|This phase of the consultation is closed. For information about the outcome, please watch the consultation main page, where a pointer to the next step in this process will be posted on or around February 26. While you are welcome to continue to use the discussion pages of this phase, please know that future submissions to this phase may not be reviewed by staff. We look forward to talking to you more about the themes that have emerged in the near future!|
Response by Slowking4 15:21, 18 January 2016 (UTC) muti ur rehman
this is combining six and one and four; need to go where the users are and improve their experience. global south engagement will be via mobile.
What is behind "two Global South countries"?
Response by NickK
It is unclear what WMF is planning to do in the two Global South countries. WMF already has a track record of opening offices in two Global South countries, and it would be quite honest to say that it was not a success:
- Brazil Program first annual report shows that hardly any targets were met. In 2013, project was transferred to a local organisation Ação Educativa which received an ambitious 550,000 USD grant (only WMDE and WMFR received higher grant APG grants) but unfortunately I fail to find any impact report consistent with APG standards.
- India Program was handed to a local organisation Centre for Internet and Society just a year after being launched. CIS is successful as an allied organisation and shows both good impact and good reporting as an APG grantee, but it does not seem to be a direct result of WMF work.
Thus the question is: what is WMF planning to do that will target only two Global South countries? It would be nice to know what lessons were learned from Brazil and India cases, as I might support some innovative and high-impact approaches but I am unlikely to support the same mistake with WMF offices in two more countries — NickK (talk) 16:23, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
- Hi @NickK: we are not thinking "boots on the ground" at all. Rather consider language coverage, awareness, community support. Let's say there are top languages spoken on Earth and top languages on the internet and top languages on Wikipedia. One way to think about this strategy is to focus on supporting translation and awareness programs in languages that are underrepresented on the web, yet many people need critical information in their native tongues. Because we cannot do it all, two regions is probably what we can take on, based on the interest of our communities. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 01:39, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
- Hi Lila and thanks for the answer. I am glad that lessons were learned and that WMF is not planning any physical presence. However, language coverage and community support are two separate approaches (Approach Five in Knowledge and Approach Four in Communities) that are clearly defined and reachable. What is confusing is setting awareness in two countries as a separate goal, while this goal is reachable only with either local staff working on specific programmes (adapted to local languages and the local cultures) or local partners (either affiliates or allied organisations like CIS). Thus this point seems to be the vaguest one, is it possible to read a bit more about what WMF is planning to do about this? Thanks — NickK (talk) 10:56, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
- Hi @NickK: you make a good point, different approaches are possible. The reason we are asking these questions in a fairly abstract way and proposing possibilities is because we would like to hear some of your ideas/tactics about what you think may work or what is bound to fail. LilaTretikov (talk) 21:15, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Response by Yger 19:08, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Ygers svar på den centrala frågan
Gå till nästa fokusområde (gemenskaper)
Response by BethNaught 19:41, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
BethNaught's response to the critical question
Support the creation of quality content in all languages (such as by improving translation tools) by ways determined in conjunction with the community, and actively promote Wikimedia projects. For example, Wikisource now has the originals of Anne Frank's Diary for any Dutch speaker to read for free. That's massive - if people realised that then interest would be much greater.
- @BethNaught: this is a very important point and actually what we brainstormed internally. Wikimedia seems to be an iceberg of knowledge, yet only a fraction is visible "above the waterline" of Wikipedia. The question is how do we expose more? While ensuring it is still high quality, relevant knowledge. Discovery team is investigating some of those questions and given support for the idea and results showing that it increases engagement we could fund this strategy further. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 01:46, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
- @LilaTretikov (WMF): Don't imagine I disapprove of everything the discovery team does. Introducting Elasticsearch, for example was a good idea. But holding several months of secret research funded by a large external grant is not acceptable. If they've got some ideas, why not share them? Feedback is essential to make sure the WMF doesn't go down yet another path putting it at loggerheads with the community, like Flow and Gather. Anyway, I was thinking more of a publicity drive. How many people have heard of Wikisource? The social media which are apparently an existential threat to the Wikimedia model does at least make publicity cheap - if my small circle of friends can get some inane in-joke trending on Twitter, surely Wikimedians can promote something meaningful. I disagree with the idea that WMF projects should invent radical new ways to feed knowledge to people (which is at any rate what the term "Knowledge Engine" connotes, and if you wish to make me believe it isn't such a thing you'll have to declassify it and the Knight Foundation grant agreement); if people know that we have something useful and unique they will come to us. BethNaught (talk) 19:28, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Approaches 2, 3 and 6 are most important. 3 and 6 because people are looking for information in different venues: now people can find simple information extracted from Wiki(p|m)edia on Google, we need to make the mobile reading experience, especially in the app, more attractive. However, improvements should be made in basic quality. Introducing gimmicks such as Gather/Collections is a terrible idea because they require effort from the community to police them while providing no benefit to the content of the projects.
With regard to approach 2, there are so many woolly arguments going on about the VisualEditor that we need proper data, ideally contracted by a neutral researching party. Also the WMF needs to increase its efforts to connect with the community even further. This strategy consultation will seem meaningless to many because the WMF Board has been having secret negotiations about a major shift in strategy with no community input.
DON'T do approach 5. Enough Wiki(m|p)edia content is pilfered already by the rest of the internet, so don't make it easier for outsiders to exploit the community's work in violation of the licensing terms. The recent 15.wikipedia.org fiasco shows that even the WMF can't reliably attribute the community, so who can?
