Stubs and how to handle them seem to be controversial still (or again),
which is rather surprising given that we have been going nearly a decade
now. I'd like to ask how many articles still are stubs, by some sensible
Points arise from that, clearly. But I'm hearing quite a lot recently
from the "glass half empty" people. You know, ten short stubs are
created, and a year later five are still stubby, five are much improved.
Are we glad to have five new substantial articles, or embarrassed to
have persistent five stubs? So has this made things proportionately
better or worse? Discuss.
From: MuZemike <muzemike(a)gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] What proportion of articles are stubs?
> To: English Wikipedia<wikien-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> And that's another problem that I am seeing more and more of. Call it
> simply being lazy, unable to write actual prose, or a combination
> thereof; but there are so many articles that get created that have only
> one (likely unsourced) sentence, a pretty infobox, a pretty navbox, a
> table, categories, and what other (stub) templates there.
> I would claim that infoboxes are the biggest culprit in that they are
> being substituted for "actual prose". If an article creator only has one
> actual sentence of prose to put forth, that is not much, and I would
> claim sheer laziness in the article creator's part.
> Especially with these stubs on locations, when you cannot provide any
> more information on a location than what would normally be presented in
> an organized list or even an atlas or map, one wonders if writing about
> a location in the form of an encyclopedia article is the most efficient
> way to go.
Another thing to consider is that not everyone can write in English, but
they *can* take an article from the wikipedia in their language and bash
something together in English, and if they can fill in the data from a
standardized infobox, there is an article which provides a lot more than
[[foo]] is a town in [[bar]]. It's not necessarily laziness if there is
a lack of prose in an article.
I don't speak Polish, Italian, or Swedish at all, and not much French or
Spanish, yet I have managed to create a couple of US city articles on
all of these wikipedias. (By way of example, six of the other language
Wikipedia articles on [[Sebring, Florida]] were started by me.) All of
them have an infobox, a weather chart, and appropriate categories, a
mention of [[Sebring International Raceway]] and the [[12 hours of
Sebring]] (which usually already had articles), and many of them have a
translation of the Rambot boilerplate paragraph (if had had been
translated on another US city article, which allowed me to plug in the
correct numbers), and include links to the US Census Bureau population
estimates data as references. While it is not much more than an atlas,
it *is* more, and once the article is created it is easy for other users
to expand it.
On 24 November 2010 08:40, Charles Matthews
> On 23/11/2010 11:15, David Gerard wrote:
>> I meant, of course, a fork of Citizendium. Buh.
> The knives seem to be out for the fork of (fork of WP). As you say, if
> Tendrl is CC-by-SA it's all good, in terms of spooning content around.
> Apart from noting that social dynamics of the uneasy kind is not
> confined to our own shores, is there anything to do here?
I've pointed out they'll need more differentiation than another
slightly-tweaked set of rules.
As such, I declare it: time for the "differentiation from Wikipedia"
thread again! What could a general encyclopedia project do to
differentiate itself from Wikipedia and gain a niche?
* Put data in in such a way that it can be easily manipulated and
redisplayed. (Semantic MediaWiki or similar.)
* University affiliation such that an "expert" policy doesn't result
in the cranks flooding in waving pieces of paper. The result might end
up just a Wikipedia feeder in effect, but it may provide a good
environment for the writers that might actually produce something.
What else? Pick a problem with Wikipedia and a solution to it that
hasn't already failed.
I wanted to take a moment to bring you up to date on the planning of
the 2010-2011 fundraiser, and ask once again for your participation in
the process. Our updated meta pages (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fundraising_2010
) will give you an overview as well. There's a lot of information
here, because we've made huge progress: I hope you'll take the time to
read it and join in the planning for the fundraiser.
There's no doubt about it: the appeal from Jimmy Wales is a strong
message. We've tested it head-to-head against other banners, and the
results  are unequivocal - especially when you also compare its
performance last year and the year before.
But nobody wants to just put Jimmy up on the sites and leave him up
for two months!
So we're issuing a challenge: Find the banner that will beat Jimmy.
Data informed conclusions
Here's the trick:
We have to make our decisions based on the facts, not our instinct.
Please read the summaries below for really important details from our
focus group and survey of past donors.
