Talk:Community Engagement/Defining Emerging Communities

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Some comments[edit]

First I want to say that I admire and recognize the effort of trying to abandon the Global South/Global North classification and its geopolitical connotations. About this new concepts I have some comments:

  • It's notorious to me that we abandoned the term "country" for "communities" but still the emphasis is on geographical boundaries. The word "community" have certain meanings in Wikimedia world and some of them include groups of people from diferent geographies, so maybe it could create some confusion if we make the equivalence community=country. Maybe establishing similitude between both conceptos is not the attempt but it seems so in the current wording of the document.
  • It's not so clear to me if there is a "threshold" that marks the change of status. If I read well, the proposed criteria is based basicaly on the number of active users that a community has. So when a community reach 2000 active users, does it become automaticaly a developed one?
  • The use of the concept "developed countries" worries me because, even when we use the term "emerging countries" to those under the treshold, when talking about a community is developed implies another that is "not developed", I think that is a little degrading. And the concept "developed" entails the question: what is "development" for Wikimedia world?

--Salvador (talk) 00:07, 25 March 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for these comments, Salvador, and my apologies for having had to drop this conversation for a while.
  • It seems the visual space taken up by the long countries list is making people (more evidence in the section below) miss the fact there are in fact three axes along which emerging communities are identified. Country is one of them, but the other two are language and project. Thus, while the Spanish Wikipedia community is certainly mature, or "developed", the state of the Wikimedia community in Guatemala, for example, not very developed. On the other hand, the state of the Swahili language community is still emerging, across all the countries in which it is spoken.
  • The threshold question is a good question. I would say I am intuitively against "automatic" change of status, but certainly, when the active editor base in a community reaches the threshold number, it should at least trigger a discussion and a review of the other aspects of that community (including non-statistical information, like activity reports, grants, etc.) to determine whether it would make more sense to consider it 'developed' now.
  • Re the terminology, I agree with your concerns, and have explicitly left it as an open issue in this proposal. I am genuinely interested in creative solutions to this, beyond status quo, or the solution of naming the groups completely abstractly, e.g. "Strawberry", "Mango", and "Cucumber". I default to status quo as presented in the proposal, until and unless better proposals that gain wide support come up.
I hope this addresses your concerns. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 09:20, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

I think it's a great idea to dump Global South - and to replace it with something that makes sense within the Wikimedia context. I was initially unsure about 'emerging communities' but see the logic. Beginning to make sense. 'Developed communities' seems mildly UN-ish, though - because the concept of development muddies the picture a bit. 'Mature'? And also: are there communities in between these two categories, eg Developing/Maturing or are two categories comprehensive enough?--Bishdatta (talk) 16:20, 30 September 2017 (UTC)

Are developed communities basically self-supporting? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 20:31, 30 September 2017 (UTC)
@Pbsouthwood: That depends on what we call self-supporting. The French Wikipedia community is certainly strong and will survive without active WMF support or funding, but Wikimedia France does depend on funding raised by WMF. I'm open to using the 'self-supporting' term instead of 'developed' if it gains clear support. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 09:18, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
I am trying to work out what "developed" actually means in this context, beyond fitting into a few measurement categories. I appreciate the practical utility of easily measured categories, but there is the question of whether the ease of measurement does not prejudice dealing with the members so conveniently slotted into their little boxes. I appreciate that this in not your intention, but the foundation is developing a notoriety for interpreting things to suit themselves. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 10:10, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
@Bishdatta: Note that on the country axis, we are making the distinction among three categories and not two: developed, emerging, and least developed. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 09:18, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

Why does this page lack statistics?[edit]

It seems strange to me that this classification is attempted to be made without any numbers. Is there a reason? ChristianKl (talk) 12:30, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

Thank you for taking the time to offer feedback, ChristianKl.
This new definition is deliberately avoiding the dry socio-economic division it is seeking to replace. The existing "Global North vs. Global South" distinction, made by the United Nations, has not serving us well enough, in that it does not take into account the parameters that matter most to the thriving of a Wikimedia volunteer community.
It is not accurate that the classification is made "without any numbers". The "Languages" section lists specific numeric criteria. The distinction among countries, however, is made with more subjective judgment, on the rough basis of the UN's old distinction, but with high weight placed on the actual observed state of the Wikimedia community in each country. The list could be augmented by Wikimedia numbers, like number of edits and number of views of Wikimedia projects in that country (data publicly available on [1]), but the number I most wanted to include here, and did base my classification on, namely the number of active editors in a given language in a given country, I am prevented from publishing here, because it was judged by some colleagues at WMF to pose an unacceptable privacy risk. I am still hoping we find a way to share those very important numbers with the community. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 09:11, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
The lack of data supporting and explaining the classifications constitutes a lack of transparency. Without supporting evidence, the classification appears arbitrary to some extent. This will make it controversial. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 04:21, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
@Pbsouthwood: Yes, I perceive this as a weakness too. As I wrote above, I have been attempting to make this data public for several years now. You can track the (very slow) progress of that conversation on this public Phabricator ticket I have already mentioned above. Until we achieve making this data public, I hope I can be trusted to be reporting the data accurately, especially since it will eventually be possible to check that I had done so. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 09:23, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Is this judgement by your unnamed colleagues at WMF an official WMF policy, in which case could you link to the statement of policy, or if not, who makes this decision? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 04:27, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
No, it is not official WMF policy, but it was sufficient to block the publication of that data. The people who made that decision at the time worked for the Analytics team; some of them no longer work for the Foundation. Again, you can see the conversation on the Phabricator ticket, and just in the last few days, there is some encouraging evidence of renewed commitment to getting this done. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 09:23, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
I hope that they do get this sorted out, and fairly soon. The WMF's commitment to transparency is becoming a bit of a joke. Again. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 10:21, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

Why does this list contain countries instead of languages?[edit]

