[Foundation-l] Making wikimediafoundation.org more open to contributions

MZMcBride z at mzmcbride.com
Fri Jan 28 03:58:55 UTC 2011


When wikimediafoundation.org was first established (as a fishbowl wiki),
there were concerns expressed about its lack of open editing. For one of the
most prominent wiki and community-based organizations to have a closed site
for its non-profit foundation is rather silly and anachronistic.

The wiki was created before extensions like FlaggedRevs existed, but even
today with these extensions theoretically capable of allowing outside
contributions with moderation, there are still relevant and serious concerns
about features that are enabled at wikimediafoundation.org, such as allowing
raw HTML to be used.

Since 2004, a page has existed at Meta-Wiki to allow outsiders to comment
and discuss wikimediafoundation.org called "Foundation wiki feedback".[1]

In the spirit of being bold, I've taken a number of steps to correct what I
view as deficiencies in the current contribution system, all of which I'll
outline in this e-mail. If anyone has objections to these changes, they're
more than welcome to revert them and we can discuss ways to improve the
overall situation.[2]

Probably the most noticeable change I made was modifying the "view source"
tab and title to "contribute".[3][4][5] There are two ideas behind this
change: (1) to encourage people to contribute (whether it's typo fixes,
accuracy problems, etc.); and (2) to create a middle ground between "edit"
and "view source". It seems unreasonable that a user would ever click "view
source" to make a helpful comment about a page, but we don't want to change
the tab to something like "edit" if the user doesn't have the necessary
permissions to edit the page. The primary entry point to Meta-Wiki's
"Foundation wiki feedback" should be through the edit screen, so encouraging
users to reach that screen is important. "View source" simply doesn't
achieve this goal.

The next change I made was to modify the message that users see above the
textarea on wikimediafoundation.org if they don't have permission to edit.
Rather than the default (bland) messages, I customized the message and made
it a bit more colorful and friendlier.[6][7][8] I also included two
prominent buttons in the message: one button is to report a problem with
that specific page; the other button is to report a problem with the site in
general. Clicking either button will load Meta-Wiki's "Foundation wiki
feedback" page with a new section and auto-fill the section title. It's also
possible to customize the message that users view above the textarea at
Meta-Wiki based on whether they're clicking the buttons from
wikimediafoundation.org, but I've left that for a later date. Obviously I'm
not a great designer, but this is a vast improvement when you compare the
before and after pictures:
* before: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WMFwiki-edit-before.png
* after: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WMFwiki-edit-after.png

Then I headed over to Meta-Wiki to make some changes there. First, I killed
the "Foundation wiki feedback/admin" subpage, as it caused confusion,
clutter, and was rarely used.[9] I merged all of the header content into the
single "Foundation wiki feedback/Header" template and simplified it.[10] I
also made the page generally less obnoxious:
* before: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FWF-view-before.png
* after: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FWF-view-after.png

The final changes were to the editnotice above the textarea at Meta-Wiki:
* before: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FWF-edit-before.png
* after: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FWF-edit-after.png

Hopefully these changes will encourage more participation and engagement. In
addition to these changes, I've filed a bug in Bugzilla to work on ways to
make wikimediafoundation.org more open to outside contributions.[11]


[1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Foundation_wiki_feedback
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:BOLD,_revert,_discuss_cycle
[3] http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Viewsource
[4] http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Viewsourcefor
[5] http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Vector-view-viewsource
[6] http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Template:Contribute
[7] http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Permissionserrorstext
[8] http://wikimedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Permissionserrorstext-withaction
[9] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Foundation_wiki_feedback/admin
[10] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Foundation_wiki_feedback/Header
[11] https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=27006

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