[Foundation-l] Interview: Wikipedia usability and test results

Ziko van Dijk zvandijk at googlemail.com
Tue Mar 31 22:23:30 UTC 2009

A couple of days ago I have contacted our project manager in San Francisco
who is dealing with the improvement of the usability of Wikipedia. I have
done this interview for [[de:Wikipedia:Kurier]] and translated it to German,
but originally it is in English and so I thought that I can also send it to
this list.
Kind regards


*Kimura: Wikipedia Usability by Better „Ranking“*

 *Wikipedia is difficult to edit, many people say, and Wikimedia Foundation
encountered the problem by installing Naoki Kimura as a project manager. Her
team will make proposals to improve Wikipedia Usability. In an interview
with Ziko van Dijk she unravels test results and the next step.*

ZvD: Dear Naoki Kimura, previously you told us that you would run some tests
about the problems of our new users.

NK: Yes, first results confirmed that new Wikipedia users find it very
difficult to link to the already existing community, to fit in and to learn
the rules. Most difficult this is because the rules change and there is no
clear authority. You don't know whom to direct to.

ZvD: That is exactly the Wiki principle which made Wikipedia big.

NK: But is it suitable to keep Wikipedia running? We lose a lot of people or
scare them away even before they join, the statistics show us. Wikipedia can
only go on by making the collaboration better.

ZvD: So if I am a new user, what will change?

NK: In fact, as a new user you already have only limited rights compared to
more experienced users. You cannot vote, you cannot sight versions in
Wikipedias with flagged revisions, and so on. This must become more
systematic. So as a new user you will start as a „rookie user“, and after
six months, after trainings and tests, you might become an „advanced user“
and later a „user major“. A bigger step will be to become an „editor
adjunct“ etc. In the end, you can become a „senior editor general“.

ZvD: I see. And what about non editors?

NK: You mean developers and admins? It will be the same or similar.

ZvD: And the "commander-in-chief" of the three service branches will be
Jimmy Wales?

NK: Yes of course, that will not change at all.

ZvD: So the word "edit war“ will get a totally new meaning?

NK: No, there will be no edit wars at all! There will be no quarrels, no
uncertainties, no cybermobbing. We will even be able abolish the talk pages.

ZvD: Because everyone knows who is senior and has what rights.

NK: Exactly.

ZvD: But will Wikipedians accept such a system?

NK: That is funny, you know. I worried about that until I presented the idea
to the staff members in San Francisco. They told me that they are all Star
Trek fans and when they were children at play, they called each other
"captain“ or "midshipman“ or "commander“.

ZvD: Naoki, I wish you all the best for implementation (it will certainly
not be easy) and thank you for this interview.

NK: Dismissed.

Ziko van Dijk

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