The organizational unit of Wikipedia seems to be languages and not countries. Why is this list about countries and not about languages? ChristianKl (talk) 17:10, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedias are indeed organized by language, and if you look more carefully, you'll see criteria are offered to distinguish emerging from non-emerging communities by language as well, in the "Languages" section of the proposal. Off-wiki programmatic activity, on the other hand, is largely ruled by the context of a country. Creating a partnerships with a cultural institution in Côte d'Ivoire is in a different context and faces different issues than doing so in France, although both countries speak French. I also refer you to the FAQ at the bottom of the page, where the fourth answer states:
"Each list and set of criteria are relevant to that aspect only. When considering a given project in a given language in a given country, all three axes matter, and it is sufficient that one axis is emerging to be eligible for "emerging communities" support. For example, while Wikipedia is a developed project and the English-language Wikipedia community is developed, the English Wikipedia editing community in Ghana is emerging, and could benefit from additional WMF support.
Likewise, while the US is a developed country and the English-language Wikisource is the largest Wikisource community, the Wikisource project as a whole is considered emerging, so American Wikisource volunteers (and Wikisource volunteers everywhere) would be eligible for support as emerging communities."
I hope that answers your question. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 09:11, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

I am totally confused[edit]

As for countries: Why is Russian Federation considered developed, and Ukraine emerging? Is there a difference between them in terms of the community? I am pretty sure there are more examples like this.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:46, 27 September 2017 (UTC)

I would second this question. Russia alone of the former USSR seems to be marked as "developed" - given the political situation there and the impact that has on speech and association, I have a strong feeling that Russia shares the challenges of those other nations for Wikimedians. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 12:11, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
@Ymblanter: Yes, there are significant differences between the Russian Federation and Ukraine in terms of the community. Beyond the sheer size difference among the languages, with Russian being one of the top 10 Wikipedias, and having more than 3000 active editors, whereas Ukrainian is a mid-range Wikipedia with fewer than 750, there are also differences in the conditions for the community in both countries:
To name a few, Russian citizens have an average income four or five times that of Ukrainians, the Russian government is significantly more affluent than the Ukrainian government (which has implications for state funding of cultural institutions, programs, publishing, etc.), and the availability of high-quality secondary sources is vastly different between Russian and Ukrainian.
Nonetheless, I am open to considering reclassifying Russia as an emerging community because I agree it also faces some challenges typical to emerging communities, as Chris notes. I welcome other opinions on the matter.
I would also mention that in the last couple of years we have seen several new communities emerge in the other languages of Russia, notably Bashkir, Yakut (Sakha) and Tatar, and those are of course to be considered emerging communities by definition, on the language axis. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 09:43, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Asaf for your reply. I agree that if we compare the Russian Wikipedia with the Ukrainian Wikipedia, the Russian one is doing better. However, if we compare the chapters, the Ukrainian one is probably more active and is doing more reasonable stuff. As you know, I have no personal stakes here, it just looks unbalanced.--Ymblanter (talk) 10:12, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

Wikivoyage[edit]

As for projects: What does it mean that Wikivoyage has low impact and does not merit proactive investment? Actually, with the exception of the transfer phase, we have not seen any investment or support by WMF, and in fact everything we asked for was plainly ignored (and the current strategy cycle serves as a good example). Does it mean WMF plans to always ignore us? Major Wikivoyage versions have more than 10 permanent contributors.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:46, 27 September 2017 (UTC)