Wikimedia conducted a focus group of past donors in the New York City
area in September 2010. It's important to note that this was a single
focus group, and in a single city. We'll need to do more to make sure
that results correlate universally. But we came out of it with a few
important take-away points. It's important to realize that these
points reflect ONLY donors - they should not be read as a wider
feeling about mission or strategic direction - they're messaging
points to help us refine and deliver the best messages possible.
** The most powerful image is of Wikipedia as a global community of
people who freely share their knowledge and self-police the product.
For everyone who participated, the idea of a global community of
people sharing knowledge that is accessible to anyone who wants it
free of charge is incredibly powerful. Respondents in this group were
highly unlikely to be editors themselves; most consider themselves
users. They love the idea of the community and want to support it, but
they are reluctant to put themselves out there by being more than a
user and a donor.
** Keeping the projects ad-free is a powerful motivator.
Respondents were unanimous that keeping Wiki[m\p]edia ad free should
be a priority, even if it meant that Wiki[m\p]edia would be
approaching them for money more often. Accepting paid ads could
corrupt the values and discourage the free flow of information.
** Independence is critically important.
These respondents consume a lot of media, and they place a high
premium on the free flow of information. They have little patience
for “sponsored” news or information that excludes other perspectives.
The Wikimedia model of openness and community engagement facilitates
** It’s a cause because it’s a tool.
This may sound a bit like a chicken/egg argument, but it’s actually an
important nuance. These folks use Wikimedia every day for things from
simple curiosities to serious research. So it’s a tool that lets them
get what they need. But it has grown to 17 million articles in 270
languages. Because it has that kind of depth and it reaches so many
people around the world, it’s worth protecting what the community so
successfully built. And that makes it a cause too.
** Growing isn’t always a good thing, when positioning for donors.
Like many tech savvy folks, our respondents are a suspicious lot. The
idea of Wikimedia growing brings up concerns about what Wikimedia
would become, and fears about the path of companies like Facebook.
It’s not just a privacy concern; it’s a concern about what would
happen to the democratic model of Wikimedia inside a growth strategy.
Supporting the organic growth of the community doesn’t raise the same
** Supporters strongly reject any agenda being attached to Wikimedia,
even when that agenda would extend the current offerings.
An agenda implies ownership, and respondents feel pretty strongly that
the community owns Wikipedia. They think of Wikipedia as an organic
thing, not like a typical nonprofit, and any attempt to steer it would
disrupt that. Community support is one of the key values, and not
everyone in the community would support new initiatives.
** There is room to fundraise more aggressively.
Across the board, respondents were surprised that they didn’t have the
opportunity to give to Wikimedia more often. Obviously, there is a
balance and a PBS-style solicitation schedule wouldn’t make sense both
for Wikimedia’s personality and for this audience, but there is much
more space available than we are taking.
** Wikimedia donors are highly suspicious of marketing gimmicks.
Simple, direct messages are likely to work best. Jimmy’s message
worked not so much because he was the founder, but because it was a
simple plea for support delivered authentically.
As we know, that’s something that also needs quantitative testing to
prove. Sometimes donor response in a focus group and donor activity
don’t line up exactly. But, some things already line up with early
tests. The more gimmicky the banner, the less likely it is to drive
donations even if it increases clicks.
Reaction to banners like “572 have donated in New York today” also
raised concerns about privacy – not a good reaction in an already
suspicious audience. Appeals to “keep us growing” or that highlight a
contributor’s work raise earlier concerns about an agenda.
Donor Survey Highlights
Wikimedia produced a random sample of 20,000 individuals from the much
larger number of individuals, from many countries, contributing less
than $1000 between November 1 2009 and June 30 2010. These individuals
were invited to participate in a 29 item (but around 70 question)
survey. 3760 agreed to participate, and the survey was conducted in
August 2010. The participants probably differ from those who declined
in ways that are associated with survey answers. Hence the respondents
do not represent an entirely representative sample of the < $1000
The survey participants are committed to Wiki[p/m]edia, visiting it
frequently. They say that they are very likely to donate again, and
they support all the survey-mentioned reasons for donation. They were
not aware of Wikipedia chapters. A majority of respondents did not
appear greatly concerned about possible threats to Wikipedia’s identity.
About 1/3 of these individuals have edited, though not frequently.
