Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Sources/Report/AB cycle 2/Insights summary

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Participation[edit]

We had 2,710 summary statements submitted by a total of 55 sources: 28 organized groups, 26 communities, and the private survey. Total statements include 333 statements from the Wikimedia Foundation.

Track A (organized groups)[edit]

1085 total statements from 29 groups

Note: 752 statements are from 28 groups and 333 from the Wikimedia Foundation. 

Participating organized groups: Affiliation Committee, Australian Community, Bengali Community, Iberoconf 2017, North Carolina Triangle Wikipedians, Wiki in Education, WikiConference North America User Group, WikiDonne's User Group, Wikimedia Austria (Board and ED), Wikimedia Chile – interviews, Wikimedia Chile - Strategy meetup, Wikimedia Community User Côte d'Ivoire, Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey (WMTR), Wikimedia Deutschland (Board & ED), Wikimedia Deutschland (discussion at the general meeting of members), Wikimedia Deutschland staff, Wikimedia District of Columbia, Wikimedia Foundation staff, Wikimedia Ghana User Group, Wikimedia Israel, Wikimedia Morocco user group, Wikimedia Nederland, Wikimedia Polska 2017 meeting, Wikimedia Polska Strategy Dinner, Wikimedia Portugal, Wikimedians of Bulgaria UG, Wikimedians of Korea User Group, Wikipedia Community Schools Association Greece

Track B (individual contributors)[edit]

1625 statements from 26 communities and the private survey.

Note that the private survey accounts for 650 statements, which are included in these results.

 Participating communities: Albanian Wikipedia, Arabic Community, Bengali Community, Chinese Community - Individual interviews, Dutch Email Survey, Dutch Wikipedia, English Wikipedia, French Wikipedia, German language Kurier, German language Wikipedia, Hebrew Wikipedia Village Pump, Hindi community one on one discussions, Hindi Community Whatsapp discussion, Hindi Wikipedia, Italian Wikipedia, Meta, Polish Wikipedia, Portuguese Wikipedia Village Pump, Russian Wikipedia, Spanish Wikipedia, Spanish-speaking Telegram group, Swedish Wikipedia, Vietnamese Wikipedia, Wikidata Community, Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Hackathon, and Cycle 2 Survey Collectors.

Overall insights[edit]

To Wikimedians, creating a healthy, inclusive community is paramount to fulfilling the overarching goal of curating the sum of all knowledge and allowing free access to all people.[1] Active, empowered communities are central to the sustainability and future of the movement.[2] There is pride in the great accomplishments completed so far, and the community and organized groups are passionate about making it even better. This will require proactive steps for everyone to feel included and respected – in spite of gender or geography, socioeconomic status, or education level.[3] Many recommended that better mechanisms and enforcement be put in place to curb harassment, abuse, and vandalism in order to create a safe and collaborative space for all who participate.[4] As the movement grows, everyone – especially experienced editors – will have to consider the needs of those who are experiencing Wikipedia for the first time – whether as a reader or a contributor.[5] Wikimedians will need to design experiences and tools to better support and welcome newcomers, so that long-term sustainability can be achieved.[6]

The movement could be a role model for other digital spaces, exemplifying how to globalize collaboration, communication, and metadata scholarship.[7] By being a healthier, more inclusive space, our international communities could encourage even wider participation and diversity of people, cultures, and perspectives.[8] To do so, the movement would need more rigorous standards of quality and positive behavior[9] as well as build stronger relationships across communities and improve interactivity among projects and languages.  

