WikiSocial

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Non Profit Social Media[edit]

What if a site is created that can replace Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn?

It could be run as a part of Wikimedia Foundation, so it would be not for profit. Ads could be served on the site. Users could pay a small fee to not see ads. Advertisements could fund Wikimedia Foundation. Extra profits could be donated to charity, or reinvested into the development of new features. What do you think about this?

There are alternatives to this that are for-profit, but they have advertisements.

There were alternatives to Wikipedia before Wikipedia existed. However, they cost lots of money. Current social networks have a cost, since they serve advertisers and their share-holders.

What would be the learning value[edit]

How would this further the educational mission of WMF?

Through social media people learn about other people and about life. Through learning about others and about life we can learn about ourselves. What are our likes and dislikes? What are our political positions? What is our purpose? What do we want to do with our lives? How do we want to structure society?

There is a great deal of learning and teaching that takes place on Reddit and probably Twitter too.

People can learn about current events on Twitter. This might overlap with Wikinews.

People can learn about programming and much more on Reddit. Should we start linking to examples?

Vision[edit]

The vision of WMF is "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment."

Learning about others is part of "all knowledge". What I know about myself is part of all knowledge. What you know about you is part of "all knowledge". Social media platforms can fit in with the vision of WMF potentially.

Interested participants[edit]

Please sign and date here if this proposal interests you.

Discussion[edit]

Support[edit]

Support Support Yes I support, we need social networks where we can add infinite friends, facebook support just five thousand. --Javier José Moreno Tovar18 (talk) 23:48, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

Support Support it would act as a nice lounge for all wikimedia users, Helping us in comunication and to better know each other also it would result useful to other users with the same needs. The good side is that it would offer clean and private comunication without censorship or manipulation. It is one of those ideas that can boom and change everything and even take facebook away from the market. The only bad thing is that it would happen to not success, ¿what with that?. --Neurorebel (talk) 03:10, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Support Support - Good idea. Michael Ten (talk) 06:06, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

Support with reservations: One concept for "Wikisocial" is part of a proposal for "Everyone's favorite news site" that I've been developing recently on Wikiversity. I think it needs to be completely noncommercial, not accepting advertising, because the system designers would feel pressure to restrain content that might offend advertisers.

  • Content that might offend a major advertiser is not fit to print in the New York times -- or any other outlet supported by advertising.

Any social media outlet that accepts advertising would feel pressure to allow robot posts by companies like Cambridge Analytica, whose business model is convincing people to vote or do other things contrary to their best interests. Moreover, any "WikiSocial" (or "Wikisocial" without the internal cap: "Wikinews" is NOT "WikiNews") would need filters to identify and bloc robo posts.

There also needs to be filters that try to identify and deal constructively with blatantly inflammatory remarks, like those that drove the 1994 Rwandan genocide: We need something that would allow people (Hutus, in that case) to express appropriate concern about atrocities by Tutsi guerrillas without inciting counterproductive violence.

I'd be pleased to have your suggestions on v:Everyone's favorite news site and how I might better go about that.

I'd also be interested in comments on a proposed series of v:Webinars on media and democracy, which might help develop things like this. DavidMCEddy (talk) 15:41, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

I mentioned in a Lightning Talk I gave 2018-07-18 as part of Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town that I believe the Wikimania Foundation is ideally placed to counter the Balkanization and exploitation of the body politic to benefit elites. The documentation of these problems continues to grow, e.g., with the recent appearance of Template:Cite Q -- Siva Vaidhyanathan (2018) Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy.
Yes, the social media field is crowded -- but all the social media platforms I've heard of are either funded by advertising or by governments like China. Commercial social media sells your behaviors to the highest bidder. Governments spy on you -- and lock up up or otherwise destroy you if they decide your posts might be inappropriate.
If WikiSocial starts with one user one day and convinces two others to join a month later, and those two convince two others a month after that, and this process continues, in month 10, there will be a thousand users, in month 20 a million, in month 40 a billion.
Why would people move away from Facebook or other social media? Because they don't like ads, and most, I think, are honestly interested in alternative perspectives if they can find a friendly source of such. China may block WikiSocial, just like they block Facebook. However, if WikiSocial can help a critical mass of the public in the rest of the world to become better informed and more tolerant of diversity, it will become a major force for world peace, a major restraint on political corruption, and through all of that make a major contribution to increasing the rate of broadly shared economic growth.
I'm curently working on a proposal for a workshop on this for WikiConference North America, October 18-21 in Columbus, OH. More detail on my thinking in this area appears in Wikiversity:Everyone's favorite news site. I hope to see some of you in Columbus. DavidMCEddy (talk) 20:02, 13 August 2018 (UTC)