It means that I am publicly naming what you are describing to have been the status quo all along: WMF is not, as a matter of fact, investing in Wikivoyage. Whether that would ever change is not for me to say, but in determining which communities combine the two elements of needing proactive support and having great potential for impact, I determined that Wiktionary and Wikisource are the most important and high-potential projects after the already-thriving Wikipedia, Commons, and Wikidata.
I understand this may be frustrating to a dedicated Wikivoyage contributor like you, but I suggest to you that this definition does not actually change anything in practice about WMF's investment in Wikivoyage, except name it. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 09:43, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
That may even have some advantage as it makes it publicly clear what the WMF attitude is to some projects, so it is less easy to sweep under the carpet. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 09:56, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, I agree that is good if stated in public. This makes it of course more likely we would leave at some point (and almost certain that we would leave if we can achieve a great impact without WMF), but at least it is fair.--Ymblanter (talk) 11:26, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
If WMF has a policy not to support Wikivoyage, then it should be possible for Wikivoyage to do its own independent fundraising and use the money raised to support itself. Could be interesting. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 11:58, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Absolutely.--Ymblanter (talk) 12:07, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
I think there may be some confusion about this page. Peter (Southwood), Ymblanter: there is no policy of not supporting Wikivoyage at the WMF or even in the Community Engagement department; in my interim role, I would know. :) As Asaf explained, this definition deals with proactive support and is especially useful in focused work like Asaf's Community Capacity Development program. It will also be very useful in helping us define other targeted work with emerging communities, such as around grant expenditures and scholarships. As Senior Program Officer for Emerging Communities, it’s important for Asaf to take a lead in identifying those areas that are best recipients of resources earmarked for that work. This requires balancing a lot of factors, but still creating clear and transparent dividing lines that guide our assessment of which projects are “emerging”. Obviously, which projects are “emerging” will change with the evolution of those projects, as some mature out and others may develop greater impact or suffer conditions that reduce the numbers of editors.
I do believe he is quite right that currently Wikivoyage is not a specific target of proactive investment. However, we do support communities beyond those identified as emerging. (I myself got to work with the Wikivoyage community some years ago on the logo selection after the legal challenge to the original, although my work hasn’t brought me back officially since, and that would undoubtedly constitute “reactive” support.) For a major current example, Wikidata is at the center of several projects, including the multi-year Structured Data on Commons project (which also impacts Commons, which is, like Wikidata, another developed project). While we have not yet begun developing plans around the emerging new strategy, we recognize that we must support our communities according to need. From what I’m reading here, it sounds like the Wikivoyage community feels a gap perhaps not so much in proactive but in responsive (reactive) support. It sounds like at least some of you feel that requests have not been properly handled. I see the reference to Kartographer discontinuation below; as Asaf notes, this is not a Community Engagement department project, but we may still be able to help identify the proper people to talk to. In the case of Kartographer, I’ll ask Chris Koerner, who collaborated with the team, to reach out to Audiences to see if he can connect you to whomever can offer you insight into those plans, Alexander.
If there are other areas where support has been missing, I would appreciate hearing more so that I can make sure the concerns are heard by the proper people in the proper places. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 16:11, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Maggie. We actually prepared a document, Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Sources/Russian Wikivoyage, on the first step of the first stage of the strategy consultation. It was fully ignored by the responsible coordinator, and this is why we as a community decided to not participate in further consultations. However, it expresses (specifically of the Russian Wikivoyage) our vision of the future development. I realize that, since in the end it was not taken seriously and discuss with anybody, it may contain a lot of things which contradict to the vision of WMF or other communities, but this was what we could come up with. If anybody could help us along any of these points this already would be much appreciated. It should not be read that we ask money/resources/time from WMF, but the document was meant as the first step for the strategy discussion, and it is unfortunate the discussion never happened. The map issue is in the document.--Ymblanter (talk) 16:23, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Ymblanter, I'm really sorry to hear that the community felt unheard and excluded there. :/ I'll look into it and see if I can get more information on what happened. I don't know if it helps, but the work on specific tactics to achieve the strategic vision is still ahead and will not be for 15 years (I agree, that's too long for specific work plans). For the Foundation, it will be for 3-5. I believe other organized groups will be planning for lengths of time that fit their organizational level. There's still planning going on to determine how that's going to work, so some of what I think is going to happen today could be wrong. That said, I expect we'll be creating a more typical annual plan for this coming fiscal year as we begin developing longer range plans and working with affiliates to make sure that we're not crossing wires or (as much as possible) leaving gaps. ("As much as possible" because we still have resourcing limitations, so we'll never be able to do everything, even collaborating across groups.) I can certainly commit to carrying these thoughts into those processes both for our consideration in CE programs and the consideration of other departments, and I will reach out to ask that the Russian Wikivoyage be alerted when review and discussion of tactical thoughts take place. I'm currently understanding that might not be until after this coming year's annual plan is finalized, around June. (But, again, what I think today could be wrong.) I'll make sure to distribute it to leads in the various program areas in the meantime, so they have insight into what you're thinking and perhaps can clarify what (if any) work is already underway. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 17:31, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Maggie, this will be appreciated.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:34, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Maggie Dennis (WMF), honestly, I am confused. Asaf said below that grants are the reactive support and won't be affected. You say this "will also be very useful in helping us define other targeted work with emerging communities, such as around grant expenditures and scholarships". Who is right?
I would also be grateful if you elaborate on the criteria for the assessment of the projects. --Alexander (talk) 16:40, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Alexander, I'm sorry for contributing further to confusion. :) I can see that my language was not the best. What I mean to say is that for the work that targets emerging communities, in whichever area that work exists (including where that work is in grants and scholarships), the definition is important. I did not mean at all to imply that all grants target emerging communities. They don't. But for those that do, people need to have clarity into the criteria. Asaf is better positioned to elaborate on the criteria, so I will trust him to answer specific questions about that. He may also be able to answer questions about the different grant streams and intents, as he works in the Community Resources team, or he can bring in others from that team if necessary. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 17:46, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Atsirlin, the main way the definition is relevant for reactive support like grants is that we will be using it to track grant expenditure, as we had previously been tracking grants to Global South versus Global North communities (with both categories having access to and receiving grants). Regarding the criteria for projects, it's a question that deserves a longer response, and I will not be able to get to it today. Rest assured I will respond. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 21:01, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Asaf (WMF), regarding Wikivoyage: is it the first step towards full expulsion of everything other than Wikipedia, Wiktionary, and Wikisource from the Wikimedia universe? Should we start looking for a new platform?
I also second the question asked above. When can we start our own fundraising? --Alexander (talk) 13:05, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
@Atsirlin: No, it most certainly is not. There is no such decision, or even discussion, at WMF. It is just what it says it is: an explicit exclusion of Wikivoyage (and other sister projects) from consideration for proactive support, and nothing more. Wikivoyage is still hosted by WMF, and Wikivoyage volunteers can still request grants to be considered for reactive support for their work. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 13:12, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Asaf (WMF), you know, we can all read behind the lines. If WMF refuses in giving the proactive support, why would the grant committee endorse the reactive support? Any Wikivoyage-related grant can be (and, I am sure, will be) automatically rejected, because Wikivoyage is a 'low-impact project', and it is better to give money to the "emerging communities".
I would also like to receive an answer to my second question. Thank you. --Alexander (talk) 13:34, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Well, no, you are definitely misreading. Grant committees can and do fund things that are not proactively supported by WMF (e.g. Wiki Loves [stuff], GLAM partnerships, etc.). As I wrote above, nothing has actually changed in WMF's readiness to invest in Wikivoyage; I'm merely spelling out, explicitly for a change, that in the planning for proactive support, Wikivoyage (and the other excluded sister projects) would not be considered.
It is certainly understandable that you would like WMF to invest in Wikivoyage, and that's a conversation worth having, though I would ask that you have it separately, on another page here on Meta, with notification on the Wikimedia-l mailing list, where you'd be able to reach more people and make the case for why (and how) WMF should be investing in Wikivoyage.
To your question about fundraising, it seems to me the answer is this: No, Wikivoyage would not be allowed to fundraise on its own, so long as it's hosted by WMF. Its hosting costs are already provided.
But what you probably want funding for (feature development, I'm guessing?) is not actually blocked by lack of money: new features would only be added to Wikivoyage with the consent of the WMF product managers, so even if you had separate funding to pay a developer to build the features, they would not necessarily be accepted and deployed by WMF. Therefore it seems to me that if you want development of Wikivoyage, you should (continue?) advocating for it to the WMF product team, now called Wikimedia Audiences. If you successfully make the case for building a feature, it could get built by WMF engineering using existing resources, or through funding an external developer using a grant (remember, those remain available to Wikivoyage), but in either case, it would be essential to have a guarantee the feature would be accepted and deployed on Wikivoyage before investing money in it. I hope that answers your question. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 13:56, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Well, Asaf (WMF), I am not daft, and I have been in the (non-WMF) grant system long enough to see how the community opinion forms, and how practices develop. If you say something is "low-impact", it has very low chances to get funded. If there are grant proposals from Wikivoyage and from Tatar Wikipedia, and only one grant can be given,Tatar Wikipedia will always win because it is the "emerging community" and Wikivoyage is some useless "low-impact" stuff. I am also quite sure that making "the case for building a feature" will become impossible for us, because the production team will not bother about the "low-impact" Wikivoyage when the "emerging communities" are waiting for their features to be implemented. This WMF statement basically means that Wikivoyage (and other sister projects) will have no development at all, except for the small unofficial home-made scripts and modules. Good to know that we are useless. Thanks for telling us about that. --Alexander (talk) 14:30, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Well, I am explicitly telling you what I am and am not saying on behalf of WMF. If you insist on reading more into it, because you've been around and you know better, suit yourself, but it's not WMF's position.
I do agree it is currently likely Wikivoyage won't get development, and I understand that that is frustrating to you. But I have pointed out the way for you and anyone else convinced of the impact of Wikivoyage to change that. Giving up in advance and sulking passive-agressively is also an option, but it won't get you the result you want. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 14:40, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Asaf (WMF), may we expect your support when we come up with a feature request and the production team declines it based on the lack of resources and the new WMF agenda? This is not a hypothetical sсenario. Wikivoyage heavily relies on the Kartographer extension, which appeared largely because of Wikivoyage, but the development of this extension has been suspended by WMF. --Alexander (talk) 15:25, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
@Atsirlin: I might support it, yes, because the extension has significant value beyond Wikivoyage. But my personal support would mean very little. I don't make product decisions, and I'm not the person you'd need to convince. The managers of the technical teams, who made the decision to reduce the investment in maps, would be the people you'd need to convince of the importance of such investment, and numerous volunteers endorsing the request would mean much more than my own support. (though not necessarily enough.)
And if indeed the investment you're looking for is primarily or exclusively technological, then this entire page is less relevant, as it only seeks to define the term "emerging communities" which we'll use in certain programs in the Community Engagement department. It explcitly does not set the Product and Tech agenda for the Foundation. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 15:38, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
It feels like talking to a politician. You go to a WMF staff member, and he says that technical managers decide. You go to the technical managers, and they say "Your idea is interesting, but, you know, WMF told us that we should not support your project". That's where it ends. Vicious circle. --Alexander (talk) 16:01, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
@Ymblanter:@Atsirlin: I have rephrased the Projects section for clarity, and removed the subjective assertion that Wikivoyage has lower impact (and yes, I wish we had strong research data to back up our de facto and implicit assessments). I think it is now better expressed. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 16:05, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

