Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Cycle 3

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Challenge 1: How do our communities and content stay relevant in a changing world?[edit]

Is this something new?[edit]

The comment that youngsters seek knowledge in other ways then their parents and rely on information from friends more than authorities and also socialize on other platforms, are a relevant facts that we should consider. But is this really something new? Is not this the norm since the 50th, and for Internet since it became widely used? Yger (talk) 16:01, 1 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

No one said encyclopedias are supposed to be interesting. Eat me, I'm an azuki (talk) 00:13, 4 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

...Wikipedia: "Perceptual learning" (Diverse learning sources) User talk arnlodg July 15 2017

Not many comments here lately?[edit]

I thank Quiddity for posting the key insights and the rest of his efforts on this. I also thank others for minor tweaks and translations. However, it seems that we're not attracting more comments here and elsewhere (except French Wikipedia). This is really concerning after all hard efforts to make the movement work. Maybe it's because... it's the American Independence Day? Maybe it's because of schedule delays? Maybe because our communities that we're familiar and associate with don't have any ideas to suggest? Maybe because... I don't know.

If we're not attracting more comments as the French Wikipedia participants have been doing, maybe we're expecting too high from the communities. Without communities speaking up about staying relevant in the changing world, people would assume that being silent is tolerable. Or maybe being silent would mean that we're okay with everything as is. Or maybe being silent would mean that the communities are losing interests in the movement. If none of those applies, why being silent?

To stay relevant to the world, we should speak up about anything related to the question's and key insights' themes. Otherwise, our opinions would go to waste, and very little thoughts would be collected.

Pinging Yger and Eat me, I'm an azuki to ask whether they have any ideas about those concerns and any suggestions to this question. I'll post my thoughts almost soon. --George Ho (talk) 04:25, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

I'd like to add, that there is a discussion in German Wikipedia (especially see Talk pages) as well. If I'm summing up correctly (but I'm far from reading everything), the participants share doubts against WMF. If I'm interpreting this correctly, the thing is: “let's work on the content, not discuss it, the community will find it's way” In my Impression someone is missing, that can moderate and summarize the discussion. The Translations are also not very good. They are mostly word by word and sometimes missing the point (in my impression at least). (Before anyone is suggesting something: I already discussed this with Gereon, with no results) Regards --HirnSpuk (talk) 16:01, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
What I´m missing is that we only write where we want to go, but not how we get there. I mean, isn´t that the important thing? For example, getting more editors is something we try to accomplish for years, but failed. Does that mean that the strategy to reach that goal is wrong? Are there other possible strategies to accomplish that goal? My guess is that this example shows how important that part is. --Goldzahn (talk) 06:40, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

My response to "Western encyclopedia model" insight[edit]

Okay, here are my answers to this question. I thank the Wikimedia Foundation for creating the encyclopedia project as the place for everyone to edit. The project has brought everyone together to create, edit, socialize and network. I also thank the Foundation credit for creating more projects, like a dictionary, place of original thought, library of quotes, library of previously published material, etc. However, I'm unsure what to say about the key insights. The "Western encyclopedia model" comment indicates that the movement is still interested in only the encyclopedia project. Saying "Western" means that globalizing Wikipedia is the main goal of the movement. Is it? If so, globalizing the encyclopedia project and turning Wikipedia into a global encyclopedia won't help improve the Foundation. It won't help invite more academics, including ones who would treat Wikipedia with contempt for its (in)accuracies and writing.

English Wikipedia has been dysfunctional and has always been. Attracting ESL users is not easy for English Wikipedia because ESL users may have difficulties of writing and typing the language. "w:English language" can teach its readers general knowledge about the language, but not lessons. Also, I believe that the encyclopedia project is not helpful in bringing communities together well. Rather multiple Wikipedia language sites cater to their own audiences of specific languages but may not help bring communities together positively. For example, Romanian Wikipedia attracts Romanian users but does not bring communities together positively; Requests for comment/Extreme abuses at the Romanian Wikipedia might illustrate this. Another example is Croatian Wikipedia, which has been severely affected by mismanagement and its ability to drive out many users. Even the 2013 discussion doesn't result in positive changes, does it? (For Croatians, please go to w:Croatian Encyclopedia and read better-written articles there.) Also, I read that Hindi Wikipedia is having admin issues illustrated in Requests for comment/Breaking of rules by the Sysop on Hindi Wikipedia.

Ever since Wikipedia was created, many scientific and mathematical topics are poorly written and seldom improved, like w:Light-independent reactions ([1]). Most ordinary people would create and edit encyclopedic articles about popular culture and people... and current events. How would globalizing Wikipedia help improve Wikipedia? How would globalizing Wikipedia help alleviate issues with non-English Wikipedia sites, like allegations about admins there? How would abandoning the Western encyclopedia model and adopting a newer encyclopedia model help improve the Foundation? Ordinary users from all continents would still write articles about pop culture, people, and current events. Does globalizing Wikipedia help experts be included and feel like part of the community? Does globalizing Wikipedia help improve the project by inviting experts of science and mathematics? As for me, I'm neither an academic nor an expert. However, historically, experts have written articles for encyclopedias. Wikipedia has changed all that but also led to slow decline of print encyclopedias all over the world. This is alarming to everyone, including me. Who can properly write an article about one flower or one mathematical formula or something that requires intellect?

My (repeated) suggestion for the Foundation is to lessen its dependence on the encyclopedia project and expand its role and energy in other projects. Recently, WikiJournal is proposed to become a fulfilled academic journal project and may potentially attract more experts who would want to work on the encyclopedia project. If that happens, then the Foundation's role would change from being a mere organization relying too much on the encyclopedia into an organization that can help make a greater difference. If it doesn't, then the Foundation would stagnate. More proposed projects, like Wikidirectory and NonFreeWiki, would help. Wikidirectory can help make up the failed proposal Knowledge Engine done by the WMF and messy, flawed search engine of all projects. NonFreeWiki can help balance the somewhat unstable Wikimedia Commons and its OTRS service. Wikiversity and Wikibooks provide English lessons for ESL users, but their works are incomplete. If WikiJournal is made, then more experts can help out those other projects as well to help improve English language for ESL users, especially ones who want to improve English Wikipedia. --George Ho (talk) 06:18, 5 July 2017 (UTC); clarified, 06:47, 5 July 2017 (UTC); clarified, 13:48, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

  • It's obvious, that the WMF wants to change its strategy related to its only relevant flagship, the encyclopedia. As also other users in the German Wikipedia noticed, in the evaluation of the feedback every mention of other form of contributing knowledge was blown up in comparison to the many wishes from the communities, to improve their experience of contributing inside the encyclopedia. So it was something, that from the start of the process the WMF wanted to read in the strategy discussions. Not surprisingly, in the first topic of the third cycle there is a clear statement, to overcome "Wikipedia's current model of the long-form, in-depth, text-heavy encyclopedia article", that is labeled pejorative as "The Western encyclopedia model". I take this as an offence to the editors, that build up this encyclopedia, from that the WMF is living, with their "text-heavy", "in-depth" and quality-oriented work. If this encyclopedic work is not wanted anymore or it will be worsen instead of improved by the future strategic direction of the WMF, I will be immediately out of this "movement" and I hope many others will be too, leaving the WMF alone with their dream of being a big player in social media instead of dull encyclopedia. --Magiers (talk) 08:46, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
    • I know you felt offended, Magiers. Just wondering, has the movement team do you think researched how print encyclopedias were written in non-Eurocentric continents and looked up the list of Chinese encyclopedias and the list of encyclopedias by language? I'm not sure how to respond to your assertions about WMF's role in social media. The team should look up failed proposals related to social media, like WikiWrite (which was WikiTalk), WikiSocial and Wiki social network. The Foundation can create a new social media project if it wants to. However, as proven, such "social media"-related proposals have failed. After reading Ryuch's comments below, do you think the WMF plans to create audio and video editions of encyclopedia articles? The server might not have enough bandwidth to store those data. If not, how else can WMF play a big role in social media? Text messaging? --George Ho (talk) 13:27, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
      • Hello George Ho, honestly, I don't know, how much research is done here. Besides the local bias I read much unverified speculation in the "expert" statements, and I wonder, why and how the WMF focus on some statements while disregarding others. So I speculate myself, that they already know, in which direction they want to push the strategies and now search for approval and some ideas in detail. Maybe things as videos could be such ideas in detail, but I am more worried, in which direction they want to push the "movement" alltogether, especially our solid and approved encyclopedia, that is the flagship of Wikimedia. And I am very sure, it would not be a good thing, to lower its quality standards just to desperately reach Michael and Annisa. As long as this seems an option for the WMF, I loose my motivation, to work on "long-form, text-heavy, in-depth" encyclopedic content any longer. And surely I will not make videos instead. --Magiers (talk) 14:16, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Yes, let's be optimistic. "The Western encyclopedia model is not serving the evolving needs of all people who want to learn." But when they WMF wants to learn, maybe they can from reading this discussion. But as Superprotect shows, this maybe takes 15 months and not just one week... --Magiers (talk) 14:54, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

I sent you email, Magiers. Hello again, Gereon. Thanks for the German version of the key insights. Right now, we are losing one editor just because of the "key insights" and assumptions about the WMF. Is there a way to convince him to change his mind, or are we letting him go? If the latter, this may illustrate the hostile dissent from the German Wikipedia community, or maybe I'm overreacting. I hope my question here can convince others to reconsider "inactivity". Wondering: what do you think are (separately) sub-Saharan African model, South American model, Middle Eastern model, North African model, Central Asian model, South Asian model, Southeast Asian model, and East Asian model of an encyclopedia? I don't mean to offend, but I want specific answers, not one condensed answer. --George Ho (talk) 19:26, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Hello George Ho, thank you for your concern. But I don't think that we are losing Magiers because of one potential challenge that WMF would like to debate. They're asking "Might this be a problem? If yes, what could be done about it?" Nothing more. The main focus of the Wikipedias will not be social networking or changing its scope and quality to embrace people that are simply not interested. It will stay an encyclopedia - and that won't be changed by the Strategy Process that is taking place this year, the 5th in the last 15 years if I count right. --Gereon Kalkuhl (WMF) (talk) 20:20, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Hello, I'm a lover of Wikipedia, but I admit that it's not enough to me. It won't help me find a job, or learn first aid.
Many fear a poorer, 140-character encyclopedia. That's not happening. In any case, article summaries fulfill that mission.
Many fear artificial intelligence search engines displacing over our manually redacted, peer reviewed articles. It's not a replacement, but complementary.
Again, we must go further in out mission of sharing knowledge. Educational videos and games are a perfect example, but not the only.
Personally, I find Wikipedia very useful for a wide array of stuff. But
An encyclopedia is just one of the many possible educational resources we can make. Other projects must fill those blind spots. We need to go beyond an encyclopedia. --NaBUru38 (talk) 20:32, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Wikipedia has not lost me three years ago with the Superprotect incident, it will not loose me now. I would not describe my feelings as "hostile dissent" but deep mistrust since then. So it only takes little words as the "current model of the long-form, in-depth, text-heavy encyclopedia article", indicating the transitory nature of this model, that my trust in producing good quality articles, that will stay for a long time and will not be presented to the readers only in shortened and distorted forms, vanishes. I just want to remind the WMF that they are dealing with volunteers, whose passion for the projects can easily be damaged. And @NaBUru38: I am not willing "to go beyond an encyclopedia". So the question is, is quality-aimed encylopedic work still the core of Wikipedia or will it soon be under the command of the people, that want to "go beyond". --Magiers (talk) 21:13, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Umm... we know that Wikimedia ≠ Wikipedia, Magiers, right? The core of Wikipedia has been an encyclopedia and will stay an encyclopedia, like Gereon said. As for quality, quality may be... subjective, depending on how good or bad or great the quality can be. Criteria of quality may be... How do different communities establish what "quality" is? Speaking of Wikimedia, what is do you think the core of Wikimedia? To me, Wikimedia is the core of providing service for others to strengthen the brand itself, and its role has grown beyond just a mere organization best known for a successful encyclopedia project. If not for Wikiversity, we wouldn't have a WikiJournal. As for the "Western encyclopedia model", how about convert it to either "Western educational mode" or "global educational model" or "Western media model"? Hmm... I guess those ideas seem too damaging to the organization? --George Ho (talk) 21:40, 5 July 2017 (UTC) Struck out sentence per response. --George Ho (talk) 22:00, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Almost forgot: "Global media model"; how about it? --George Ho (talk) 21:41, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Two short answers: I would like to see the WMF build a new educational project as meaningful as Wikipedia. But the famous label is Wikipedia, and it will be tempting to use this label or the shelter of the big project for aims "beyond the encyclopedia", which will have side-effects. And I dislike the label "Western", which seems only good, to raise opposition around the world against that encyclopedia model. --Magiers (talk) 22:18, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Hmm... Same thoughts as Magiers: "a new educational project as meaningful as Wikipedia." He put words better than I could. --George Ho (talk) 00:04, 6 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

@Szymon and Quiddity: Thanks for posting the insights. Question: What do you think are other types of encyclopedia models besides the Western one? --George Ho (talk) 22:37, 6 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