Support Support I'm particularly interested if it can be integrated in some way to facilitate easy social networking of wikipedia users. I think the Wikipedia rule that talk pages discussions should only be about the user edits is rather restricting, though understandable. Good ideas can come out of wide ranging conversations about anything under the sun. I think it would feed back to wikipedia as well as outwards to other things. It could be like an extra networking layer. This would add to its value and give it an instant wide user base if it had unified sign in, as for meta etc. It does however lead to extra things that need to be considered. For more, see #Idea of integration as an extra social networking layer for Wikipedia below. Robert Walker (talk) 17:48, 24 December 2017 (UTC)

  • Support Support Facebook concentrate a very significant amount of Internet uses. Having a private company owning such privilege and influence is asking some questions. Initiatives such as Diaspora* show that there is some people waiting for this.
Another point is that Facebook is getting old and that, in the next year's, the youngs may decide to go elsewere. This have already started actually, to the benefit of Instagram and Snapchat.
All initiatives of social networks concurrencing Facebook have failed, except Instagram. Later bought by Facebook, and Twitter. The main raison is that there were not a reason for a start community. Instagram had the photo thing and Twitter the ability of quickly spreading news. This gave to these medias an strong enough kernel of users to become attractive.
A project hosted by the Wikimedia fundation could be integrated with Wikipedia and have a kernel of users valuating knowledge. The very first kernel of users would actually be Wikipedians transparently switching from the original Wikipedia's discussion tools.
I would insist to have a distributed social network system. This would let other bricks gather with this social network, creating external growing and diversity. A simple way of starting this could be to use the Diaspora* technology. This would immediately double the users kernel by adding Wikimedia's one to the Diaspora* one. Others could come later. We can perfectly imagine that a local social network like Viadeo, loosing ground against LinkedIn, would be willing to adapt it's infrastructure to plug on a larger distributed social network.
-- Thibdx (talk) 04:11, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

Oppose[edit]

Abstain[edit]

Other comments[edit]

@Michael Ten: I definitely support shooting for the stars but this seems like such an impossible goal that I don't see how it could ever work. First off, most users of social media reach a peak in sites and apps and it's very difficult for them to take on a new social network. If you are suggesting adding a new one to the very crowded market, I find it unlikely that anyone who is engaged in that will have the time. On occasion, an existing social network will collapse and its userbase flock to another (e.g. Friendster → MySpace → Facebook). This is really only possible if the new thing has something really attractive and unique. I'm not sure what that would be in this case. Furthermore, any social network by its very nature needs a critical mass of users in order to be useful. This chicken-and-egg problem is extremely difficult and in this case probably intractable. Even if the entire userbase of active members of the English Wikipedia were to immediately sign up, that would be less than 200,000 users compared to hundreds of millions daily at Facebook with over 2 billion accounts total. Even behemoths like Google can't really directly compete with that as a platform. Finally, there already are free/open social networks: disapora*, GNUSocial, and LibrePlanet (in addition to the WikiSphere in general). For those who are interested in free culture and also the privacy concerns related to giving your intimate data to mammoth advertising companies, these options exist. As a postscript, I'm also a little skeptical that this can even be within the scope of what the Wikimedia Foundation does in terms of being educational. The Internet has four broad purposes: commerce, communication, education, and entertainment. The sites run by the WMF focus on education (although there will inevitably be some overlap in all of those arenas) and I don't see how a social network fits into that scheme—it's mostly a matter of communication and entertainment. I would like it if some open, democratic, wiki-type process could supplant walled gardens and private companies for the goods of the Internet but between pre-existing attempts at this (which have marginal success at best) and a track record of failing when it comes to directly competing with gargantuan tech companies (e.g. Wikia Search), I really can't see how this could be successful. —Justin (koavf)TCM 06:42, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

