Hello everyone,

In case you haven't already heard, I wanted to let you know that a Request for Comments about our Article Feedback tool was posted this weekend by volunteer editor MZ McBride, who is seeking community input on the future of this tool on the English Wikipedia.


We encourage experienced Wikipedians on this list to contribute to this discussion, if you are so inclined. Some of the issues being discussed go beyond the specifics of Article Feedback, and address broader questions about how to best engage readers and new editors into the growth of our movement. Because of your interest in our editor engagement programs, you are in a unique position to present an informed perspective on the pros and cons of this tool, as part of our overall objectives for increased participation. 

Note that if you work for the WMF, we recommend that you focus on providing factual information in the comment sections or talk page -- and refrain from voting or posting personal views as a new section, so that we don't interfere with this community deliberation process. If you do participate, be sure to use your staff account and avoid getting into heated discussions, which  just state the relevant facts you are aware of, and leave it at that.

WMF staff members who have already contributed to this discussion include Oliver KeyesErik Moeller and yours truly (posted as a comment after MZ McBride's view). Our comments are longer than we expect other WMF contributions to be, because we wanted to surface all the known facts for the record. But we are now taking more of an observer role, to let others comment on this community discussion without interference from the foundation.

For a quick update about Article Feedback, check out this blog post. Note that we are adding a number of new features recommended by the community, such as simpler moderation tools and better filters, which were designed to reduce the editor workload, surface good feedback, and filter our unmoderated or inappropriate comments. For more details, read our requirements for new features under development.

We expect to have these new features available for testing in early February, and recommend that the RfC be extended until all participants have had a chance to evaluate these new tools. Much of the current discussion is about known issues with the old software we deployed last summer, and many of these problems have since been addressed by our new tools, at least in part.

To be clear, the future of Article Feedback on the English Wikipedia is at stake, and constructive outcomes can only be achieved through a thoughtful and productive conversation with our community. The foundation intends to respect the community's decision and will only deploy this tool under terms to be agreed upon in good faith by a majority of stakeholders. 

On a more positive note, I am pleased to report that a parallel vote by the French Wikipedia community is showing very favorable results, with 82 in favor of the tool so far, versus 42 against. (A wide contrast with the English Wikipedia, which appears to be about 21 in favor versus 79 against). We are also making good progress with our pilot on the German Wikipedia, where a vote is expected at the end of this quarter.

So assuming a positive outcome, we are prepared to release the final version of the tool on these international projects first, if the English Wikipedia is not ready for it yet. This could be the beginning of a wonderful trend, where our software development efforts would no longer be driven primarily from an english-centric perspective, but embrace a more global approach instead.

Thanks in advance for any insights you can contribute to this discussion. 

All the best,



Fabrice Florin
Product Manager
Wikimedia Foundation