@George Ho: I believe the brief summary on this page (and links therein), is alluding to the various other methods of teaching and knowledge sharing, that we already do some work on, but not a lot. I.e. the discussions above and elsewhere about Wikiversity, Wikibooks, and the other Sister Projects, plus videos, and interactive features, are all directly relevant. How could we expand the way that any/all of these projects work -- or how could we best create new sister projects; or interlink more with external movement partners; or similar/new ideas -- to better serve (or better work alongside) any large groups of people who aren't currently benefiting as much as they could be, from our (wikimedians) collective desire to share free knowledge?
My personal take on it: We should invest more internal energy in the sister projects, and get them more closely integrated with each other. (Someone else suggested Wikiversity quizzes interconnected with Wikipedia articles). We should also interlink more with movement partners, and be more active participants (and/or leaders) in the global open knowledge (and educational) movement(s). We can't (and shouldn't) do everything ourselves in isolation, and we could be much more collaborative (both amongst our existing sister projects and with our external movement partners). Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 00:15, 7 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Video edition of an article[edit]

I found we do not read but watch YouTube on particular topics. For example, my boy learned on hydrogen with a video made and uploaded by an lab of Oxford. I know we have audio versions of some Wikipedia articles. We need video versions of Wikipedia articles which are published on Youtube as well as Commons. --Ryuch (talk) 13:00, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

I converted pseudoheaders to headers, Ryuch. Would that be fine? --George Ho (talk) 13:27, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
By the way, your suggestion would exemplify the "knowledge sharing" insight, which I was going to respond. This suggestion may attract younger, mobile-oriented generation, but I wonder how much impact the movement would make. --George Ho (talk) 14:26, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Many people get bored reading encyclopedic articles, and prefer watching well made videos. But Wikipedians are used to write, and making good videos is a completely different process. By definition, they have audio and image. And that's much harder to develop, because writing is cheaper and easier than (animated) video editing, and also more simple to develop collaboratively (wiki-style).
In a word, making good videos would require a completely different kind of editors as Wikipedia writers. --NaBUru38 (talk) 20:09, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Video contributors should disseminate articles to select according to target audiences and they should provide directing links to Wikipedia articles for further reading. Current videos on Youtube is not organized but sometimes just they are just collections or series of related video clips. Wikipedians have experienced a lot on structuring and organizing of content. The video produced should encourage them to read Wikipedia articles. --Ryuch (talk) 07:49, 7 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
I argue the opposite; for more complex topics, people drift away from video after just a few minutes. Also, most people who are literate can read the same content in less time than it takes to watch a video. Further, it presents content in a rigid sequence and is difficult to search or to re-access when one seeks only a small segment of a larger topic. Text, on the other hand, is searchable and can be consumed (via table of contents or links) in the sequence the user prefers. The value of video is in "how to" or opinion (such as TED talks), it is useful in portraying news in the past and present, animations or short film clips are helpful to explain concepts but for many topics, video can only be an adjunct to text. In short, video is a partner to text, but not a replacement Montanabw (talk) 16:29, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for your opinion. As you say, video and text are very different media. Sometimes some properties of those media are more useful for some information consumers and the others are better for another consumers. At this moment of the movement, I think we have to find out the target consumers for different media and the needs of them. Small sniffet of video or animation would be useful as a thumbnail in the article, and introductory lengthy video would shorthen the time of general understanding on a topic. Either cases I love considering the needs of consumers could be met. We could not produce every article's video edition and we could not make every words at an article into video scene. We need disseminate artcles. For example, we could try essential artilces on an Wikipedia or class 'A' articles. At this very moment I would lke to point out some youtube videos prefered than well written Wikipedia articles for some topics. I have heard Mr. Khan of Khan Academy said that when he prepare a video, often he starts to read Wikipedia article. I feel producing a video edition of an article is not so different to this case. --Ryuch (talk) 04:54, 16 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Building the video Version of Wikipedia was considered impossible because videos once uploaded on the internet cannot be edited again and Wikipedia relies on constantly being edited. However, VideoWiki cracks this problem at is built a collaborative multi-media encyclopedia. You can check it out at --— The preceding unsigned comment was added by Rogueassasin123 (talk)
Videowikipedia is fabulous! I think the foundation could run video servers and the video should be allowed to be replicated on Youtube. The video servers of the foundation should be designed to be reused, of course. --Ryuch (talk) 07:48, 21 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
videowikipedia is a nice fork. there is talk of uploading video rough footage to internet archive and then editing with mozilla popcorn maker, and uploading finished video to commons. but it is lots of work. Slowking4 (talk) 03:03, 24 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Mozilla Popocorn Maker is no longer available as it is a depreciated product - I am the creator of VideoWiki and a life long lover of Wikipedia. I am looking to get in touch with the Wikimedia Foundation to build VideoWiki together. In a future, where more of our interaction is through images, videos and soon augmented reality / virtual reality, VideoWiki will play an important role in viewing Wikipedia. Can anyone help me out here, as it is really hard to get in touch with WMF directly? The preceding unsigned comment was added by Rogueassasin123 (talk • contribs) 04:52, 24 July 2017‎ (UTC) (UTC)Reply
it may be unsupported, but may have the functionality needed. talk to user:fuzheado and User:Brion VIBBER - see also Wikipedia:WikiProject Wiki Makes Video and Video -- Slowking4 (talk) 01:59, 25 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Encyclopedic model[edit]

There can be no doubt, that the encyclopedic model is not the one solution for all kinds of information needs. But I enjoy encyclopedias and that is why I contribute to Wikipedia as a volunteer in my spare time. If WMF comes to the conclusion, that they need to create new, different ways to propagate information, feel free to look out for those who enjoy creating them. But as long as happy readers of our encyclopedia are paying for WMF salaries, you better retain the encyclopedic project Wikipedia and support it with sufficient funds to grow and flourish. TIA --h-stt !? 13:43, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

There are proposed projects that you can comment on, H-stt, like Wikidirectory, WikiJournal, NonFreeWiki and Wikifiction (In-universe encyclopedia). If those projects are created, they can be the newer kind of info desired. --George Ho (talk) 13:56, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
In response to your reply, H-stt, I apologize for implying offense. I didn't mean to offend your enjoyment toward encyclopedias. Actually, I slowly have grown to enjoy encyclopedias... well, mostly print. Britannica I enjoy also. I just barely have time to read those because I have other priorities. However, I never treated encyclopedias with disregard. I'm a little concerned about WMF; that's all. I didn't mean to offend anyone, did I? If so, I'll amend the above response if you want me to. --George Ho (talk) 14:23, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
There are also existing projects such as Wikivoyage (where I do most of my editing) that use a different model. Those all need comment & contributions as well. Pashley (talk) 15:19, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
If our goal is to share knowledge, we can't just do the task we like. The number 1 rule in marketing is to do what the customers want.
I also like writing encyclopedic articles. But I'm very aware that many people need something else. I'm not sure if I'm capable of offering that. But I'm certain that the Wikimedia community as a whole must work to reach them. --NaBUru38 (talk) 20:11, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
I struck out my initial response with a better one, H-stt. I have enjoyed contributing to Wikipedia because I want the project to prosper. However, I also have enjoyed browsing through and contributing to other projects. I have seen newer proposals and was amazed by what WMF would bring. Nevertheless, I didn't mean to imply insult or something negative when I said the struck comment. I like the "encyclopedia model" as is. However, I hope that Wikipedia stays appealing to all groups and kinds of people. Does this sound good? --George Ho (talk) 22:39, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

My response to the "Knowledge sharing" insight[edit]

I'm unsure what words to say about this insight. Appealing to mobile-oriented groups shouldn't be one of the main goals, should it? If it is, appealing to those groups isn't easy, especially depending on various regions. Editing via mobile view on mobile gadgets is not convenient for users. If providing audio and video files for those groups is the main intent, how do I create an audio or a video under a complicated file type? The common audio and video types (.mov, .mp3, .wmv, etc.) are not accepted mostly due to copyright. Therefore, we are stuck with open-content files like .ogg, .webm, and other acceptable types, which would require skill and stuff. Two accepted submissions about providing sound editions for Wiktionary make creating more sound editions in Wiktionary promising. However, must integrity and quality of the projects be sacrificed to appeal to mobile-oriented groups, especially the younger generations? How do those groups comfortably either edit or provide multimedia content in all projects? I apologize. I wasn't sure whether the intent of the insight was clear. If appealing to those groups is not the main goal, then what is the intent of this insight? --George Ho (talk) 23:34, 5 July 2017 (UTC); amended, 15:47, 6 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

mp3 is. The patent ran out some weeks ago and WMF is already field testing their plugin to use mp3 "real soon now". --h-stt !? 14:35, 6 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for the heads up. --George Ho (talk) 15:47, 6 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

New science can profitably be published on a Wikiversity project[edit]

For independent researchers, it can be very difficult to publish their work in the usual way, which runs via peer review journals. The problem with reviewers is that they are not omniscient and usually these reviewers are biased and prejudiced against unorthodox or controversial document content. It proves that a Wikiversity project suits the purpose and the publication needs of such innovators. Personally, I tried to prove this in the The HBMP is an ongoing project. Wikiversity is not a good environment for discussing the contents of the project. I use ResearchGate for that purpose. See: The Wikiversity HBMP is multilingual and contains a slide show that highlights some of the treated subjects. The scientific content of HBMP is unorthodox and controversial, but never offensive. The content bases on trustworthy sources. It contains new mathematics and new physics.--HansVanLeunen (talk) 13:02, 6 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

I'd be very sceptical about publishing scientific research in a wiki simply because it cannot be accepted in a peer reviewed journal. I think that poses a high risk of publishing pseudoscience. Any wiki-based science publication should adhere strictly to rigorous peer review (e.g. the Wikijournal of Medicine). There are reasons why a wiki might make a good publishing outlet (free, open access model and easy integration with Wikipedia) but using it to bypass traditional scientific publishing would be counterproductive. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 12:41, 11 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

We should know what we are and own it[edit]

Commenting here since the English Wikipedia conversation appears dead (could we get a watchlist notice on the largest project?) I might cross post this there as well so people can see it more easily. To be blunt: we should know what we are. While the various sister projects are very valuable, Wikipedia is clearly the most high profile of the projects. It is an encyclopedia that is free and open for use and remixing by anyone. Full stop. That is what it is. It is not a new version of w:Ask Jeeves or w:Quora where people can ask questions and get answers by people. Its purpose is to have well written, trusted, information that is a summary of reliable sources. If we try to be all things to all people we will fail.

We already are the default source of information for much of the world. We have already changed the way the world accesses information: we don't need to change the way the developing world educates. While that is a noble mission, it is not our mission. We might have a place in that: local education systems could use our content in a reform of how they work, but ultimately we help those who formal education has failed by being better at our core function: providing a trusted summary of reliable sources open to anyone in the world. There is a space for that even while there might be a space for other ways to share knowledge. We don't have to be all things to all people, and we shouldn't try to be.

Where does this leave the WMF as well as the sister projects? Well, I think it is quite simple: they should be the best at what they are and try to excel at that rather than try to be something that they might not be. We should also acknowledge where we have failed. WikiNews is dead, let's just call it that. Wikidata has issues with reliability (some of which are highlighted at this discussion on en.Wiki), and I'm sure the various other projects have their issues as well. The thing is, we need to be more open about what our failures are rather than just keeping the projects going and adding new ones. Might there be room for a new way for people to share knowledge through a WMF wiki? I'm sure there will be. That doesn't necessitate that we change the things that we are already good at, though. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:43, 6 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Thanks, Tony, for your answers. I somewhat disagree about Wikinews... Well, admittedly, Wikinews is already a troubled struggling project striving to survive yet has been surviving for years. However, I've worked on Wikinews articles, and... writing the articles before deadline wasn't easy. However, they become published, and that's that. Also, I've done some housework editing there. Lately, I've not written at least one this summer... well, due to the nature of Wikinews. However, without Wikinews, how else will Wikipedia handle articles about current events? What other projects can handle current events when Wikinews shuts down? Can Wikinews be changed to another project primarily focusing on news? I already addressed there how dysfunctional Wikinews is, yet the English Wikinews community (well... small actually) still manages to prolong the project. Recently, the Dutch Wikinews is reopened.

