects began to evolve, many of them began by cloning tools, practices and policies from the English community, which may not necessarily fit best with these communities, their culture, size, or way of thinking. We believe that the process of supporting smaller projects in redesigning, reorganizing, and adapting systems to fit the background of their contributors can be one way to help increase active contribution on these projects.

Where can I find more details about your work?[edit]

We will start building details of the programs and pilot projects based on the findings of our research and in conversation with the Wikimedia project communities that we aim to serve. Although we might have a few ideas which we would like to design and test, there is no definite agenda of programs, as we are looking forward to develop such programs in cooperation with the editing communities. All ideas from the broader Wikimedia Community, and the local communities of smaller projects are welcomed. Please feel free to contact Haitham at hshammaawikimedia.org, or post a message at his user talk on Metawiki.

What kind of programs and projects do you think you might implement?[edit]

We have already developed some ideas which need to be discussed with editing communities before putting them into action. Some of these ideas included creation of user reputation systems, automating new articles revision, running online contribution campaigns, improving and simplifying on-wiki workflows, and improving help documentation and other help programs that serve the needs of new editors.