Response by Snipre 21:03, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Réponse de Snipre à la question critique
Définir des groupes de contributeurs et leur proposer des contributions ciblées en fonction de leurs intérêts. Exemple: les communautés de fans de séries TV, d'univers,... Définir un ensemble de tâches classiques pour le développement de ces thèmes sur WP et contacter via les forums, les conventions, les fans en leur proposant de participer à WP. On peut imaginer la même chose pour les fans d'automobiles (via les salons automobile) et autres.
- Define contributor groups and offer them targeted contribution suggestions according to their interests. Example: communities focused on TV series or broad themes... Define a set of common tasks for the development of these themes on WP and contact folks via forums, conventions, by offering to participate on WP. We can imagine the same idea for auto fans (via automobile salons) and others.
Top 2-3 de Snipre (ou partagez vos idées)
1, 2 et 3
Aller au domaine suivant (Communauté)
Response by Julius Tominius 01:44, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Julius Tominius's response to the critical question
All six at the same time. See below.
Julius Tominius's Wikimedia 2016
Merge Wikidata and Commons under the brand Wikimedia (wikimedia.org). Allow access to Item:, Property:, File:, Template:, Module:, User: from local Wikipedias, e.g. xyz.wikipedia.org/wiki/Item:Q1234 and xyz.wikipedia.org/wiki/Property:P1234 as one can access Commons files already today from within a Wikipedia (xyz.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Filesomething.jpg).
All Wikipedia language editions benefit, including those in languages from "two Global South countries". Create a mobile app "Wikimedia" that allows browsing and searching of files, items and properties.
Response by MisterSanderson 03:45, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
MisterSanderson's response to the critical question
Approach three: Understand how Wikimedia content is reused on external platforms and explore how to encourage users of such content to go to Wikimedia projects.
Approach two: Improve our understanding of how and why our users come to and stay on our projects so we can better serve their needs.
Response by Caoimhin 12:07, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Caoimhin's response to the critical question
I think approach two is the most important. Some of the external sites are pure parasites adding nothing and therefore probably won’t last long. But some of them will have ideas which add a small amount of additional value. And while they are free to use Wikipedia content, Wikipedia is free to learn from and adapt and adopt their ideas.
I think approach one is also important, especially encouraging Wikipedias in many small languages. This is something the external sites are less likely to copy, since there is not much profit in it, but there is a crisis in the world at the moment with the decline and extinction of languages, and the more Wikipedia can do to help them the better. One small technical thing which would help most small languages would be I think to change the wgCategoryCollation parameter default from “uppercase” to “uca-default”. The vast majority of languages use alphabets involving accented characters or non-Latin scripts, and while uca-default may not be perfect for all of them, it is for the majority, and in all cases it is vastly better than “uppercase”. It seems a bit mad that each language should have to find out about this and request it individually. Most of them do not realise why their category items with accented characters are being sorted in the wrong order.
Response by WereSpielChequers
WereSpielChequers's - Mobile, screenspace and copyright
The WMF has an opportunity to solve several key problems by shifting from a tech led strategy to a licensing led one.
The rise of mobile is increasing our ratio of readers to editors, and increasing the pressure on the legalese, fundraising banners and above all the editing buttons that many designers and most readers regard as clutter, but clutter that is the lifeblood of this project.
The shift to smartphone currently seems as insuperable a problem as in 1890 the rising tonnage of horse shit was to the transport planners of London and other major cities. Simply extrapolating the recent trends of screen size and the drift from Laptops to smartphones shows an existential threat to Wikimedia; Extrapolating trends is a notoriously unreliable predictor of the future and if you look again at smartphones you see that screensize among smartphones has been growing - manufacturers are competing to make smartphones that can do more of the things that PCs can do, so we may be rescued by technology or simply find that the world reaches an equilibrium in which PCs and laptops coexist with smartphones.
To a person with a hammer every problem is a nail, the WMF's hammer is technology, and simply treated as a technology problem then the Wikimedia movement looks like it will step out of the present and into the past. But there are other tools available to us, and the best tool for an existential threat of major tech players wanting to treat CC-BY-SA contributions as CC0, is diplomacy backed by lawyers.
Up to now the strategy of the WMF has been to leave copyright enforcement to the copyright holders, and for content other than a few things such as logos that has meant the community. That the WMF cares less about copyright than the community has been a contributor to many clashes between the WMF and the community, MediaWiki Viewer and the Indian Education Program being just two examples, kudos to the WMF for prompt response re the licensing problems with Wikipedia's 15th birthday site - but those problems did occur.
We can't stop major reusers of our data from stripping out our fundraising banners and edit boxes. But we can require that they comply with the legalese and provide attribution etc.
A strategic change by the Foundation from seeing intellectual property rights as someone else's problem, to seeing it as the lever to keep the movement thriving would help solve three problems:
- The easiest way to provide attribution online involves linking back to WMF projects, and those links are our lifeblood in terms of pageviews, new donors and new editors.
- Different volunteers have different motivations, but one of the most common ones is to have one's work respected and used. Use without attribution makes it more difficult for Wikimedians to even know their work is in use; It may even be demotivating to see your work used without attribution by some corporate behemoth. Whether volunteers are motivated or demotivated can significantly effect volunteer retention.
- Increased emphasis by the WMF on getting licensing right, and a strategy of promoting Wikimedia by encouraging major reusers to comply with licensing would help bridge the gap between the WMF and the community.