Wikipedia's treatment toward current events varies (i.e. status quo): One article gets deleted, while the other is kept. Would the balance of Wikipedia be affected if Wikinews is shut down? Would more articles about current events get deleted with or without Wikinews? As for Wikidata... I don't surf it that much, but I occasionally or rarely edit there. I have no opinions about this. --George Ho (talk) 18:05, 6 July 2017 (UTC); amended, 20:19, 6 July 2017 (UTC); amended (see below), 19:56, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Wikinews's strengths correspond to weaknesses of Wikipedia that Wikipedians are, for the most part, systemically unable to see. I know of nothing to do about that, except continue at Wikinews with news production and infrastructure growth. George Ho, your characterization of Wikinews is... well, misleading. The "troubled" part is just troll-bait. But "striving to survive" — our ambitions aren't nearly that small. --Pi zero (talk) 18:45, 6 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Amended my characterization, Pi zero. --George Ho (talk) 20:19, 6 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
George Ho, my views weren't meant as an attack on the community there, but rather based on the perception that exists both currently and has since 2007 of the project. I think the strategic planning process is a time for the WMF to ask itself what it has done that works and hasn't worked in terms of full project sites, and then to ask why what worked worked and why what didn't work didn't work. That will allow it to focus on excelling in what we already do well, and when making changes, to learn from the lessons of the past. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:43, 6 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Failure to recognize the strategic importance of the non-Wikpedia sisters has long been a profound systemic weakness of the Foundation. In the specific case mentioned, de facto Foundation policy has been anti-Wikinews for many years, making Wikinews's tackling of genuinely difficult challenges that much more difficult. --Pi zero (talk) 23:31, 7 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
@George Ho:--However, without Wikinews, how else will Wikipedia handle articles about current events?---Well, I don't quite get this!I don't think any !voter on any del. disc. votes a keep because Wikinews is largely a failed project and is willing to alter the vote on basis of status/condition of other wikis.Winged Blades of Godric (talk) 16:04, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
@TonyBallioni:--You as usual manage to hit the nail right on the head! Improvisation is the need of the hour rather than an aimless expansion cum foray into every area yet un-ventured by WMF.Winged Blades of Godric (talk) 16:04, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Oh, hello again, Godric. You're welcome to engage in the discussion. Sorry for confusing you, so I struck the quoted question and then am going to rephrase the struck statement. The current events subject has been dysfunctional and heated. The Wikipedia community has been limiting number of articles with rules, including the "Wikipedia is not a newspaper" rule. Most or some articles about current events get deleted (w:Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/Events/archive). Some articles were nominated for deletion but then got kept (or "no consensus", defaulting to kept). Lately, an article about some mosque incident in Creteil and an article about an incident in Newcastle are deleted per AfD due to NOTNEWS rule and their lack of notabilities.

As I found out, Wikinews was proposed and then created for some reason (see Wikinews manifesto). I assumed that it was created to balance Wikipedia and to allow room for news reporters. However, I'm no longer sure. I just am concerned about Wikipedia's handling of current events. If Wikinews shuts down, I would predict more articles about current events to get deleted or nominated for deletion. I hope I'm clearer this time. --George Ho (talk) 19:56, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

2009 Google news has started to list English Wikipedia articles, see here. I do not know if that is still true. Therefore, the difference between Wikipedia and Wikinews is the notability of the news. For example, major events like "2017 G20 Hamburg summit" will have an article at Wikipedia, but these articles are written in a encyclopedic style, not in a news style. --Goldzahn (talk) 21:50, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
For gnews to "list" English Wikipedia does not mean treating it as if it were a news site. The aggregator takes blogs into account, but recognizes that they are less news-ish than actual news sites like BBC, Al Jaz, etc. Wikinews is a news site; Wikipedia is not. (Caveat: I don't consider gnews's recognition of Wikinews as somehow necessary to Wikinews's status as a news site; but I do take their recognition of its news status as a good reflection on gnews.)

The differences between Wikinews and Wikipedia are myriad and profound. One key aspect of Wikinews is that it is taking on the formidable problem of how an open wiki can produce reliable, high-quality news. There are a lot of folks at Wikipedia who are deeply emotionally invested in believing that it's impossible for a wiki to do that, and so, at least for now, it's politically impossible for the Wikipedia community to acknowledge Wikinews as a reliable source; perhaps when Wikinews realizes some of the things planned for its future... or maybe not. Siblings don't see each other the way others do. --Pi zero (talk) 15:09, 10 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

I was at de:Wikinews, but not for long. What I didn´t like at all was that everything we did was copy and paste. Therefore, I tried to write some original content by using parliamentary television as source and last year I was writing Wikipedia articles for the Tour de France (TdF) by watching TV and some TdF internet pages. I was writing notes when something happened and transformed the notes into WP text when nothing happened. Writing this way was different than writing WP articles. Both topics were fun, but a lot of time was needed. For example, a whole TdF race lasts maybe 5 hours and you have to watch every minute. I do not think that there are a lot of editors spending that much time at one go. In Wikipedia it would be possible to spend 5 times one hour or 10 times half an hour, whenever you want. In my view, that is a big difference. Maybe there are notable news topics with good online sources and less time needs. --Goldzahn (talk) 00:41, 11 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Here is my opinion: We already have projects for at least a large part of what is presented as unfilled demand. Sure Wikibook and Wikiversity may benefit more development and communication resources. The quiz extension would really need more work to be really useful, both for those who write them and those who use them. Quiz writer should be able to use a visual editor, create more easily more interactive works (like different questions and feedback depending on the user previous answers). Users should be able to track their progresses, that is being able to save their previous answers and have stats on their answer accurateness, you can even imagine large gamification on this topic. Regarding question/answer platform, well, that is something that is indeed absent of the Wikimedia community, and I would be favorable at launching some of them, as the stackexchange solutions are far too English centric to my mind, so there would be a real plus to launch a Wikimedian concurrent. Regarding the "knowledge sharing has become highly social", hu?! Ok, maybe people use more so called online social network, but knowledge sharing is a social behavior by definition. Defiance against institutions, whether grounded by scrupulous enquiries or general paranoia fed by some mass manipulation evil secret conspiracy group is nothing new either. If extra-institutional alternative sources gains more credibility (which may or not coincide with popularity), then our community should just add them as source in their articles and signal eventual doubts and controversies about respective theories and parties which promote them. At worst, people are free to fork Wikimedian projects, and we should just ensure that they stay free to do so. Maybe just better planning how we may reintegrate back relevant forks, but otherwise just let the community evolves seems fine to me. --Psychoslave (talk) 09:03, 10 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

The Western encyclopedia model[edit]

It should be obvious, but in case it isn't... The "Western encyclopedia model" has served the world for hundreds of years. It moved from paper to the web, but the model of topics with text explanations and images and cross-referencing is not really replaceable.

Also, this model constantly evolves.

Britannica of the 1990s is not the same as Britannica of the 1890s. Wikipedia 2016 is not the same as Wikipedia 2005, which was not the same as Wikipedia 2001. Some things stay, some things change.

Wikipedia is not the same as Britannica. Not only Britannica cannot be edited by editors, it also doesn't have talk pages. And Britannica doesn't have nearly as many footnotes. And Britannica doesn't have nearly as many languages.

Unless the owners of the Britannica have a super-amazing idea hidden somewhere, Wikipedia, with all its flaws, is already better prepared for 2030 than Britannica is.

But there are several other issues with the "Western encyclopedia model":

  1. Some languages had a Western-style encyclopedia before Wikipedia came along. Some had not. Those that did have one, tend to have a more successful Wikipedia project. We can talk all we want about "self-starting communities", but a "self-starting" Wikipedia community in a language that already has a printed encyclopedia has a privilege: they know first-hand what an encyclopedia is and they can emulate its writing style. The same cannot be said about a language in which the only published book is a Bible translated by missionaries. A Western-style encyclopedia will serve this language in 2030, and in 2130, if somebody will help them write it.
  2. Anissa, who mostly uses WhatsApp, will not necessarily read whole Wikipedia articles. That's OK. It's quite possible that Anissa in the 1970s wouldn't read any encyclopedic articles at all. Making articles more readable (and editable?) through messenger apps makes a whole lot of sense. Shortening them for that purposes makes sense as well. But she may want to read a bit more about some things, so surely nobody's thinking of discarding the classic "Western" model. Right?

We do need to make our content more modular. For too many editors and developers, wikitext and the encyclopedia as a whole are coupled way too tightly. It's a part of our history, but it's a burden. We do need to move away from wikitext. It will be painful and alienating to some experienced editors, but it's imperative. We need to stop mixing categories, images, infoboxes, footnotes, and all that mess, in those terrible blobs of wikitext that we call "pages". We already started moving interlanguage links and some parts of infoboxes away from wikitext, and it's good, but we need to go much further, and much faster, if we want our content to be more reusable in other media: messenger apps, social networks, VR, whatever.

And before we jump to think that the "Western" encyclopedias are too old for the West itself, let us think about the World. "Western" encyclopedias are good, and they are not even necessarily "Western". Let's just bring the World and the encyclopedia model more in balance with each other. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 20:49, 6 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

I cannot see, how the success of Wikipedia indicates, it's not in balance with the world. And I appreciate, that You don't want to discard the whole encyclopedia model, but I read, that You like to discard articles, when they are too long. Maybe not discard them completely, because even Michael and Annisa want to read some informations, but discard everything else. How will this keep Wikipedia successful with our "old" readers, that want more informations than the new target audience? How will this keep Wikipedia successful with our "old" editors, that contribute, because they are attracted by the "long-form, in-depth, text-heavy encyclopedia", that Wikipedia was until now (or still is)? I have to remind, that it were these "old" editors, that have brought the success (and money) to all the Wikimedia-"movement", but now they have done their duty and they and their quality work will be send away, because they are not hip enough for the future target audience anymore? --Magiers (talk) 09:25, 7 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
The success of Wikipedia is partial. It is successful in some parts of the world: some English-, French-, and Spanish-speaking countries, most of Europe, Korea, and Japan, some parts of the Middle East... and that's about it. It is not successful in many other parts of the world: Mongolia, Laos, much of Africa, non-English-speaking parts of South Asia. Given that the venerable Wikimedia motto is "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge", we cannot say that Wikipedia is fully successful.
And no, I absolutely don't want to discard any articles, long or short, and I don't understand how what I wrote could be interpreted to mean this. Long articles are good. Making it easy—indeed, possible—to have shortened versions of articles (or data items) so that they can be consumed in media that favors short-form text is a valid idea. But only in addition to long articles, not instead of them.
What I do hope to discard is some of the vestiges of our old technologies, which make it too inflexible, but these are technical internals, and not the encyclopedia that the end users see. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 09:42, 7 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

The problem of national Wikis (the view from the other side)[edit]

The coin has two sides, so this problem may need to be approached other way around also.

The issue of western approach that may not appeal rightly on the other end of the line (or the Globe) is also reversible. I mean it needs to be checked from backwards also. Right now I am addressing the English community but I write from the point of view of the non-English. I shared this same comment on my national Wiki already.

Here's the problem. In my experience making Wikipedia an independent network kind-of-thing, where each language Wiki is highly independent of each other, leads to high level of inaccuracy or at least un-checkability of the content consistency. It's a mess when internationally shared articles (same topic connected through article links) show drastic differences, sometimes even contradictory facts or views influenced by someone in the local community (not necessarily right or wrong, but maybe suspicious). Local languages Wikis, sometimes develop internal membership of people that some of them become too powerful, and they pressure down any input to Wiki articles by reverting each and every input by anonymous (IP) or other (casual) users. Thus discouraging other users from Wikipedia editing. It leads to POV in the articles and degrades content. Some editors "guard" their articles so badly that edit wars wage daily, and the relationship between Wiki users is degraded rapidly. Thus there are sometimes huge discrepancies between interwiki content, and very few users even care to spend time on this issue, beyond writing the articles themselves in their own language. Smaller, but not irrelevant problem is when local language content is just and only material mirror-translated from the (older and thus richer) English Wikipedia, and original content is missing because of fear of original research (in my experience it is basically used as excuse for content deletion).

I understand that this issue doesn't relate to global or English Wikipedia development, and I assume that very few English-speaking readers will ever revert to other language Wikis to check if there is more material on the subject or more relevant info available (I always do, because I honor the work of other language Wiki communities). Or said in general, there is more people who seek info only in English, because they don't really trust the much shorter info inputted by limited number of editors in the Wiki of their national language.

By the way the above problem limits the quality of local language Wikis too, because fewer number of users input less data. The always remaining struggle for us all will be involving (promoting, initiating, educating) new trustworthy volunteer editors and keep them from being harassed and chased away. I know you all know it's sometimes a Jungle.

In short: the interwiki material should be more consistent. Nobody talks about this issue, because maybe there is no way or resource to process this at all? –Jozefsu (talk) 14:07, 7 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

I agree, Jozefsu. Ideally, all the wikis should say the same thing, but in different languages. It's probably way too hard, for two reasons. One is that it's a difficult technical challenge—for example, when we started developing Content Translation, we intentionally gave up on synchronizing translated articles, because otherwise we wouldn't release anything in reasonable time, if ever. And the other is that even the most balanced and well-meaning people have different perspectives. To give the most obvious examples, it's just impossible to satisfy everybody when writing about Kosovo, Jerusalem, or Crimea. It's a "perfect is the enemy of the good" situation.
But as an ideal—yes, it's a good one. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 09:10, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

I always get these compromise answers on a subject such as this. Not even suggesting a way out. Yes, it takes away time. But when one article started becoming more important than the other in terms of quality? Is it the answer for Wikipedia being untrustworthy on some subjects? Sometimes I am writing about something, just to find out "other" Wikipedia says some strange things about the same subject. And, usually I get advised "find a consensus" and go on. Well, numbers such as 5000 and 50.000 on same subject don't look like a real consensus that people came about. In reality, no one cares... Maybe this consensus issue needs more attention? I might get in trouble for saying this: but this is exactly the weekness of Wikipedia as compared to "fixed" encyclopedias such as Britannica, and one of the reasons serious people don't trust Wikipedia. We are here discussing to improve this, right?–Jozefsu (talk) 13:30, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

We don't have much discussion about the specifics of individual Wiki's because they are independent. Policy-wise there's no rule that different Wikis have to cover the same information. When the German Wikipedia covers a topic differently than the English one, I don't think that's a problem. I find it even positive when I can read multiple perspectives on the same subject. There's no reason to force the Hebrew and Arabic pages on Jerusalem to say the same thing. ChristianKl (talk) 12:10, 11 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

A simple suggestion[edit]

"The Western encyclopedia model is not serving the evolving needs of all people who want to learn." Well, it wouldn't do, how could it: nobody really ever became learned by studying Pears Cyclopedia or any other such work, printed or Wiki. So perhaps the paucity of comments reflects the rather blunt, 'cosmic', nature of the "Key insight".