Both knowledge quality and quantity could increase as diverse voices are actively integrated and collaborate effectively. Wikimedia could be the largest, most neutral, trusted, and reliable free knowledge resource available.[10] Many Wikimedians believe that people from all regions should be encouraged to participate, which would fill knowledge gaps and add more diverse points of view. This would help eliminate bias and create more neutral, reliable, verifiable, and complete content.[11] While inclusion may cause some friction,[12] many believe that increased diversity is the best way to ensure higher quality.[13] For many this fulfills the primary goal of being an encyclopedia and would increase its usefulness and readership.[14]

By sharing all knowledge globally and freely, Wikimedia could break down barriers and be a transformational force to connect cultures across the world.[15] This would help preserve local knowledge and cultures while increasing the number of total volunteers.[16] Different cultures have different knowledge needs; therefore, the models and support may also need to be different. Some Wikipedians warn that we must proceed with caution, helping local communities grow organically with approaches that fit their cultures. Active outreach to new places and new partners is going to be required.[17] In some cases, this will involve not just training someone on how to use Wikimedia projects, but on making readers and contributors aware of what it is in the first place and why they are critical tools in the quest for free knowledge.[18] We need to resolve the complexity[19] of how to include these new knowledge sources[20] (oral histories, etc.) while maintaining strong verification processes and quality in all the projects.

Through technology, Wikimedia could create an open and adaptable system (seamless connection between projects and their content) that effectively integrates and supports free knowledge, even as knowledge formats and devices evolve.[21] There were many requests to improve tools and features; Wikimedians want things to work better and more easily. Wikimedia should not be a technology innovator[22] but use technology to its advantage to better support users and increase overall participation.[23] We must minimally “catch up” with technology to remain relevant and sustainable.[24] This means smart tools, general automation,[25] and designing interfaces that accommodate today’s readers and editors.[26] We should expand tools to curate multimedia content and search.[27] The movement should cautiously use AI and machine learning to help increase quality and accessibility. The overall view from Wikimedians is that we should  maintain our community-first focus,[28] and use AI and other technologies to reduce busy-work, not replace volunteers, and improve quality.[29] Machine translations with human support could allow for one global, universal encyclopedia.[30] Above all, we should use a flexible technology strategy, so that the projects can adapt as new advances are made.

Where possible, the movement should create synergies with partners that add free content, functionality, and awareness to engage more people and ultimately benefit society.[31] Wikimedians acknowledge that partnerships will make the movement more effective in achieving its mission, especially educational partnerships.[32] However, some contributors point out that an investment in improved communication among Wikimedia groups and across individual contributors is needed.[33] The movement can only be as effective as its most coordinated bodies. Some Wikimedians recognize the enormous potential for increasing partnership work with other like-minded organizations and communities. A few also shared that there is opportunity to work much better together inside the movement.

Ultimately, these actions would allow us to help create a better world,[34] one in which free access to all knowledge increases educational and economic equity.[35]

Insight summaries by track[edit]

Organized groups[edit]

Among organized groups, we saw the following insights show up across the five themes. The numbers at the end of each insight indicate how many groups discussed that particular topic and the second number refers to the number of individual statements that coalesced around that topic. Note that 29 organized groups participated with a total of 1085 statements (333 statements from the Wikimedia Foundation).

Theme A: Healthy communities (27 groups participated)

  • Inclusivity, diversity, and representation are crucial across ideological, gender, and ethnic divides  in order to ensure the highest quality and greatest amount of knowledge available (14 groups, 30 references)
    • “Variant voices need to be heard - divergence from mainstream popular ideas should not be suppressed in the name of political correctness.” - Wikimedia Australia[36]
  • Continues to be a critical precondition for other themes and cited as most important of the five (14 groups, 25 references)
    • “This is the most significant area to focus on. The marginalized communities that are most affected by some current policies and practices are the communities whose perspectives are most needed.” - North Carolina Triangle[37]
  • Importance of training or otherwise welcoming new editors while curtailing bad practices of old users (14 groups, 23 references)
    • “We need to stop catering to high performance users who are also high maintenance...Volunteer work should be easy – support for volunteers needs to be flexible and adaptable.” - Wikimedia Austria[38]

Theme B: The augmented age  (17 groups participated)

