[Foundation-l] Encouraging participation

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Sat Jun 19 12:34:13 UTC 2010

With due respect, the amount of wordage on our talk pages, IRC channels,
mailing lists and even skype calls and conferences is such that I disagree
with you. It is exactly because we do not foster communication that many
people do not feel at home at Wikipedia. The first years of Wikipedia there
were no social networking sites and Wikipedia gave a sense of community. Now
that such sites are well established, we find that we do not find the new
people that we so desperately want come to us.

Yes, we are about creating educational content in our Wikipedia, Wiktionary
and .. and .. We have however our fair share of social problems and your
appreciation of what improved social networking functionality has to offer
is sadly wrong. Look at Wikia they have invested in a healthy community and
it is paying off for them because they show a healthy grow.

Your suggestion of clubs at universities is in and of itself a good one.
These clubs are welcome, they are able to bring us new contributors. The
question I have for you is, do you realise that such a club is a social
structure and effectively very much like what you dismissed in your

So in conclusion, we should care for our social networks and we should grow
them in any way we can. You are right that the creation of educational
content is what we achieve, but we should appreciate our social networks for
what they do; they bring us and keep us together.

On 19 June 2010 13:51, James Heilman <jmh649 at gmail.com> wrote:

> I have found some of the suggestions for increasing participation
> strange.  Wikipedia is not a MMORG, it is not a social networking
> site, it is not a file/picture/video hosting service, it is an online
> encyclopedia.  Some people like the first three.  However trying to
> turn Wikipedia into a combination of them is not how we go about
> writing an encyclopedia.  We need to attract people who are interested
> in writing an encyclopedia and need to drive away / direct to the
> appropriate venue those who are looking for something different.
> My suggestion for increasing editor numbers would be to promote
> Wikipedia at Universities.  McGill has a Wikipedia club.  Promoting
> the formation of clubs at other Universities would have a positive
> influence.  Currently most University students are female ( about 55%
> ) http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20091023110831548
> however Asperger syndrome occurs 5 times more frequently in males than
> females.  This might have something to do with the gender ratio we
> see. :-)
> --
> James Heilman
> MD, CCFP-EM, B.Sc.
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