However, "getting answers to specific questions" and "looking for short, standalone, and/or visual ways of engaging with content" do suggest a simple mechanism:

Suggestion: provide an interface (an app, a tool) which drills down to (sub)section level, and attempts to extract a summary of that subsection, in much the way that Google extracts a summary of an article's lead section to answer searches - with a heading, a one-sentence text, and (often) an image. It could also provide a 'Context' link to the parent article (or for a subsection to a parent section, and then to the article itself).
Example: Annisa is having trouble with her school Biology task. She asks Wiki-specifi-pedia (yeah, we need a snappier name for the app) what the starfish's water vascular system is all about. It finds a subsection of w:Starfish#Anatomy named "Water vascular system", extracts and simplifies the lead sentence, and returns heading, image, and text:
Context: Starfish - Anatomy
Water vascular system
Starfish arm with tube feet
The water vascular system is a hydraulic system made of fluid-filled canals, used in locomotion, adhesion, food manipulation and gas exchange.

Since a typical article has 7 or more sections, this tool potentially exposes many million "short, standalone, visual" answers not currently directly accessible (buried in long, wordy, structured articles). Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:11, 7 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Weight of quality and civility[edit]

While having a quality-focused project is nice, what about civility? Does quality outweigh civility, or is it the other way around? If quality is important, and preserving the model is important, how important is civility? Is a hostile environment tolerable in a project? Is quality that important to sacrifice civility? Or is civility more important to sacrifice quality? Can any project focus on quality and civility at the same time? Moreover, about the second key insight ("knowledge sharing"), would incivility drive out mobile-oriented groups? Would incivility improve or affect quality?

Well, readers anticipate content to be good quality. However, they also anticipate a nicer community. I have met good people, but I also have met not-so-nice ones. So far, I've seen mixtures of good and bad communities within one project. Hmm... being nice is one thing. However, having too much faith on someone whose goals is contrary to a project's intent may not be worth an energy. Consequently, an environment becomes hostile... or people would anticipate others trying to compromise the quality of the project.

I wish cooperation is a key priority to everyone, but some people chose to contribute solely. Well, who said cooperation is easy? --George Ho (talk) 00:06, 8 July 2017 (UTC); fixed, 00:24, 13 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

I think this is one big question. As a german editor at Wikibooks I am trying to contribute to german Wikipedia, english Wikibooks, Wikidata, english Wikiversity... during the last year. My point of view is mainly german Wikibooks (and a little Wikipedia), where the civility and quality are missing somewhat (If someone is interested contact me and I'll clarify). I'm trying to fight for doing both! But my impression is: keeping quality is hard and keeping quality while being civil is even harder, and the latter is not something someone seems to be willing to do. Better miss (or drive them away) unexperienced writers and wait for the professionals with as less effort as possible.
My point is: without civility the quality will not be as good as it could.
As a side note: This is the main reason why I most probably will quit contributing to german Wikipedia and it might be the reason doing this at Wikibooks as well (though, this is still in some kind of process in my head). Regards --HirnSpuk (talk) 16:07, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
I tend to take a very broad view of these sorts of issues. I've mainly compared English Wikipedia and English Wikinews; English Wikipedia is notorious for its toxic social atmosphere, whereas English Wikinews is for the most part a much more civil place — but I don't think it has much to do with quality as such. I used to think the civility difference had to do with Wikipedia's principle of AGF (Assume Good Faith), which is explicitly rejected by English Wikinews (which has Never assume, instead); and I do think AGF has had a long-term negative effect at English Wikipedia, but in the big picture I think the social problem on English Wikipedia would accumulate even if some alternative had been chosen instead of AGF. Instead, I now think the difference in civility is caused by the basic workflows of the two projects. Consider:
  • Wikipedia is designed to use conflict between users as a basic engine to accomplish things. This is an outgrowth of the basic technique used to achieve quality, which is to let anyone edit and wait for as long as it takes, in the belief that eventually the quality will improve. It's fascinating how well this technique works, statistically... given enough time. It is, of course, a completely useless technique for news; but that's kind of the point. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. There are specific techniques used on Wikinews that would be spectacularly inappropriate for an encyclopedia.
  • Wikinews is designed to achieve quality, including neutrality, in a very rapid no-nonsense way. A huge technical challenge on Wikinews is to guarantee two sets of eyeballs on each article prior to publication (at least one of them experienced in project policies and practices); requiring more than that would be absurd. One of the keys to making the fast-and-simple-quality goal possible is that Wikinews continuously falls back on reporting objective, highly verifiable facts. This especially means attributing claims to the person in the story who said them, and avoiding making subjective assertions in Wikinews's own voice. And this has the opposite effect on civility from Wikipedia's conflict-based aproach: Wikinews seeks to not take any position on controversial issues that Wikipedia enthusiastically dives into it. Moreover, if any acrimonious dispute does come up about a Wikinews article, it can't last very long, because once the story is more than about three days old at the outside (unless it's original reporting), it goes stale and is no longer publishable.
--Pi zero (talk) 20:06, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

I've known a lot about (in)civility in English Wikipedia. I haven't known much about civility at German Wikipedia. Pinging Magiers and H-stt to ask whether they can share their views about civility in the encyclopedia project. --George Ho (talk) 23:24, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

As a personal side-note, I had one pretty good experience working together with H-stt. It would be interesting to know his/your point of view about this topic. Regards --HirnSpuk (talk) 00:54, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
civility can't be forced.--Temp3600 (talk) 18:34, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Agreed wholeheartedly. As an alternative, is there a way to encourage it? --Pi zero (talk) 19:48, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
I come from the old guard internet of the last millennium. Back then we had a saying at the en:usenet: "Correct, for free, polite: choose two". If you need help and want someone to assist you outside of his or her business, you can't always expect your personal standards of civility to be met. Wikipedia is somewhat different, as outside of the article name space there usually is not an expert - novice relationship but a nonhierarchical discussion among equals. Usually. Quite often there are stupid suggestions. And while I am a fan of civil behavior towards everyone, I personally can't meet that standard always and have been known to be blunt or snippy. --h-stt !? 16:50, 12 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Think outside the box[edit]

I speak an indigenous language and for 10 years I have been working to have my language present on the Internet. I agree with the researcher Alfonso Gumucio Dagron that there is a "Dictatorship of writing" as the only way to spread human knowledge. If Wikipedia wants to have the sum of human knowledge it must understand that all this knowledge is much greater than the one currently written in the books, much of this knowledge is found in indigenous populations who do not have writing as a means of communication. Writing your language implies a great challenge, in addition to that socially your writing is not useful. It is not a social practice.

Does this mean that it is indispensable that the language has a writing system and primary sources written to appear in an encyclopedia? I do not think so. Wikipedia is a multimodal platform that can perfectly be used from and for these communities, the serious problem remains that Wikipedia does not do much for orality does not do it enough, and it has not taken into account other ways of citing, for example oral quotations. Its structure continues based on the "dictatorship of writing." There is no notion that orality adds wealth to a linguistic system, and that it can be used as a new starting point for radically different technological developments. We must allow for adaptations, conciliations and generous concessions.--Zapoteco diiste (talk) 01:11, 13 July 2017 (UTC) Taken from this diff, previously done by the author of this comment. --George Ho (talk) 07:05, 16 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Please distinguish between Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Movement. Wikipedia is dedicated to the encyclopedic model and will never be an appropriate place for oral history and knowledge. But the Wikimedia Foundation can certainly approach its goal to collect the sum of all knowledge in a new project, based on oral knowledge. Wikipedia is not the place for it. --h-stt !? 15:54, 13 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
The Foundation does not — or rather, should not — have a goal to collect the sum of all knowledge. The purpose of the Foundation is to empower us, the volunteers; we may have such a goal, but when the Foundation mistakes itself for a direct participant in that goal it damages the sisterhood (and it mistakes itself, in that way, just about all the time). --Pi zero (talk) 18:06, 13 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Question: Should Alfred Wegener's Theory of Continental Drift be rejected because he was NOT a Geologist?[edit]

That is, should he have known he was not a Geologist and that he had no business making a hypothesis about Geology?

Or, since he had a hypothesis that eventually became accepted science, what could have been done to make scientific acceptance less painful for scientists who eventually had to accept it on its own merit?

Compare this to Albert Einstein's Relativity that modified (but did not eliminate) Newtonian Physics.

Or, consider "The War of the Currents" between Nicola Tesla (later carried on as "AC" current by George Westinghouse) and Thomas Edison and his "DC" current.

RAYLEIGH22 (talk) 17:54, 18 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Same but translated content on all Wikipedias[edit]

I would like to propose making Wikipedia articles are same as much as possible but only translated on all or most language versions.

Maybe it was some discussion about this at some point in the past and I know that now it might be too late for this (because Wikipedia has been for many years conceived as a project with multiple language versions that are not directly dependent on each other nor must offer same content in articles and other aspects). At least some marker or something could be introduced in order to denote those articles that are part of the possible project "Same but translated content on all Wikipedias" or something like this. I also know that there are many problems with this – such as which Wikipedia or language would be the 'base' one (probably that would be English but some people would certainly have problem about that), what to do with those Wikipedias where there is not enough translators at all (probably they would be excluded so that we have offered in the left sidebar only languages with almost 100% complete translation; or user could choose option in Preferences to display only languages for articles that are part of this project) etc.

I want to say that content would be regarded and would be more relevant (bias, 'privatization' and 'nationalization' by admins and other users what is present on many Wikipedias [and its sister projects] would cease to exist; articles on difficult topics such as war crimes or annexed territories would reflect more neutral view because truth is one and cannot be different on English, Russian, Arabic, Dutch, Vietnamese or Japanese Wikipedia only because more editors from those countries contribute in their language or even biased for their country). More mistakes would be found if all language communities would have been working on translating same content globally (this is how interface translation process is currently functioning – for example on Translatewiki, or Metawiki for banners, projects..., or Commons for some parts of this project etc.). Learning foreign languages would be easier; one could read something on one Wikipedia, switch to other language, and check how it is translated there. The benefits are countless...

Updates would go either for all language versions at the same time or for every language version and its article with different frequency (those that are updated very often would have more frequent updates and those that remain unupdated would be designated with some symbol for being not up-to-date, or denoted as 'deprecated'; maybe additional tab could be added to make possible for a reader to read non-checked but updated text).

End goal of this proposal is to give whole world free encyclopedia with same unbiased reliable [referenced] language-independent content in all offered languages and available in one click. (I am pretty much sure that such encyclopedia, neither online nor any other, does not exist yet.)

