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Of Love and War

project contact:

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  • User:Antony
  • User:Cleopatra


  • User:Eros
  • User:Enobarbus


  • User:Soothsayer - lots of experience in managing community relations


Beta test data-developed experiments to improve the activation rates of new editors.

engagement target:

Hieroglyphics Wikipedia

strategic priority:

Increasing Participation

total amount requested:


2014 round 1

Project idea


What is the problem you're trying to solve?


Our Wikipedia is plagued with lots of passion combined with lots of fighting for status quo. The Hieroglyphic Wikipedia has never seen growth beyond the initial stages of development, largely because there is no place for new editors to learn how to navigate the editing process. In fact, the average Wikipedia see an average of 4% of new editors turning into existing editors. Our Wikipedia is 1%.

What is your solution?


Our small team thinks a major problem with our Wikipedia’s inability to activate new users is a result of the constant fighting on the Wikipedia, and particular the bureaucracy: we want to reimagine a way to structure the welcome policies and revert policies. Our project is separated into five phases, and by the last phase we will have a clear change experimented, with other proposed experiments.

Project goals

  • The project will build a database outlining the reasons for joining and dropping out of Wikipedia in the initial stages of becoming a member.
  • The project will build community awareness around the issues of activation of new users
  • The project will bring community together to come up with new ideas on new user engagement and friendly space
  • The project will prototype one high potential experimental idea to improve the percentage of new users who become active users

Project plan




Project Map


Phase 1 a: Background Research survey (Jan-Feb)

  • Task: set-up and distribute 2 surveys:
    • (1) new editor accounts upon their first edit
    • (2) editors who made 5+ edits total over the latest three month period, but did not edit following this
  • Content: survey will focus on motivation for joining Hieroglyphic Wikipedia, potential topics of interest, languages spoken, reasons for stopping editing, and interactions with other editors
  • Methodology: we have a community bot to identify user names based on edit counts and post on talk pages. (Note: we will need access to survey software tool)

Phase 1 b: Background Research UX observations (Jan-Feb)

  • We would like to hire a UX researcher to do observations of our new users on the projects
  • This will lead to better understanding of the friction points for new users in our local langauge
  • Recommendations coming out of this will include the primary pipeline points that users tend to get stuck on.

Phase 2: Community consultation and synthesis (Feb-April)

  • Upon getting back the survey, we’ll have a place set-up on our community pages to discuss the results and implications
  • We’ll have a section for people to contribute ideas into the fold: e.g., should we rotate all administrators after 3 years? Should we create non-editing leadership entry points for new users, who may want to get involved immediately?
  • Note: these have never been major discussions in our community, though very active editors also tend to be very active in discussing community policy.

Phase 3: Design best recommendations (March-April)

  • Following the community conversation, we’ll move forward with the deisgn of two concrete ideas
  • We want to hire a UX designer who is familiar with the Wikimedia system to help translate the UX research into specific recommendations for design

Phase 4: Put into practice! (April - June)


If the timeline goes according to plan, we should be able to have at least one concrete experiment out on our Wikipedia by the end of the 6 months, with one month of results. We should have two other experiments in the pipeline for future testing and discussion, too.

Phase 5: Analyze (June-July)


Engagement with current mentors as well as the impact the program has on newcomer experience in Wikipedia:



See the steps above for project plan. We will spend our time:

  • Developing survey
  • Maintaining public dialogue
  • Developing tools for contact with new editors
  • Creating and testing ideas
  • Measuring results

In terms of measurement, we will know if our solutions are working based on the proposed goals below: namely, increasing the activation rates of new editors above the current 1% language average.



Total amount requested


$20,600.00 USD

Budget breakdown

Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Cost per unit Total cost Currency Notes
1 Human Resources UX researcher, part-time 5 weeks Contract 5 1,000.00 5,000.00 USD
2 Human resources UX designer, part-time 2 months Contract 2 2,500.00 5,000.00 USD
3 Project Coordinator Project coordinator, part-time, 6 months (User:Anthony) Stipend 1 10,000.00 10,000.00 USD
4 Merchandise Sweatshirts to mail to top contributors on discussion space (including shipping costs) Stipend 40 100.00 4,000.00 USD
5 Software Qualtrics survey software Contract 1 200.00 200.00 USD

Intended impact


Target audience


We are explicitly looking to cause a change in the activation rate of new editor accounts to active editors.

Community engagement


This is not going to be a new conversation to our community: it has been one on our mailing lists and “village pump” equivalent for the past few years. We will be sure to have the community involved throughout the whole process, particularly in:

  • Survey development (active editors)
  • Survey respondents (new editors)
  • Analysis and idea generation (all editors)
  • Solution design (all editors)

Fit with strategy


Participation! This project is about increasing the pipeline of new editors -> active editors through community engagements



Since the whole project will be developed by the community and any suggestion would have to be maintained by the community, there should be no problem with sustainability. Maybe even we will come up with some good solutions fro larger Wikipedias since we are more nimble at the smaller state.

Measures of success

  1. At least 10% of our active editors engage in building new ideas, or 20 people
  2. 1 new experiment deployed
  3. Reach 1000 new user accounts
  4. Experiment shows signs of increasing editor retention numbers one month into the project: increase percentage activation to 3%, with longer term goal of exceeding average across Wikipedias (>4%)


  • User:Antony - worked in many other language projects and tried to bring some of the best pieces into the hieroglyphic wikipedia. Strong background in community leadership structures and census data (survey design), and has himself served as admin, bureaucrat, and emperor (a Hieroglyphic Wikipedia only position).
  • User:Cleopatra - explicitly dedicated to Hieroglyphic Wikipedia, Cleopatra is the top editor in the language project with also the highest level of user to user interactions. She is volunteering her time to support the community which she loves.



Community Notification


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