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Research:WikiWomen's Collaborative/Phase 1/Report

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The WikiWomen's Collaborative logo designed by Heather Walls. It is based on the WikiWomen's hand gesture as seen in this photo.

This is a progress report on outcomes and learnings from the first month of the WikiWomen's Collaborative project, which ran during October 2012. Phase one focused on building participation and awareness about the project. Further details about the goals and targets of phase one can be viewed in the Phase one plan.

This report focuses on the three major areas of the project thus far: Facebook, Twitter and blog. We also created an online component to coordinate the spaces, here. Examination of successes and opportunities for improvement will inform plans for phase two of the project.



  • Build community on Facebook to 700 likes
  • Have two active conversations on Facebook each day (at least 50% volunteer initiated)

Outcomes and learnings[edit]

  • Opening day launch gave us over 170 likes.
  • Today we have 373 likes falling short of our goal of 700.
  • It was easy to garner likes at the beginning - myself and Siko invited all the women we know to like the page, as did other community members. Inviting others to like your page is the best tool, since Facebook users are limited on outreach to people that aren't their friends. Sarah has requested that Wikipedians do the same, not much has come of this yet. Perhaps more specific requests are needed.
  • Facebook admins make approximately two posts per day with the first post made by Sarah in the early afternoon and a second post often made by Netha later in the day.
  • Facebook likes will decline if you over-post, and it's been a challenge to learn how to separate the posts out. We decided to make posts approximately eight hours after each other, which allows us to tap into fans in other areas of the world.
  • Two community members, alongside Sarah, serve as administrators, Netha, from India, and Girona7, from Italy.
  • We hope to have more trusted community members to administer Facebook. As young students and professionals our time is often limited and it would ideal to be able to have WikiWomen from around the world, and all age and experience levels, posting content.
  • Fans can share their own content, but it takes WWC admins to make it more visible
  • Fans of our page can share posts and comments of their own on our wall, however, it gets placed in a "Comments by others," section on the Facebook page and it is not as visible as posts made by admins. In order to make these posts more visible, we often share the content the fans post, and of course respond to those posts if they are questions. This is when the different between a Page and a Group is evident: groups allow for anyone to post, when Pages are more restrictive on who sees posts made by fans.
  • This has also been beneficial, as we've learned more about our fans and WikiWomen and we've also been able to develop blogs based on comments. Our most successful blog and comment being by Sucheta Ghoshal who told us about her grandmother learning how to edit. We ended up asking her to write a blog about it!
  • 76% of our likes are women giving us an opposite gender gap then we have on Wikipedia!
  • Women out number men not only in likes, but in participation in the space. The Facebook page has become a self-created women's space, where men serve as allies.
  • The United States is our largest fan base, followed by India, United Kingdom, Italy and Germany.
  • This may be because Sarah and Siko, who invited their friends to like the page at the launch, are US based participants. Netha, from India, did the same, hence India following in second.
  • Posting content that is related to country history is a good tool to help build a fan base that is more international.
  • Most of our fans speak English, followed by Italian, German, Spanish and Swedish.
  • In the US, UK and India, English is a primary language.
  • Girona invited her Italian friends and colleagues to like the page, hence a healthy Italian appearance. We have yet to make any Italian language posts, yet.
  • Wikipedia is our most popular referral followed by Twitter, our blog, meta-wiki and Wikimedia Germany.
  • Sarah did a major push on English Wikipedia, using this template, inviting over 1,000 women to like the Facebook page, hence being the number one referral at this time.
  • When we promote the page on Twitter we do get more followers.
  • Wikimedia Germany is the only Chapter to promote the space on their website, thus far.

Call to action successes[edit]

Creating calls to action via Facebook which engage and attract women to edit is challenging, and will be a major focus of phase two. One specific challenge has been that we are unable to track click through analytics, so any analysis of women editing from our calls to action are based on analysis of username and edits made on the day of the posting.

During this phase, we were able to explore what worked and what didn't. Successful calls to action include:

  • Suggesting article improvement to biographies of historical women on their birthdays.
  • Edits were made to the German Wikipedia article by WikiWoman User:Anima.
  • WikiWoman Girona7 discovered that she was born on a different birthdate than what was written on the English Wikipedia page. She changed it in this edit.
  • WikiWoman Ketaki Pole started the article in Marathi.
  • Asking WikiWomen to create a profile at the Teahouse.
  • Two WikiWomen created profiles at the Teahouse, User:Soheyla Sh and User:Ketaki Pole.
  • Ask women to add suggested articles to edit-a-thon to-do lists.
  • Sharing articles that women have written and asking for translations and calls to action.
  • Shared the article for María Luisa Reid created by WikiWoman Thelmadatter. User:Isha made edits to the Spanish version.