--Obsuser (talk) 18:04, 20 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

I think that wouldn't work well, because language doesn't mean simply a group of words, but it means also a cultural background which cannot be simply translated into different language. For example me as a native speaker of Czech language still find in some English articles sentences which doesn't make sense unless you are aware of some specific cultural thing connected with English-language-culture (and so I learn them). Unfortunately, I would have to search now to find some examples. The other thing is, how it would be edited? The automatic translation tools are not so good to enable me to edit in Czech and than translate it into the base language, so it would make editing more difficult for people without particular language knowledge. So I hope you didn't mean 1:1 translations. But I think they could use translated articles about some topics (like medicine) to help the smaller Wikipedias and then they could continue with that articles on their own. --Venca24 (talk) 08:53, 17 August 2017 (UTC)Reply
@Venca24: Certainly there are such cases but for most Wikipedia articles no (proof is that you couldn't think of such example and need to search for it). One example where there is cultural reference is w:en:Arable land (there are some better but this is what I found now); in the lead it states "In Britain, it was...". One solution would be also to remove this totally so that article is neutral when we are talking about this.
If it doesn't makes sense because it is connected with "English-language-culture", as you say, only problem is language – how to translate it into Czech or other language so that it makes sense; otherwise, if it is not possible, then that information is biased to English people or culture and should be removed as such – or expanded with examples from other languages/peoples (or, it is applicable only for English culture and is not biased but only needs to be translated so that other people understand it; we're back to translation issue).
It would be edited in automatic translation tool, which would use I guess English as source – but this is not neutral; so yes, this is a big obstacle. Yes, I mean 1:1 translation – to have close translation as much as it is possible for it to be close to the original text i.e. what was meant to be said, meaning. This would even help Google because it could have complete sentences correctly translated and could exploit those translation into Google Translate which currently does not work good for sentences and each of them must be checked for grammar errors.
Generally, I wanted to point out that Wikipedias do have local communities and contributors which are mostly native speakers of each language (makes sense completely) – but Wikipedia in one or other language should not be intended or applicable only for those people or countries where they are majority but all people in the world equally. True sourced information should be given independently of the one who is giving it and independently of language in which it is being given (information as such / itself does not depend of the language but meaning/content is what is important). E.g. w:en:Syrian Civil War might be a bit biased on Russian or English or German or Croatian or Arabic or Chinese etc. Wikipedia (or miss some content which those people don't want to be read in that particular language); however, if all Wikipedia editors would be obliged to write one article with same content translated – there would be more neutrality and impartiality because all would have to aggree what is considered relevant, what is relevant to be included and which sources can be considered reliable.
And yes, I agree on that point about smaller communities – however, there are cases when smaller community has more detailed article so after it would be translated in all languages, or some languages, such complete 1:1 translations might be denoted with some sign (the project I mentioned in first comment); this way readers would know that exactly same content is available in those languages in which it was translated as part of the project (this is other option, if first one shows up as impossible to realize because of source text language problem and cultural background). --Obsuser (talk) 23:20, 31 August 2017 (UTC)Reply
@Obsuser: Yes, I see your point to provide every human the sum of all human knowledge better than when it's divided by languages. Certainly it could be good at least research this ability, but currently not as mainstream. I mainly fear the thing that editing could be then limited to the people with particular language knowledge, so two-way-translation should be required. There is already similar project (read-only) WikiTrans, which translates English Wikipedia into Esperanto language and Swedish Wikipedia into Danish. --Venca24 (talk) 10:39, 1 September 2017 (UTC)Reply

Websites are pretty quiet...[edit]

When reading articles, Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites offers almost no sound support. Maybe it would be good to introduce some sounds, e.g. when hovering some wikilinks, clicking on "Edit", visiting Main page etc. – with possibility to turn off this. --Obsuser (talk) 18:05, 28 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

We have sound editions of articles, Obsuser, seen in w:Wikipedia:Spoken articles. Currently, w:Wikipedia:Featured sounds has been abandoned for several years. However, we still have sound editions. --George Ho (talk) 18:28, 28 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Yeah, I know for that (and it is pretty much rare). However, when reading article – viewing it – there are no sounds for website↔reader interaction, everything is quiet (as with most other websites on internet, what we can change). --Obsuser (talk) 18:33, 28 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Challenge 2: How could we capture the sum of all knowledge when much of it cannot be verified in traditional ways?[edit]

Oral sources and verifiability[edit]

I had never thought about the problem of orally-transferred knowledge until one of the candidates for WMF board talked about it. Put aside the issue of the fact that orally transferred knowledge might sometimes be distorted, that's not my primary concern. One of the key features of Wikipedia is verifiability: Even though it might take some effort, one should be able to track down the article, book or webpage being used as a source in an article, obviously this is going to be a problem when the source is a person and not a work that has had multiple copies made of itself.

I think it's going to be hard to convince all WP's to allow oral citations, so my solution would be using some WMF funds to support local scholars in the countries with a lot of oral history in an effort to record and publish it. Hopefully involving local scholars will avoid the colonialist bias mentioned on the main page, although one might argue that the colonial history has influenced the educational system of those countries, thereby making my whole point moot (but that's something I'm not qualified to talk about).

Pgallert should probably be involved in discussing this weeks theme since he has the most experience coordinating the work with oral citations. InsaneHacker (talk) 01:46, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

This is totally right, and I already said something very similar in previous discussion cycles.
I also had similar conversations with some of the proponents of Oral Citations, such as User:Anasuyas, User:Aprabhala, User:Bobbyshabangu, User:Kipala and User:Baba Tabita, and as much as I can recall, they more or less agreed, but they are welcome to correct me if I'm wrong.
What we call "Oral citations" have a problem of verifiability, not a problem of medium. We cannot say "Facts matter!" and at the same time frown upon Wikipedia editors who demand reliable sources. It's good that they demand them. (That is, as long as they are not assholes; some of them are, but that's an issue of harassment, not reliable sources.)
German folk tales were "oral citations" before Brothers Grimm recorded them academically. The same was true for Russian folk tales before Alexander Afanasyev collected them. Some Russian universities still send linguistics and ethnography students to villages, to record dialects, folk tales, traditions, etc. All countries and cultures should do something like this, but not all countries and cultures have the resources or the academic experience to do it.
Wikimedia could do the following two things (one or both):
  • Make it easier for interested volunteers to record, transcribe, and upload video or audio "citations". This will not, by itself, make them reliable and acceptable for Wikipedia; a verification step will still be needed. Which brings us to item 2:
  • Partner with academic institutions or with foundations that donate to academic institutions, and encourage them to have programs for curation and classification of such collections. They can either have their own archives, or use the archives created by Wikimedia volunteers in the previous item. Or, you know, we could fund such programs directly, although I'm not sure that it's totally right; partnering with academics sounds more sensible.
That's really it. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 09:03, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

I want to add something here: What about knowledge that is considered to be from “oral sources”, but will be not “oral” anymore, when written down in any wiki-project? What about the bias from the (maybe highly professional academic) writer? You talked about Brothers Grimm, who is telling you, that they have the “right” Version of the story? I don't know I suppose some scholar has probably checked in this particular case, but I'm talking about personal bias, or subconscious processes like “““Wikipedia says …” – says the journalist ” – says Wikipedia.”

I would like to offer a simple Idea: Just let readers and writers stage the information quality, something like: Information – weighted Information (Value generated by votes of vetoed/confirmed) – sourced Information – reviewed Information (Source checked by at least 5 experienced Users or something like this)

This is just an idea, which would need work (not the least: how can this be implemented technically, how can this be firewalled against crowd-bias-dynamics etc...). But I wish there would be such a system, so nobody is fighting about deletion of content anymore in terms of notability. Regards --HirnSpuk (talk) 16:11, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

One thing about oral sources transcribed by people outside their culture: there are often misunderstandings and errors of context. I am familiar to some extent with the issues American Indian people face, where there is a great deal of content collected and at times transcribed in the 19th and early 20th centuries but filtered through the lens of the white people (usually men) who obtained the information. Much history of Native-White contact is similarly filtered through one side. Trying to use those sources is often fraught as their content is highly unreliable, yet because the white "expert" was highly respected in his time, the current model of WP is challenged by how to evaluate such content. Montanabw (talk) 16:35, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

@InsaneHacker: Thanks for pinging. All who know my work will already guess what I say to the challenge question: Allow oral citations. My user page contains links to quite a few articles and slideshows that all try to show that oral citations are just as (un)reliable as written ones. In a nutshell:

  1. Oral knowledge is transferred by one person but shared by a community. Just like a tour in the museum it does not matter who fills that role today, the story will be more or less the same for every painting, piece of furniture, artefact.
  2. @HirnSpuk: The knowledge will still be oral. We're not saying that we record the conversation, upload it to Commons, and then cite it, because then we would run into the problem that Montanabw describes above. He's spot-on, btw. We want to cite it directly, see e.g. the last reference on this page.
  3. @Amire80: Oral citations are no more and no less reliable than written ones. This slide show from 2013 explains it in short.

I'll be on Wikimania this August, and I'll be happy to discuss. Cheers, Pgallert (talk) 20:31, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

@Pgallert, I'd also be happy to discuss, but I can't manage to come to Wikimania. Concerning your comment adressing me: An upload to commons of the (original, untranslated) audio file would be a neat idea. I actually think it's the other way round, I too think Montanabw is spot-on. The reference is totally fine, I'm totally in for oral sources, because I think there's a lot “notable” (though I oppose this concept), that is not written down anywhere, or at least wouldn't be accepted as verifiable. But there are drawbacks that need to be considered, take for example the reference you used as an example: The interviewed people must be/remember correctly, the translator must be correct and finally the writer must be correct. It's like you presented in your slideshow (pretty nice btw, I liked it). I like your idea of shortening the chinese-whisper-chain, but the chain still remains and needs to be considered. Take a look at the german translations of this Movement-discussion, there might be problems. And this is just considering nobody is making stuff up (meaning not this example but some oral source). I would say: the wiki-way should do it's work and finally the trick, but just by observing, I suppose this will not be the case. I suppose the general idea of the de-community about the whole article would be “not notable”, before the sources are even considered. Regards --HirnSpuk (talk) 01:33, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
@HirnSpuk How do I get to the German translation? Regarding errors and hoaxes, they occur in written sources, too. And written sources change, for instance in new editions. I have written a text book where in its second edition several statements were the exact opposite of those in the first... because I have learned new things, because the second author left and I had the final say, because other people's opinion changed, and so on. In the mentioned example the man we interviewed sadly died last year, but I think my next trip to that village will confirm that the new elder will convey the same narrative, more or less. --Pgallert (talk) 08:46, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
@Pgallert, I'm talking especially about this page, but you can probably take a look at any other Page, e. g. the main page of this discussion, directly on top of the page, you can choose the language. If you choose german you'll notice: “has been underway” becomes “was carried out”; “includes” becomes “contains”; “conversations with” becomes “interviews of” to mention just the first few.
You mention the exact thing I'm worried about (written sources change, too). I think that means, there needs to be a discussion about sources in general, not only oral sources, shifting from reliability and reputation (not excluding these!) to plausibility and community-consensus. But with a system based on notability, I suppose this would not be possible.
I think (and this is solely my opinion about german wp and wb) there is too much almost religious belief in sources and citing. The more reputation a source seems to have, the more cherished it is. Not that this is a bad thing... I don't know if it's called the same in english, the german „Wiki-Prinzip“, I suppose it's being called the “Wiki-Way”?! So instead of believing in “the Wiki-Way”, that everything will be fine, if just enough altruistic eyes have seen and edited the content, everything seems to be deleted, that is not properly sourced or believed to be junk (warning: personal biased impression!). The reason I recall best is “not notable” or “too small stub” (or the like). This might be or not be true, the point is: the article topic normally exists or existed. On the other Hand there is something like w:de:Bauchnabelfussel because someone did obviously some kind of scientific research about it, but this is far from being Wikipedia's w:de:Steinlaus. Where is the border to fake-ne... Oh wait... Well... I'm shifting in topic... I think you get my point.
In general I think, we have more or less the same position. Hope you get something out of my comments. Regards --HirnSpuk (talk) 10:59, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

The assumption of a choice between good print (or online) sources and bad oral sources is actually a terribly false dilemma. As has been pointed out errors and hoaxes are a matter in any kind of sources and we have to consider this every time we edit. This, of course, means that not every oral source is a good source just because it is a source. But there are very likely oral sources that are in a specific context better than an avaragely good print source in another context which we use everyday. Maybe wikiprojects or trusted groups of editors should define how one can work with oral sources in a specific subject area. → «« Man77 »» [de] 17:07, 25 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

My response to the "world's knowledge" insight[edit]

I don't know the intent of the "world's knowledge" insight, but it tells me that they are considering oral knowledge. Maybe they would convert oral knowledge into video? Videos have heavier bandwidth, and Wikimedia servers might not handle that much data. Maybe into text? At English Wikipedia, original research is currently disallowed, making oral knowledge harder to preserve and verify. Therefore, that leaves us with either Wikibooks or Wikiversity to store oral knowledge. Or maybe into a newer project related to social media? Past proposals resembling social networking have failed. If neither of those can work, how else can oral knowledge be collected if we can't figure out what the insight leads to? --George Ho (talk) 09:40, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

If I may: Just speaking for german Wikibooks, “oral knowledge” (or at least, what's thought to be it) will be deleted with more speed than within the german Wikipedia. Regards --HirnSpuk (talk) 16:14, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Really, HirnSpuk? I thought German Wikibooks would retain oral knowledge. Why deleting such materials? --George Ho (talk) 23:21, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Let me clarify, and excuse me, if I can't manage to be short. If something is, let's call it, “safe oral knowledge”, meaning it's not so much oral anymore, because somebody (more than one) wrote about it, then it is cherished (like the example of Brothers Grimm above). But only if it is annotated or generally used in context. In all other cases people are pretty fast directed to Wikisource (or -versity). There are on the other hand a lot of things, that might be considered “oral knowledge”, that would not be tolerated. First and foremost personal experience. If it's personal experience that is easily reproducible like fixing a bike's wheel it's somewhat tolerated (though seen like an unwanted stepbrother), but personal experience that is not that feasible was in one case I witnessed deleted after two days, although the writer showed interest in the principle of sourcing his book using his personal experience as a side note, instead of writing a personal book from his/her point of view. The argument was, “we know how a writer will turn out, so it's better to stop them before they invest to much.” To be fair, I need to add, the original content by this author was pretty disputable and would have needed a lot of guidance, help, discussion, persuasion and the like to make it fit into the scope of wikimedia-principles. Actually handling such cases is a topic of ongoing dispute between active community members in german wikibooks. Another case I witnessed was a Book that was already almost finished with the general topic of mental illness because of personal historic events. The writer was confronted with bad writing style in a pretty harsh manner, so he wished his material deleted, because he was personally to involved. There is a law in Germany concerning the personal informational autonomy, and because the book was somewhat personal and nobody else contributed, it got deleted. In this particular case it's not the direct “no” to content, more like a “nice” and helpful community might have avoided this situation.
To be fair again, I would suppose oral sources like described above by PGallert would likely be accepted, though probably heavily discussed.
On the other hand I can totally understand the frustration of some people, because it's quite common: Somebody says, hey I want to write Book xy, fills up two or three pages with let's say “some kind of information” about the topic and is never seen again. But there's more to it, than would be appropriate to explain here (contact me otherwise if you'd like more opinion). Hope that makes it clear. Regards --HirnSpuk (talk) 01:44, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Got it. Thanks. --George Ho (talk) 02:10, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