@Koavf: Hello. I have added some examples about how this can be used for learning potentially. I have also linked to two places which discuss how Reddit and Twitter can already be utilized for learning. Those sites both have ads though. Learning on Twitter and Reddit for learning. Cheers. Michael Ten (talk) 05:15, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

@Michael Ten: Couldn't this be done making enhancements to user namespace, with more tools and communication services? -Theklan (talk) 22:20, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

@Theklan: Potentially, but would that be a good use of the user namespace though? Should it/could it be done on all Wikimedia wikis? Could user space turn into some sort of Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram replacement? Information on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram is part of the sum of all human knowledge, is it not? Good thinking. Thanks. Michael Ten (talk) 04:35, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

I doubt about the sponsored part of the propposal, it could be removed. I also agree with a separate project as i dont want nobody likibg or disliking on otgher projects.--Neurorebel (talk) 03:14, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

I have thought about this idea since way back in 2014, and I was thinking of the names WikiSocial and SocioWiki, and perhaps Aloha!. I wanted to create a social media site using the MediaWiki and Semantic MediaWiki engines with the social tools and Semantic Social Profile extensions, along with custom extensions for the website's needs] which allows users to have basic social media features under an open source wiki interface. Uses would have a profile, a message wall (similar to the message walls on com/ Wikia, a blog page, and the ability to friend and follow other users and post status updates, the ability of creating pages, and groups with their own wikis, and to benefit the use of namespaces. It would be best to create it as an independent project separate from Wikimedia, and host the website on its own servers. SapphireWilliams (talk pagecontributions) 16:54, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps we can work together on this project as a team. SapphireWilliams (talk pagecontributions) 17:03, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
By the way, if we end up creating the site, can I use the name WikiSocial? SapphireWilliams (talk pagecontributions) 17:03, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

One relatively simple route here would be to host a Mastodon instance. Mastodon is a federated social network with a cultural emphasis on free and open software, and is generally closely aligned with Wikimedia's values. Some large organizations already have Mastodon instances, like MIT or the Chaos Computer Club. It's sort of like IRC cloaks, in that users of this instance would be able to "show off their pride as a Wikimedian" (to quote the IRC cloaks page). It's pretty close to what Sapphire Williams was already talking about, with a profile, a message wall, and following other users.

I've already proposed this on both enwiki and Mastodon. I don't think I picked the right venue on enwiki, but the discussion there had a cold reception. By contrast, the two Mastodon discussions were enthusiastically received. From a technical standpoint, the WMF would just need to allocate a domain name (like social.wikimedia.org or mastodon.wikimedia.org) and the Mastodon instance would just run on some server. Thoughts? Enterprisey (talk) 05:04, 29 July 2018 (UTC)

Idea of integration as an extra social networking layer for Wikipedia[edit]

This is a suggestion for close integration with Wikipedia, though it could be a separate project as it takes it rather beyond the original idea.

  • Following on from my comment in my support vote. This is the rule from en:WP:OWNTALK
"While the purpose of article talk pages is to discuss the content of articles, the purpose of user talk pages is to draw the attention or discuss the edits of a user. Wikipedia is not a social networking site, and all discussion should ultimately be directed solely toward the improvement of the encyclopedia. User talk pages must serve their primary purpose, which is to make communication and collaboration among editors easier."
If we continue with that rule which is understandable, I think we need a social networking site that is integrated with wikipedia so I'd go further and suggest there should be some easy integration. Though possibly that would need to be a new project?
E.g. if a discussion on Wikipedia digresses away from discussion of user edits you can just say "This is digressing away from the purpose of Wikipedia talk pages, so let's continue on Wiki Social" and then both members are already on WikiSocial by default (unless you opt out).
Then on Wiki Social they could say "This is something I think we should continue back on your user talk page on Wikipedia itself" as it is to do with wikipedia user contributions or editing and so go back and forth.
Relevance for topic banned or blocked editors[edit]

This is something I've been involved with for some time, trying to find a way to provide more support for topic banned and blocked editors. See Grants:IdeaLab/Area for topic banned editors to talk freely about their ban, e.g. to ask questions of experienced wikipedians. As with meta, people banned in wikipedia wouldn't necessarily be banned on that same topic in the social site - it might have different rules. And same for blocked editors.