But, well, you meant it is "low-impact", didn't you?
I have another question in this respect. The criteria for languages are very clear. What are the criteria for projects? Suppose Wikivoyage wants WMF to change its opinion, what should be done? Which milestones should be reached? --Alexander (talk) 16:08, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Tnx Asaf.--Ymblanter (talk) 16:23, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
How sad to know that the WMF doesn't care about most of its wikis. As someone who edits many of them, the notion that some of them are "lower impact" is complete nonsense. IMHO, Wikivoyage has far more potential to grow than Wikipedia in every single country of the world. DaGizza (talk) 01:44, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
DaGizza, I accept that it is your opinion, but would like to know how you come to the conclusion that Wikivoyage has far more potential to grow than Wikipedia in every country of the world. Maybe I do not understand what you mean by this statement. Could you clarify? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 07:17, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
It has long been my perception that WMF doesn't really know/care what goes on on the wikis, except for enwiki, and sometimes dewiki and commons. But the statement confirming this would have better been left unsaid by WMF. At this point, rather than trying to dig the hole deeper, I believe it would be best for WMF to apologize and try to at least pretend like they care about the 900+ other wikis that exist. --Rschen7754 02:08, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

In which direction are we investing more?[edit]

As written, I think this definition is saying that WMF should invest more in helping Emerging Communities grow their editor base than in helping Developmed Communities grow/sustain their editor base. Because:

Emerging communities should be those communities with which we should spend more attention and resources, especially (but not only) in the Community Resources team.

But then:

The main difference between the old and (proposed) new definition is the inclusion as a factor, with very high weight, of the actual current size and capacity of the Wikimedia editing community in each country, language, or project.

Which to me reads as saying the opposite, that communities with higher-capacity editing communities should be weighted more, and thus get more investment from WMF.

Which is intended?

JAufrecht (WMF) (talk) 18:18, 27 September 2017 (UTC)

@JAufrecht (WMF): I see how you could read it that way, but the distinction is different: Emerging Communities should be the ones we proactively support beyond funds and grants (in terms of sheer dollars, we invest the most in developed communities, through funding for chapters). And the size of the active community has high weight in determining the binary question of whether a community is emerging or not, but not the amount of support it would get as an emerging community. Is that clearer? Asaf (WMF) (talk) 09:47, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

Three points[edit]

On the one hand, I have not understood why the expression "Global South" is being banned. This expression, AFAIK, was created in the context of the World Social Forum, that has nothing to do with the UN. From my understanding, at least from someone from Brazil, it has a positive connotation. Moreover, it says something about the structure/wealth available in a country --which at least to me is not what we get from the use of emerging/developed communities.

On the other hand, there might be three confusions here:

  1. Given what is said on this page, it would make sense to say that Brazil is an emerging community (how we call an individual country) in the emerging community (the name of the proposed group that meet the criteria).
  2. I think "emergent community" could also misleadingly end up meaning for people who are unaware of our jargon under-represented editor groups in a country (not the whole country), i.e., an emergent African-American community in the United States. (Not sure how to solve this, but I thought I'd bring it up.)

Given that, wouldn't it make sense to say (considering the 'odd' cases that were mentioned):

  • Argentina is a developed community in the Global South
  • Australia is an emerging community in the Global North

3. I am not so familiar with nuances in English, but would it be absurd to switch from "emerging" to "developing"? In Portuguese, and I cannot speak about other languages, "uma comunidade emergente" might mean either it is emerging or it is urgent.

I hope these points make sense. --Joalpe (talk) 04:34, 28 September 2017 (UTC)

