This paper (first reference) is the result of a class project I was part of
almost two years ago for CSCI 5417 Information Retrieval Systems. It builds
on a class project I did in CSCI 5832 Natural Language Processing and which
I presented at Wikimania '07. The project was very late as we didn't send
the final paper in until the day before new years. This technical report was
never really announced that I recall so I thought it would be interesting to
look briefly at the results. The goal of this paper was to break articles
down into surface features and latent features and then use those to study
the rating system being used, predict article quality and rank results in a
search engine. We used the [[random forests]] classifier which allowed us to
analyze the contribution of each feature to performance by looking directly
at the weights that were assigned. While the surface analysis was performed
on the whole english wikipedia, the latent analysis was performed on the
simple english wikipedia (it is more expensive to compute). = Surface
features = * Readability measures are the single best predictor of quality
that I have found, as defined by the Wikipedia Editorial Team (WET). The
[[Automated Readability Index]], [[Gunning Fog Index]] and [[Flesch-Kincaid
Grade Level]] were the strongest predictors, followed by length of article
html, number of paragraphs, [[Flesh Reading Ease]], [[Smog Grading]], number
of internal links, [[Laesbarhedsindex Readability Formula]], number of words
and number of references. Weakly predictive were number of to be's, number
of sentences, [[Coleman-Liau Index]], number of templates, PageRank, number
of external links, number of relative links. Not predictive (overall - see
the end of section 2 for the per-rating score breakdown): Number of h2 or
h3's, number of conjunctions, number of images*, average word length, number
of h4's, number of prepositions, number of pronouns, number of interlanguage
links, average syllables per word, number of nominalizations, article age
(based on page id), proportion of questions, average sentence length. :*
Number of images was actually by far the single strongest predictor of any
class, but only for Featured articles. Because it was so good at picking out
featured articles and somewhat good at picking out A and G articles the
classifier was confused in so many cases that the overall contribution of
this feature to classification performance is zero. :* Number of external
links is strongly predictive of Featured articles. :* The B class is highly
distinctive. It has a strong "signature," with high predictive value
assigned to many features. The Featured class is also very distinctive. F, B
and S (Stop/Stub) contain the most information.
:* A is the least distinct class, not being very different from F or G. =
Latent features = The algorithm used for latent analysis, which is an
analysis of the occurence of words in every document with respect to the
link structure of the encyclopedia ("concepts"), is [[Latent Dirichlet
Allocation]]. This part of the analysis was done by CS PhD student Praful
Mangalath. An example of what can be done with the result of this analysis
is that you provide a word (a search query) such as "hippie". You can then
look at the weight of every article for the word hippie. You can pick the
article with the largest weight, and then look at its link network. You can
pick out the articles that this article links to and/or which link to this
article that are also weighted strongly for the word hippie, while also
contributing maximally to this articles "hippieness". We tried this query in
our system (LDA), Google (site:en.wikipedia.org hippie), and the Simple
English Wikipedia's Lucene search engine. The breakdown of articles occuring
in the top ten search results for this word for those engines is: * LDA
only: [[Acid rock]], [[Aldeburgh Festival]], [[Anne Murray]], [[Carl
Radle]], [[Harry Nilsson]], [[Jack Kerouac]], [[Phil Spector]], [[Plastic
Ono Band]], [[Rock and Roll]], [[Salvador Allende]], [[Smothers brothers]],
[[Stanley Kubrick]]. * Google only: [[Glam Rock]], [[South Park]]. * Simple
only: [[African Americans]], [[Charles Manson]], [[Counterculture]], [[Drug
use]], [[Flower Power]], [[Nuclear weapons]], [[Phish]], [[Sexual
liberation]], [[Summer of Love]] * LDA & Google & Simple: [[Hippie]],
[[Human Be-in]], [[Students for a democratic society]], [[Woodstock
festival]] * LDA & Google: [[Psychedelic Pop]] * Google & Simple: [[Lysergic
acid diethylamide]], [[Summer of Love]] ( See the paper for the articles
produced for the keywords philosophy and economics ) = Discussion /
Conclusion = * The results of the latent analysis are totally up to your
perception. But what is interesting is that the LDA features predict the WET
ratings of quality just as well as the surface level features. Both feature
sets (surface and latent) both pull out all almost of the information that
the rating system bears. * The rating system devised by the WET is not
distinctive. You can best tell the difference between, grouped together,
Featured, A and Good articles vs B articles. Featured, A and Good articles
are also quite distinctive (Figure 1). Note that in this study we didn't
look at Start's and Stubs, but in earlier paper we did. :* This is
interesting when compared to this recent entry on the YouTube blog. "Five
Stars Dominate Ratings"
I think a sane, well researched (with actual subjects) rating system
well within the purview of the Usability Initiative. Helping people find and
create good content is what Wikipedia is all about. Having a solid rating
system allows you to reorganized the user interface, the Wikipedia
namespace, and the main namespace around good content and bad content as
needed. If you don't have a solid, information bearing rating system you
don't know what good content really is (really bad content is easy to spot).