I attended the Berlin strategy session and oral history or rather, forms of knowledge that do not follow the traditional western method of peer review system, were indeed a much heard and discussed topic there, especially amongst attendees from outside of our traditional Western base. The common point was somewhat 'there should be a space for such sort of content', if we are serious about the 'sum of all knowledge'. I don't think that many people identified it as part of Wikipedia (some did), but at least as a widening of the scope. There were discussions about what this meant for verification etc. (verification also came up a lot in regards to changes to media and science in western world btw). So ideas like: wikisource + verification platform, or a 'story' platform based on first account information, with some sort of 'user trust' (track record, verified identities etc) providing additional certainty. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:36, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Thank you for this update from the Berlin meeting. Maybe we should be blunt about it towards WMF: Wikipedia as a project to build an encyclopedia can only work based on a model that distinguishes between primary and secondary sources. While primary sources can occasionally be used cautiously to confirm data, all judgment or assessment must be based on secondary sources. If WMF want's to use oral sources, that must be in a new project, not in a Wikipedia. --h-stt !? 18:55, 12 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

"At English Wikipedia, original research is currently disallowed, making oral knowledge harder to preserve and verify. Therefore, that leaves us with either Wikibooks or Wikiversity to store oral knowledge."

Also there's Wikinews for original reports, and of course Commons. Again, original research is valid sin some Wikimedia projects and not in others. That shouldn't be a problem, as each project has its purpose and its characteristics. Not all knowledge is encyclopedic, and that's fine. --NaBUru38 (talk) 15:05, 13 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Hmm... maybe I should have said WikiJournal, but I've already mentioned it in Challenge #1. I don't think I can necessarily repeat what WikiJournal already does as similar to Wikiversity's WikiJournal subproject. Well, I guess I'll mention it again just as related to the "oral knowledge" insight. I have high hopes that, if WikiJournal becomes a stand-alone project, more experts, including academics and scholars, can collect and survey oral knowledge very well and summarize it into academic journals. --George Ho (talk) 22:45, 13 July 2017 (UTC)Reply


If there are volunteers out there willing to build a project that heavily relies on audiovisual media, go ahead and build it. I have argued before (coming at it from a different angle though), that a Wikipedia doesn't need to be the flagship project in every language. But as it is becoming easier and more feasible to start such a project in, say, some Asian or African countries, it is also becoming easier to just fake such content. To protect ourselves and our users from the latter, we need to learn from the experience of other institutions, be it Oral history repositories or archives of photographs. One crucial takeaway is the importance of good metadata (see e. g. my elaborations elsewhere on meta). Perhaps it will be best to partner with academic institutions and archives to create and preserve such new audiovisual content. We should anyway strive to preserve and prominently present the metadata of said content, even if that comes with trade-offs in relation to the shareability and (re)usability of that content. I suspect though, such a project will at most supplement and not replace an encyclopaedia (be it in the western or any other tradition) and neither will completely satisfy all education and information needs for everybody (and we shouldn't try doing that anyway). --HHill (talk) 15:29, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

PS: Providing only the metadata may also be a viable option (cf. #Oral sources and verifiability), the other way around not so much. --HHill (talk) 04:15, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Is Oral history a valid science?[edit]

I need to address this to get a clear answer once for all, especially after finding the word two times in the above discussion. One of my friends is an academic, and says Oral history is used more extensively in the science of history, especially in reconstructing events where living witnesses are still available, such as the Second WW. My content based on oral history research usually gets deleted, referenced or not. Administrators say it's unallowed.-Jozefsu (talk) 13:42, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Oral history is a en:primary source of information, or a second/third hand account of such source. Wikipedia (as a tertiary source of information) usually only allows secondary sources (which are verifiable and have been peer reviewed). Your contributions need to take that into account. Secondary sources, that have been peer reviewed and are verifiable are allowed, dropping an interview with someone into an article is not. Unfortunately much of Oral history has trouble getting to that secondary stage. To quote someone I spoke to: "we're happy to interview as many people as we can before they die". Also those cultures often don't have enough scientists and/or scientific basis in their approach to reach that phase. Much of the discussion being conducted here, revolves around the fact of if should be within the scope of our movement (not necessarily Wikipedia) to allow such account anyway (and what to do with it/how to use it). —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:48, 9 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
To my minds, this kind of interview should go to either Wikinews or Wikiversity. Wikiversity should then seve as a platform for peer review. And then, once thus publicly discussed, potentially rising derived research projects within the Wikiversity, then they could be used as second/third sources on Wikipedia. Sure not only "serious" academic people would be feeding such a process, but everybody might evaluate by themselves qualities of discussions around the topic. As long as we don't promote such interviews, people won't be able to provide (un)relevant feedbacks, more details, etc. --Psychoslave (talk) 09:22, 10 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Oral history is what it is. Just like the BBC, Fox News, Russia Today or Telesur. Facts matter, and the fact is that some source said something, and that's all that matters. It's up to the reader/listener/viewer to trust or not the source. --NaBUru38 (talk) 15:09, 13 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Any serious oral history requires careful interviewing and curation of knowledge. And archiving. (I say this based on my formal oral history training.) So, oral historians produce verifiable records of what people actually said and recalled for posterity that is equal inverifiability to most other records of their statements and recollections. Where these sources are the best available material, they can be solid data for encyclopedia articles. Whether these data override other kinds of sources requires interpretation, and the caveats around oral sources are frequently different than those around news sources, official statements etc. But we already give weight to ultimately unverified oral sources, e.g., the statements of government officials.--Carwil (talk) 14:28, 15 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Often I find it quite humorous to listen to read discussions on Wikipedia about primary, secondary, and ternary sources. People believe the accuracy to increase out the chain, while in fact it drops. Primary source usually gets the facts straight, but perhaps a bit biased. A second hand source often adds its own bias, and if it is an journalist you can bet that "a cat on top of a telephone pole was rescued" will be "pole dancer in cat costume arrested by police". Then comes the ternary source, an academic, writing a thesis about "police brutality in cosplay subcultures"! We can't use the first, but we can use the second and third as a source. That is quite… stunning…
One of our core content policies are verifiability. It seems like some users believe this can only be satisfied if the source somehow is printed. That is not true. Verifiability is to be able to backtrack the information flow, but in our context only to an external source. Whether that source is oral or written does not matter, but somehow there must exist a record so other users can verify the correctness of the information.
An oral interview with a person, or a monologue by that person, should be comparable to an image of that person. It is a record of that being. Whether that recording is of Bobby Henderson declaring "Flying Spaghetti Monsterism" in 2005, or Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville early experiments with sound recording, is not important. What is important is that there exist something that identifies the record as authentic.
Then there are the quite interesting phenomenon that this record is one sampling in the history, and it could be biased. There might be other such samplings, and they could also have bias but in other directions. The editors job would then be to identify those biases and find a common ground for what they describe.
Saying that whatever of primary, secondary, or ternary sources is best, is utter nonsense. We should focus more on whether the source can be verified and then whether it can be trusted. — Jeblad 16:35, 22 July 2017 (UTC)Reply


While it's Wikipedia's stated mission to gather all of the world's knowledge it still has notability criteria. Even knowledge that can be verified often still get's deleted from Wikipedia because of notability concerns. Focusing on content for which there's only oral verification misses the point. It might be possible to create an entirely new project under the Wikimedia umbrella that allows such context, but having that debate here seems to miss the point. ChristianKl (talk) 15:11, 10 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Hi, ChristianKl. Well... We have WikiJournal, currently a subproject of Wikiversity and a proposed sister project. Oral knowledge can be better collected there, right? --George Ho (talk) 16:46, 10 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Articles written anywhere in the web site of subject experts (teachers, academics, scientists, etc.) should be considered notable.
Highly quality content written by subject specialist as blog/Facebook page should be allow as good reference .
The subject specialist should have the right to remove the article.--ए ० एल ० मिश्र (talk) 05:26, 15 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Teacher1943, may you please explain why all or most subject experts should qualify as "notable", why a subject specialist's blog or Facebook page should be considered reliable, and why a subject specialist should have a right to request deletion of an article? Thanks. --George Ho (talk) 09:56, 15 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
How can a literary person define a scientific research or math related article such as prism, the pentagram?
How can an electric engineer decide the notability of literary articles such as poetry, poet's language and creations.--ए ० एल ० मिश्र (talk) 11:35, 15 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

The en.Wiktionary approach[edit]

The English Wiktionary doesn't have, and has never had, a concept of a "reliable source". Rather, words are cited by literally citing them as being used in a text. The text could be anything, even some random sentence in a medieval book suffices. Words are cited "in the wild" and no attention is paid to the quality of the source, since human language is not only spoken by reliable sources. We do, however, have a general requirement that a minimum of three citations exist, and they must be in a "durably archived" source. This does present a problem for primarily oral languages, or languages for which little documentation exists in general. The en.Wiktionary solution to this was to mark the majority of languages as "limited documentation languages", for which the rules are more lax: only one citation is required, and even that can be waived if there is a consensus to allow alternative sourcing for a particular language. For example, we have one user who is currently researching and documenting the Wauja language as an anthropologist/linguist, working with the Wauja people to create a written form for their language. Since there is no written record of Wauja, there is nothing to cite, and the Wiktionary entries for Wauja are created directly from the spoken form and citations are also transcriptions of spoken Wauja. But this is ok because there is an agreement to allow this. CodeCat (talk) 12:24, 13 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Usability of oral historical and oral folklore sources[edit]

I've shared some detailed thoughts here in the English Wikipedia discussion page.

In summary, oral sources can be verifiable [records of what individuals said] if transcribed, archived, or otherwise maintained for reference. Oral (historical and folklore) sources are inadequately discussed within current advice on verifiability, reliable sources, and works of fiction. Minor tweaks to these existing guidelines could better inform editors about when to include them, and when not to. Where they are not appropriate for inclusion in the encyclopedic text, they are often well-suited to inclusion in external links. There are also high existing standards for archiving oral historical sources; it may be possible to develop a free-content Wikimedia project that follows these standards and makes more content available for wide distribution and, when appropriate, for sourcing encyclopedic content.--Carwil (talk) 18:50, 17 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Challenge 3: As Wikimedia looks toward 2030, how can we counteract the increasing levels of misinformation?[edit]

The question of reliability and neutrality[edit]

We have discussed about reliability for years. The discussion was whether any given source was considered reliable or not according to our standards. Meanwhile, neutrality was a matter of the work of editors: how many different sources we use, how biased are our texts, etc.

However, people outside Wikipedia also discuss whether any source is reliable. Criticising the press is old news, in particular by politicians. Now, as the English Wikipedia declared the Daily Mail as unreliable, we became part of the discussion about reliability. Are we being neutral with deciding the reliability of others?

The easy answer is that we should keep as far as possible from the discussion. We should only publish information by others, without judging. But then we would encourage people to spread lies, because we wouldn't describe them as such.

It's not easy to be neutral when there are obvious attempts to deceive the public. As soon as we try to show the truth from the lies, we will get labelled as biased.