Maybe we need to stand back a little and look at the what this classification is to be used for, and how it is to be used, before we can say how appropriate it is. From that perspective, I went looking for a statement of purpose, or definition, but could not find one. I would have expected it to be prominent on the content page, but it was not. Asaf (WMF), could you clarify this please?· · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:33, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
I believe the classification is used to determine who gets financial support; for example it had a strong impact on decisions for Wikimania fellowships but I guess also for more significant things.--Ymblanter (talk) 05:47, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
I think so too, but it is a thing that should be clearly specified, so everyone knows what we are trying to discuss. Lack of clarity often leads to mistaken assumptions, which later lead to all kinds of probably unnecessary drama. Good communications need all parties to understand what the topic of discussion is actually supposed to be. This is particularly important with a group from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. We do not all think in American English. Assuming that we do puts a very large number of us at a severe disadvantage.
Once the concept has been clearly defined, a suitable terminology can be discussed, and meaningful and accurate translations can be made. Without the intended meaning, translations tend to be a bit unreliable. Translating like Google gives you a set of words which might mean the same thing, but could also mean something quite unrelated. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 13:11, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
@Pbsouthwood: The goal of the classification is spelled out in the Introduction section on the page. It is to direct and track WMF's proactive investment in communities, within the Community Engagement department (at least; it is TBD whether and which other departments at WMF would be interested in adopting this definition, and already clear that some would not). As Ymblanter suggested, it would influence scholarships (not fellowships) decisions, but also distinguish between communities that would receive other forms of proactive support, such as my recent efforts within the context of the CCD program. For example, I just spent most of September in India, teaching Wikidata and other recent technologies and tools to nine different Indian communities; even though there are no doubt many US American editors who could also use introductions to and trainings on Wikidata and other tools, I will be making no such investment in the US. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 10:52, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
I have always found the terms "Global North" and "Global South" to be somewhat ludicrous, as they do not relate the commonly accepted meanings of the constituent words to the combined meanings in an intuitive way. They are simply political obfuscation. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:40, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
@Pbsouthwood: Yes, that is one of the commonly expressed criticisms of that terminology, and I personally share the distaste for its obfuscating aspect. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 10:52, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
@Joalpe: As far as I can tell, the Wikimedia use of the term was taken from the UN's ITU, and not from the World Social Forum, but it doesn't terribly matter. What matters much more is that to the extent people expressed opinions about it (and let us remember most people are quite indifferent to what we call it), those were almost universally negative. Indeed, I can't think of another person ever expressing a positive opinion about it before you did, above.
Substantively, the structure/wealth as well as other objective/external factors facing a contributor community (e.g. regime, language status) will still be considered in this definition (see my brief discussion of Russia vs. Ukraine above), albeit not explicitly made part of it.
I am not quite sure I got your meaning regarding 'three confusions'. I'll try my best to respond, and please tell me if something remains confused or unclear:
  1. Certainly, Brazil is an emerging community.
  2. Certainly, sub-national groups in a country can also be said to be emerging. For example, the Wikimedia contributors among the Bashkir people in Russia constitute an emerging community, even if Russia itself remains classified as 'developed' (which is TBD, see above). I'm not sure why you think that would be 'misleading' or an unwanted result of this definition.
  3. While the distinction you offer (distinctions within the GS/GN distinction) is a possible approach, I think it does not solve enough of the problems this new definition set out to solve, including the strong resistance to the GS/GN distinction itself.
  4. Regarding the term, another repeatedly-expressed criticism has been regarding the terms 'development', 'developed', etc., with their implied unidirectionality and teleological certainty, and with their checkered history interwoven with colonialism and exploitation. So we're trying to move away from it (see the "Open issue" section on the page). That said, I understand 'emergente' may sound strange in Portuguese, and I would encourage translators to pick terms that make sense in their language and culture. A literal translation to a cognate word is certainly not always the right choice. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 10:52, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
@Asaf (WMF): Sorry for not making my points clearer; I'll try harder ;)
  1. It is confusing to me the way emergent community is being used, as it seems to be used in two different dimensions. First, Brazil has an emergent community, that is, it has a group of editors that is still thriving for higher-impact activities. Second, Brazil is now part of a group a countries that is defined as emergent communities. Thus, this would be given two different meanings, from what I get in the nuances, to the same expression.
  2. I think it is misleading to have the same expression to refer to different things, especially when we are looking for clarity.
  3. OK.
  4. I believe --as many have pointed out-- there should be a much better sense of what we are trying to say here. From what I get, "emergent community," which I believe is an odd construction, is being used as a metaphor to talk about a decision the WMF has made to prioritize some communities, based on an understanding that is (mostly) exclusively from the WMF itself. To bring together in a same expression heterogeneous communities trying to figure out some general characteristic that would make sense to the non-WMF reader is very hard. Perhaps, the best option here would be simply to switch from 'emergent community' to something like: WMF high priority communities, as these are the "communities with which we should spend more attention and resources." Other communities would be, for different reasons, WMF low priority communities. Does this make any sense?
    1. I agree with your take that in cases like the one we are discussing here translation decisions are very important.
Thank you for your reply. --Joalpe (talk) 20:50, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
It seems that there is a problem of clarity and a possible language based disconnect between the terms and the definitions. The functionally important part is the definitions, as they are what we assume will inform action, but people's understanding of these definitions is affected by the language they think in, which is not always American English, so the meaning associated with the terms is varied more than is compatible with the terms proposed. Maybe we are approaching this from a wrong direction. The important items are the definitions and that they are universally translatable. Maybe we should sort them out first: The three? categories of Wikimedia communities? to be used for statistical purposes and more controversially, to determine eligibility for proactive support from WMF, which are measured in three aspects (dimensions). Maybe we need a clearer and less ambiguous system which takes into account the multiple dimensions of assessment, and call them by neutral names, and accept that three categories in three dimensions implies 27 subcategories, which though unsatisfyingly complicated, may better reflect the reality. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 07:38, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

What is the criteria for "further prioritization"?[edit]

What criteria will be used by the wmf to prioritize interest in emerging communities? If not available yet, is there an eta for having them laid out? Strainu (talk) 07:46, 28 September 2017 (UTC)

@Strainu: Beyond the criteria already mentioned (e.g. other things being equal, communities serving larger readerships would be prioritized), the criteria for further prioritization will not be made part of this definition. They are not laid out yet, and they would depend on who is doing the prioritization, and how widely this definition is adopted across WMF.
For example, in my own work in the context of the CCD program, I prioritized supporting larger communities (like India, Brazil, and Ukraine), while attempting to bring at least some value en passant to smaller communities, e.g. in the context of regional and international conferences, where I have offered scaled-down versions of the trainings I had originally developed for the prioritized communities. But at the same time, another -- large! -- factor in prioritizing my work is opportunity and other practical considerations. For example, our ability to do proactive work (as WMF) in Russia, China, or Iran is severely limited by US government regulations. Some communities are more open to working with WMF than others. There are visa and political issues further complicating the practicalities of doing my work (e.g. I cannot personally travel to Indonesia). So further prioritization will remain separate from this definition, and up to specific teams and individuals as they plan their work. They may choose to make those criteria more explicit, either in general or in the context of announcing or forming a plan. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 11:28, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

What does this mean in practice?[edit]

While these criteria are more reasonable than Global North / Global South, I would still like to know what this would mean in practice. All three groups are heterogeneous enough and have different needs even within the same group.