- Thanks, WereSpielChequers - thoughtful comments as usual, with which I largely agree. GeoffBrigham (WMF) (talk) 01:08, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Alphabets and internationalisation
We still have plenty of opportunities for internationalisation, take Georgian as an example, lots of people in Georgia don't have Georgian script keyboards and instead write Georgian in the Latin script or even Cyrillic. If the software detected this and enabled people to input Georgian letters using other keyboards would open the Georgian Wikipedia to many more editors. There are probably other languages with similar issues, it should be possible to detect programmatically wikis with such opportunities to improve reach. WereSpielChequers (talk) 14:33, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Response by Sänger 15:03, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Antwort von Sänger auf die Hauptfrage
Ansatz sechs, und hierbei insbesondere die leichte Erreichbarkeit der jeweiligen Diskussionsseiten, damit die Interaktivität, nicht der reine Konsum, immer deutlich wird
- Approach six, and here in particular the easy accessibility of the respective talk pages, so that the interactivity, not the pure consumption, is always obvious
Top 2-3 (oder teile uns deine eigene Idee mit) von Sänger
Ansatz vier, insbesondere auch durch entsprechende Personalpolitik in WMF und Board, d.h. das Board muss bei den Appointees deutlich diversifiziert werden.
Ansatz zwei, z.B. auch durch Verbesserung der Übersetzungstools, das hier vorhandene war eher suboptimal.
- Approach four, in particular by appropriate personnel policy in the WMF and Board, i.e. the board's Appointees need to be significantly diversified
- Approach two, for example, also by improving the translation tools, the existing here was rather suboptimal.
Response by Ellywa 17:07, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Ellywa's response to the critical question
It is difficult to comment or choose a priority, as I do not know the cause of declining traffic. First you should do some research (perhaps this was done already, I did not look around to be honest).
To visitors, I think Wikipedia is getting boring, because the interface is always the same. I didn't ask around, but perhaps a more modern look would help. (Actually the look was oldfashioned when I did my first edits in 2002...) In addition, always these banners on top, a lot of links etc. discourage readers. I think if one sees a Wikipedia link in Google on top, several people might select the next best.
Response by Taketa 19:39, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Taketa's response to the critical question
Make editing Wikimedia something to be proud of. Create editing weeks or months about regions.
- Make editing Wikimedia something to be proud of. Improve appreciation of individual online volunteers. Currently many Wikimedians I talk to, do not share with their friends, family and collegues that they edit Wikipedia. This needs to change. We need to focus on making editing something to be proud of. I think we can accomplish this in the next five years and make our project healthy again.
- Appreciation for individual online volunteers. We currently focus on people who are in boards, or organise global projects. This needs to change. We have so many awsome volunteers. People who write articles. People who upload images or entire books. People who help with wikifying. People who help in helpdesks. Spead the word and get them appreciation. I am working on getting a knighthood for a Dutch online volunteer for 15 years of volunteerwork. In the coming years, dozens will get an honour or knighthood. I hope it will positively change the way Wikimedians are viewed by the general public. The writingweek about North Brabant is held this week in cooperation with the King's Commissioner (governor) of the province of North Brabant. He will personally thank a Dutch volunteer, and if hopefully the Germans join next week, also a German volunteer. Work in different languages, with several initiative per language, over the year we can have thousands of volunteers get a personal thank you by a major, governor or member of governement. The Erasmusprice was awarded to Wikipedia last November and handed out by the king to three representatives of Wikipedia. Over 400 Wikimedia volunteers meet with the members of the royal family. All these people proudly and publicly advocate Wikimedia. The concurring media attention will get us new volunteers. Also ourselves we should be thanking our own editors. Last year the German Wikipedia started the Wiki Owls, to thank individual editors on behalf of the community. The community nominates people they appreciate and they receive an award. This has been an enormous succes. Together with Romaine last Saturday we awarded the Dutch Wiki Owls award in front of an audience of 85 people, showing our appreciation for these awsome online volunteers. We can make being a Wikimedian something everyone around us thinks is awsome. Make it something we say when we apply for a job, or when we talk about our day.
- Appreciation by the scientific community. Currently in the Netherlands we cooperate with 3 Universities where professors give bachelors and master honours courses on Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales was awarded an honorary PhD from a Dutch University. We cooperate with museums and libraries. I believe the global GLAM project is vital to our efforts.
- Appreciation by the general public via positive media attention. Last Friday at our 15 years aniversary over a dozen Dutch and Flemish Wikimedians were on the tv, radio and in newspapers talking about their work. We need more media attention like this. We need more of these awsome Wikimedians who publicly talk about our project. That is the way to reach people, by talking to them.
- Create editing weeks or months about regions, in cooperation with the local government. Writing weeks and months about regions have the future. The recent Dutch Writing Week about Denmark nearly doubled our production of new articles for two weeks. Not only did we write over 800 articles, but the activity also caused other people to write about topics not related to the writing week. Writing month Asia is a great example of how we can do this globally. Topics like sports or religion are less suited for a writing week because they will only be interesting for people who are interested in those topics. But a region has everything. It has sports, is has religion, it has culture and companies. Everone can join. Writing together is fun. That is why it works, and that is why we need to do it more. Moreover, the region will want us to write about them. Get the government involved. Get the media involved. And we can reach the general public, and get new volunteers.
- Thanks @Taketa: for your thoughts! I'd like to respond to your comments about how to improve awareness and appreciation of the projects in the press and general public. I'm curious about your point "Make Wikipedia editing something to be proud of." In your opinion and experience, why do you think that editors do not share that they edit Wikipedia with their family, friends, or colleagues? The Communications team is interested in finding ways to communicate more clearly about the value and importance of editing the Wikimedia projects. We would be interested in knowing more about the challenges people currently face in having these conversations.