In a word, I'm afraid that we can't solve the problem. The only way to fight lies is with truth, but that's not being neutral. --NaBUru38 (talk) 22:58, 15 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

The idea of bipartitioning sources into reliable and not reliable is inherently flawed; it dismisses what can be learned from "unreliable" sources, and creates vulnerability to all manner of flaws in "reliable" sources. Wikinews doesn't do that; sources are considered on their individual merits, each having strengths and weaknesses, peculiar biases and perspectives. There are no simple rules that cover all such situations; one has to think about the whole context of a source and situation and judge what sort of evidence its reporting affords; of course, Wikinews has the luxury of sticking much closer to objective facts than Wikipedia. (I recall noticing some time back that the OECD's highest level of literacy, only achieved by a small fraction of the population, includes "evaluating evidence and arguments".) There's an essay on this on en.wp by a Wikipedian who is, unsurprisingly, also a Wikinewsie, "The Reliability Delusion". --Pi zero (talk) 02:27, 16 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for the link to the Reliability Delusion. Very good essay, very relevant. Perhaps it should be on a WP project page rather than a user page, so more people will read it? Kalidasa 777 (talk) 21:31, 22 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Not enough comments about this challenge?[edit]

Two challenges befuddled the community and spark negative reactions saying that the encyclopedic standards should not change or be downgraded. How can this challenge not attract more comments? Misinformation is misinformation and can be serious, yet not more input has been made. Why is that? --George Ho (talk) 21:32, 17 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Wikipedia has some inherent weaknesses that, frankly, Wikipedians are heavily indoctrinated to not see. Try to draw their attention close to those weaknesses and they're supposed to shy away (though not all will do so, of course). From my experience of the sort of flak English Wikinews draws by exploring techniques Wikipedians are supposed to shy away from, it's honestly not surprising to me that, when Wikipedians are presented with an opportunity to discussing issues in the shy-away zone, they simply... don't. --Pi zero (talk) 22:45, 17 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Well... Someone said, otherwise, that all challenges up to this point are very little different from each other and that the latest one doesn't prompt others into saying something newer and fresher. --George Ho (talk) 05:19, 18 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

The obvious solution![edit]

The obvious solution is to restrict Wikipedia to facts of the form "According to source X, Y" and let the reader decide whether or not they want to believe Y on the basis of X's authority. I don't see any other solution ... Allspecies (talk) 23:19, 17 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

You still have to decide what to mention. English Wikinews does, in fact, put great emphasis on attribution, but does intensive assessment of sources and stories or we'd be hip deep in misinformation. I suspect you'd also find that Wikipedia could not meet its aspiration to be a traditional encyclopedia using only statements of that form — a traditional encyclopedia does a great deal of summary, something we strive to avoid on English Wikinews because summary breeds subjectivity and thus non-neutrality (but a traditional encyclopedia routinely trades in subjectivity). --Pi zero (talk) 03:05, 18 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
As far as I know "According to source X, Y" is used when it is obvious that there is more then one opinion on one topic and if a "fact" is not seen as such by some Wikipedia readers / writers. That means, the discussion page and the edit war could be part of writing an article. NPOV is the result of this, at least until the next reader / writer is opposing the new NPOV article version. By the way, a bot can not be part of this, because it can´t communicate with other writers. By the way, if a "fact" is supported only by a weak source, a blog or a facebook page for example, the probability that "fact" will find its way into the article is minimal, therefore the notability of the sources have a role in this. For example, I doubt that there is one breitbart source in Wikipedia. --Goldzahn (talk) 04:51, 18 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Unreliable sources will want to mention themselves and/or other similarly unreliable sources. I guess that, in the end, the only way is to "gang up" against them and block them from being mentioned, assuming that the WP community consensus is objective and sensible, which it unfortunately isn't always! ... Allspecies (talk) 05:02, 18 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
PS: If the world is now dominated by "alternative facts", propaganda, etc., then what's the point of presenting "facts", if nobody really cares? ...Allspecies (talk) 05:05, 18 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

What is the Truth?[edit]

The BIG question that has not been asked is, what do we consider to be the truth and what is 'misinformation'? When trying to reflect on this question it quickly becomes a philosophical debate and that is the dilemma Wikimedia is facing.

Is there one absolute truth? Probably not, as time can change what is considered to be the truth (Atoms were in the past considered to be the basic building blocks of all matter, today we know better and at some point in time in the future new theories might emerge which again will change the 'truth' on matter).

Is a collection of pieces of information the truth? Certainly not. The process of selecting brings in the bias from the person making the selection. Each individual piece of information might be correct however the selection may exclude some relevant elements necessary to see the full picture. This is by the way the strongest weapon for those creating 'misinformation'.

Can we be complete in collecting all relevant bits of information around a topic? Unlikely and we might not even be able to agree what is relevant to see the truth of a topic, as every individual has a different frame of reference.

If there is no absolute truth, what is then 'misinformation'? Impossible to answer where truth stops and misinformation starts. It is probably the level of omission of facts which makes something more or less 'wrong' and again every individual has their frame of reference to judge on the reliability of information and, even worse, as individuals we are reluctant to change and hence tend to classify information as wrong if it does not fit in our current view of the world.

So, how can the Wikimedia movement deal with that dilemma?

1. Be open and honest that there is no absolute truth.

2. Acknowledge that we cannot be neutral; the best we can do is to be as open and inclusive as possible in reflecting diverging views.

3. Be aware that interested parties might deploy sophisticated approaches to manipulate content, so that the 'misinformation' is not directly identifiable.

4. Develop effective mechanisms to eliminate such interest led editing from within the community. This is the hardest of all. One approach here might be to reduce the levels of anonymity of authors to identify/avoid conflicts of interest. --Wikipeter-HH (talk) 15:22, 18 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Take Information Quality and Reusability into account[edit]

The herein proposed ideas touch the topics one and two from above as well. I experienced certain problems within the Wiki-Verse (, books.en,, pedia.en, versity.en) and they seem to touch the two fields of “Information Quality” and “Reusability”. They fit well with the three mentioned topics here.

Information Quality[edit]

To my perception the only quality measure taken into account is “notability”. While citing the information, this is often accompanied by “reliability” of the source, though this is not visible in the article itself. The question I'd like to raise is: Could the questions about “staying relevant in a changing world”, “capturing information without traditional verification possibilities” and “counteracting increasing levels of misinformation” all be tackled with a good strategy for keeping track of “information quality”, additional to and modifying the already existing “notability” and “source reliability”?

How can information quality be measured and/or scored and should it actually be? I have some sources about it, because I worked in the field once, but at the moment I'm talking qualitativly not quantitativly. My proposal is: let's try. So imho the following should be part of future development:

  1. identification of the main information quality metrics concerning the “knowledge of the world”
    there needs to be more than notability, they need to be measurable but they need to be limited as well to not overact and finally missing the point.
  2. deriving a method to capture the metrics in easy accessible scores, that everyone a) understands, b) interprets correctly and c) can influence based on one's own knowledge.
    It's as valuable as generating and editing content as to proofread and judge the content from a different pov. At the moment, we don't foster creator-user interaction more than “there's a talk page, go for it!”, but I think we can most likely suppose, that most readers won't go there if they are disappointed.
  3. technically integrating the scores into MediaWiki, so content/information/knowledge becomes “ratable”.
    As a simple example think about the “like”-feature. Suppose there exists a “rate”-feature in wikipedia, what article would you emotionally “trust” more: one with many citations but with low rating or one with just a few, but a high rating? It's important to let this mechanic work in both directions, to have an upper and lower boundary, which both can be reached repetitivly again and again (thus, to speak very metaphorical, somehow documenting an edit-war from the point of the readers)
  4. before launching this as a feature it needs to be hardened against group-dynamics, hence a small group of special interest persons could not bias the quality-rating or at least has a really hard time doing it.
  5. as a fifth step one could think about establishing editorial help. Everything written is directly published. The editorial work is done on the fly. In some projects there already is a system in place, e. g. every edit in german wikipedia needs to be reviewed. One could think about refining this process. It's tiresome to review every bit. It would be easier to let the reader know: hey, this article/content is reviewed regarding content, language, citing,... and hence was “adopted into the main content canon” (or the like). For all other material the reader will be informed: This information is not reviewed. It might be content to rapid change. An editorial overview has not been done. The information should be double checked... something like this (though there are some processes in place to do just that using group dynamics, special pages and templates, it might help to establish an official “this is accepted and watched closely”-part of this particular Wikimedia-MediaWiki-Project, don't know by some kind of database-flag or the like).

If all of this could be integrated as a core feature of MediaWiki software (though I would propose no project should be obliged to use it...) but there would be pretty good help for editors and readers to judge the information quality. Hence:

  • stay relevant → loosen notability, everything existing is notable (information quality(IQ)- and pageaccess-metrics take care about the rest)
  • missing verification processes → just open up, if some established IQ-Score somehow drops to some all time low not raising, you probably can be pretty sure it's BS
  • counteracting misinformation → see last bullet-point

I proposed “everything existing is notable”. It was talked above about oral sources with the idea of “cutting the man in the middle”. That takes me to the point of licensing and copyright. I tackled the mere information quality, but two problems persist: from whom does the information stem and by whom and how shall the information be used? The first would be a pretty interesting task for wikimedia:

Establishing some kind of fair use policy and guidelines concerning these on a WORLDWIDE scale! Wikimedia has the potential to do just that! Nobody wants to keep something from content creators, but just talking about the Mona Lisa doesn't mean you see it. But if there is an image in Wikipedia (which there acutally is, because in this particular case it's not a problem) nobody will not visit the Louvre who wants to see the painting.

I won't dive into this topic any further, but my next topic looks at this problem from the other side:


I was recently accused of wanting to work around CC-BY-SA because I debated, that potential reusers would have a really hard time fulfilling the attribution-demand if (and only if) 100 or so (aka a lot) editors did edit content that shall be reused. In the worst case there is one sentence reused and a footnote with 100 names in it. As mentioned above, nobody want's to keep something from content creators, but from standpoint of fostering open content, shouldn't it be in the best interest of all us content creators to make the reuse as simple as possible? This probably needs to be some kind of a multilevel installation, but I propose thinking about the the licensing as well (not changing it, it's fine the way it is, but use all of the possibilities it offers).

There are a few things, that I think should be taken into account (not exclusivly the following):

  • should it be established over all languages and projects, that wikimedia (pedia, books,...) as the content creator is sufficient for attribution (see paragraph 4c, keyword “Attribution Parties”)?
  • should possibilities be established to distinguish this further (I'm thinking e. g. about an author on wikibooks, that probably might want to work more or less alone)?
  • It is often argued, that content is written not by a lot of people but just a few, if not one (at least the good stuff). So might it not be a motivation to contribute to wikimedia in such ways? a) the ones wanting to work alone (probably not a pedia-approach, but certainly thinkable for books or news): “well as long as it's neutral, correct, sourced and open, go for it, the system will take care for minimal obstruction”, b) the ones wanting to work in groups: “okay fine, you work solely for the greater good, don't think about licensing just go for it (if you need to know: it will be handled like "this" (insert wikimedia-licensing-explanation-link here! Hire lawyers and explain; please wikimedia!))”.

This will be highly controversial, I know, but as far as I'm experiencing it, it's a huge deal! It's keeping people from working (“there is this lad, who's watching this article and reverts anything I do, she obviously has some kind of territorial claim on it, I'll leave” or “If I'm working there, anyone can do anything with the stuff I did, but I have the right to attribution, which nobody seems to get right (and I shall take care about this myself). It's so tiresome to keep up with all the stuff... well... no!”), it keeps people from reusing (“what did I have to do :O? I thought saying it's from Wikipedia is enough? Well then I better delete the stuff...”).

I suppose this problem might be supportable by technical means within the MediaWiki-System as well, needing the same amount of talk, planning and work as described for the IQ-idea described above.

This are just some initial thoughts, but what is the “greater good” if we grant access to the “knowledge of the world” (at least that part some guys think is notable ;D) and nobody will do anything with it, except reading. Or did I get something wrong and this is the idea behind it?

Final notes[edit]

As a last note, I would like to mention concerns about the different language versions. Normally I read in the german projects first, and before fact checking for pedia with external sources and citations if possible or necessary, I read the english version (if any) and I must admit: for the most part the english version is better (the german version is sometimes longer though). I perceive this as a problem of information quality and I have the impression, the english version is slowly drifting towards the german style (to exaggerate: deleting what's not notable, writing as professional with as much loan words as possible). Though I can't speak for other languages.

I'm sorry that the text got a little long, and I hope it does seem appropriate and might spark interest in some of you. For keeping the above paragraphs intact I'm preparing talk sections underneath this section, feel free to detail it in any way you like (e. g. just comment or ask about specific sections). But just in case there would be a (longer) talk about the topic, I'd like the above paragraphs to stay together and coherent. Thanks and Regards --HirnSpuk (talk) 18:39, 18 July 2017 (UTC)Reply


IQ – Information Quality[edit]

In the real world, sources often talk up their own reliability, so being able to recognise reliable sources is not easy. It is easier to recognise blatant unreliable sources, but what may seem like a reliable source may not be (or may be 70% reliable, or 80%, or whatever, so what about the bits that the source gets wrong?) Peer review is not perfect by far. In essence, "the truth" is just whatever the consensus is of the group who wields the biggest stick! ... Allspecies (talk) 23:50, 18 July 2017 (UTC)Reply


Circumventing censorship[edit]

We already have the "new anti-censorship tools", we can only start to use them. There can be read-only versions of Wikimedia projects as Tor hidden services or I2P eepsites, which are hard to block for governments or companies. Even the mobile Wikipedia application can be made to use Tor or I2P if user has Orbot or I2P installed. Also the existence of Kiwix plays role here, but it's maybe too hard to use it on mobile devices. --Venca24 (talk) 09:03, 17 August 2017 (UTC)Reply

Challenge 4: How does Wikimedia continue to be as useful as possible to the world as the creation, presentation, and distribution of knowledge change?[edit]

In comparison to Google Drive and Microsoft Office on mobile[edit]

At first the "those saturated with mobile internet" subtopic looks challenging. However, even when interesting, after long thought, is it that challenging? Those using mobile... would they write a homework or an essay on a mobile phone? That's... possible. There are w:Microsoft Office mobile apps and w:Google Drive#Mobile apps, for example. You can share and edit files within Office or Drive, especially on "smaller tablets and phones". However, a mobile user would find editing those files (e.g. documents, tables, and presentations) on small tablets and phones just as (in)convenient as editing Wikipedia on mobile. Well, printing a file from mobile to printer may be possible, but I don't know one person who does that. Mixed reviews somewhat agree that the mobile apps of the office suites are decent for "quick editing" but not conveniently for extended creativity.