:* My Wikimania talk was all about gathering data from people about articles
and using that to train machines to automatically pick out good content. You
ask people questions along dimensions that make sense to people, and give
the machine access to other surface features (such as a statistical measure
of readability, or length) and latent features (such as can be derived from
document word occurence and encyclopedia link structure). I referenced page
262 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to give an example of the
kind of qualitative features I would ask people. It really depends on what
features end up bearing information, to be tested in "the lab". Each word is
an example dimension of quality: We have "*unity, vividness, authority,
economy, sensitivity, clarity, emphasis, flow, suspense, brilliance,
precision, proportion, depth and so on.*" You then use surface and latent
features to predict these values for all articles. You can also say, when a
person rates this article as high on the x scale, they also mean that it has
has this much of these surface and these latent features.
= References =
- DeHoust, C., Mangalath, P., Mingus., B. (2008). *Improving search in
Wikipedia through quality and concept discovery*. Technical Report.
- Rassbach, L., Mingus., B, Blackford, T. (2007). *Exploring the
feasibility of automatically rating online article quality*. Technical
I have asked and received permission to forward to you all this most
excellent bit of news.
The linguist list, is a most excellent resource for people interested in the
field of linguistics. As I mentioned some time ago they have had a funding
drive and in that funding drive they asked for a certain amount of money in
a given amount of days and they would then have a project on Wikipedia to
learn what needs doing to get better coverage for the field of linguistics.
What you will read in this mail that the total community of linguists are
asked to cooperate. I am really thrilled as it will also get us more
linguists interested in what we do. My hope is that a fraction will be
interested in the languages that they care for and help it become more
relevant. As a member of the "language prevention committee", I love to get
more knowledgeable people involved in our smaller projects. If it means that
we get more requests for more projects we will really feel embarrassed with
all the new projects we will have to approve because of the quality of the
Incubator content and the quality of the linguistic arguments why we should
approve yet another language :)
NB Is this not a really clever way of raising money; give us this much in
this time frame and we will then do this as a bonus...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: LINGUIST Network <linguist(a)linguistlist.org>
Date: Jun 18, 2007 6:53 PM
Subject: 18.1831, All: Call for Participation: Wikipedia Volunteers
LINGUIST List: Vol-18-1831. Mon Jun 18 2007. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.
Subject: 18.1831, All: Call for Participation: Wikipedia Volunteers
Moderators: Anthony Aristar, Eastern Michigan U <aristar(a)linguistlist.org>
Helen Aristar-Dry, Eastern Michigan U <hdry(a)linguistlist.org>
Reviews: Laura Welcher, Rosetta Project
The LINGUIST List is funded by Eastern Michigan University,
and donations from subscribers and publishers.