  • Developed Communities. I would assume that we are speaking of communities that are mostly self-sustainable and need little support from the WMF. For example it may mean that Wikimedians from these countries will be eligible for a very limited number of Wikimania scholarships (heritage from Global North definition). In this case we need to amend the description by adding presence of a strong affiliate as a requirement: while users from most of these countries can get a reasonable support from their local affiliates I am pretty sure countries like Iceland or Luxembourg are not "developed" enough from this point of view.
  • Emerging Communities. As far as I can see, these will be the main targets of WMF support, although it is not that straightforward. If we look at affiliates (using this list for identifying affiliates to help) we have anything from strong chapters (e.g. Argentina) to communities without any affiliate (e.g. Lithuania). If we look at the size of community (to measure if they need an external support to thrive), we have anything from huge communities (e.g. Portuguese Wikipedia editors in Brazil) to very small ones (e.g. Cambodia). If we look at the level of Internet (room for growth) and economic development (availability of local resources) we have pretty much anything from New Zealand which is in top-20 of most Internet and economic rankings to Syria. The good thing is that neither country of this group seems to be good in all three, but it would be good to know if we are more interested in measuring affiliates, project communities or countries.
  • Least Developed Communities. I find four types of scenarios here. Firstly, we have communities such as Tajikistan that have potential for development (enough speakers, availability of Internet, reasonable level of projects) and that can move a level up if they get some support, so supporting them might be a good investment. Secondly, we have communities that are limited in size but are in good position to achieve results on their territory and may need similar support as bigger groups but at lower scale, like Malta. Thirdly, we have communities which have a potential but are on very early development stages, such as Namibia. Finally, we have communities that are both underdeveloped and with limited potential, like Nauru. It would be hugely disappointing for some of these countries if this classification will mean that they will get little to no support, as this may prevent them from growing by building a vicious circle (we need support for growth — we will not support you because you are least developed).
  • Finally, we have minorities within countries who might be at a very different level of development: from Catalans who are in some aspects stronger than the community in Spain in general to equally numerous Madurese speakers who don't even have a Wikipedia in their language. This might also affect the classification, e.g. Madurese Wikipedia would be Least Developed while the Indonesian one would be Emerging.

To sum up, I think we are going in the correct direction but depending on practical use of these criteria they might have to be adjusted — NickK (talk) 01:35, 29 September 2017 (UTC)

I think the point with least developed communities is that unless there is enough of a community to support, efforts to support are not cost-effective, and the money and effort can be better spent on emerging communities. 10 active/dedicated members is not a very high bar. Also, if the lesser developed communities are sufficiently motivated they can still apply for support. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:20, 30 September 2017 (UTC)
There might be benefits of supporting such communities in terms of content and not in terms of community development. For instance, Wikimedia Community User Group Malta probably has less than 10 active members, but they still got valuable content about Maltese monuments that can be useful for a broader community — NickK (talk) 13:55, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
All communities should be supported in terms of content. The question is how they can be supported in a way that is cost-effective in terms of the support given. Resources are finite, both money and time, and we want them to be well applied, and seen to be well applied, as a gesture of respect to the communities and donors who provide them, so they will continue to provide them. Fortunately most technical developments done for the large communities convert fairly well to the smaller communities. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:03, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
@NickK: Thank you for this feedback. To your questions:
  1. It's true that the number of available Wikimania scholarships for volunteers from countries considered "developed" under the proposed definition can be a function of the presence of a well-funded affiliate. However, I don't think it is enough to change the classification of the country to emerging. We have been considering and will continue to consider this when making Wikimania scholarship decisions, though.
  2. The emphasis in this definition is the size, health, and activity level of the contributor community in a country and in a language. The presence, health, and track record of a national or otherwise-local affiliate would certainly be taken into considering in further prioritization when considering what support to offer whom. The blanket will always be too short, and as mentioned on the page, other things being equal (roughly, of course), communities serving larger readerships will be prioritized. This means the Spanish-speaking community in, say, Venezuela, is very likely to be prioritized over the Wayuunaiki community. However, as you note, there is still a wide range of capacities and needs within the proposed "emerging" class; accordingly, we will be offering different kinds of support to match different needs and different scales. It is possible, for example, that we would never hold a two-day training event in Sri Lanka, but the Sri Lankans could still get some support through scholarships to attend regional events (e.g. During the CCD pilot year, Sri Lankan contributors to the Tamil Wikipedia were flown to Chennai to attend the Tamil community's technical training there), and some benefit from materials produced in the context of proactive support to other communities.
  3. Regarding the provisionally-named "least developed" communities, all four types you distinguish between could certainly use support, of course, but as Peter suggests, it is precisely the function of this definition to distinguish the communities where support would be most likely to be effective, and "least developed" communities, in our considerable experience across the movement, need much more support than "emerging" communities, with a much higher risk of failure. There is, quite frankly, a lot we still don't know about how to support Wikimedia communities: we don't have the magic formula to convert non-contributors to contributors; we don't have tried-and-true methods to help a lone contributor grow a community around them; and we don't have a track record of success overcoming external challenges such as low language prestige, lack of secondary sources, lacking infrastructure, or oppressive regimes. Since we also have quite limited resources, the sensible thing to do at this point is to focus our limited proactive efforts at emerging communities -- the "low[er]-hanging fruit" -- and achieve impact, while offering only passive support (grants, written and video resources, etc.) to "least developed" communities until such time as they manage to grow their contributor base enough to be considered emerging. This is not a new strategy: WMF has been focused on supporting communities with a minimum active core of self-motivated editors as a sine qua non since 2013.
  4. Minorities within countries can be considered as separate communities on the language axis. Madurese would currently indeed be "least developed", per the proposed definition. If and when an active core of Madurese contributors forms (and meets LangCom's requirements and makes progress toward graduating out of the Incubator), the Madurese community could become "emerging".
Again, thank you for taking the time to review this. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 13:28, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
@Asaf (WMF): Thank you very much for your feedback. Do I understand correctly that:
  • WMF plans to make most investments into Emerging Communities as they offer the highest impact per dollar or hour invested
  • WMF will invest less in Developed Communities as additional investments will generate little additional impact
  • WMF will invest even less in Least Developed Communities as risks of failure are too high compared to expected impact.
Is it what this will mean in practice? — NickK (talk) 13:49, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
@NickK: It depends. Regarding proactive investments of time and attention by WMF staff in the Community Engagement department, yes. Regarding all other things, no. Grants remain available to all, no reduction in the FDC's total budget is taking place (see my answer to Anthere directly below), etc. And "WMF will invest" is much too general, because of course WMF invests in developed communities (and all other communities) insofar as it develops Mediawiki, hosts the wikis, provides analytics, etc. etc.
In yet other words, this is not a huge systemic shift in WMF policy. It is a tool, a lens, designed to be explicit about opportunities for proactive investment of Community Engagement staff time and effort in specific communities (as distinct from investing time and effort to support all communities, such as by developing general resource pages, handling Trust and Safety issues [globally, obviously], etc.). It seems to me that implicitly this has already been policy for quite some time. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 14:01, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
@Asaf (WMF): Thank you for this clarification. My confusion is coming from the fact that grants also belong to the Community Engagement department via Community Resources, and I though that grant programmes were concerned as well. It might make sense to clarify somewhere that this classification will have a practical impact only at proactive efforts and will have no impact on other activities. For this particular purpose this classification looks very reasonable — NickK (talk) 14:25, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