- On the subject of improving positive media attention, the WMF Communications team is interested in strengthening our ability to increase coverage of the Wikimedia projects. We have been focused first on 1) developing resources for skills sharing on communications for the movement and 2) building closer working relationships with affiliates to improve coordination and resource sharing. Do you have additional thoughts on how we can support individual online volunteers? For example, we could experiment with media skills development, or experiment with becoming more systematic in collecting strong stories from individual volunteers. Thank you! Katherine (WMF) (talk) 01:49, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
- How can we support individual online volunteers: I have seen it often that we work with great organisations. For example the Dutch Wikimedia works with the National Archives, the National Library and with the Rijksmuseum. Great. But I think we are not using our cooperation in the way we could be using it. We are not using it to motivate our own editors and we are not using it to get maximum media attention. How can we motivate editors using our cooperation? By giving editors appreciation. Make an editing day or week online, where Wikimedians help the instituation. And make an award for the Wikimedian that does it best or select a random person from the people who helped. An award costs only a piece of paper and 15 minutes time of the local director. Yet it publicly says "we the National Archive thank this online volunteer". It is nothing to the National Archive. But for that one Wikimedian, it means something. And to the press, it is also interesting. If the National Archive of the US thanks an editor from India for example. The Indian editor will be proud. He will not hide the fact that the US National Archive gave him an award. Indian media will be all over it. And Wikimedia grows. Do this for all major institutes. Have governments thank Wikimedians. Museums, universities, libraries. Thanking our volunteers is the best way to motivate volunteers AND to reach the media. We don't work with 1 institute, or 1 government in 1 country. We work with dozen in hundreds of countries. Make yearly awards for every single one, and you have thousands of these proud Wikimedians. A thousand editors from India who have been thanked. That is how to motivate editors from India, or anywhere in the world. So to summarize, what I suggest you should be doing is getting third parties to thank individual editors, and teach organisers of cooperations how to use cooperations in a way that thanks individual editors.
- On your more general question: The obvious reason to think of why we do not go public with our editing is that we are on the internet. People want their privacy. Many Wikipedians at conventions do not want their names revealed or their picture taken. Privacy is ofcourse the reason, but I don't think it is just fear of vandals coming to their front door. It is deeper. People fear their family finding out, or their friends, or their work, their collegues or their future job. When I talk to Wikimedians on IRC and at conventions they generally do not tell their peers about what they do. It is a secret, not only from the world, but from their loved ones. So it is not just about privacy. In an interview with the stewards in November 2014  almost noone wanted to talk about being a steward. If our own people don't want to talk about it. If people prefer to take pseudonyms instead of coming forward and stating "I wrote that article", then we should change this. Editing Wikimedia projects is something great. These are good people, working to provide free information to the world. However Wikimedia is not yet seen as full, I think we are seen as amateurs (which we indeed are), which is still frowned upon by the scientific community. Editing Wikipedia is a little bit tainted. This might also be because often when we get media attention it is to blackgoat some celebrity who edited their own page, and mark them as bad people. Editing is risky and needs to be done in private it seems. However, the reason is not important. What is important is changing it. Wikimedia the biggest single provider of medical information in the world. Yet doctors don't edit Wikimedia. In the Netherlands we have maybe a dozen physicians (that I know of) that edit. Out of over 50.000. Why... It should be fantastic for their career to edit the biggest provider of medical information. Yet they don't see it that way. We need to show them how much they can do with Wikimedia. Another example, even paid staff of Wikimedia do not edit Wikimedia. Even people who donate, and believe in our work, do not edit. I believe that providing more appreciation, by the general population, to our editors is the best way to retain editors, get mouth to mouth advertisement and get more editors. If you are personally thanked by for example your minister of culture, than it proves to everyone that you are awesome. If you are knighted for your work it proves to everyone your work is awesome. If a professor is the first person to teach you how to edit Wikimedia then maybe Wikimedia must be awesome. And we need put this in the media. Let everyone know. Let people see Wikimedians being thanked. Not one time, but hundreds of times. If you want a good future for your child. Get them to edit Wikimedia. You want to help the world as a scientist, edit Wikimedia. You want to further your career, edit Wikimedia. That is how it should be, and I am working to get there. And I hope the Foundation will also focus on this topic.
- I love your thoughts, Taketa. I agree and I think this is largely a human undertaking, not to be confused with things we can do with technology. But technology can also play a supporting role. WikiCredit is a system that aims to show people how much impact they have on the movement. We can implement such a scoring system in a way that people keep their privacy and share it only if they want, but they have it there, as a silent, massive, THANK YOU. See, for example, the way that stack overflow does it, which I got chills from when I saw it the first time: http://stackoverflow.com/users/180664/milimetric (The box labeled "Impact").Milimetric (WMF) (talk)
Response by Smiley.toerist 19:51, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Smiley.toerist's response to the critical question
Better coordination and integration with other communities such as the Openstreetmap. Geografic data can be combined on some subjects. It should be natural that Openstreetmap volunteers work in Wikipedia and vice-versa.Smiley.toerist (talk) 19:51, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Response by NaBUru38 21:27, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
NaBUru38's response to the critical question
"Traffic to Wikimedia projects has been decreasing. This is a severe challenge, because fewer people will explore related content, have the chance to become contributors, or donate."
I disagree with the statement. People will explore related content if what they find makes them want more. Moreover, redistributors may try very different user interfaces to encourage exploration, as we must.
We need more contributors, but increasing traffic won't help. The read to contributor conversion rate is very low, because of issues unrelated to traffic.
Approach 2 is a must. We must understand readers to better serve them.
To encourage readers to explore related content, we must improve the user interface. We need tools to show related articles. We need a better search menu, which allows to filter by category with a few clicks. We need to improve portals, for example with a tool to autogenerate article summaries. We need to interconnect the projects, so a person reading an article can easily find Commons files, Wikinews stories, etc.