Those who express more support for Wikimedia as a cause appear more
prone to edit. Those who have not contributed in this way say mostly
that they haven’t thought about it--suggesting that they haven’t
really considered the possibility—or that they don’t have time.
Europeans and the highly educated especially stress lack of time.
Some subgroup differences were found within the sample. The likelihood
of writing or editing does vary a bit by subgroup, for example.
Overall, however, responses did not vary greatly by subgroup, whether
“demographic” (nationality, education, sex) or behavioral (e.g.,
degree of on-line activity).
* The full details of the survey can be found at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FR_Donor_survey_report.pdf
* A short overview can be found at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Donor_survey_report_excerpts.pdf
Chapters will receive the specifics of how we will work with them
through their fundraising contacts which were designated on the
fundraising survey, in order to keep the information communicated here
to the essentials.
We have been testing for ten weeks now, and are really pleased with
the progress that the tech team has made with new tools to support the
fundraiser. Geotargetting appears to work now, and we are currently
testing a 1 step versus 2 step donation process. We will have solid
test results this week, we believe. In all, we believe that we are -
technically and message-wise - in a really good position. We're
working out kinks, definitely, but we're working them out before the
fundraiser starts, so that we can maximize the dollar-earning
potential of every day that we have banners up.
We need you
From the very beginning, Zack charged me with presenting the most
collaborative fundraiser yet. I'm thrilled at the level of
involvement from the community, in everything from banner creation to
testing structure, to design, to actually sitting on our test
fundraisers with us in virtual conferences and being a full
participating member of the team. We're reporting out frequently, and
trying very hard to engage with members of the community. We have
dedicated staff who are outreaching to our various language wikis in
an attempt to get ever more broad participation. I strongly encourage
you to join in the discussions at the meta pages about the
fundraiser: /http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FR2010. Your involvement
is not just appreciated - it's crucial.
Thanks for sticking through this email - join us in discussion and
help us beat the Jimmy appeal!
 - http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fundraising_2010/Banner_testing#Test_six_
Head of Reader Relations
Imagine a world in which every human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
I am working on a suggested set of guidelines for improving the poor
quality of the kosovo geographical articles while avoiding edit wars.
I wrote up a summary here and would appreciate any comments and support.
Basically my points are :
0. There is no point in trying to rename the funny characters in the
serbian named articles, but we can hope to improve the quality in
1. we need to make sure the english language articles are useful for
English speaking people dealing with albanian and serbian names.
2. we need to get rid of the POV forking of the Districts of Kosovo in
Serbia. We dont need parallel articles describing the same
3. I need an agreement from the serbian wikipedia team that they will
not continue to remove the albanian names from the articles, we need
to encourage more local kosovar editors and I have been recruiting
many of them.
I have send this mail to the list before, but it did not get through.
We should setup a wikipedia mailing list for the albanian language
editors, can someone help with that?
James Michael DuPont
Member of Free Libre Open Source Software Kosova and Albania
As a few of you know, I have a fellowship in the Wikimedia
Foundation's Community Department, working for Chief Community Officer
Zack Exley on a variety of projects. One of these projects is making
Wikipedia's 10th anniversary one to remember by supporting you
(Wikimedians) who want to celebrate online and off.
To that end, we've opened up a new space for collaboration at http://ten.wikipedia.org/
. Many thanks to the editors who've already showed up to participate,
and to the Signpost for covering the launch of the site.
For who haven't had a chance to explore it yet, we started the wiki
for four core activities, which are outlined in our FAQ (http://ten.wikipedia.org/wiki/FAQ
). They are:
1. Gathering a single, detailed list of events that we can point
interested people to.
2. Hosting some interesting ways to reflect on the anniversary online,
across Wikipedia communities. If you have ideas for celebrating, this
is the place to share them.
3. Providing resources for organizers, including a press kit, freely-
licensed designs that can be localized, and instructions on how to get
a free set of t-shirts, stickers, buttons etc. for your event.
4. A place to document everything. This wiki will be a great place to
look back and see what we did to celebrate our first double digit
Hopefully that gives you a better idea of what we're working on. As
usual, please be bold and join in!
If you have questions that can't be answered on the wiki or mailing
list (https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikix-l), I am your
best point of contact. I'd especially like to encourage current or
potential event organizers to get in touch.
Thanks for reading,
[[User:Steven (WMF)]] on ten.wikipedia.org