Impact on funding[edit]

I think those thoughts are interesting and could be good tools to help identify which projects/efforts/communities should be supported in priority, with the impact potential being the decision making primary factor. Why not.

My little concern though is... that currently, a very significant part of the mouvement money and effort is channeled through the chapters. It is not very difficult to see that most "well funded" chapters are in the "most developed" countries. So would the guidance actually impact the entirety of the mouvement funding (which would probably mean serious decrease of the APG allocation provided to chapters located in dev countries and serving dev communities), or would that only impact the way WMF decides to allocate its own personal effort, or would it impact both its personal effort and the funds redistributed through projects grants/rapid grant/travel grants etc. In short... what would be the scale of the rethinking based on this definition of emerging communities ? What are your thoughts on that Asaf ?

I also have a little concern about those countries where several languages coexist Anthere (talk)

@Anthere: Thank you for this feedback.
At present, there is no discussion of impact on the size of different grant programs' budget. Given our approach (different from yours), focused on supporting communities of active self-motivated volunteer contributors, there is a practical limit to how much work we can fund in emerging communities, and it is not actually the budget limit. In other words, we are eager to fund more work in emerging communities, if and as we are presented with compelling opportunities to do so, and the large sums funding European chapters are not (currently) at the expense of deserving grant proposals from emerging communities.
I would say that if and when the volume of fundable projects proposed by emerging communities rises to exceed the various grant programs' budgets, WMF would need to carefully reconsider those budgets, including the internal allocation between grant programs.
So again, for now, there is no rethinking and no impact on the grant programs, and this definition is largely a lens to focus proactive efforts such as the CCD, and to track distribution of passive investments like scholarships and grants. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 13:35, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Indeed, my approach is a bit different (I fill a niche :)), but I think there is high value in the approach you propose. Undoubtedly better and more thought provoking than the global north/global south blob. Thanks for the CCD link. In any cases, whilst there are details to iron, I think it is an interesting approach, not only in terms of helping WMF staff/committees make decisions, but also in terms of helping volunteers better understand why WMF take a decision rather than another. More clarity is good. Anthere (talk)

Proactive[edit]

Asaf, could you explain what proactive means in this document? Here's what I'd expect:

  • Proactive: "Hey, xxwiki, we think you could benefit from this class. Would you like us to bring it to you?"
  • Reactive: "Hey, WMF, we think we could benefit from this class. Would you please bring it to us?"

But when I look through this discussion, I feel like that's maybe not what you mean. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:02, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

Yes, that is what I mean by proactive. What you describe under reactive, though, is not really something that exists, as far as I know. The reactive support we offer takes forms like grants, program mentoring, etc., but I'm not aware of a channel wherein communities routinely request and receive training from WMF. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 03:31, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
So the only want to get you in front of a group is for you to decide to offer that class to that project (right?). WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:14, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing. Say again? I don't understand your question. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 07:22, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Asaf does great classes, e.g., on Wikidata. It sounds like these classes aren't available upon request (because that would be "reactive"). WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:18, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
OK, in this instance my understanding would be that such classes might be (proactively) offered to emerging communities, but established/developed communities would have to (reactively) ask for them and there is no current system for doing this. I am getting the massage here that the different levels are eligible for different kinds of support. This may be the situation, but could also be a communications error. Some clarification is needed as to what kinds of support can be provided proactively and reactively. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:23, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
My understanding is that WMF is currently paying for such classes (not sure about the details though what they pay exatly), and if an established community wants such a class they will be asked to pay for it.--Ymblanter (talk) 14:55, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Someone has to pay for costs. It would be a bit much to expect Asaf to do that. However, in theory the costs could be covered by a grant, which would depend on how much it is needed, what benefits can be expected, etc. Developed communities should be competent at grant application, and if there is a real need, with real benefits, they should be able to deal with an application, whereas the emerging communities may not be too good at doing that for themselves. It will vary no doubt, but as a generalisation that may not be too far off the mark. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:10, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Sure, someone has to pay for costs, but given Asaf saying that he's "not aware of a channel wherein communities routinely request and receive training from WMF", it sounds like WMF training (e.g., classes taught by Asaf himself) is restricted to only these groups, no matter how much money you have. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:40, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Has anyone from a developed community ever tried to apply for one of the courses Asaf can be expected to be familiar with? I am trying to establish whether this is a real problem or a hypothetical one. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 17:56, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
At this point, this is likely a hypothetical problem. Asaf was recently giving tutorials about Wikidata, and developed communities usually have someone who could give similar tutorials.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:02, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

Countries[edit]

Martinique : [2]. Now... really... Martinique is NOT a country. It is part of France... Anthere (talk)

Uganda being listed as least developed community, to be dropped from support. That's a bit tough given that we have a small but active community over there.