  • Maintain our community-first focus, but cautiously use AI and machine learning to reduce busy-work, not replace volunteers, and improve quality and accessibility (8 groups, 10 references)
    • “We can invest time and resources in new tests and innovations - AI, interaction, voice-reading, voice-editing, etc.” - Wikimedians of Bulgaria[39]
  • Multimedia and new non-text platforms are essential (7 groups, 10 references)
    • “The content presentation in formats different than text seems fundamental to reach users other than traditional readers.” - Wikimedia Chile Strategy Meet-up[40]
    • “More people will require non-text content including music, voice, and video. We need faster and more convenient environment for multimedia files.” - Wikimedia Korea[41]
  • Keep the technology focus on readers and editors, especially with better tools, UX, and training. Automation and technological progress is an unstoppable force that WP must capitalize on or become obsolete (6 groups, 14 references)
    • “Technology is getting more and more important. It's also getting resource-intensive. We need to "outsource" our technology needs by building a partnership of organizations needing a collaborative knowledge production platform, and evolving our current technology to be that platform.” - WMF Staff[42]

Theme C: Truly global movement  (20 groups participated)

  • Essential to be available and accessible across languages and platforms (7 groups, 8 references)
    • “Not only accessing to Wikipedia is a goal, but also to have the content available in a maximum of the languages of the world. It is important to add it to the theme to make access stronger.” - Wikimedia Morocco[43]
  • Collaboration inside and outside the movement and inclusivity will bring new voices to the movement, advance its mission, and ultimately curate less biased, higher quality knowledge (8 groups, 16 references)
    • “Emphasizing a global movement helps us have content that is diverse and broad, representing the world as a whole.” - Wikimedia District of Columbia[44]
    • “As a global community we can change the world and influence legislation and politics in the movement’s goals.” - Wikimedia Israel[45]
  • To involve new geographies, we should consider engaging in partnerships and resolving the complexity of accepting new, diverse forms of knowledge to maintain verification across projects (8 groups, 14 references)
    • “Openness to a broader variety of contributions and new forms of knowledge is essential to come closer to our vision as a movement and not limited to currently ‘not well served’ regions. If we follow this theme for all regions of the world, we might be able to increase the diversity and depth of knowledge available to all, everywhere.” - Wikimedia Deutschland[46]

Theme D: Trusted source of knowledge  (21 groups participated)

  • Reliability and content quality are essential to upholding Wikipedia’s reputation (16 groups, 29 references)
    • “The focus should be on the high-quality content being useful for people, even despite being a respected or relevant source. Wikimedia projects should not just been seen as the most relevant source of knowledge, but actually contain the most high-quality and neutral knowledge there is.” - Wikimedia Deutschland[47]
  • Desire to have more “expert” contributors but remain true to democratic editing process (7 groups, 17 references)
    • “Too strict editing control is based on fear that Wikipedia can be destroyed by trolls and hoaxes -- the trust and assuming good faith should be re-established as it was in early days of Wikipedia; that could attract also experts and in fact increase the quality of content.” - Wikimedia Polska Strategy Dinner[48]
  • Collaborate and forge relationships with new partners outside the movement to improve perception (9 groups, 13 references)
    • “Wikipedia is not being regarded as a reliable source by some internet users, especially by academicians; by focusing on this theme our projects would be respected more and therefore both its usage and contributions to it would increase.” - Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey[49]

Theme E: knowledge ecosystem  (22 groups participated)

  • Education and academia are two of the key areas for engaging community around partnerships (10 groups, 15 references)
    • “There are many organisations inside and outside the educational system and wider open culture ecosystem aiming to improve knowledge. They all are partners in a dialog where we are sharing our experience looking towards a knowledge society coping with future challenges.” - Wikimedia Austria[50]
    • “This theme is also important for the recognition of Wikimedia platforms as a tool contributing to access to knowledge, by actors in the education system (teachers, researchers, laboratories).” - Wikimedia CU Côte d'Ivoire[51]
  • The potential for impact is high, creating synergies that add free content, functionality, and awareness to engage more people and ultimately benefit society. (7 groups, 9 references)
    • “This has a huge potential for impact: This should create synergies that add content, functionality, and awareness, while also increasing the number of people who engage directly with content as well as contributing.” - North Carolina Triangle[52]
  • Collaboration is essential to advancing the work of all organizations and growing the movement (6 groups, 16 references)
    • “Movement players need to practice and learn working with our communities and with institutions and 'external' partners at the same time, and to navigate the diversity in cultures and resulting tensions towards collective impact.” - Wikimedia Deutschland[53]

Individual contributors[edit]

Among Individual Contributors, we saw the following insights for the respective five themes. Note that there were 1625 statements from 26 communities and the private survey.