Response by Müdigkeit 12:19, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Müdigkeit's response to the critical question
Free reuse is very important. But that doesn't mean that we should do nothing to encourage users to come to Wikipedia. No, the reverse is true, others may and should use their content, but that doesn't mean we should encourage simple copying with attribution when it is more preferable that those users go to Wikipedia( so that these things can be corrected, and that those who read don't blindly trust something that has bad sourcing)
Approach 2, because the readers are the ones we write for, and knowing their motives is essential Approach 3, because this drains possible contributors away.
Response by Bluerasberry 12:51, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Bluerasberry's response to the critical question
The best way to encourage traffic to come to Wikimedia projects is to secure the good reputation and esteem of Wikipedia. Developing the marketing strategy was not one of the recommended strategic approaches, and I feel that this is an oversight because the power of Wikimedia projects is mostly in the good feelings that people have for them and not based in higher-minded research or something limited by an unmet need for more tool development.
@Bluerasberry: this is a really good point. I work on the communications team at the WMF. The good will we received via the Wikipedia 15 birthday celebration and the support we receive daily on Facebook especially suggests a desire to take part by readers. --JElder (WMF) (talk) 21:31, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
- @Bluerasberry: It seems like there's been a historical ambivalence around marketing for the projects, which is something I'd like to understand better. Marketing is on the rise at non-profit organizations, which are learning to use marketing techniques to better understand their audiences, share compelling messages, inspire people to join the mission, and raise awareness about their issues. I'd be interested in better understanding community concerns around marketing, so we could think about what approaches would - or wouldn't be - right for the movement. Katherine (WMF) (talk) 21:23, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Among the listed potential strategic approaches, I favor "approach four" with India being one of the countries and either a Spanish speaking country or Brazil being the other. I want outreach to thee countries because I think the outreach itself could be effective in local regions, but more than that, I feel that now is the time to start grooming community leadership in underrepresented locations so that in a few years when Wikipedia is more mature it will have a strong pool of community voices to guide decisions. Right now, community participation and leadership from outside the Western developed world is lacking. If that leadership and participation was at least more socially welcomed, then community contributors would find ways to advance all of these other strategic approaches in time. Among the strategic approaches proposed, only personal relationships and cultural exchange cannot be rushed. With money and advances in technology, the other developments are certain to happen in time, but global expansion and mutual understanding is not at all certain to happen. Expanding into two Global South countries would also force the hand of the Wikimedia Foundation to reconsider its marketing strategies, branding, and reputation, which I feel are in poor shape. A major barrier to the expansion of Wikipedia is its poor reputation, and to some extent, the Wikimedia Foundation's own branding includes calls for pity that do not match the power of Wikimedia projects. I want a fair assessment made of Wikipedia's use among readers - not contributors - because readers are the majority stakeholders and the pool from which Wikipedia editors come. Better outreach to readers globally will bring more contributors. Traffic reports cannot be taken for granted as support or a lack of problem; readers need marketing to understand Wikipedia more deeply, and to actually talk critically about it instead of the current common practice of both using it and dismissing it as less than good.
@Bluerasberry: more good points. On our Facebook page, most of our 5 million fans are in the global south. We have more Facebook fans in India (1.9 million) than anywhere else. The feedback we get there is invaluable, and our efforts there bring great returns. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by JElder (WMF) (talk)
Response by SSneg 13:14, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
SSneg's response to the critical question
We know for a fact that more people use internet each day. We have to understand where they look for information if not on Wikipedia. Maybe they choose IMDB to look up celebrities because it has photos and fixed their mobile view recently. Maybe Google search is so good at presenting snippets on geographic locations, country population and economic facts right in the search results that people do not need to go into Wikipedia articles for that any more. And maybe it is a good thing (for the users, ultimately). But what if 3rd party websites copy Wikipedia information without attribution and present it in a nicer layout, stealing our users and potential contributors? This has to be confronted from legal standpoint, since it is WMF job to protect our work from abuse, and also should prompt Wikipedia to catch up in terms of visual presentation.
First of all, WMF should analyse the visitor dynamics and test some hypotheses. Did the visitor count decrease equally in developed countries and developing countries? English vs other languages? Returning vs new? Frequent vs infrequent visitors? Most importantly, compare pop culture articles (movies, celebrities, sports) vs hard science articles. And of course, compare across different Wiki projects, because their specific reasons for decline or growth could be unrelated.
In other words, before deciding on strategies to fix the water level in our ship's hold, let's understand what part of it is leaking, specifically.
Approaches 1, 3, 4 – yes, improve language coverage (by working closely with local wikipedias), improve wikipedia article depth and quality, understand what users look for (but not just to increase numbers), make sure users still get to Wikipedia from 3rd party platforms.
Approach 2 is dangerous because if you simply look for ways to increase numbers, you may find out that most people come for info on pop culture and decide to support this behaviour primarily. Chasing pure visitor numbers is not a goal by itself. Wikipedia and WMF have a vision and should focus on that, not on just driving more traffic in.
Approach 6 - how many people use Wikipedia apps vs using mobile layout? I think the difference is staggering. This is because installing an app requires some effort. some encouragement and in some cases even some skills. Many users, especially in developing countries, only use the default apps on their phones. And Google spends millions to encourange them to Google stuff and then read about it in Chrome (on Wikipedia!). So investing into mobile apps provides low return and ties up a lot of engineering resources that can be used elsewhere. Also, mobile phone tech is developing and today almost anything can be done in browser, no need for native apps, especially for reading text with pictures (such as Wiki articles), not gaming in 3D. This resources should be allocated to improving mobile web layout, at the very least.
I cannot comment on Approach 5, but I feel like APIs are also technically sophisticated and require engineering resources while the return on that is not clear.
