Recommendation # 6: Parameterized User Pages for Encouraging and Measuring Community Diversity
Q 1 What is your Recommendation?
That user pages are not plain text but contain parameterized self-declared characteristics and roles so that 1) we can assess diversity in user types and incentivize it and 2) editors can search more easily for other users according to roles and affinities.
Q 2 What assumptions are you making about the future context that led you to make this Recommendation?
Numerous studies over time show that in online communities there exist rituals in order to develop a community identity (Miquel, 2017, X, Y, Z). In Wikipedia the community identity is developed through the user flags editors acquire, the type of work and the social activities they perform. Having developed a user page is related to editor retention too.
We assume that guided processes after registering or whenever the editor decides would facilitate self-presentation and self-expression much more than the current userboxes. These could include both personal and task-based characteristics: gender, age, technical skills, nationality, lgbti support, topic specialist, type errors fixer, etc.
Based on previous research (X, Y, Z), we assume that any step towards facilitating editors in introducing themselves to the community is positive to find their place in the group and, consequently, to increase the overall diversity of the group. At the same time editors need to know what to expect from other editors, and so they say in the feedback: “Giving responsibility is also important so that one can deliver their work with more responsibility”.
we need to know more about how many editors from each country, subregion
Then, we assume that helping editors develop their user page with a more standard process and storable parameters would improve diversity, coordination and participation in multiple ways.
Q 3a What is your thinking and logic behind this recommendation?
- We expect an increase in the socialization process during the first period of time after registering that would help both community renewal and increase the community base.
- Most importantly, once this is implemented we propose that users can be found via a search engine according to their topical interests or personal characteristics if they wish. This would stimulate community core-peripheral editors interactions.
- Finally, we would also be able to assess the diversity of the community population in multiple dimensions (sociological, engagement, etc.) over time and understand what encourages and prevents community health and diversity.
This is aligned with some community feedback: “Wikimedia should continue programs that promote diversification of editors. It should have a department or person to search sectors or communities that has not been engaged in the movement, for example people going to Papua New Guinea or Mongolia or people going through the scientific and medical communities.”
Q3b. How does Recommendation relate to the current structural reality? Does it keep something, change something, stop something, or add something new?
It would turn Wikipedia into more social and empower editors to take care of the community and its diversity.
Current userboxes could be parametrized in case editors want to. New editors would onboard Wikipedia with a dialog process that would help them construct their user page with the new easy-identifiable characteristics.
This is a necessary step in order to increase diversity in the community composition.
Q4a. Could this Recommendation have a negative impact/change?
When some profiles become public, others might harass them as it has already happened. There are some testimonials on LGBT+ in small communities.
Editors with long-term engagement and higher participation have a developed user page. Why shouldn’t the rest do it if it is proved to help socialization, it allows searching users and it is the path to measure diversity improvement?
Q4b. What could be done to mitigate this risk?
It is a process of community health empowerment. Both sides in a harassment situation can be identified and the problem can be dealt by other editors. Editors have flags related to content permissions. Some editors could self-appoint themselves as defenders of the community diversity.
Q5. Why this Recommendation? What assumptions are you making?
In any online community and also in a content-centered project like Wikipedia the editor social side needs its channels and social mechanisms. Editors should focus on both content and community experience so the later can be healthy and diverse, which in turn it would also repercute in better content.
What gets measured, gets improved.
We need to know better who is missing.
At the same time, this opens the door to editors knowing better whether they are growing as a community or not.
We are also seeking community health empowerment
Q6. How is this Recommendation connected to other WGs?
Related to Community Health, community capacity and technology.
Q7. Does this Recommendation connect or depend on another of your Recommendations?
Yes. The health and safety of the community is a critical component to growth and expanding our reach into areas in which we have not previously been engaged.
Q^. What is the timeframe of this Recommendation in terms of when it should be implemented? 2020, 2021, etc. Does it have an urgency or priority? Does this timeframe depend on other Recommendations being implemented before or after it?
Q10. What type of Recommendation is it?
Complex. It would need to be defined and tested in pilot communities.
Q12. What are the concerns, limiting beliefs, and challenges for implementing this Recommendation?
The main concern would be that Wikipedia is not a social network. The aim of developing user pages is not to encourage personal relationships but to facilitate coordination and assess the community diversity.