Grants:IEG/The Wikipedia Adventure/Timeline

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Timeline for The Wikipedia Adventure[edit]

Phase details are at English Wikipedia's TWA timeline page
Timeline Date
Research game dynamics, script components, and design framework April 1 to April, 2013
Complete level 1 May 1 through end of May, 2013
Complete levels 2-6, alpha testing iteratively June 1 through end of October, 2013
Conduct and analyze gameplay data of beta test November 1 through end of December, 2013

Monthly updates[edit]

I am chronicling progress on The Wikipedia Adventure Facebook Page. I'm posting regular updates about what I'm doing and learning. Come follow along by Liking the page!

I'm also interested in some explorative posts on the core topics of the project for the WMF Blog.

  • Game dynamics in online communities: Appropriate for Wikipedia?
  • New editor challenges
  • Social skills and the Wikiedia Ethos
  • Role and function of grantees

Extension request[edit]

Progress on building the game has been great. The 7 missions are complete, the design is fully integrated across all pages, the script is polished, etc.

There is a critical Visual Editor bug, however, which is preventing us from properly alpha testing and then running a full impact assessment. Visual editor was deployed in the middle of the grant and has been continually going through bug-fixing. E3's Guided Tours depended on a feature called 'postedit', which alerted the tour that an edit had been made. This works great with the source editor, but fails with visual editor. E3 has tracked this bug and Matthew Flaschen is working on fixing it. Until it is fixed, however, The Wikipedia Adventure basically breaks any time an edit is made--it simply doesn't advance.

Because of this I'd like to request an extension to the grant. At the moment it's looking like we'll need 2 months for the bugfixing, alpha test, impact assessment, and analysis, so I'm going to request the grant end on November 31st with a final report due by December 31st. I will keep you updated of any progress or obstacles that come up in the planning and execution of this last stage of the grant. Thanks for considering this extension and your continued support with the grant! Ocaasi (talk) 16:24, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Updated Extension Request

Hi IEG team. I've made great progress on The Wikipedia Adventure learning game so far. 6 months of non-stop script crafting, design shaping, javascript coding, and bug testing have left me with a solid, functioning, 7-mission alpha version of the game. Due to several unanticipated challenges that I will detail here below, however, I'm requesting a 2 month extension of my grant with an accompanying project management extension in line with the monthly amount set out in the original budget.

The Wikipedia Adventure has been designed to hit a moving target in the Wikipedia interface. At the game's outset, we coded it to use the Wikitext Source editor. A surprise default rollout of Visual Editor in July, however, meant that several missions of the game had to be revamped to use that interface, even as VE was itself being constantly upgraded and redesigned. Then, due to a strong community backlash, Visual Editor was blocked as a default entirely on English Wikipedia, and changed to opt-in only. This meant that new editors would almost certainly not be using VE, so again, the code had to be redesigned to return to using the Wikitext Source editor.

At the same time, there were some critical bugs and feature requests with Guided Tours that were only resolved midway through the grant. Matt Flaschen's help was invaluable here, yet it still meant having to wait and work around certain changes. Use of Guided Tours as a game engine was both innovative and uncharted. Much of the technical framework to empower the interactivity and logic of the game had to be built by hand--it did not come ready to plug and play. I also have been learning javascript from scratch, so coding was both a challenge and a great growth experience which has only progressed with a lot of support from our technical experts in the community.

Our plan to use the E3's GettingStarted workflow for our beta test failed when E3 changed their landing page for account registration. This meant that there was not actually a way to invite people to play TWA through E3's well-equipped system as we had planned for several months. So the last few weeks has meant exploring other options for testing, everything from Central Notice or Site Notice banners to piggybacking on existing bots such as Teahouse's HostBot. The mechanics have been complex and each step has additional community consensus hurdles to overcome and research analysis implications for our control groups and the quality of data we will collect.

The best part of the last months has been our incredibly robust alpha-test process, which has frankly blown me away. After promoting the game to multiple community forums and mailling lists, social media,and a Wikimedia Foundation blog post, I have received nearly 40 fully detailed bug reports. Over 200 bugs were identified and to date nearly 185 of them have been patched, fixed, or redesigned. This process continues as new people try out the game, and keeping up with those reports and integrating the code changes by myself has been an exhilarating challenge. It is also one that is bound to continue through the beta test, as feedback will only increase as the game is presented to thousands of more new editors.

The purpose of the beta-test, and why it is so critical, is to demonstrate conclusive impact from playing the game. We want to find out whether or not TWA has actual impact on real new editors, and I want this to be part of this grant and my final report so that we can truly learn if the game has accomplished what it set out to do. I've laid out a detailed impact assessment proposal which includes our control group methodology, the cohorts we are targeting, and the metrics we will be compiling for the test.

Because of all of these really, fun, wild, unanticipated technical and community challenges and changes, I am not in a position to complete the grant in the original timeframe. That said, I think this game has real promise. Feedback from the community has been increasingly bright and positive. People seem impressed with the polish and style of the game, encouraged by its accessible content, and appreciative of the effort behind it. I think it would be well worth the additional investment to make sure the game rolls out to a full beta test properly bug-patched and ready for a valid and rigorous analysis.

For all these reasons, I am requesting a 2 month extension on the game and a $1,667 project management extension (which matches the monthly rate of $5000 over 6 months). Thank you for your support and consideration of this request.

Best, Jake Ocaasi (talk) 20:28, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Hi Ocaasi, this is approved. I appreciate the detailed reasoning behind both the time and cost requests, and understand the challenges beyond your control. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the results of the beta-test! thanks, ASengupta (WMF) (talk) 21:13, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Thank you Anasuya :) I can't wait to see the beta results! Ocaasi (talk) 21:22, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Closing the loop: Ocaasi, your grant end date is now Dec 1, final report is now due on Jan 1 (+2 additional monthly reports/check-ins), and we'll work with grants admin to disburse the additional $1667. I'm updating our tracking and wikipages accordingly. Best, Siko (WMF) (talk) 21:29, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
minor number mix-up
Your generosity is much appreciated, but it's $1,667 not $2000! Ocaasi (talk) 23:17, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
So closing the loop further, the approval is for an additional disbursement of $1,667, with a grant end date of Dec 1, with a final report due Jan 1 (+2 additional monthly reports/check-ins). :-) Thanks for keeping us straight, Jake! ASengupta (WMF) (talk) 00:47, 1 November 2013 (UTC)