I also suggest exploring the mechanics of information sharing from Wikipedia into social networks. If a single person tweets a fun fact from Wiki to their friends, dozens will go to Wikipedia to read it. Lots of volunteers help select those "Did you know..." facts for the front page, you can at least leverage their effort.
Building on the above point, the most shareable information is pictures and graphs. Make sure that any image or graph from Wikipedia can be shared on Facebook or Twitter. We are living in an increasingly social and increasingly visual world, yet Wikipedia is still text-based closed-loop database of knowledge.
@SSneg: I certainly agree here, as the social media manager at the Wikimedia Foundation. We do see that people love to share what they have learned. We try to model that on our accounts. Sharing Commons images is a priority: We have more than tripled the media views on Twitter in the past three months. The Did You Know facts are great fodder we try to share regularly. --JElder (WMF) (talk) 21:47, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Response by Mattflaschen-WMF 21:25, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Mattflaschen-WMF's response to the critical question
The best approach is to encourage people to consider visiting the sites, but also allow writing content and supporting the Foundation and movement from anywhere. This means, for example:
- Use microbranding to encourage people seeing reused content to also visit the main site (approach three).
- Work with reusers to promote editing, either by linking back to the main site's editor or in place (using the edit/discussion APIs).
- Ask (but don't require) reusers to show the possibility of donating, even potentially directly without visiting the main site.
We also need to remember that visiting the site is not an option for some people. It is not realistic currently to expect "every single human being" to have internet access, but some of those without it still have access to downloaded copies of Wikipedia and other projects, e.g. at school. This is still reach.
The Communities pillar also reinforces this one. People come to the sites for quality content. More editors will lead to more content, and more content will lead to more readers (both on the main site, and on reusers' sites).
- Approach two (Improve our understanding of how and why our users come to and stay on our projects)
- Approach three (Understand how Wikimedia content is reused on external platforms and explore how to encourage users of such content to go to Wikimedia projects). In particular, branding and working with them to promote editing and donating
- Approach six (Improve Wikipedia mobile apps to increase use). Mobile is dominant in many parts of the world, so mobile web and mobile apps are critical for both readers and editors.
Response by Milimetric (WMF) 21:26, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Milimetric (WMF)'s response to the critical question
We serve our current users brilliantly and we shouldn't care if some of them want to experience our content in other ways. But we should make sure third parties understand how this affects us and are willing to either compensate us financially or with other creative ways to solve that problem. We need to take it upon ourselves to recruit editors, relying on some tiny percentage of readers to magically jump a thousand hurdles and become editors has always seemed to me like a weird basket to put all our eggs in. We need to look beyond our self-drawn box. We are proud of our status as one of the largest sites in the world but we're in fact only reaching a single digit percentage of the world's population. We should fix that, we totally can.
I support approaches 4, 5, and my own idea. That is, make sure third parties that re-package our content want to see the content creation part of our community thrive. So they need to give us money we lose through lack of banner impressions and help us find the editors we lose through lack of readers. Resting on that will allow us to focus on 4 and 5.
Response by Qgil-WMF 21:31, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Qgil-WMF's response to the critical question
There is an assumption here that needs to be challenged: more reuse of Wikimedia content doesn't necessarily imply less visits to our sites, neither impedes more contributions made from external sources. Maybe we are getting less users because we haven't really joined any of the big user trends / expectations of the past decade (social, mobile, microcontributions, result-oriented crowdfunding...), our UI is less usable and attractive than other sites crowdsourcing content, etc. And while our APIs allow others to reuse our content, they also allow them to channel and recycle contributions, but this is an area where we have done no promotion at all.
Another point to consider is that there are external sources and external sources. If an external source is fully aligned with our mission (other independent not-for-profit organizations working on free culture and free software), then we should not really be deterred by the fact that they are not Wikimedia. Their mission is our mission. A different story are for-profit organizations with a mission to make rich their shareholders and with competition and monopoly as their main strategic tool.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:31, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
- Enable others to reuse our content and build their own products by improving and documenting our APIs (application programming interfaces).
- Understand how Wikimedia content is reused on external platforms and explore how to encourage users of such content to go to Wikimedia projects.
- Improve our understanding of how and why our users come to and stay on our projects so we can better serve their needs.
Response by Tfinc-WMF 21:31, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Tfinc-WMF's response to the critical question
Our drop in page traffic has steadily increased as third parties have re-used our content. This it itself is good and should be encouraged as our core mission is to share in the sum of all human knowledge. Our stated problems focuses on how to increase our reach/traffic/etc which in itself is a focus on how to increase how many people benefit from Wikipedia and its sibling projects. Alongside this, we've seen great success from our GLAM projects and they have steadily increased the amount of content available on our projects. These projects have long requested tools that could make their workflows easier and attract new volunteers but have yet to receive much help. Instead I'd like to see more partnerships form with these institutions and for them to get the tech help they've requested for a long time.
Approach #1 and #2 are most important to me alongside:
- Improve discoverability of not just Wikipedia but all Wikimedia project content
- Improve third party search of our sibling sites
We have no shortage of amazing content. Fewer people are *choosing* to come to our project because our experience is not as compelling as the third parties that use our data.
Trevor Parscal (WMF)
Response by Trevor Parscal (WMF) 21:48, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Trevor Parscal (WMF)'s response to the critical question
Syndication is only a threat when the direct-delivery experience is inferior. Because we've been wildly successful, we've become lazy. We must earn traffic, not just expect it. We must provide greater value to our readers by providing tools to our editors that support making content clearer, accessible and richer (beyond text and simple images). We must also make it possible to access that content easily and inexpensively throughout the world.
