Grants:IdeaLab/Full Circle Gap Protocol: Addressing the Unknown Unknowns

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Individual Engagement Grants This project is funded by an Individual Engagement Grant

proposal people timeline & progress finances midpoint report final report
statusselected
Gap Finding Protocol: A feminism-focused distributed editing project
IdeaLab beaker and flask.svg
summaryEngage participants of all strokes and address 'unknown unknown' gaps in content with a feminism-focused distributed editing project
targetWikipedia
strategic priorityimproving quality
themeoffline outreach and partnerships
amountTotal: $7,000
granteeShameran81
advisorRagesoss
contact• mmjones@uw.edu
volunteerRagesossPacysongPapykabi
this project needs...
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created on00:09, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
2015 round 1


Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

Systemic bias and gaps in Wikipedia content — attributed in part to the demographic make-up of regular Wikipedia editors — is a well-known problem area in broad terms. Efforts to address the "gender gap" through targeted outreach events have been largely unsuccessful. While there is enthusiasm for Wikipedia among many different communities, all of which could potentially help address systemic bias (and the Wikimedia community has a great track record of tapping that enthusiasm through events such as edit-a-thons) these participants rarely stay on as active editors. Moreover, those with perhaps the most to contribute — academic experts in feminist and gender studies, for example — are also participants who rarely have the spare time to become long-term Wikipedia editors.

Furthermore, this approach has been identified as problematic because enlisting individuals (be they women, women of color, minorities, or feminists, or any other group) to become long-term volunteer editors is not a useful solution to Wikipedia’s biases. Not only does such an effort push the burden of responsibility for overcoming systemic bias onto these volunteers -- a presumption that reinforces gender stereotyping -- the effort also limits the scope and vision of what can count as participation in the Wikipedia project.

Beyond this, there’s also a lacunae about what *is* missing on Wikipedia: we don’t know what we don’t know. Lists of pages to make or edit generated out of feminist edit-a-thons are not easy to follow up with or necessarily ever acted upon.

There's something to learn from the successes in improving Wikipedia's coverage of specific topic areas through the programs spearheaded by the Wiki Education Foundation, where university instructors assign Wikipedia editing as a conduit to engagement with course materials. Recruiting instructors in specific disciplines results in better topical coverage on Wikipedia. But a major bottleneck is simply identifying suitable articles for student editors to work on; so far we don’t know enough about systemic bias to enable this form of participation to effectively address content gaps either.

What is your solution?[edit]

We want to try a new kind of outreach designed to make efficient use of the time and expertise of all participants, without expecting anyone necessarily to become long-term contributors. Rather, we aim to value idiosyncratic forms of participation. Our initiative seeks to sort out how to develop a useful workflow for content creation that’s based on sporadic or one-time only participation.

To do this we’ll bring together small groups of feminist scholars affiliated with the University of Washington -- these are the people who are capable of recognizing the ‘unknown unknowns’ of gender-related content -- for an event(s) where they can identify specific content gaps ('gap lists') in their areas of expertise along with key resources that could be used to fill these gaps.

Then we'll work with Wiki Education Foundation’s Classroom Program to use these ‘gap lists’ to recruit university courses to run Wikipedia assignments, and students can draw on the lists to address the gaps. Courses may be taught, for example, by one of the participating feminist experts, but this isn’t a necessity.

Based on how the process goes, the goal will be to create a simple, repeatable, scalable workflow protocol for similar events that could be run on any topic, without requiring further coordination by experienced Wikipedians. The protocol would ultimately relieve the burden of responsibility from individual editors to overcome systemic bias by spreading out the ways that useful participation can happen -- and recognizing the value of sporadic or one-time participation in the project.

Goals[edit]

We've got two goals.

First, our goal is to respectfully tap the expertise of scholars working with feminist theory to identify 'unknown unknowns' (content gaps) on Wikipedia. Then, in collaboration with Wiki Education Foundation, offer these (now more) 'known unknowns' for educators and their students working in gender studies to use for Wikipedia editing.

Second, our goal is to develop a simple, repeatable, scalable workflow protocol for similar events that could be run on any topic, without requiring further coordination by experienced Wikipedians.

If the pilot goes well, we foresee the potential to develop some simple technical tools to make it easy to run a ‘gap finding’ event with non-Wikipedian experts and collect a useful set of fixable content gaps.

Get Involved[edit]

Participants[edit]

Idea co-creator + Project Manager: Shameran81 -- Monika Sengul-Jones

  • Volunteer I will collaborate throughout the project, and lend my education program experience to the classroom assignment phase. Ragesoss (talk) 16:12, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Volunteer To help address ‘unknown unknowns’ with a feminism-focused distributed editing project;

My major is Applied psychology, I am trying to make those acknowledgement useful. Thanks for Emails and please let me join you. Warmly Pacysong (talk) 15:11, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

  • Volunteer bonjour je aime le cercle pour enrichir ma connaissance Papykabi (talk) 09:00, 9 June 2016 (UTC)