Editor for this issue: Ann Sawyer <sawyer(a)linguistlist.org>
To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at
From: Hannah Morales < hannah(a)linguistlist.org >
Subject: Wikipedia Volunteers
-------------------------Message 1 ----------------------------------
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 12:49:35
From: Hannah Morales < hannah(a)linguistlist.org >
Subject: Wikipedia Volunteers
As you may recall, one of our Fund Drive 2007 campaigns was called the
"Wikipedia Update Vote." We asked our viewers to consider earmarking their
donations to organize an update project on linguistics entries in the
English-language Wikipedia. You can find more background information on this
The speed with which we met our goal, thanks to the interest and generosity
our readers, was a sure sign that the linguistics community was enthusiastic
about the idea. Now that summer is upon us, and some of you may have a bit
leisure time, we are hoping that you will be able to help us get started on
Wikipedia project. The LINGUIST List's role in this project is a purely
organizational one. We will:
*Help, with your input, to identify major gaps in the Wikipedia materials or
pages that need improvement;
*Compile a list of linguistics pages that Wikipedia editors have identified
"in need of attention from an expert on the subject" or " does not cite any
references or sources," etc;
*Send out periodical calls for volunteer contributors on specific topics or
*Provide simple instructions on how to upload your entries into Wikipedia;
*Keep track of our project Wikipedians;
*Keep track of revisions and new entries;
*Work with Wikimedia Foundation to publicize the linguistics community's
We hope you are as enthusiastic about this effort as we are. Just to help us
get started looking at Wikipedia more critically, and to easily identify an
needing improvement, we suggest that you take a look at the List of
Many people are not listed there; others need to have more facts and
added. If you would like to participate in this exciting update effort,
respond by sending an email to LINGUIST Editor Hannah Morales at
hannah(a)linguistlist.org, suggesting what your role might be or which
entries you feel should be updated or added. Some linguists who saw our
on the Internet have already written us with specific suggestions, which we
share with you soon.
This update project will take major time and effort on all our parts. The
result will be a much richer internet resource of information on the breadth
depth of the field of linguistics. Our efforts should also stimulate
students to consider studying linguistics and to educate a wider public on
we do. Please consider participating.
Editor, Wikipedia Update Project
Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable
LINGUIST List: Vol-18-1831
I was the [[:m:User:555]], mainly active on the last years of my volunteers
actions on Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource. I've left the Wikimedia
projects mainly because the lack of energy from my side to keep trying to
get free time to work in projects fully neglected by the Wikimedia staff,
developers team and some volunteers in the core of the Foundaction acts.
A friend told me about the http://labs.wikimedia.beta.wmflabs.org/ . I've
surprise! no Wikisource wikis with blue color links! I asked myself
random things about the [[bug:21653]] lasted for 26 months until gets
PARTIALLY fixed and decided to check some 'Recent changes' pages and found
Come on guys! What is the point to run a bot spamming on all wikis if the
tests are only to the Wikipedias? Attempt of a 'politically correct' action
to these worse guys from others projects get's 'socially included'? Like in
the real life, those worse guys aren't in need of assistencialism 
Well, I don't expect any change on the Wikipediocentric actions in short,
medium or long time (in fact the Foundation and some local chapters are
trying to make things for the Wikimedia Commons project, but only because
that project is the central media source for Wikipedias), this was only a
Despite my apparently hatred on this message, I really hope that the 3-4
extensions only enabled on Wikisources wikis don't get's any aditional bugs
than the current ones in the new version of MediaWiki in the same intensity
that your guys hopes that focusing in a project that only describes the
knowledge in an encyclopedic way fully meets the
 - wow, a concept from social sciences yet not defined neither on
en.wikpedia or en.wiktionary? O_O
As on all of my previous messages, sorry for my limited English skills.
[ Please excuse me if the subject has already been beaten to
death here; I am not a regular visitor to this mailing list
I tried to search for this stuff here & on strategywiki, but
feel free to point me to the archives! ]
I researched recently some material related to a recent catastrophic
event in Polish railway history and I found out that volunteers
who traditionally dealt with railway matters on Polish Wikipedia
have virtually disappeared.