Approach 1 is the most important, as we have failed to do this so far and we are now seeing our impact diminish as the world changes around us. Approach 2 is critical to knowing how to succeed with approach 1. Finally, approach 4 is important, or we risk increasing value for only the subset of users that are easiest to serve or most similar to the natural biases of WMF staff.
Response by Dario (WMF) 21:52, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Dario (WMF)'s response to the critical question
I am answering this question as a 10-year wikimedian as well as a WMF staffer who–since joining the Foundation–has been watching closely how content reuse by major platforms affects our ability to pursue our mission. Content distribution and reuse is a given and something we should embrace: it's built into Wikimedia's DNA and licensing structure, it is inevitable – whether we like it or not – and desirable. What is less inevitable and less desirable is allowing 3rd parties to "accidentally" intermediate Wikimedia's visitors, contributors, donors by designing interfaces that break the connection between content, on the one hand, and its creators and original sources on the other. Also: traffic per se is not the goal, the question should be about how to drive back human attention to the source. With these caveats, the best way to encourage attention to return to the site is by designing content distribution strategies that preserve provenance and do not intermediate Wikimedia projects as sources (see some of my thoughts on this topic from a recent presentation). In my opinion this is the biggest, least studied and riskiest challenge the movement should be focusing on today. While editing trends or content quality are well within the control of Wikimedia's actors (editors, chapters, wikiproject participants, WMF), reach and traffic are not. The whole media industry is looking at content distribution as the biggest potential threat and opportunity that may change the internet as we know it (I encourage you to read the excellent Content Wars by John Herrman, and this post in particular. I'd be happy to talk to anyone who's excited or worried about these issues.--Dario (WMF) (talk) 21:52, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Definitely a combination of 3 and 5, we should actively encourage syndication/distribution but also make it graceful and design it in such a way to be aligned with Wikimedia's mission. With over half of our visits (i.e. sessions with an identifiable referrer) originating from Google properties and an unspecified but arguably extremely large number of visitors consuming Wikimedia contents outside of Wikimedia properties (which I estimate to be at least one order of magnitude larger than Wikimedia's traffic / unique visitors figures), any gain or loss caused by syndication is likely to overshadow any gain obtained via other strategies.
Traffic is a means, not an end
Response by Adamw
As @NaBUru38, @SSneg and others have pointed out, traffic is just an indicator of a particular type of success. It has become the industry standard because most of the internet is powered by advertising and sales revenue, which are roughly proportional to traffic. It's not even clear that our metric should be to reach *more* people, and it especially isn't clear that driving more traffic to our site will improve anything about our reach. For example, a single internet terminal in a school might look like a small amount of traffic, and only one "unique", but would reach many more people than a large quantity of traffic from a single cell phone. Adamw (talk) 21:58, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Response by Khorn (WMF) 21:59, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Khorn (WMF)'s response to the critical question
First of all: I'm not sure how numbers 1, 2, and 6 are not all necessary steps toward the same end. In fact, 2 seems to be a prerequisite of a (1+6) combo, and I'm not sure why we'd sign up to do 6 unless we knew it served 1, via 2.
To rephrase for human beings, the following seems reasonable to me: First, we understand how and why our users come to us, and why they stay or leave. Then, with that understanding, we adapt our products to serve the needs of actual human beings that are currently being underserved. If an identifiable segment of humans would respond best to improved mobile apps (and/or the other platforms), it seems to me that the need would shake out here.
Secondly: 3 and 5 seem to me, to have largely the same relationship. I would like to also note, that I suspect if any individual or group is going to take the time to build something fancy that reuses our content, they probably don't want to cause the wikipedia community ecosystem to fold: They would lose all their own work. I'd like to see us try to give content reusers incentives to send people back to us in constructive ways. Maybe mention in the API documentation that there are ways they could be good citizens by sending back potential editors, or adding a donation button to their projects.
As stated above: 2 & (1+6).
Guillaume (WMF)'s response to the critical question
The question "How do we get more traffic?" naturally breaks down into two more specific questions:
- Why do people come to our sites, and how can we encourage that behavior?
- Why do people not come to our sites, and how can we encourage them to come?
We have done some initial research about reader motivation, and there is also more coming soon. This kind of research is critical in order to address the current and future needs of our users. This is to say that Approach 1 (improvement to meet the needs) is doomed unless it is continually informed by Approach 2 (research of those needs).
The other issue (Why do people not come to our sites) can itself be broken down into possible causes:
- People aren't coming because they don't know about our sites (Awareness issue).
- A corollary: People aren't coming because they don't think about coming to our sites (also an Awareness issue).
- People aren't coming because they don't need to come to our sites (Pipeline issue).
- People aren't coming because they don't want to come to our sites (Trust/Brand issue).
- People are coming but not staying on our sites (Bounce/Retention issue).
Those call for different solutions. For example, Approach Four addresses the Awareness issue; Approach Three addresses the Pipeline issue; Approach One addresses the Bounce/Retention and Trust/Brand issues. In order to prioritize the approaches, we must see where those approaches are coming from, and the issue(s) they intend to solve.
We also need to think about the user funnel. For example, if we choose to dedicate a lot of resources to raising awareness, for example in emerging communities (Approach Four), that will all be for naught if those users then Bounce.
Other issues, like the Pipeline issue, may not actually be a problem at all (from a reader perspective). Our mission is to disseminate knowledge; if readers find that knowledge elsewhere (whether it originally came from our sites or not), we fulfilled our mission. Of course, it means we're losing potential contributors, but that's a different issue.
Based on the analysis above, I currently believe the following priorities make the most sense:
- Approach Two (Research the current and future needs of our users) is the first step. We can't do any meaningful improvement unless we know which levers to pull to achieve what effect.