It is clear, based on these successes, that successful calls to action have very specific requests associated with them. Asking our fans to just "improve an article" or "copy edit" isn't specific enough and little to no editing takes place on the suggested subjects.


  • Hard to estimate successes with limited analytic data. Wikimedia's privacy policy forbids the use of tools such as Google Analytics to garner analytical data about click-throughs. Facebook Insight gives us access to data such as how many views our Facebook posts get, how many times they are shared, the reach of people reading our content, etc, but not click-throughs.
  • Current fans need to invite their friends. We get more likes to our page when current fans invite their friends to like the page.
  • Timeline wasn't worth the time. The timeline, which provides a visual history of the product (Wikimedia) rarely gets explored in depth. It took approximately four days to create this timeline, and may not have been worth the time in the end. Viewing generally ceases at Sue being on the Forbe's list.
  • Fans like to learn about women in the movement through profiles. Profiles about WikiWomen get more comments and likes than any other posts, generally. However, the comments are usually of less substance and more vanity based. (i.e. "What a cute photo!")
  • Talking to ourselves is a good way to engage others. Netha, Siko, and myself all tend to "talk to ourselves" when we make posts or see posts that are related to us on the Collab page. By leaving comments and interacting with these posts we are usually able to garner the participation of others to interact with the post and the page.
  • Wikipedians want to share what they are doing, and do it by posting responses to posts and sharing what they did. We thought we might have a hard time having people volunteer this information on Facebook, but, it has not been an issue.
  • Asking a question works...and sometimes doesn't! Asking questions, such as "What is your biggest challenge in editing Wikipedia?" has been extremely successful for engaging people in conversation. However, asking questions that are more fun and less substance filled, like "If you could have any museums partner with Wikipedia, what would it be?" get no response. We are still experimenting with this.
  • Fans love photos. After events, we upload photos and get a lot of likes and shares. People love tagging each other, liking the photos, and commenting on them.

Identified opportunities[edit]

  • Continue to build our fan base - still aim for 700 likes by end of November with more specific asks of current Fans.
  • Continue to focus on very specific calls to action and profiles.
  • Experiment with different kinds of questions to elicit conversation, also try asking participants to share stories and successes on Facebook page.
  • Create a more multilingual Facebook.
  • Find additional volunteers to maintain the page. Consider developing a calendar system for people to sign up for days to maintain it.
  • Engage more women who are not yet editing.
  • Work more closely with the Wikipedia Facebook page. They have over a million fans, and surely we could gain some new women editors from that fanbase.


Our Twitter account is ran by Sarah. People who would like to submit tweets can post them here.


  • Gain 500 Twitter followers.
  • Have two active conversations on Twitter with volunteers per day.
  • Get women editing Wikipedia through calls to action.


  • Twitter launched about six months ago by Sarah as a volunteer, which has allowed ample time to build a following of 487 accounts.
  • Our followers are a mixed bag of women, men, organizational accounts (i.e. Chapters, non-profits), social media and PR people, scholars and feminists.
  • Conversations take place on a daily basis. These range from questions people have about editing, to comments about Wikipedia, errors in articles, event promotion and more.
  • Facebook feeds to Twitter. When we make a Facebook post it gets Tweeted and brings people to our Facebook page.

Interaction successes[edit]

Twitter offers us the opportunity to make more posts, and have more direct interaction, then Facebook. Sarah monitors it hourly, including the #Wikipedia hashtag and general searches for "wikipedia" and "women". Calls to action to get people to edit are often more personal and direct. A few successful calls to action include:

  • WikiWoman User:Finn-Pauls instigated a conversation suggesting that Danica Patrick is a well written article. We suggested that she nominate it for Good Article status. We told her how and she did!
  • WikiWoman User:LauraHale proceeded to make a number of edits to the article. She also follows us on Twitter.
  • @blautreacle, who follows our account, and Sarah's account, announced she made a Wikipedia account and we assisted her in getting her started on a project.

While these are successes, it is still few and far between. Twitter has been great for promoting our blog posts, events, and similar things, which are successful at getting us retweets from followers.