I remember that community being strong few years ago, and now we
found out that even some basic information about infrastructure is
Few people who still maintain that stuff on the Polish Wikipedia
showed me that at least two other MediaWiki-based projects have been
started to fill the gap:  The latter greets you even with a very
nice shot of *the* railway junction that was instrumental in a recent
One of the projects got started by experienced Wikipedia
editors. They still copy some of their content to the Polish
Wikipedia, but only after it matures; I asked them about the
reasons to go outside of the Wikipedia and they said:
* They have to do lots of original research; it is impossible
to follow development of the railway infrastructure and
operations using only high quality published sources;
* They got bitten a bit by the "notability" discussions in their
field; they want to document every track, every junction
and every locomotive and they are tired of discussing
how "notable" a particular piece of railway equipment
I would have said it's just a single case, but I've seen
some successful web portals being launched by people interested
in history; what is different from many history research and
fan pages is that I've also seen some active members of Wikipedia
community becoming more and more active on those independent sites.
It might be that (unproven theory) really valuable authors
are living on a verge of original research; at some point
they might prefer to turn over to indepedent sites.
There may be other factors too: smaller, friendlier community;
possibility to start anew and so on.
As few of those sites are using MediaWiki software I started
to call them "pre-wikis". Some of them might become a sort of
a "waiting rooms" for the content to be published
on "mature" Wikipedia. To me, analogy to the Wikipedia-Nupedia
story is striking.
What's interesting is that people are not afraid to use
MediaWiki *again* (with all its well-known deficiencies).
In general, I think this is nothing new. There are thousands
of fan wikis on places like Wikia, where certainly some
contributors copy over some mature content to Wikipedia,
should licensing allow that.
But maybe there is some trend that could probably be
better researched, and here are my questions to you:
(1) Do you see similar trend in your respective communities
(preferably not only English-speaking ones)?
(2) Is there a legitimate need for multi-tiered
development of the knowledge-related content (test
wikis, "pre-wikis", sighted revisions) or shall we pursue
"flat development space" ideal?
(3) Assuming we find the abovemetioned trend to be
generally a good thing, shouldn't we try to research
some methodologies to find out whether there is sizeable
effort supporting our goals outside of the core Wikimedia
(4) Assuming we don't like what's going on, shouldn't
we revisit some of Wikipedia core values (like "no
original research", but not only) and try to address
the issue there?
(5) Has Wikipedia as a "product" achieved some
maturity in a way that the real growth and innovation needs
to go somewhere else, as no product/project lasts forever?
Maybe it's something around the question that Kim Bruning
asked on strategywiki  and also :
"we need to find some way to infuse new life
into wikis that are coming to the end of the
WikiLifeCycle. Wiki-communities can, do and will
blow up, and we need to learn how to prevent it,
or have plans on what to do and how to pick up the
User:Saper from plwiki
We currently have this public list for Wikimedia Foundation matters,
as well as a private list called "internal-l" which in practice is in
large part used for WMF/chapters discussions, because chapter board
members are added to it by default. The latter is often used for
discussions that impact community members, but neither the discussions
nor the results are always a matter of public record.
Unfortunately, the name foundation-l is also one which signals
exclusion; it pre-dates the very complex and large network of
organizations and individuals that we are today.
Others have made this suggestion before me, and I like it, so I've
tried to put it into a proposal: Let's have a public list that's
clearly named and scoped to be relevant to all Wikimedia matters.
We're too big and too complicated to fit comfortably under the
"Foundation" umbrella any longer.
That new list wouldn't be intended to replace foundation-l (which
would continue to be used for matters strictly related to the
Wikimedia Foundation) or to internal-l (which may have some legitimate
uses, although I personally find it unnecessary and unsubscribed from
The full proposal is here:
I'd appreciate your thoughts and comments here or on-wiki.
I sent the note below to the staff and board a few hours ago: sharing
now with everyone :-)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sue Gardner <sgardner(a)wikimedia.org>
Date: 20 March 2012 19:17
Subject: Announcement: New editor engagement experiments team!
To: Staff All <wmfall(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
A couple of changes at the Wikimedia Foundation that I want you to know about.