Like Microsoft Office and Google Drive, projects of Wikimiedia Foundation may be... convenient on mobile for quick editing but... not much for further creativity. I realize that such inconvenient editing is no longer limited to Wikimedia projects... but extended to existing office suites on mobile. For more convenience in outgoing editing, laptops, bigger tablets, and iPads can be more useful for editing Wikipedia and sister projects. Besides Wikimedia projects and office suites, which other software apps and websites have the same creativity and editing issue on mobile? --George Ho (talk) 04:12, 21 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

"A mobile user would find editing those files (e.g. documents, tables, and presentations) on small tablets and phones just as (in)convenient as editing Wikipedia on mobile"
I suffer that problem. I can't write long texts on my phone, I must use my laptop for that. Much less can I do illustrations, presentations or video editing. But sometimes I don't bother to do - the battery is dead, so I must plug it to a wall. And sometimes I don't even have my laptop close to me, because I don't carry it the whole time.
However, phones are very comfortable to record audio or video, so that's a new opportunity. Of course that's not for Wikipedia, but for article recordings, news stories and other stuff. --NaBUru38 (talk) 21:15, 24 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Phew. I guess I'm not the only one having issues with writing long text on mobile, eh? Thanks, NaBUru38 (again; see thanks message below). You're right that multimedia surfing on the phone is convenient. However, in my opinion, improving the technology of smartphones should not be the Foundation's or the projects' (main) goal or intent. That would be up to electronics companies and phone companies. True, the Foundation has done its best to attract/appeal mobile users, and I appreciate its efforts. However, focusing too much on mobile editions would be detrimental to development of the Foundation's growth. I'm unsure whether focusing too little on those editions is bad, but I'm not suggesting or encouraging focusing too little. --George Ho (talk) 00:12, 25 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
That's actually a good idea! PokestarFan ·Drink some tea and talk with me ·Stalk my edits ·I'm not shouting, I just like this font! 13:56, 25 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Rather than make attempts to cater to mobile users, I hope the WMF accepts the fact that Wikimedia projects have mobile similarities with Microsoft Office and Google Drive. We don't have to focus on mobile editing, do we? Indeed, resolving the disadvantages of mobile electronics is not the Foundation's job but the companies that have produced their products. Moreover, the electronics companies should improve the text editing on mobile products because they made their products this way. However, I think the "mobile view" developers should focus on either solely or mainly readability, which would lead them into being concerned about the layouts of the "mobile view". Focusing on editing aspects won't get developers of "mobile view" edition anywhere. Meanwhile, I believe that editing on desktop edition can improve in the future, which is commonly predicted. --George Ho (talk) 21:30, 29 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Still not many comments about this challenge?[edit]

The new challenge is up for a few or several days, yet I've not seen much response on this challenge. Has the discussion gotten slow lately or something? --George Ho (talk) 03:44, 24 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

There's comments here, that means, everywhere. --NaBUru38 (talk) 21:27, 24 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Thanks, NaBUru38. I see local discussions filled or packed, like fr.wp and es.wp. But de.wp seems almost empty. --George Ho (talk) 23:37, 24 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Sources and AI[edit]

To me, one of the big problems with artificial intelligence is that the source may get lost.

  • "How much area of X country is contaminated?"
  • "Is X city secure?"
  • "Can you suggest me a show that I like?"
  • "Is genetic engineering / vaccines / marijuana dangerous?"
  • "How often does X politician lie?"

Your random personal assistant will probably not tell you where -or how- did it get the answer to your question. And that's unacceptable for us.

AI is a good tool, but tools must be used appropriately. When we state a fact or an opinion, we must provide the source of the data, and the criteria that we used to compile the result. --NaBUru38 (talk) 21:23, 24 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Too much focus on technology and too little on "emerging" areas?[edit]

Re-reading this challenge, I saw very little info and details about "emerging" areas. What does an "emerging" area mean? If it means "developing" nations, then I don't know what to say about them. Developing nations still have some or limited access to internet, and some are familiar with Wikipedia. I still have no idea on how to reach those communities well. Creating more wikis with smaller communities would be overproduction or burdensome to the Foundation, wouldn't it?

If an "emerging" area does not mean a "developing" area, why mentioning "emerging"? --George Ho (talk) 02:22, 27 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

The internet is mobile, and mobile is the internet[edit]

This statement is false on both accounts. It is sometimes uttered by the wise to warn about problems concerning lack of actual internet access in many parts of the world, and the repeated attempts of private companies in keeping their clients herded by selling them expensive and unreliable internet access tiered and filtered by their own “products” (remember AOL in the early 1990s?). While the WMF needs to be made available through these access options in order to reach people in those countries where this fraudulent practice runs rampant (hence things like Wikipedia Zero), celebrating the inanity that «The internet is mobile, and mobile is the internet» feels like an endorsement of censorship and of muffling-for-profit. No, the internet is multiplatform, and efforts should be made to keep it that way. Tuvalkin (talk) 15:47, 29 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Challenge 5: How does Wikimedia meet our current and future readers’ needs as the world undergoes significant population shifts in the next 15 years?[edit]

My response to the "changing world" insight[edit]

From 2013, but still probably the same as today about readers of Spanish Wikipedia

I still don't believe that the predicted numbers of certain specific-language speakers tell the whole story about the whole world. Spanish language the "second most common language" by 2050? Why not use geographical perspective on the world? ... Hmm... Reading the stats of per-language breakdown, 49.3% of global Wikipedian readers surfed around English Wikipedia, 7.8% surfed around Spanish Wikipedia, etc. If Spanish would be the second most-spoken language by 2050, why has the percentage of current Spanish speakers (550+ million total) visiting Spanish Wikipedia been small, like less than 10 percent of them? Also, most of the Spanish Wikipedia readers come from Spain and most of Latin America, including Mexico, Peru, and most of South America. If the global population is 7 billion, then the percentage of global Spanish speakers is... less than 10 percent. I wonder why specifically internet in South America, Mexico, Spain, and some other countries are not mentioned... unless I overlooked them.

In comparison, English language, even with 300+ million native speakers, has been widely spoken around the globe, totaling to between 600 million and 1 billion, i.e. 8.5~14.3 percent.

Hindi language may be the fourth most-spoken language around the globe, but the population of Hindi speakers outside South Asia (including Nepal ranges from one million to two million people. Mandarin Chinese language, largely spoken in China and Taiwan, is not widely spoken globally but is most spoken Chinese variety of all varieties within the Chinese diaspora. Still, the distribution of the language outside China and Taiwan is... low. Speaking of India and China, most of Wikipedians from those countries go to English Wikipedia.

Arabic language may be widely spoken language, but 1% of total Wikipedians surf around Arabic Wikipedia. The daily average of ar.wp has been between four million and six million, i.e. 1.33~2 percent of current Arabic speakers.

About the expectations of Africa, creating more wikis of local languages to cater to those with limited internet access would be expecting too much from African readers, wouldn't it? I think existing Wikiversity and Wikibooks sites can store local languages and then teach readers such language lessons. About literacy rates... the people can be literate about their own languages (and mathematics maybe?). Will the number of non-English-speaking people proficiently understanding English increase by 2030?

No opinion about the rest of the insight. --George Ho (talk) 21:59, 28 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

"If Spanish would be the second most-spoken language by 2050, why has the percentage of current Spanish speakers (550+ million total) visiting Spanish Wikipedia been small, like less than 10 percent of them?"
Around the world, readers often prefer English Wikipedia because articles are more complete than in their own language.
Also, Latin American often have limited internet access, let alone computer access, so our internet use per capita is smaller than richer countries.
"Hindi language may be the fourth most-spoken language around the globe, but the population of Hindi speakers outside South Asia ranges from one million to two million people. Mandarin Chinese language is not widely spoken"
Yes, and? The fact that most Hindi and Chinese speakers live in a single country doesn't mean that we should ignore them. --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:37, 29 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
Oh... I wasn't suggesting that we should ignore both countries, NaBUru38. I just believe that the numbers are not well researched and/or analyzed and/or broken down into groups.

Speaking of both countries, before China banned Chinese Wikipedia, the global share percentage of China was 1.6% in 2014. Since then, the one-percent was loss, i.e. we lost about 150 million monthly views (don't know how many daily average views). Attracting readers from China is either difficult or not easy, especially with internet censorship there. Even when we can have the ban overturned, typing Chinese characters is just as hard as writing it. However, input methods may vary with pinyin and zhuyin as the easiest methods, both for Mandarin Chinese language. China and Taiwan use their own different methods for reasons.

On the contrary, writing Devanagari script seems... to have transitioned well into technology. However, how is typing the script taught in schools? Furthermore, most readers in South Asia go to the English site, while Internet in India... at first I thought the ratio based on population would be small. However, the list of countries by number of households astounds me. Around 250 million households in India? I figure that the Internet subscribers come mostly from active businesses, like Internet cafes. Still, I can't figure out the average number of people per household in the highly-dense, highly-populated country. --George Ho (talk) 21:10, 29 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

My response to "readers from active countries" insight[edit]

What do we expect from readers? Do and must we expect readers to become editors, vandals, or what? Must we lower our standards to make readers become editors? Attracting new readers is easy, but must we continue to tempt readers to become new editors as we have had in the past? Most info is necessary for readers to understand topics, but some info is left out as unnecessary. We give them knowledge, but we can't please all readers, can we? Some people... would like to add info in, but can we trust their abilities to not give readers misleading information? Must we force readers to learn how one project works? Any project can change, but progress is needed. How to build progress? Wikipedia started out with nothing and no rules, but now it has rules and almost everything that readers would like to search for. Same for other sister projects.

The English sister projects are not as highly popular as en.wp, but some are highly viewed. Commons is the most popular out of all sister projects. en.wikt is close second. Wikidata is third. Now compare the top three sister projects to others. In conclusion, Wikipedia is the most visited project of all projects. Somehow, the surveyed participants were not asked questions about sister projects or other US media outlets besides Fox News. --George Ho (talk) 00:57, 29 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

"Must we lower our standards to make readers become editors?"
Nobody suggested that.
"We can't please all readers, can we?"
We only produce educational content, so people who look for other things will not be pleased. Anyway, we can do much better to provide information to readers. I disagree that "almost everything that readers would like to search for", there's a lot of information missing. Also, we need to provide information in other formats, like video and audio. --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:42, 29 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Recruiting editors from every corner[edit]

To "meet our current and future readers’ needs", it's essential to recruiting editors from every corner of the world. And by "corners" I mean every social group. To serve the rich, the poor, the close, the far, the young, the old, we must encourage each of them to contribute.

I mean, I have no idea what information is of interest of an old man in Algeria or a young girl in Indonesia. Only they know, and only them can provide it.

How to recruit them is an important question, but not the only. It's very important to ask ourselves how to integrate them into the editing community.

In my opinion, the best way is to encourage people to become editors is to teach them one by one. Editathons have been criticised for having a very low editor retention. Perhaps it's because the editathon format must be improved. But is there any better recruiting system? I think not. Putting ads on social networks and appearing on television isn't very effective either. --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:57, 29 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Nice, thoughtful suggestion, NaBUru38. However, we should be wary about the motives of some newcomers. Can they use the projects for their own goals contrary to the projects' intentions? Also, we should consider how technically skilled they are. --George Ho (talk) 05:54, 4 August 2017 (UTC)Reply
Well, we should also be wary about the motives of some longtime editors as well.
About skills, the motto of Wikimedia is to learn and improve each day. --NaBUru38 (talk) 17:52, 4 August 2017 (UTC)Reply


From reading the first 80 words at Commons:Wikimedia_Strategy_2017 it needs to be very clear what is being proposed where to comment. It is not clear at all. I think this is a big problem.

From there I got to Strategy/Wikimedia_movement/2017/Direction but this just says we are moving towards 'free information' and 'knowledge equity'. This is all OK.

Precisely what are we discussing here?

--Gryllida 23:59, 20 August 2017 (UTC)Reply

@Gryllida: we're discussing Strategy/Wikimedia_movement/2017/Direction. The whole thing, and particularly, texts in the green boxes. On Commons, you can read: "The first draft is ready. Please read, share, and discuss on its talk page on Meta-Wiki". Our discussion here, on this very page, is closed. SGrabarczuk (WMF) (talk) 09:27, 21 August 2017 (UTC)Reply

Please uncollapse[edit]

The collapsed sections make it very hard to locate content of interest in the page, i.e. by means of ctrl-F when I'm looking for something specific. Please uncollapse by default. If the goal is to help mobile users, just use h2 headers so that MobileFrontend collapses their content by default. --Nemo 07:04, 26 October 2017 (UTC)Reply