[crossposted to Foundation-l and WikiEN-l]
Can someone please correct the following errors in the English
Wikipedia's blackout notice?
internet -> Internet
zip code -> ZIP code
(I apologize if this message appears twice. My fist attempt appeared
Well I just saw the banner and found out about this blackout. I'm very
surprised that I couldn't find an announcement on this list that the
discussion had been taking place!
Since this thing was railroaded through in just 72 hours (gee, why couldn't
we have done that for Pending Changes?) I guess it's a bit pointless to
voice my opinon as it's a moot point- but I will anyway.
My reaction to the announcement was that it was like someone shutting off a
public utility! Not as bad as shutting off the electricity, but a big
P.I.T.A. like having the water shut off!
Wikipedia is more than just any other website- people use it in their daily
lives at home and at work. I fear this step will do more harm than good- to
both the project and to the people who use it.
Sent from my Droid2
Elias Friedman A.S., CCEMT-P
אליהו מתתיהו בן צבי
I have just completed and written up a little research project of mine:
1. Talk pages are where references/links/citations go to die; less
than 10% ever make it back
2. In just the sampled edits, millions of page-views are affected
3. Conclusion: putting references/links/citations in an Article's Talk
page is a bad idea (compared to External Links)
Numbers, source code, and lists of edits are provided in the link.
Cross-posted since results available are from English Wikipedia first.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Steven Walling <swalling(a)wikimedia.org>
Date: Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Subject: Updates on our template work at WMF
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <foundation-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
Maryana Pinchuk and I wanted to spread the word that, similar to the
fundraiser, we will be collecting the results from all our experiments with
various communities on Meta.
We're currently testing new user talk templates with community members from
English, Portuguese, and German, have published several English Wikipedia
results, and we expect to have more English and Portuguese results up very
Each project has its own documentation pages for this project, but we hope
putting results in one place on Meta can help the different communities
share lessons from their testing. If you have any questions about the
results or the testing process, please let us know on-wiki.
The page to follow for all these results is:
Community Organizer at Wikimedia Foundation
Community Organizer at Wikimedia Foundation
Just keeping you in the loop; we're going to be testing another change to
the Article Feedback Tool on starting tomorrow, January 10. So far, we've
done a bit of small-scale experimentation with the actual design of the
tool, as announced on the blog, the village pump, and on various
mailing lists. This has all been on a tiny fraction of articles (~22k total
articles, about 0.6% of the English Wikipedia), and a lot of really useful
data has been gathered without bothering the vast majority of editors or
readers. Ideally, that's what we'd aim for with all tests :).
Even with Wikipedia readership reaching half a billion users per month, the
feedback form its current position (at the end of the article) doesn’t see
a whole lot of activity . In this test, we’ll be experimenting with a
more prominent way to access to tool. When a user loads the page with the
test version of the Article Feedback Tool, they will see an “Improve this
article” link docked on the bottom right hand corner of the page (please
see  for a mockup). Since this link is docked, it will stay with the
reader while they’re reading the article. The introduction of this link
will undoubtedly increase the amount of feedback. We need to, however,
understand how it affects the quality of the feedback. We genuinely don't
know what the impact will be, which is why we're doing these tests :). As
with the last tests, it'll be on a very small subset of articles and
probably won't be noticed by most people.
If you do encounter it, and it does bug you, you can turn it off just by
going into Preferences > Appearance > Don't show me the article feedback
widget on pages. If you've already ticked this option, the new link
shouldn't appear at all; please do let me know if it does. We are working
on a way to disable it "in-line" as well so you can simply dismiss the link
without going to preferences.
We’ll also be doing some preliminary analysis on whether such a prominent
link cannibalizes editing behavior. The team is very aware that the new
link may compete with the edit tab and section edit links. Since the test
version of the tool is deployed on a limited number of articles, we will
only get a rough read on how much, if any, cannibalization takes place.
Per our research plan, we’ll continue to monitor the tradeoff between
giving feedback and editing.
If any of you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me or
drop a note on
 Overall activity for current version (AFT4) :
http://toolserver.org/~dartar/aft/; Activity for United States, one of the
most frequently rated articles:
Community Liaison, Product Development
http://arxiv.org/abs/1112.3670 "Echoes of power: Language effects and
power differences in social interaction", abstract:
> Understanding social interaction within groups is key to analyzing online communities. Most current work focuses on structural properties: who talks to whom, and how such interactions form larger network structures. The interactions themselves, however, generally take place in the form of natural language --- either spoken or written --- and one could reasonably suppose that signals manifested in language might also provide information about roles, status, and other aspects of the group's dynamics. To date, however, finding such domain-independent language-based signals has been a challenge.
> Here, we show that in group discussions power differentials between participants are subtly revealed by how much one individual immediately echoes the linguistic style of the person they are responding to. Starting from this observation, we propose an analysis framework based on linguistic coordination that can be used to shed light on power relationships and that works consistently across multiple types of power --- including a more "static" form of power based on status differences, and a more "situational" form of power in which one individual experiences a type of dependence on another. Using this framework, we study how conversational behavior can reveal power relationships in two very different settings: discussions among Wikipedians and arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court.