Everybody knows that reversing stagnating/declining participation in
Wikimedia’s projects is our top priority. To make better progress, as
of April 16 we're going to bring together resources from the Community
and Engineering/Product departments into a new cross-functional team
tasked specifically with conducting small, rapid experiments designed
to improve editor retention. We already know some of the fixes that
will solve the editor retention problem, and we're working to put them
in place. The purpose of *this* team will be to identify the fixes we
don't yet know about.
Separately, Zack has to move back to Missouri for family reasons. When
Zack told me about that, we agreed that it’s an extra impetus for this
new team to be launched now. This means that going forward, Zack’s
department will focus solely on fundraising, and some members of his
department will move permanently into other groups. There have been
lots of conversations about this over the past few weeks, which have
included everyone affected.
So here’s what we’re going to do:
Zack will manage fundraising remotely. He’ll continue to be part of
the C-level team, but he’ll do it from Missouri. He’ll travel back to
San Francisco frequently, and he’ll probably be here throughout the
fundraising campaign every year and spend other longer chunks of time
here when needed.
We don’t yet know what the title of Zack’s department will be, or what
Zack’s title will be. Neither Zack nor I care very much about titles,
and we are in the happy position of not particularly needing to
impress anyone -- so, we do not need fancy euphemistic titles. It
would be nice to have titles that are clear and direct and
understandable, and also to have ones that reflect the
creative/storytelling/community aspect of the fundraising team’s work.
So, we are leaving this piece open for the time being, and we’ll just
call the department “fundraising” until and unless we think of
something better. Folks with suggestions should talk with Zack. :-)
EDITOR ENGAGEMENT EXPERIMENTATION:
Reflecting the importance of editor engagement in the Wikimedia
Foundation’s strategy, we will have the following teams directly
focused on it:
**the Visual Editor group (led by Trevor as lead developer, and by
the soon-to-be hired Technical Product Analyst) which is making the
**the Editor Engagement group (led by Fabrice Florin as Product
Manager and Ian Baker as ScrumMaster) which is working on medium-term
projects improving Wikimedia’s handling of reputation/identity and of
**the new team focused on rapid experimentation, led by Karyn as
Product Manager and a to-be-hired engineering lead/ScrumMaster,
tentatively titled something like Research & Experimentation, Editor
Engagement Innovation Lab or the Rapid Experimentation Team.
Our thinking is basically this: we know the Visual Editor will help
with editor retention. We know that improving notifications,
messaging, identity and other core features of MediaWiki will help
with editor retention. But there are a handful of other smaller
projects --maybe just simple tweaks, maybe ideas that should become
fully-fledged new features-- that will also help. The purpose of the
new experimentation team will be to conduct many quick experiments,
which will identify a handful of small changes that can either be
accomplished by the team itself, or be queued up as part of our
overall product backlog.
Staff moving from the Community Dept to Engineering and Product
Development (AKA Tech) are: Karyn Gladstone, Maryana Pinchuk, Steven
Walling, and Ryan Faulkner. They will form a team tasked with rapid
experimentation to find policy, product or other changes that will
increase editor retention. Karyn will head product thinking and
maintain the experimentation backlog, reporting to Howie. Alolita will
hire and manage the engineers for this team, and will help interface
them with the rest of the engineering organization. The important
thing to know about this team is that they are being tasked with one
of our absolutely most important objectives: to figure out new ways to
increase editor engagement and retention.
Karyn will report to Howie. Maryana, Ryan Faulker, and Steven will
report to Karyn. The group has never had engineering resources
assigned to it, and it’s clear they need engineering resources.
Therefore, Alolita will work in close partnership with Karyn to
recruit an engineering team --mostly developers but also UI/design
people-- to support the new group. If you have ideas for people we
should be recruiting for this, please tell Alolita or Karyn!
Dario Taraborelli will join the editor engagement experimentation team
as senior researcher and help design the roadmap and the individual
experiments the team will run.
