What is the problem you're trying to solve?
This project is aimed at tackling three problems. They are unavoidable consecuences of Wikipedia's dynamics, but they can be controlled with creative solutions that should be continuously ideated:
- Projects as Wikipedia rely on a solid foundation of collaborators, and that's why users, the WMF and WM Affiliates are constantly trying to get new people involved with the projects. It's not easy, as the problem requires a constant ideation on creative ways of doing it. However, conventional activities like edith-a-tons and photo contests aren't suitable for engaging every kind of newcomer, and there are more dynamics inside Wikipedia that may be more fun and engaging for certain type of new users than the editorial tasks.
- Vandalism is probably Wikipedia's biggest problem. It makes people distrustful of the encyclopedia, and may offend or misguide people who encounters vandalized text on the encyclopedia when looking for information. Combating vandalism is a must. Luckily, there are volunteers who do it in a daily basis, and awesome tools and bots that were created to the same end. However, we're still lacking tools for easily dealing with vandalism from mobile devices, and we can't rely on the same people to work on dealing with vandalism forever; any tools and activities that help new people to get involved with this task are, in my opinion, always welcome.
- Users may unintentionally harm (i.e. by reverting or deleting contributions) other innocent users when dealing with vandalism. This is specially true when the user fighting vandalism is inexpert, or if he uses an automated tool that allows him to go too fast for his level of expertise. Of course, if the affected user is new to Wikipedia (as usually happens), this may be discouraging for her.
What is your solution to this problem?
This project proposes the development of a desktop and mobile videogame (tentatively called Knowledge Defenders) that focuses around the existing mechanics of combating vandalism in Wikipedia. The game would allow the player to deal with real vandalism in a sandboxed (i.e. not editing directly on-wiki) 3D environment and provide feedback on how she did. After the user has gained enough experience in the sandboxed environment, real-time editions can be introduced, and on-wiki reversions can be performed.
The videogame would provide people with a fun experience while they are introduced to helping with the Wikimedia projects, which would hopefuly result in them getting engaged with them, and at the same time would prepare those people on how to correctly deal with vandalism while avoiding the possibility of unintentionally harming good users. It would also work as a tool for advanced users to counter vandalism, with two main advantages over existing ones: the extra engagement that the game experience would provide and the possibility of using the tool in their mobile devices.
- Provide the Wikimedia community with a tool for effectively dealing with vandalism from desktop or mobile devices.
- Get new users involved with Wikipedia through the task of dealing with vandalism.
- Reduce the amount of good users who are wrongly affected by users who are learning how to deal with vandalism.
How will you know if you have met your goals?
Goal: Provide the Wikimedia community with a tool for effectively dealing with vandalism from desktop or mobile devices.
I'll develop a multi-platform (i.e. desktop and mobile) software that focuses on dealing with vandalism in Wikipedia. The software will be a videogame, but it will also include the option to be used as a quick and effective tool by advanced users.
- Output: I hope that at least 1.000 real vandalisms are reverted on-wiki with the aid of the software for the duration of the project.
- Outcome: Ideally, at least 10.000 real vandalisms are reverted on-wiki with the aid of the software in the first year after the project has finished.
Goal: Get new users involved with Wikipedia through the task of dealing with vandalism.
I'll design the videogame to be as fun and engaging as possible, so it serves as a motivation for people to contribute to Wikipedia through it (even without noticing!) and as new way of bringing people closer to the projects.
- Output: I'll test the game with as many non-Wikimedians as possible; hopefuly, those people will make, as a whole, at least 200 "free-willed" (i.e. not while being actively directed by me, but in their own time) edits to Wikipedia through it for the duration of the project.
- Outcome: I hope that at least 5% (minimum 5 people) of those non-Wikimedians continue to edit (i.e. make at least 10 edits) after the project has finished, either with the game or by any other means.
Goal: Reduce the amount of good users who are wrongly affected by users who are learning how to deal with vandalism.
The videogame will function in different ways according to expertise level of the player. New players would play in a sandboxed environment (with pre-recorded and pre-catalogued real Wikipedia edits) so they can make mistakes while learning without actually affecting anyone and 2) receive feedback on how they fared (e.g. if they reverted actual vandalism, if they reverted a good edit, etc.).
- Output: I'll survey the non-Wikimedians who test the game to see if at least 80% of them agrees that the game has taught them how to responsibly deal with vandalism in Wikipedia, and check if their edits within the sandboxed environment show an improvement (or a nonexistence) of the amount of fake positives (i.e. reverted good edits) they had.
- Outcome: In the long term, I hope that there are very few or zero serious objections about the game dynamics somehow being harmful to the projects, which would reflect that it can actually be used with few risk of it being misused.
Do you have any goals around participation or content?
Please see section "How will you know if you have met your goals?".
At the end of the project, I expect to have a fully functional and tested videogame that allows players to revert Wikipedia vandalism in a sandboxed or real environment from desktop or mobile devices and that, in the case of new users, provides feedback on if the reversions are acceptable or not.
Before starting development, I plan to execute a planning stage for actively asking and receiving input from other Wikimedians and game developers about:
- What Wikipedia-related mechanics should be included in the game. For example: visualizing edits in real time, being able to revert, being able to block users, etc.
