Talk:Future Audiences

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The following Wikimedia Foundation staff monitor this page:

In order to notify them, please link their username when posting a message.
This note was updated on 09/2023

Announcing monthly Future Audiences open "office hours"[edit]

Hi all, we're going to be kicking off a monthly hour-long "Future Audiences" video call – this will be a space where anyone interested in this work can come learn, ask questions, and give input. This month, I'll be sharing some early results from the ChatGPT plugin experiment, as well as research on social video app creators that may inform some future experimentation on these platforms.

More details:

Looking forward to seeing/hearing from you, and if you can't make it this time, no worries – planning to make this a regular monthly meeting. MPinchuk (WMF) (talk) 16:02, 27 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Waltercolor, @Natalia Ćwik (WMPL), @Lydia Pintscher (WMDE), @Grzegorz Kopaczewski (WMPL), @Klara Sielicka-Baryłka (WMPL), @Bertux, @Sandizer, @Frank Schulenburg, @MJL, @Jklamo, @Sdkb, @Frostly, @Rtnf, @Count Count, @Fuzheado, @Shani (WMF), @Soni, @Theklan, @Heike Gleibs (WMDE), @Tarkowski, @AyourAchtouk, @Bluerasberry, @Adithyak1997, @Psubhashish, @Sobaka, @Alalch E., @Dyork, @Mathglot, @DancingPhilosopher, @Stevesuny, @Oceanflynn, @Kasyap
Pinging to let you know about this meeting next week (see above)! Also, that is a lot of user pinging And I know not everyone keeps up with Meta, so please do get in touch via email (futureaudiences(_AT_) and indicate your interest in participating in this and future calls, so that I can just send a quick email update to the group to let you know about next month's call. Thank you, and looking forward to your thoughts/questions! MPinchuk (WMF) (talk) 16:46, 27 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @MPinchuk: Thanks for the ping. I was unable to attend today's call but look forward to attending future calls. - Dyork (talk) 16:21, 3 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • UPDATE: Thanks to all who attended the call! Links to the slides, recording, and notes can all be found here. I'll go back over the notes and if there were any questions that weren't covered, will add them here and do my best to answer in the next few days. Hope to see you next month! MPinchuk (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 3 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Questions asked but not covered in the meeting:
  1. Are there plans for/progress with a WMF TikTok account as part of this work? We are planning to discuss this with our Communications team in September. A WMF account could be helpful in experimentation, but there are lots of important considerations before proceeding.
  2. Are there plans for further (new or assembly of existing) research as part of this work? Content formats, knowledge influencers, subject matter, platform usage? Yes, we definitely want to conduct more research on both how people interact with AI assistants for learning/general knowledge, and to learn more about how and where global youth learn. Ideas/suggestions for research questions are always appreciated!
  3. Question: I saw a post by a market researcher who claimed that young people start at TikTok, but when they want more information, they travel from that platform to other (written) platforms on the Internet. How can we be sure what young people actually want? If we added more videos or entertaining content to Wikipedia, then to what extent would that satisfy users? Excellent question and something we're digging into more deeply. The initial results of testing prototypes of more media-rich content (from an admittedly small sample of around a dozen young people) suggested that they preferred the less visually-appealing, more static content because it was more readable. This is something to keep an eye on and continue to investigate as we get a larger sample of user feedback. But yes, we shouldn't assume that just because some experiences (e.g. short video) work on other platforms that they'll translate well to our projects/context.
  • Question: one of the beauties of Wikipedia is the Talk page, and this is where a lot of potential engagement lies. Any thoughts on how we might surface this aspect of the tool in things like conversational AI? Great question – the short answer is, we haven't thought too much about this yet, but I'd love to talk more and hear ideas if anyone has them!
  1. Focus on conveying originality/authority in media contributions and all content when more and more content is being synthesized. (Provenance of media metadata; use AI to merge source information, find duplicates and identify sources; use AI to create audiovisual narratives based on well-sourced information)
  2. Re the work on the approach to AI: I am wondering about the sense of interactivity that ChatGPT offers with its slight pause and “thinking” that gives it a sense of human-ness and that perception that it’s happening in real time is part of the level of interest. (Ironic, since WP is entirely created by humans…) While this is a totally inaccurate perception, it provides a sense of interactivity that is much more dynamic than Wikipedia’s pages of static comment.
  • Idea: This may be pointing toward a future recommendation about providing different options about how people read WP than the straightforward single option about how people edit WP. The bars for both of these uses are different but their current approach is the same.
MPinchuk (WMF) (talk) 20:12, 10 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Environmental impact of ChatGPT plugin (and other AI tools)[edit]

Hi – I hope that I am in the right place to ask this question: I read that currently available AI tools such as ChatGPT use absurd amounts of energy, both during the training of the algorithm and for generating outputs. Therefore, I am wondering if and how this also applies to our new ChatGPT plugin (and any other AI-related Wikimedia 'ventures'). Has someone already started looking into this issue? How will this be factored into the WMF environmental sustainability report? Thank you, Gnom (talk) 23:59, 1 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi @Gnom! I'm the Director of ML for Wikimedia. That is a really good question. You are right to point out that inference with large models at ChatGPT (although they aren't saying how large, but it is definitely large) is expensive in terms of energy. That said, the best way to think about would be that our plug-in doesn't use ChatGPT, instead ChatGPT uses our plug-in, meaning the only additional energy usage would be from the plug-in itself. Put another way, our plug-in doesn't actually have any AI or ML in it, it simply searches Wikipedia using the regular search API for the most relevant articles and provides those to ChatGPT. The plug-in itself is only a few hundred lines of code takes little resources to run. It would easily run on your laptop without any issues. We also haven't purchased any additional servers or anything to run the plug-in, so any energy impact is negligible for this experiment.
If this experiment was a big success and folks wanted to scale up then we would have to add dedicated servers, at which point we should factor it into our environmental reporting. CAlbon (WMF) (talk) 19:29, 3 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for the quick response, @CAlbon (WMF). Gnom (talk) 07:49, 5 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The next monthly Future Audiences video call[edit]