We don’t yet have a firm title for the experimentation team, nor do we
know yet what Karyn’s title will be, or whether other people’s titles
(like, Steven or Maryana’s) will change. The team will figure this
out, and to that end they’re kicking it around with other staff and
with some folks in the community.
As most of you know, Siko runs our fellowship program. The fellowship
program has lots of similarities to Asaf’s work on the grants program
-- they are both, at heart, about giving funding and other support to
members of the Wikimedia community to enable people to do useful work.
The community-building projects that fellows often take on line up
with some of Global Dev’s work, particularly as the fellowship program
expands its global reach. So as we’ve been talking through Zack’s move
and the implications for the Community department, it makes sense to
shift Siko to Global Development. Siko’s title remains Head of
Community Fellowships for now and she will report to Barry. Fellows
and fellowship projects are continuing as planned, and you are still
highly encouraged to keep an eye peeled for community members with
good fellowship ideas. :)
EDITOR RETENTION OVERALL:
Finally, I want to talk for a minute about editor retention overall.
As you know, we started the year with two major goals: the increase
the number of mobile pageviews to two billion, and to push up the
number of active editors to 95K. We’re doing fine on mobile reach
(yay!) but we are completely failing to move the needle on the number
of active Wikimedia editors.
That doesn’t reflect poorly on the people who work on editor
retention. It’s a complex problem that took a decade to develop, and
the team doesn’t control all the variables affecting it. It makes
sense that it will take time to fix.
But it does mean that we need to increase the resources focused on it,
so we can get more done faster. That’s what we’re doing here. We’re
reorganizing to focus our existing resources more tightly, and we’ll
also be adding new resources -- starting now, and continuing through
the 2012-13 financial planning process. And, we’re going to move
many/most of the editor-retention related people up to the 6th floor
by the collab space. I really love the model Zack developed for the
annual campaign -- the war room in Yongle, work visible on the walls
for everyone, the buzz of people working hard towards a common
purpose. I want us to have that same energy and momentum and focus for
the editor retention work.
Sorry for this long note, but I figure you will all be curious about
this and have questions, so the goal here was to anticipate everything
and get it answered up-front. This note was crafted collectively by
many people :-) If questions remain, please feel free to ask them, or
to talk with any of the individuals involved. And thanks to everyone
who contributed to creating this plan: I very much appreciate
everyone’s single-minded focus on attacking the editor retention
problem, and I look forward to future success moving the needle on it.
Everything I talk about in this mail will take effect April 16. Once
it’s in your in-box, it’s no longer confidential, and you can feel
free to talk about it publicly. I will forward it to announce-l, after
I give you a couple of hours to read it yourselves. And please join me
in congratulating the folks who are going to work on this important
new team :-)
Q What’s the impetus behind these changes?
A Two things. Mainly, we want to redouble our focus on attacking the
editor retention problem, and it makes sense for us therefore to
consolidate our efforts into a single focused mega-team. Secondarily,
Zack has decided he needs to relocate to Missouri. We had already been
talking about whether consolidation made sense -- with Zack moving,
that accelerated those conversations.
Q What’s happening to Zack?
A Zack will lead our fundraising remotely, as a C-level employee. His
title and the title of his team will change to reflect that, but no
final decisions have been made yet about what those titles will be.
Ideally we’d like to have a title for that department, and for Zack,
that reflects the storytelling aspect of their work, telling the
community’s stories to the world. But in the end we may settle for
just calling it Fundraising, if we don’t think of anything better.
Q What’s happening to the Community Department?
A We initially created a community department because it made sense to
have focused resources dedicated to understanding the community and
being a centre of expertise about it for the Wikimedia Foundation. At
the time that was the right thing to do, because although some
individual staff members had lots of community understanding, the
organization as a whole did not -- which meant it made sense for us to
focus our energy, for a time, on researching and documenting and
analysing the community. But having a Community Department was never a
perfect fit for the Wikimedia Foundation the way it is for other
internet companies, because community is not a small subset or a
single aspect of what we do at the Wikimedia Foundation --- all our
departments have interactions with community members for multiple
different purposes, and over time we have been growing specific
community expertise and responsibilities in multiple departments
throughout the organization. As expertise grew elsewhere, having a
community department became a less-good fit for us. Basically: it made
sense to have a Community Department at the time when we did it, and
it makes less sense now as the organization has matured and evolved.