  • Data isn't easy to gather again, because of privacy policies that Wikipedia has. We can't track what links people are clicking on, so we can only make assumptions based on if editors who edited the suggested articles are women based on if they have chosen their gender on their userpages, state they are a woman on their userpage, or their userpage connects to their female persona on Twitter. Also, most data gathering websites, such as Tweet Stats, require pay for quality data.
  • Following hashtags helps to increase conversation and followers. By following people who use hashtags and have good faith posts, they will often follow you back! It's also easy to engage with users when you see them posting about women and Wikipedia topics.
  • People really do enjoy having conversation with you. Interaction is a key tool with Twitter - it makes people feel valued and it's beneficial to us - we garner more followers and klout.
  • New editors are easier to find on Twitter, since people often post complaints, comments and concerns about content and we can encourage them to try their hand at #sofixit.
  • Blogs are popular, and get us a lot of retweets.
  • Questions are often left unanswered. When we ask questions such as "What are you editing today?" they often go unanswered.

Identified opportunities[edit]

  • Make it to 600 followers by the end of November.
  • Continue to monitor Twitter daily and interact with people as much as possible, without flooding the screen
  • Experiment with calls to action for new editors
  • Have Chapters and Wikipedia Twitter accounts tweet about us more.


Our blogroll is located on the Wikimedia Foundation blog. We also created a page on meta to organize blogging and volunteers.


  • Get experienced women who already edit to share updates about their projects on the blog.
  • Publish two blogs a week (at least 50% volunteer initiated)


  • Blog launches on September 26 with WikiWomen Unite! post. To date, it is our most shared, retweeted, and liked blog post.
  • We average two blogs a week and 90% are written by volunteers.
  • We are multilingual when it comes to international posts. Bloggers often will write in English and translate into their preferred language.



  • Blogs are a wide-reaching tool to let the movement know how WikiWomen feel and what WikiWomen do. While our Facebook page is generally a women's space, the blog is read by and commented on by all genders.
  • The majority of our bloggers have been newer editors, sharing their experiences with events and projects they have worked on. This is a great way to engage these women and retain them by letting them share their voices.
  • Multilingual is imperative, and the opportunity is there. However, we need to have tweets and Facebook posts prepared in all languages matching the blog post languages when the time comes to promote it.

Identified opportunities[edit]

  • Continue to have at least 1-2 blog posts per week written by volunteers.
  • Explore how to make the blog sustainable when Sarah's fellowship ends. Who will recruit bloggers? Who will review and work with WMF Comms staff to post these blogs?
  • Explore the idea of having men blog about women's subjects and topics.
  • Experiment with call to action posts, and how-to posts.
  • Prepare multilingual Tweets and Facebook posts coordinated with multilingual blog posts.

Other outcomes[edit]

The WikiWomen's Collaborative has encouraged renewed focus on the gender gap and inspired the community to get more proactive in closing the gap. Projects and programs that have developed since the WikiWomen's Collaborative's inception include:

  • International Ada Lovelace Day events held by community members, including many new women editors.
  • FemTech Edit-a-thon and roundtable being held at Claremont Graduate University in Southern California
  • WikiWomenDay workshop hosted by Wikipedia Club Pune
  • Focus on gender gap outreach at the upcoming Wikimedia India conference in January.
  • Development of a task force for women scientists on English Wikipedia.
  • Gender gap and women editing will be a focus of the upcoming FemBot Unconference in Portland, Oregon.

Next steps[edit]

Learn more about phase two of the project in our Phase 2 plan, based on the following recommendations

  • Focus on engaging women who are not yet editing Wikipedia and related projects and experiment with calls to action that get them editing.
  • Develop a sustainable model for the project. How can we make sure that content is created and maintained by the community when my fellowship ends?
  • Increase Facebook and Twitter fans and followers.
  • Explore how to sustain this project post-fellowship.
  • Improve social media cross-communication between WMF maintained accounts (i.e. @Wikipedia, Facebook page), chapters, and our accounts. We should be able to take advantage of their fan and follower base, if they cite and tweet us.
  • Continue outreach to the press and Wikipedians with the focus on new editors.
  • Keep on experimenting with "what works" for Facebook calls to action.
  • Expand the WikiWomen's Collaborative page to have a developed "how to host an event" resource section.
  • Try out special events, such as "Ask a WikiWoman" or a YouTube/Live interview session with Sue or another WikiWoman