Yes, Martinique and several other names mentioned there are "territories". The list used did not make the distinction. It's not terribly important for the purposes of this definition. In other words, if and when we find 10 active editors per month in Martinique, I am prepared to treat Wikipedians in Martinique as an emerging community.
Uganda does in fact (just) meet the 10 active editors per month criterion, so is an emerging community. It was in the wrong list by mistake. (You can see the example text in the criteria did explicitly name it as emerging.) I have now corrected this. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 12:01, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
How can we check the numbers for ourselves? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 09:01, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Regrettably, you cannot for now, and just have to take my word for it. See my responses in the earlier section, where I link to the Phabricator ticket tracking this. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 09:29, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
I read the Phabricator ticket. It seems to have been a somewhat arbitrary decision to say the least. It does not speak well for foundation transparency that a decision to hide the data is made without due process. I appreciate that you also do not approve of this opacity, as is clear from your comments there, which is the reason I will take your word for it for now. Cheers, · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 10:02, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

Central America : It seems strange that none of the countries of Central America, other than Panama, are included as emerging communities. Mexico is included, so presumably the Spanish language meets the criteria for inclusion; is Panama really the only Central American country with 10 active editors? (Perhaps the "10 active editors" criterion inadvertently burdens areas where a number of smallish countries share a wiki project.) Cscott (talk) 18:22, 26 October 2017 (UTC)

Catalonia: Seems to meet all the criteria for language and editors: 582 active editors, 4.1 million native speakers. The only objection would seem to be that it's not an independent country, which seems pretty bogus. Certainly in my personal work with the WMF I've found the Catalan community to be eager co-participants in developing and testing new wiki features (for example, the Content Translation Tool). Cscott (talk) 18:33, 26 October 2017 (UTC)

It occurs to me that in the case of both Central America and Catalonia, it may be more useful to treat them as regions sharing a culture and wiki project, without getting too hung up on the definition of "country". Cscott (talk) 18:35, 26 October 2017 (UTC)

There should be Relativity in the standards[edit]

I like the general idea behind this classification. I am particularly glad that, now proper attention can be given to individual countries based on a somewhat acceptable assessment, as opposed to just lumping several countries into the huge "global south". I have always thought the "global south" definition of emerging communities puts several African countries at a disadvantage....turns out I was right!

However, I believe the criteria being used, should be made to be as relative as possible. For example; it doesn't make sense to me, to judge the status of Nigeria and Lesotho, based on the SAME number of active editors. The criteria should allow the number of active editors to be assessed against the number of "potential editors".--Jamie Tubers (talk) 17:52, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

Jamie Tubers, Why should it be relative? The size of an editing community is such a small proportion of the population that percentage is pretty much irrelevant. Based on experience it appears that it is the absolute size of the community that affects it's potential - there is a sort of critical mass effect needed to keep things rolling. If you disagree, and have a logical reasoning, reliable source, or data to back up your opinion, please share it with us. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 19:48, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Pbsouthwood, Ideally, it makes sense to expect a country with a larger population to have a larger editing community, in comparison to a country with a much smaller population. When this is not the case, there's a name for it - Inequality; which is another problem in itself.--Jamie Tubers (talk) 22:10, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Inequality is one of those things that exists. WMF does not exist to systematically erase inequality starting at the bottom. That is out of scope, and beyond reasonable capacity. The reasonably realistic approach is being taken that there are some inequalities that can be more cost-effectively reduced than others, and those low-hanging fruits are the ones to go for. Instead of throwing resources at the worst cases, where experience has shown they will produce very little of lasting value, the approach of getting the most bang for the buck seems to have been chosen. This is more likely to result in a higher overall growth of the projects, and with luck will in the long run allow the smaller projects a bigger slice because the pie will be bigger by then. This is a volunteer/crowdsourced set of communities, and there must be a big enough group for a community to kick into fast growth. For some communities this may never happen, and the time to worry about them is when the communities which will show big gains for investment have grown to a self-sustaining state and don't need the support any more. Also, a sign that indicates that a community is likely to grow rapidly, is a self-organising core which has the energy to grow itself. Ten active members is a pretty low bar for recognising such a group, and the rate of growth is a factor which can also be considered. However, at a group size of 10, one person would make a change of 10%, so this is difficult to measure with confidence in such a small group. There are many other factors which could be investigated, but much of the variability in small groups is likely to be due to personal and environmental factors. Someone will probably do the stats when enough data is available. Until then, one must work with what is known, and use some judgement for what is not known. That is how I see it, anyway.
Having said all that, how would you propose to apply a relative measure to communities that would be likely to identify where investment of resources would be more likely to produce value in the long term? There may be something we are missing here. If you have suggestions, please present them. Cheers, · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:09, 6 October 2017 (UTC)

Defining 'developed'[edit]

I'm a little confused by the list of 'developed' countries. I'm guessing this is to contrast the 'emerging' list - but there are a few on the 'developed' list that I wouldn't consider developed, even though they don't meet all your three criteria for emerging. Perhaps it's good to explicitely recognize there's a whole lot of communities that fit in neither category. Especially the Luxembourg community comes to mind (not thriving, advanced either) - given their small country size, their community will probably always be struggling to find sufficient critical mass to be really thriving. Even though the country as a nationstate is definitely developed, I would not argue the same for the community (although I have only limited knowledge of their status). I'm guessing at least in theory, the opposite can also be true (an emerging economy, but developed and healthy community). So in the section 'countries' are we really talking about communities, or about the economic status of the countries? Effeietsanders (talk) 18:27, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

Use by Audiences[edit]

Thanks for all you work on this, Asaf! I think a nuanced, Wikimedia-specific community classification will prove to be very useful, and I expect that to be true for the work of the Audiences department too.

Obviously, since most of Audiences' work focuses on software features that operate in many different communities and projects simultaneously, we will not use it as much as Community Engagement will. However, in some cases, projects do pick particularly communities to focus on or partner with, as the New Editor Experiences project I'm currently working on picked the Korean and Czech Wikipedias, and in those circumstances having a clear classification based on CE's accumulated experience will be quite valuable. In addition, it could also provide an illuminating grouping when looking at community-specific metrics like the new editor retention rate.

I do have one question about how your axes interact. The page says that a community needs only be emerging on one axis to be counted as emerging overall. So, following that rule, any Wikipedia community outside the 8 largest languages, like as the Korean Wikipedia community in South Korea or the Czech Wikipedia community in the Czech Republic, counts as emerging. This is plausible to me, but I'm not sure if it's what you intended and I'm not sure it makes sense to me. Having recently spent some time researching the Czech Wikipedia community, it does feel more "developed" than "emerging" to me, particularly considering that Czech has only 10 million speakers.—Neil P. Quinn-WMF (talk) 18:31, 18 October 2017 (UTC)