Q Why are you integrating the Karyn/Ryan/Steven/Maryana group into
Engineering and Product Development?
A The goal is to create a better model for rapid
experimentation/innovation, with minimal hindrance to the work of our
active editors and maximal gain in new community members. That group
is not necessarily a perfect fit with Engineering and Product
Development, but we think that’s okay: it’s a good fit, and being in
that department will enable the team to increase its impact overall,
by giving it better access to UI/design and engineering resources.
Q How is the new product team different from Fabrice’s team?
A The new team won’t focus on critical major changes to the platform
(like the Visual Editor) or critical but equally complex projects like
improving the mechanisms by which editors communicate and collaborate
on the projects. This team will be much more fast-paced and
experimental, identifying small-scale interventions that might make an
impact on editor retention and quickly iterating through them on a
weekly (or even daily) basis. Unlike Fabrice’s team, which has a list
of projects that are known to be important and impactful, this team
will quickly cycle through a large number of ideas that have not yet
been tested in order to identify what does and doesn’t work, and what
can be integrated into existing product roadmaps.
Q Will this new team be building new features?
A No. Ideas for new features that come out of successful experiments
will be handed off to Fabrice’s team or elsewhere in engineering/tech
as is appropriate for the task.
Q What kinds of projects will this new team be working on?
A Some of our projects will be similar to the template A/B testing
conducted by Steven, Maryana, and Ryan Faulkner: small tweaks to
existing community-built systems like template messaging. Others will
focus on more innovative ways to engage new and current editors, using
notifications, task assignment, and different kinds of incentives to
keep editing. All of the projects will be temporary tests, not
permanent large-scale changes, and focus on measuring effects to
inform further decisions.
Q How can volunteers give input on this work?
A Ping Steven or Maryana.
Q Who will be in charge of this work?
A The C-level in charge of this team is Erik Moeller. The team reports
to Karyn Gladstone.
Q Where will fellowships live and how do fellows fit with other teams?
A The fellowships program will move to Global Development, but the
structure and scope of current and planned fellowships will not
change. Fellows will continue to be recruited from the community to
work on their own projects, supported by Siko Bouterse, Head of the
Q Where will other community projects live (e.g., summer
researchers/analytics, community convenings)?
A Current community department projects will be integrated into either
the new team or other teams in the organization, depending on their
purpose. Convenings of various kinds will be staged on an ad hoc basis
by multiple groups, including this one.
Q What’s happening to fundraising and storytelling?
A The fundraising team, which includes storytelling, will be managed
by Zack and will continue to operate as planned.
Q Why is this all so confusing? The Wikimedia Foundation changes
people’s titles and reporting lines all the time!
A Yes, we do :-) The Wikimedia Foundation is a pretty young
organization: it’s growing, and doing lots of experimentation. We
learn new things all the time, and we want to be able to apply what
we’re learning, which includes restructuring/reinventing ourselves. If
we were a hundred-year-old organization, or if we had tens of
thousands of employees, it would be hard for us to adapt and change,
because there would be too many layers of people who would need to be
involved, and the downstream implications of even small changes would
be serious. That’s a problem for big/old organizations, because it
limits their adaptability. Luckily, at this point the Wikimedia
Foundation is still small enough and young enough that we can afford
to be reasonably flexible. That said, we know that this kind of change
can be confusing for people who aren’t involved (at a minimum, it’s
one more long e-mail to read), so we appreciate everybody’s patience
Q How can I join this team?
A We’re hiring! We’re looking for more experienced editors to help us
design experiments, track results, and communicate what we’re doing.