>From the paper proper:
> Status change. Wikipedians can be promoted to administrator status through a public election, and almost always after extensive prior involvement in the community. Since we track the communications of editors over time, we can examine how linguistic coordination behavior changes when a Wikipedian becomes an “admin”. To our knowledge, our study is the first to analyze the effects of status change on specific forms of language use.
> Users are promoted to admins through a transparent election process known as requests for adminship4 , or RfAs, where the community decides who will become admins. Since RfAs are well documented and timestamped, not only do we have the current status of editors, we can also extract the exact time when editors underwent role changes from non-admins to admins.
> Textual exchanges. Editors on Wikipedia interact on talk pages5 to discuss changes to article or project pages. We gathered 240,436 conversational exchanges carried out on the talk pages, where the participants of these (asynchonous) discussions were associated with rich status and social interaction information: status, timestamp of status change if there is one, as well as activity level on talk pages, which can serve as a proxy of their sociability, or how socially inclined they are. In addition, there is a discussion phase during RfAs, where users “give their opinions, ask questions, and make comments” over an open nomination. Candidates can reply to existing posts during this time. We also extracted conversations that occurred in RfA discussions, and obtained a total of 32,000 conversational exchanges. Most of our experiments were carried out on the larger dataset extracted from talk pages, unless otherwise noted. (The dataset will be distributed publicly.)
> We measure the linguistic style of a person by their usage of function words that have little lexical meaning, thereby marking style rather than content. For consistency with prior work, we employed the nine LIWC-derived categories  deemed to be processed by humans in a generally non-conscious fashion . The nine categories are: articles, auxiliary verbs, conjunctions, high-frequency adverbs, impersonal pronouns, negations, personal pronouns, prepositions, and quanti-
fiers (451 lexemes total).
Results, starting page 5:
> ...communication behavior on Wikipedia provides evidence for hypothesis Ptarget : users coordinate more toward the (higher-powered) admins than toward the non-admins (Figure 1(a)12 ).
> In the other direction, however, when comparing admins and non-admins as speakers, the data provides evidence that is initially at odds with Pspeaker : as illustrated in Figure 1(b), admins coordinate to other people more than non-admins do (while the hypothesis predicted that they would coordinate less).13 We now explore some of the subtleties underlying this result, showing how it arises as a superposition of two effects.
> One possible explanations for the inconsistency of our observations with Pspeaker is the effect of personal characteristics suggested in Hypothesis B from Section 2. Specifically, admin status was not conferred arbitrarily on a set of users; rather, admins are those people who sought out this higher status and succeeded in achieving it. It is thus natural to suppose that, as a group, they may have distinguishing individual traits that are reflected in their level of language coordination.
> ...to investigate whether the effects observed in Figure 1(b) are purely tied to status, we look at communication differences between these same two populations over time periods when there was no status difference between them: we compare the set of admins-to-be — future admins before they were promoted via their RfA — with non-admins. Figure 2(a) shows that the same differences in language coordination were already present in these two populations — hence, they are not an effect of status alone, since they were visible before the former population ever achieved its increase in status.
> One way to separate the second issue from the first is to look at differences in coordination between users who were promoted (admins-to-be), and those who went through the RfA process but were denied admin status (failed-to-be). Both admins-to-be and failed-to-be had the ambition to become admins, but only members of the former group were successful. We investigate coordination differnces between these two groups during a period when their adminship ambitions are arguably most salient: during the discussions in each user’s own RfA process. Figure 2(b) shows that even in the conversations they had on their RfA pages, the admins-to-be were coordinating more to the others than the failed-to-be, providing evidence for a strong form of Hypothesis B.
> ... it is interesting to note that the most dramatic change in coordination is visible in the second month after the change in status occurred. This suggests a period of accommodation to the newly gained status, both for the person that undergoes the change and for those witnessing it.
> To study Pspeaker, we create two populations for comparison: the interactions of each admin before his or her promotion via RfA (i.e., when they were admins-to-be), and the interactions of each admin after his or her respective promotion. Figure 3(a) shows how the resulting comparison confirms Pspeaker : admins-to-be decrease their level of coordination once they gain power.14 Interestingly, the reverse seems to be true for failed-to-be: after failing in their RfAs — an event that arguably reinforces their failure to achieve high status in the community — they coordinate more (p-value 0.05; we omit the figure due to space limitations.)
So, suck-ups tend to pass RfA more often than those who don't suck up
to whom they are talking to. An interesting analysis, altogether.
Hey guys and girls
As usual, the AFT5 team will be holding an office hours session this week;
Friday the 13th, despite the unfortunate associations, at 19:00 UTC in
#wikimedia-office. This'll be the first chance for everyone (including me!)
to take a look at a working, useable wireframe for the feedback page and to
provide feedback (hah) on it. Hope to see you all there :).
Community Liaison, Product Development