Theme A: Healthy communities (24 groups participated)

  • Continues to be a critical precondition for other themes and cited as most important of the five (17 groups, 24 references)
    • “This theme is the top priority, because since we have managed to get the main body of knowledge, the conflicts about different perspectives and approaches are steadily increasing, so we need to resolve them timely to improve user experience.” - Russian WP[54]
  • Participants debated about limiting new users’ participation to maintain quality versus being inclusive at all costs (10 groups, 16 references)
    • “The idea of inclusion by the WMF will be counterproductive. Not everyone is able to contribute on a level that is required. Some people clearly do not understand what an encyclopedia is about.” - Dutch WP[55]
  • Emphasis on tools and importance to limit user abuse, harassment, vandalism, and discrimination (7 groups, 14 references)
    • “Monitor and encourage troublemakers to cease and desist, set the entrenched wiki-culture aside, let other ideas to grow into prominence, make the community less rigid and static.” - English WP[56]

Theme B: The augmented age (25 groups participated)

  • Heated debate between the desire for pro-technology (14 groups, 26 references) and “pro-human” (7 groups, 15 references)
    • “Every technological change will have effects in how editors interact with the projects and we should always ponder how much each innovation facilitates, substitutes, or qualifies the volunteers human work.” - Portuguese WP Village Pump[57]
  • Explore new products (including multimedia, smart tools, and social media functionality) but keep it simple (16 groups, 32 references)
    • “We need more smart tools today and, unless we can grow our community of active contributors, we will doubly need smart tools in the future.” - English WP[58]
    • “Wikipedia articles are often written by semi-experts that write in the language of experts. A lot of articles are difficult to understand and put into context.” - Dutch WP[59]
  • Desire to make efforts to make Wikipedia as accessible as possible to all groups while still maintaining community health standards like anti-vandalism (8 groups, 14 references)
    • “The vandalism and technology issue is complicated. Bots don't detect the same thing as a human and often reverses good editions. That is something that technology and AI should aim at -- improving the level of vandalism recognition.” - Spanish-speaking Telegram group[60]

Theme C: Truly global movement (23 groups participated)

  • Language and translation services/tools can help grow the movement beyond a Western-centric viewpoint (11 groups, 20 references)
    • “To be truly global, we must combat localism (as the establishment of peculiar norms according to language versions) -- There should be no excluded topics for language reasons, because we have to receive (and be able to distribute) all knowledge.” - Spanish WP[61]
  • Resources should be allocated commensurate with global priorities (3 groups, 7 references)
    • “Reduce various projects that only target content addition in languages that already have an active community, like GLAM and Wikipedian-in-Residence projects.” - Meta[62]
    • “If we want a significant impact on global knowledge WMF should spend at least half its budget in developing countries. Remaining money would be enough for the others.” - Italian WP[63]
  • Inclusivity and diversity are central to our tenet of neutral, free knowledge, but minority argues for getting local model right before expansion (6 groups, 10 references)
    • “There is a very strong implicit exclusion for different reasons, mainly for linguistical and technical skills (we assume that we all understand the intricacies of wiki navigation).” - Spanish-speaking Telegram group[64]

Theme D: Trusted source of knowledge (23 groups participated)