We are also looking for strong front-and back-end developers to deploy
experiments. If you’re interested in working with us, please check out
available positions on the Wikimedia Foundation jobs page:
415 839 6885 office
415 816 9967 cell
Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
Please note: all replies sent to this mailing list will be immediately directed to Foundation-L, the public mailing list about the Wikimedia Foundation and its projects. For more information about Foundation-L:
WikimediaAnnounce-l mailing list
Next week the Wikidata team will be complete and start working at full
speed. Finally! \o/ I will be holding the first round of Wikidata
office hours next week. You're all invited to ask questions and
discuss. If you can't attend there will be logs.
* 4. April, German, in #wikimedia-wikidata on freenode, 4:30pm UTC
for different time zones)
* 5. April, English, in #wikimedia-wikidata on freenode, 4:30pm UTC
for different time zones)
I plan to offer these regularly. My (virtual) door is open outside
these office hours as well of course ;-)
Lydia Pintscher - http://about.me/lydia.pintscher
Community Communications for Wikidata
Wikimedia Deutschland e.V.
Eisenacher Straße 2
Wikimedia Deutschland - Gesellschaft zur Förderung Freien Wissens e. V.
Eingetragen im Vereinsregister des Amtsgerichts Berlin-Charlottenburg
unter der Nummer 23855 Nz. Als gemeinnützig anerkannt durch das
Finanzamt für Körperschaften I Berlin, Steuernummer 27/681/51985.
Through reports in the German Television I was made aware of the WikiData
project. This sounds really interesting. I could also find the press
announcement online. There was a reference to the European Union Project,
which seemed to be instrumental to kick this off: http://render-project.eu,
and I was surprised that such diverse entities were behind this: Google in
Ireland, Telefonica in Spain, KIT University in Germany, SIT University in
Austria, JSI University in Slovenia, and Ontotext from Bulgaria. The budget
of Render is 4.4 Mio Eur, and the contribution from European taxpayers is
2.9 Mio Eur.
I also saw the first year presentation:
am wondering if and how the following use cases fit into the project.
1. Open Goverment Data
There is a German Wikipedia article about this:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Government_Data. And also a website
explaining it a little more: http://opengovernmentdata.org/.
Will there be any liason of WikiData with Open Goverment Data?
2. Sports Results
When I tried to edit Wikipedia first, i wanted to update some sports
results of my favoured football club F.C. Barcelona. Unfortunately I
failed. I failed as well to copy from another language, the table syntax
was too complicated and it somehow seems to differ from one languate
version to the other. Will WikiData address current sports results,
updating it and make it available for all language versions of Wikipedia?
With best regards,
> Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2012 08:48:55 +0100
> From: Chris Keating <chriskeatingwiki(a)gmail.com>
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Board Resolutions from March 30th 2012
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> On Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 5:56 AM, John Vandenberg <jayvdb(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 12:18 PM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton(a)gmail.com
> > wrote:
> > > On 31 March 2012 02:03, John Vandenberg <jayvdb(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> > >> I expect that the minutes will explain the varied positions of the
> > >> board. If not, then the board should put in place procedures to
> > >> prevent abuse of abstains.
> > >
> > > Could you elaborate on what you mean by "abuse of abstains"?
> > An abstention is a refusal to vote. By doing this, a trustee must
> > have a good reason, such as conflict of interest, and it should be
> > minuted why, or they are refusing the duties of their appointment and
> > should be removed.
> I have never heard of this idea before - where did you get it from?
> People with votes on all kinds of bodies abstain on things all the time,
> for all kinds of valid reasons. The most prominent recent example I can
> think of is that Sivlio Berlusconi's government in Italy was brought down
> by MPs he expected to support him abstaining instead.
> We don't know why Arne and Bishakka abstained, or why SJ voted against - it
> is only evident they did not feel able to support the motion as it stood.
For the record, those who did not vote in favour of the resolutions, this
morning explained their reasons for doing so. I'm sure someone more
eloquent than I can summarise those reasons, but I think that they were
valid. John Vandenberg is correct that if people are consistently
abstaining to avoid making hard or unpopular decisions then that is a
problem, but I do not think that this is presently the case with the BoT.