Endorsements[edit]

yes, need to address those editors who prefer a more collaborative approach. + need to target systemic bias. might want to target vital articles in the bias area, that require more scholarship and subject matter expert editing. Slowking4 (talk) 12:59, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I think this idea is a novel approach to addressing gaps in content. --Mssemantics (talk) 20:49, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I support this approach. If this works well, it would be interesting to integrate this approach into other editathons, such as Art+Feminism. I also strongly support the inclusion of project management costs. I think these are SO important, and this is really overlooked labor.--Theredproject (talk) 00:48, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
  • This makes a lot of sense. Xttina.Garnet (talk) 10:21, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I really support this idea, proposal with actual transformative potential.Godzzzilica (talk) 12:16, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Your knowledge of wikipedia is evident and useful. One area with systematic bias and gaps is Sexual Assault, including Campus Rape. Perhaps we could coordinate https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Involve_young_women_to_improve_coverage_of_campus_rape Beauxlieux (talk) 01:54, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
  • bonjour j aime le projet parce que se informe Papykabi (talk) 08:57, 9 June 2016 (UTC)

Expand your idea[edit]

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Expand your idea into a grant proposal

Project plan[edit]

Activities[edit]

We’ll bring together small groups of feminist scholars affiliated with the University of Washington -- these are the people who are capable of recognizing the ‘unknown unknowns’ of gender-related content -- for an event(s) where they can identify specific content gaps ('gap lists') in their areas of expertise along with key resources that could be used to fill these gaps.

Then we'll work with Wiki Education Foundation’s Classroom Program to use these ‘gap lists’ to recruit university courses to run Wikipedia assignments, and students can draw on the lists to address the gaps. Courses may be taught, for example, by one of the participating feminist experts, but this isn’t a necessity.

Timeline

  • July - Formalize partnership with subject matter experts; host brainstorming event(s)
  • August - Course assignment development
  • September - Student training using Wiki Education Foundation materials
  • October - Midway review
  • December - Final project, evaluation

Budget[edit]

  • $5,500 - Project manager at 10hr/week, $25/hr for ~220 hours
  • $1,000 - A $200 honorarium for five subject matter advisers
  • $200 - Refreshments (for two events)
  • $50 - Space rental costs, if necessary
  • $250 - Discretionary funds for copying and/or childcare costs, if necessary.

Community engagement[edit]

Last February, at I Love To You: Critical Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, the participation of, and feedback from, participants about how and what to write about snowballed into the idea for a novel, distributed approach to editing. The steps proposed to do such a distributed editing project pilot will thus engage the community members who participated in the event. The proposed project manager and volunteer aim to be attentive and sensitive to the ways that this new approach might resonate with existing protocols and practices on Wikipedia. We will draw on the considerable resources that the Wiki Ed Foundation has developed to assist new student editors, for instance, with developing content. We will benefit from the length of time that the project spans - we’re not aiming to ‘fix’ content gaps in a day or even a week, but over a period of six months. At both the midway evaluation and final review, we’ll solicit feedback on how things are going in this distributed approach to identifying, collating, and working on content gaps from everyone involved: the advisers, the students, and Wikipedians (who may be involved in editing or reviewing new content) to check in to see what’s working and what’s not, these check-backs will inform the list of ‘best practices’ to be shared in the protocol for future distributed editing projects.

Sustainability[edit]

Beyond accomplishing the pilot, the goal of this proposal is to develop a simple, repeatable, scalable workflow protocol for similar events that could be run on any topic, without requiring further coordination by experienced Wikipedians. We’ll write up a report to share widely.

While there’s no such thing as a perfectly universal model, we hope that the protocol might inspire the organization of similar events that use and value the sporadic engagement of experts and successfully share such ‘gap lists’ for editing sessions with other participants. There's been interest in the protocol by the Wiki Education Foundation, Art+Feminism edit-a-thons, and the UW Research Commons.

If the pilot goes well, we also foresee the potential to develop some simple technical tools to make it easy to run a ‘gap finding’ event with non-Wikipedian experts and collect a useful set of fixable content gaps. To start out, we plan to use non-wiki digital software to generate lists (for instance, a combination of Excel and Zotero), however perhaps there could be a way to integrate similar tools or software using Wikipedia’s existing interface.

Measures of success[edit]

We will consider “success” to be the enactment of this proposal. We will mark the midway and final points with critical analysis and reporting. The targets will be:

  • Recruitment of a minimum of five subject matter experts to participate;
  • Hosting a ~4 hour brainstorming session where to identify content “gaps” in a gender-related subject or topic, with somewhere between 5 - 25 pages analyzed in depth during the session (depending on the breadth of each page);
  • Recruitment of a university course that will use the materials;
  • Expanding the lists in to practical action-items for the students that make sense for the course;
  • Training and working with work these student editors for the duration of the course
    • At least 5 of the identified gap topics (new or existing articles) edited by these student editors, with at least 2000 characters of content and 2 citations added per topic.
  • Staging a final presentation session which may include the return of the subject matter experts to reflect on how their ‘gaps’ were addressed through the editing work of the undergraduates;
  • A documented workflow for running a gap identification event and using the identified gaps in a classroom editing project

Project team[edit]

Shameran81: Experienced project manager; Communication and media studies scholar; Instructor/teaching assistant with experience teaching with Wikipedia; Wikipedian; Feminist edit-a-thon participant; I Love To You: Critical Wikipedia Edit-a-thon co-organizer

Ragesoss: Wiki Education Foundation product manager; Digital strategist; Historian of science; Experienced Wikipedian

Community notification[edit]

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