Learning patterns/Public contribution
What problem does this solve?
Several observations have led to the introduction of this project:
- Summer is a low-activity period for the communities;
- There is little renewal in the communities;
- There is a blatant lack of tools for interacting with the general public;
- A need for illustrations for articles linked to the towns and villages of France;
- It is important to make people aware of the need to contribute on what makes up our surroundings.
Every year, thousands (millions) of tourists photograph the regions that they visit. Rather than leave these images to fill up hard disks, we asked these amateur photographers to give a new meaning to their hobby. These photos will then be used to illustrate Wikipedia articles on towns, regions and departments. We have therefore decided to target the French regions and the people who live there.
What is the solution?
A national action that can be adapted locally
The actions that we run are usually carried out in a defined area (town, village, museum, etc.)/ With the Wikipedia Summer in the Towns event, we offered a global tool that can be easily adapted at a local level.
Strong interaction with the stakeholders in the regions
During the event, we made contact with nearly a thousand regional stakeholders likely to be interested in the event and our approach. We sent nearly 10,000 e-mails to town halls, tourist offices and digital facilitation centres spread across the country. We offered to publicize the initiative to local inhabitants and tourists: printing posters and explanatory flyers, relays on the social networks, etc.
Creating a new experience around Wikimedia projects dedicated to the regions
To encourage the general public and local inhabitants to improve articles relating to their region, we set up an external website, an attractive portal for the general public. This was used to quickly identify a commune’s illustration requirements (thanks to the development of a mapping tool capable of searching through the dedicated Commons categories). Users were then asked to go out and take photos near their homes: local heritage, streets, landscapes, etc. Finally, they were asked to upload their photos into a category specially created for the event on Commons.
Targeting the communication
To reach as many people as possible, we sought to base our communication on local stakeholders who were already clearly identified and visible. By diversifying the messages, everyone was able to identify with the project and take part. For example, a town hall wanted to have a Wikipedia page about its commune properly written and up-to-date, while a tourist office wanted an article translated into several dozen languages with attractive photos. By focusing on our targets’ core concerns, we were able to make it easier to pass on information about the project and gain media coverage for it.
Things to consider
- Most of the institutions and organization that we contacted during the summer told us that they were very interested, but that they had worked on their summer communication a few months beforehand. It was therefore difficult for many of them to communicate about a new project in the middle of summer. It is therefore vital to contact local stakeholders several months in advance so that they can plan their communication in advance.
- It would eventually be useful to develop more agile import tools on Commons to make it easier for the public to upload large numbers of photos. Many publish only a few photos due to lack of time and more appropriate tools.
Areas for progress
- We chose to propose an almost-finalized project to the community two weeks before it was launched. This led us to think about how to involve the community in constructing projects and identifying different forms of involvement: project initiated and run by volunteers, others based on contacts established by volunteers, then actions run by employees and, finally, the form used for Summer in the Towns: packs designed by employees and actions carried out by volunteers, as volunteers are not all interested in the same forms of involvement. By offering a variety of options for involvement, we should be able to increase the number of contributions over the next few months.
- Wikipedia Summer in the Towns and Villages also showed how important it is to develop tools that make it easier to contribute to projects. Tools that make it easier to upload photos and ready-made activities to be carried out in the regions. The future project aimed at the regions will offer a certain number and innovate in this direction. Based on our initial experience, we are developing a new interface to encourage the general public to contribute to Wikimedia projects linked to the regions.
- Creation of a website to facilitate communication and ownership;
- Over 16,000 contributions;
- Nearly 800 different contributors;
- A partner company;
- Nearly 1000 stakeholders made aware;
- Creation of dedicated templates and categories to guide new contributors.