  • It is WP’s responsibility to be a reliable, high-quality source of information, esp. in current information age (9 groups, 22 references)
    • “If Wikipedia succeeds in positioning itself as a reliable source of high standards, which is acceptable to quote and use in the academy, we will also be able to promote information and knowledge, while simultaneously struggling with false data and truths.” - Hebrew WP Village Pump[65]
  • Desire for partnerships with experts dovetails with clearer guidelines on new user participation (6 groups, 9 references)
    • “Stricter controls are now urgently needed, not only to maintain quality and standards, but to reinforce and retain the very reputation for quality and accuracy that Wikipedia imagines for itself.” - English WP[66]
  • Standardization, notability, and citation guidelines are critical for success (5 groups, 11 references)
    • “Regarding citations, it is important to reflect to the readers what consensus is on each topic, as well as what are the different alternatives, and what is the source on which they are based. Even if we can not accurately reflect each one, we can faithfully reflect the sources within the text.” - Hebrew WP Village Pump[67]

Theme E: Knowledge ecosystem (22 groups participated)

  • Academia, schools, and teachers are most cited pathway for collaboration (9 groups, 19 references)
    • “One idea is to reach out to teacher associations and other groups that congregate teachers to and discuss teaching methods. This might be more efficient as it reaches teachers and organizations already willing to discuss innovations in teaching.” - Portuguese WP Village Pump[68]
  • Partnership should be developed in collaboration with a strategy for most effectively engaging new institutions (5 groups, 6 references)
    • “GLAM partnerships take time. We should choose target institutions between those that work in topic for which we have content gaps. There should be "kits" to help WIRs and institutions to work in autonomy.” - Italian WP[69]
  • Importance of keeping WP simple, accessible, reliable, as a source of neutrality, and not contributing original research (6 groups, 12 references)
    • “If we fail our mission and become full of original research, fake news, non neutral point of views, recentism and little insight, then people would go back to traditional encyclopedias.” - Italian WP[70]

References[edit]

  1. A 1 B 222 18
  2. A 9
  3. B  6
  4. B 1
  5. A 3
  6. A 35 23 34 3  1 3 3 8 4 40  B 102 556 1 17
  7. A 22 3 4 6 26 4 3 1 5 12 21  B 248 642 24 3 70 120 123 1 3 1 1
  8. A 5 1 3 1 11 B 181 217 644 84 191 208 660 9
  9. 571 103 60 2
  10. A 316
  11. A 31 31 49 18 B 112 176 201 25 29 1 161 212 289 13 8
  12. B 21
  13. A 6 5 9 B 282 1 112 176 181 217
  14. B 12  [survey 337 360 415 420 434 444 449 454 464 469 484 593 594] [English WP 101] [German WP 18] [Hindi WP 1 2 24] [Spanish WP10 39] [Wikidata 20]
  15. A 24 8 42 45 20 42 43 14 23 26 27 23 B 115 266 14 261 286 306 319 568 599 601 607 608 30 19 28 32 38 171 23
  16. B 12
  17. B 27
  18. A 279
  19. B 616
  20. A 44
  21. A 35 4
  22. A 28
  23. A 88
  24. A 11
  25. B 89
  26. A 17 1
  27. A 1 2 24 25 22 3 18 B 41 30 8 32 33
  28. A 19
  29. A 19 B 13 14 30 18 19
  30. B 636
  31. A 78 118 16 40 6 38 41 42 58 72 18 B 13 492 496 504 509 538 577 590
  32. A 14  B 500 13 68 69 70 94
  33. B 79
  34. B 171
  35. A 620 21 31
  36. A 6
  37. A 1
  38. A 3
  39. A 45
  40. A 7
  41. A 3
  42. A 88
  43. A 3
  44. A 16
  45. A 17
  46. A 44
  47. A 66
  48. A 17
  49. A 1
  50. A 10
  51. A 54
  52. A 16
  53. A 78
  54. B 14
  55. B 21
  56. B 6
  57. B 17
  58. B 89
  59. B 1
  60. B 41
  61. B 27
  62. B 39
  63. B 98
  64. B 52
  65. B 7
  66. B 76
  67. B 15
  68. B 32
  69. B 79
  70. B 45