If you are topic banned on wikipedia you can't talk to your former colleagues about your ban at all. If they raise the topic you just have to say you can't comment because you are topic banned. This removes social networking support there at the very moment that members need it most, when they are going through what for some is a socially traumatic experience as well as a personal crisis too. It can be especially traumatic if they have been sincerely doing their best to improve wikipedia, and have made friends there too, invovled in social interactions discussing their edits - and then are suddenly topic banned and no longer permitted to edit the articles they worked on for so long or discuss the topic any more with their former colleagues on wikipedia. In some cases they are topic banned after months or even years of productive activity in the topic area. I have come across several editors in this situation.

A social networking layer would give the support they need in such contexts. Wikipedia admins might not like the idea of this. But there are already many sites where Wikipedia is discussed, and it is bound to be discussed in any social media site and if users have been blocked or banned on wikipedia you can be pretty sure they discuss it extensively on any social networking site they belong to with all their friends. And being able to discuss your topic ban or block off wiki is already acceptable e.g. it's okay to talk about wikipedia topic bans on meta if you are not banned on the same topic here. The main issue would be with integration of the two sites e.g. if it is easy to get from wikipedia to a discussion of your topic ban on Wiki Social then is that acceptable? Assuming you are topic banned on wikipedia and not on Wiki Social?

I think it would help myself. The reason the bans are so strict on Wikipedia is because of the idea that talk pages are meant to be only about discussing your edits and ideas for improving wikipedia. This has the result that even though the user talk pages are not part of the content of wikipedia and not linked to specific talk pages, they are still considered to be part of the discussions of how to edit wikipedia. So if you are topic banned you have to be banned from discussing that topic on your user talk page as well.

In a Wiki Social site intergrated with Wikipedia then there would be still be things you could do that lead to bans and blocks as for any social networking sitese. But many things that can lead to bans and blocks on Wikipedia would not lead to them on social networking sites. E.g. you wouldn't be banned for being verbose, chatting about irrelevant things with friends, "walls of text". And asking for help about how to appeal a ban or block from friends other than the closing admin would be accepted as a normal part of a networking site although not acceptable on Wikipedia. It would also be acceptable to continue to discuss the banned topic itself with your former colleagues - on Wikipedia such discussions are banned even if they are not about proposed edits again because of this idea that all talk page discussions should be focused on how to improve wikipedia. #

As an example, I am indef topic banned from the Buddhism topic area on Wikipedia. The main reason for this ban is verboseness of my responses on Buddhism talk pages, "Walls of text". This means I am not permitted to discuss my religion with anyone else on Wikipedia even if the discussion is nothing to do with proposed edits of Buddhism articles there. I am permitted to say that I am Buddhist but that's it. If there was a Wiki Social integration I could continue to talk about my religion with my wikipedia friends and colleagues on Wiki Social and my Wikipedia topic ban would have no effect on that. I could also ask for help in appealing my topic ban, advice about how to avoid trouble on wikipedia in future, etc etc. And verboseness is not a banning offence on social networking sites, indeed, in a well constructed site where only the top few lines of each comment are shown and you click to see more, then it is normally not a problem to anyone if someone chooses to write a ten page comment in reply to someone else's post.

I think part of the reason there are so many sites critical of wikipedia is because of this rule that prevents almost any networking on wikipedia itself, so things can't get resolved there that would need social networking. It would also make Wikipedia a friendlier place as people could make friends on Wiki Social. They do often have non wiki related posts on Wikipedia but they are short because of this rule about it not being a social network site. What social networking there is there can seem a bit strange to those used to other sites, based around things like "giving" images and "barnstar" badges on other users' talk pages. I find them rather odd and don't know how to respond when someone slaps an image on my talk page, and the idea of doing that on someone else's talk page seems strange to me. I've noticed that quite a few other users there just ignore them too. While others really get into them and seem to make friends partly by adding these images to each others' talk pages. So - though Wikipedia has made an effort to be more of a social site, and the barnstars are part of that effort - it's built into the way it operates that it's always social within rather strict limits. This makes it a bit strange to many members used to other sites where wide ranging social networking is permitted. An extra networking layer on a separate website with its own rules based around the norms for social networking sites could help a lot.

But I don't want to hijack this project, it's just a suggestion, and if these are major issues, then Wiki Social can clearly work fine without wikipedia close integration Robert Walker (talk) 12:58, 24 December 2017 (UTC)

See also[edit]