- Approach One (Improve the UX) is the logical step that follows. There's a lot that can go under that umbrella, but the main goal is to address the Bounce/Retention issue.
- Approach Seven: Address the Awareness and Pipeline issues by making it trivial to accidentally land on Wikimedia sites. Basically, the goal is to become more present on the social web by piggy-backing on other social services and networks. In practice, this could mean providing tools to quote a Wikipedia paragraph on Facebook, or embed a text+image from a specific article in your personal blog, or share a curriculum composed of bits of Wikipedia articles on Khan Academy, etc. (This may be a variation of Approach Five, I'm not sure.) We could spend millions in awareness campaigns in specific countries, and not be as successful in raising awareness as if we had just let people trivially reuse, link to, and embed our content.
I also have many more thoughts about brand, awareness, etc. (notably, consolidating our projects, an old dream of mine) but I won't go into that right now.
Response by Epìdosis 23:04, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Epìdosis's response to the critical question
I think our projects should adapt themselves in their shape (surely deploying new content formats) to what users want to find, but at the same time they should maintain their original essence, because this is what made and still makes our huge success.
I certainly approve all the six approaches. The ones I prefer are (in this order) 2, 1 and 6.
Response by ArielGlenn 01:18, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
ArielGlenn's response to the critical question
Note that while I am a WMF staffer, I am not writing this in that role but as a once active and now mostly lurking volunteer.
I think the question is based on a false premise, that traffic moving away from the WMF-maintained sites and spreading out across the Internet is detrimental. Rather, sharing, reuse and remixing are a crucial part of our mission. We do not have the means to provide our content in all forms that the public might want, nor with all the features they might find useful. Nor should we take on that burden; rather, we should encourage third parties to explore reuse in creative ways, so that we can focus on what we do well, i.e. providing an editing platform and a primary source of content to be shared.
Having said that, I understand the concern about retaining or attracting new contributors. That is indeed at the core of our mission. Let's figure out how to do that without linking it to the number of readers that visit the site. How can we make editing even easier technically than it is today? How can we make it socially easier and more attractive? How can we make it easier for someone to get over the psychological barrier of the first edit? How can we encourage third party reusers of our content to solicit editors on our behalf? Are we only interested in the flagship project, Wikipedia in the major languages? If the barrier to editor entry is too high on those sites because the "easy" content has already been written, should we be attracting editors to the sister projects in order to further our mission of gathering knowledge?
I know many of these questions have been discussed in the past, both by the community and among WMF staff. Let's refresh those discussions and build on them.
Also, let's figure out why "Wikipedia" gives me a spelling error in Firefox! WTF folks, 15 years later you'd think someone would have added it to the dictionary.
Unrelated to the question, I support all promotion of reuse, and so I support the development and improvement of APIs that would make content access by third parties easier (approach 5). Related to this, I support the development or improvement of ways to access our content in bulk (e.g. content downloads) for reuse. Coincidentally, I maintain the dumps...
A question: are we aggressively running banners for this strategy discussion? If not, we should be. This is a great opportunity to get suggestions from less-involved editors but also from readers, let's make it happen!
Response by Jane023 17:50, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Jane023's response to the critical question
...1,4, and six
...set up a template for a local meetup and encourage wikipedians to meet up in real life. The teaser can be an edit-a-thon or a combined tour of a facility of some kind, or a demonstration of some clever task that can be applied to an editor's activity somehow. More local meetups help bring people in. We see this again and again in NL, but the travel distances in other countries are much greater.
Response by Jo-Jo Eumerus 08:54, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Jo-Jo Eumerus's response to the critical question
I do think that a loss of traffic is a consequence of the expansion of the importance of the Internet; nowadays there are a number of online websites and features (Google's "knowledge graph", for example) that compete with Wikimedia projects for traffic and users. Many of these are indirectly dependent on Wikimedia projects in some way; not necessarily by straight-up copying of text but by using our projects as sources. I do think this is not necessarily a bad thing, the spread of information being after all a main scope of the projects. One way to keep readers here is by continuously improving on existing material.
As for improving this trend, one thing I would like to see is better ways to cooperate between projects (interproject) - sometimes nowadays it feels like each project, 'pedia or 'tionary are independent bubbles that do not work with each other. Commons and Wikidata are some of the exceptions, but having more things being shared may improve the quality of out works; some of the projects worked on by the Community Wishlist Survey (if I remember the name correctly) such as global user talk pages and watchlists are already on the way.
A second aspect which is being mentioned by some of the other responders to this request is that working on Wikimedia projects needs to be something to be proud of, to have some appreciation. Part of the reasons I started editing enwiki is because it has some mechanisms to feature and present the work done by its editors, for example the en:Wikipedia:Good articles process. In this sense it is also important that external reusers of our material to properly attribute the origin site at least, so that a person who spend perhaps a significant amount of their time at writing an article can know their work had some effect. This may justify having a more stringent enforcement of our copyright terms, since they aren't really all that restrictive. Also, I still have the feeling that working on our projects is widely considered to be a thing of a selected group and not for the public at large, although I can't say I have a good solution to this.
1 and 2. My impression is that the reasons why people edit Wikimedia projects or stick around are not particularly well known or exploited by developers. With regards to project 5, if "reusing" means "copying" I feel this isn't really the most common method by which Wikimedia content is reused - and even when it is, it is frequently in violation of copyright license terms by not providing attribution or inappropriately tightening the licensing. Also, internationalizing is something that can be improved - while reliable machine translation between most or even many languages here is still a thing of the future, having more information especially in smaller or more secluded (--> languages whose speakers aren't usually familiar with a major language) languages - the issues mentioned with translation tools by others and particular problems such as e.g WereSpielChequers's points about keyboards are things that need to be worked on.