- What game mechanics can be used to implement those Wikipedia mechanics and to enhance the game experience. For example: player avatars that can be leveled up, scenarios with objectives that shall be achieved, points, real-time competition with other Wikipedians via scoreboards, etc.
- What kind of aesthetics can be desirable for the game. For example: the game should provide the player with a zen-like experience, or the game should be highly dynamic and fast-paced, etc. The defined aesthetics will drive almost every decision about how the game looks and feels.
I already have some broad ideas about all three items, but the project will surely be fortified with other people's opinions.
The project will be developed by using an iterative methodology, so new features in the game can be tested as soon as possible. Development will mainly consist in programming-related tasks, but other tasks related to asset creation (sound, graphics, etc.) will possibly appear depending on decisions made. Therefore, an overview of the expected tasks would be the following:
- Development. The project will be developed by using an iterative methodology, so new features in the game can be tested as soon as possible. It will be developed in Unity.
- Audio. Depending on decisions made during the planning stage and the defined aesthetics for the game, different kind of music and sound effects will be required. They can either be purchased from an asset store, created by an external company or created by me or someone involved by the project.
- Graphics. Depending on decisions made during the planning stage and the defined aesthetics for the game, different kind of graphics (3D models and textures, sprites, visual effects, etc.) will be required. They can either be purchased from an asset store, created by an external company or created by me or someone involved by the project.
- Testing. This activity involves testing the game both internally (load and soak testing, for example, to see how it performs) and externally (functional testing made by people external to the project). In the case of functional testing, I'll collect data from both the feedback given by the tester and his recorded actions in the game. This kind of testing will possibly be performed in different scenarios, such as standard testing sessions, contests, etc.
- Status. The status of the project will be shared trough a website or blog. This involves either creating a new site for this, or preparing an existing one (such as my personal blog) for the task, and updating the selected site with news.
Requested funds: $24.000.
The project requires a calculated estimate of 1000 person-hours to be developed:
- Project direction, game design and development (about 70% of the budget): This covers the time for coordinating and documenting the project activities, designing the game mechanics and developing the software.
- Graphics (about 20% of the budget): This covers the time for the creation of visual assets (3D models and textures, sprites) for the game, including UI elements, or their purchase. Free game art will be used when possible.
- Audio (about 5% of the budget): This covers the time for the creation of audio (music and sound effects) for the game, or their purchase. Free audio will be used when possible.
- Testing (about 5% of the budget): Some testing (specially the most intensive and boring one) will be made with paid testers. However, most of the functional testing will be made during organized activities such as Wikimedia contests or meetings, either organized specifically for testing the software or with other main objective. In those cases, appreciation gifts, swag or prizes will be given to people who contribute.
Please note that software projects are difficult to plan in terms of development time and costs. The initial planning stage and the development sprints will always take into account the elapsed and remaining project time and the available funds in order to priorize the most needed features at any moment. This way, even if for some reason the project goes behind schedule, I plan to respect the initial budget and deliver a fully functional product (albeit with less features) when the project ends instead of not being able to finish because the initial estimations were off and the budget was over prematurely.
The resulting game will be playable by a broad Wikimedia audience. However, during the project development, I'll focus in working with the Spanish Wikipedia community and the Wikimedia Community in Colombia, which are the communities I'm most familiar with.
In order to interact with the mentioned communities (and with the broader audience after the project has ended), I plan to use 3 communication channels:
- A website (either a new one or part of an existing one such as my personal blog) with general information and updates about the project.
- Traditional channels for each community: the Café (Village Pump) and user talk pages in es:Wiki and the Wikimedians of Colombia User Group Facebook page and mailing list for the Colombian community.
- Face-to-face interaction with the community. This involves talking about the project during meetings and events.
My name is Oscar F. Gómez. I'm a Colombian software developer, and my current focus is developing videogames that help the development of skills. I currently work as a half-time professor and researcher in Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana at Bucaramanga. I'm also a Wikimedian since 2007 and a sysop in the Spanish Wikipedia in 2008. Currently, my volunteering time is mainly devoted to the development of activities with the Wikimedians of Colombia User Group.
I plan to be the director of the project, as well as its only game designer and software developer. For this, I will allocate 20 hours per week, which represent half of my weekly working time. I will also allocate part of my volunteering time for running activities related to the project -as much as my work with the Wikimedians of Colombia User Group allows.
The development of the project will require the participation of other people, specially for tasks related to the creation of audio and graphics, and for testing. I'm in touch with local (in my city or in Colombia) professionals whom I may contact for these tasks, and I know free and paid repositories where I may buy what is needed.
- The project idea was presented and discussed during a session of the Wikimedia Developer Summit 2017 in San Francisco, CA. Check Phabricator tasks T155046 and T155074 for more information.
- An invitation to participate and endorse the project was posted in the Wikimedia Colombia Facebook group (not page). Check this link.
- I notified the project to the Iberoconf public mailing list.
- I notified the project in the Spanish Wikipedia.
Do you think this project should be selected for a Project Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project below! (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the discussion page).
- Great idea. I think it is an innovative way to attack vandalism and engage people to help and even edit Wikipedia. It focuses in our biggest problem, Vandalism, and make that a way to reach more people and eventually change their opinion about Wikipedia (and other projects) derived from the constantly vandalized articles. --Sahaquiel9102 (talk) 15:45, 15 March 2017 (UTC)