Hi all, this is announcement of the next monthly hour-long Future Audiences video call – a space where anyone interested in this work can come learn, ask questions, and give input on the work the Future Audiences team are doing around AI or social media experiments, or talk about their own related initiatives. Please feel free to turn up – we're happy for anyone who wants to come talk or listen to us. You don't need to have done anything specific within these fields, the main requirement is to be interested enough in the topic that you want to spend time in the call.

More details:

Slides, recordings and notes from previous meetings can be found at Future Audiences/Community discussions, and you can read more about questions asked at the last meeting above. We're looking forward to seeing/hearing from you. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 15:26, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ping Waltercolor, Natalia Ćwik (WMPL), Lydia Pintscher (WMDE), Grzegorz Kopaczewski (WMPL), Klara Sielicka-Baryłka (WMPL), Bertux, Sandizer, Frank Schulenburg, MJL, Jklamo, Sdkb, Frostly, Rtnf, Count Count, Fuzheado, Shani (WMF), Soni, Theklan, Heike Gleibs (WMDE), Tarkowski, AyourAchtouk, Bluerasberry, Adithyak1997, Psubhashish, Sobaka, Alalch E., Dyork, Mathglot, DancingPhilosopher, Stevesuny, Oceanflynn, Kasyap, who have previously showed interest in these calls. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 15:40, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is two days from now! Johan (WMF) (talk) 09:35, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

FYI: The presentation slides, the video recording (part 1 and part 2, and notes are now available. LWyatt (WMF) (talk) 11:03, 15 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Getting content creators to cite Wikipedia[edit]

@MPinchuk (WMF) and @LWyatt (WMF), following up from the call earlier, I had a few thoughts on getting content creators to cite Wikipedia that I wanted to share.

Fundamentally, this is a question of incentives, since people are never going to do something en masse unless they find the pros of it outweigh the cons. Currently, the main incentives that come to mind for citing work overall (not just from Wikipedia) are:


  • It increases audience trust in your content by making it seem well-researched.
  • In some cases it reduces the chance that the entity you're building your work off of gets mad at you.


  • It's very time-consuming
  • Depending on the quality of the source, some may use it to discredit your content.
  • Depending on how you use the source, some people in your audience may judge you for ripping it off (e.g. think you're lazy).

The way that this tends to work out in practice is that some of the highest-quality content cites sources, since they value audience trust and have the capacity to make citations. This is despite YouTube/TikTok having no native way to do citations, making it a clunky process. I like the approach of the Real Science YouTube channel, which has numbers pop up in the corner every time a fact is mentioned, which then leads to a link to the source in the video description. But beyond that realm, most content isn't citing sources, since they either don't have the capacity to do so or think it would reflect badly on them if they did.

Efforts to get people to cite Wikipedia could try to minimize any of the cons. For the time-consumption one, the clear path there would be to get YouTube or TikTok to introduce tools to make it easier to cite sources. This would also likely increase the number of viewers who would check out those sources (which is a plus for us as a source but not for the platforms if it takes people away from them).

For the quality issue, the big problem here is the decades-old refrain in everyone's mind about "Wikipedia is not a reliable source." Marketing to change cultural attitudes about using Wikipedia would be the (admittedly difficult) path there. It's complicated by the fact that, yes, Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Personally, when I'm sharing something, sometimes in addition to citing the direct source of information, I'll also give "discovery credit," i.e. this is the person/aggregator/etc. that led me to discover the original source. That's ideally what we'd want content creators to be giving Wikipedia, and to be ultimately citing Wikipedia references rather than Wikipedia itself. But if getting people to cite sources is hard, getting them to offer discovery credit on top of that is even harder/even less common currently.

Lastly, for the ripping off concern, Wikipedia is also rather vulnerable. Because it's so easy to access, I think many people may perceive citations to it as meaning that a content creator didn't dig very deep. This has resulted in a situation where many people are embarrassed to say they used Wikipedia, since they're worried it'd make others think they're lazy. Part of the solution here might be to work to educate the world about Wikipedia's free content license.

I hope all that is helpful, and looking forward to further discussion! Thanks for hosting the monthly calls; it's really helpful to be able to touch base through them. Cheers, {{u|Sdkb}}talk 23:05, 14 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes indeed, these are definitely kinds of reasons that content-creators of 'edu-tainment' material say when asked about this issue. And on top of what you've said, there's also the issue that we all want people to go onwards and continue their research from the things that we cite. Which, when they do reference those academic publications and primary source material (a good thing!) they are [probably] less willing to acknowledge that they discovered those sources via Wikipedia's footnotes. It's more impressive to say "according to this 1973 patent application...." than "according to a footnote about a 1973 patent application in the Wikipedia article about this topic..."
So the question is: How do we encourage meaningful (not begrudging/forced) attribution of where video content creators are getting their ideas from - because we know they are reading Wikipedia articles as part of their research - in a way that is helpful to their audience and technically easy for them to do. It's something the Future Audience program is going to experiment with over the coming year. Keyword 'experiment' - not big/expensive/long-term investments but little tests to gather real-world proof of concept data. LWyatt (WMF) (talk) 11:25, 15 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]