[Wikimedia-l] Editor retention implies social features
tom at tommorris.org
Mon Apr 16 18:53:15 UTC 2012
On 16 April 2012 18:41, Jan Kučera <kozuch82 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi there,
> how do we want to work on editor retention if we lack social features at all???
> These go in the right direction:
> Is WMF going to act finally???
Only with community approval. On English Wikipedia, we have discussed
social media/social network integration repeatedly. Share This buttons
and so on. And editors don't want it.
English Wikinews already has some, but there's a much smaller
community there who can decide which services we wish to integrate
If we're going to have social "features" (and I use that word with
deliberate scare quotes around it) mandated by the Foundation, I do
hope we are going to worry about privacy. A former co-worker of mine
discovered that NHS Direct, the health information website provided
the UK's National Health Service, had Facebook share this links that
were transmitting every page you went to on NHS Direct to Facebook,
which could be matched to your Facebook profile if you are logged in.
Which is kind of shocking given that people use NHS Direct to look up
information on health conditions they think they might have, as well
as all sorts of other personal issues (sexual health, gender identity,
advice on fixing lifestyle health issues like smoking and drinking). I
wouldn't want the clickstream of people visiting Wikipedia articles
shared on Facebook without them pretty explicitly choosing to share
that information. We've already seen one kid in Britain who has
allegedly been thrown out of his house by fundamentalist parents after
Facebook algorithmically outed him as gay. 
I do also hope we'd decide on what basis we'd choose these social
services. Okay, yes, Facebook is pretty popular in the West. And
Twitter. And maybe G+. But what about in China: do we want to support
sharing to sites that are being censored by the Chinese government?
Does the Foundation have the expertise to know what the popular social
networking sites are in every country and language in the world? And
we'd then become a commercial player: if we had done this years ago
and had added MySpace integration, the moment MySpace stops being so
popular and Wikipedia (whether that's the community or the Foundation)
de-emphasizes the MySpace sharing/social functionality, there'd be a
big stack of headlines about how Wikipedia is pulling out of MySpace.
We really ought to be neutral in this market, and there's only one way
to be neutral: try as hard as possible not to participate.
You know, there might be an easier solution here: people who are into
the whole social networking thing, their browsers ought to improve
sharing with their social networks. Social plugins for browsers like
Firefox and Chrome are opt-in for the user, and can give a better
experience than Wikipedia pages being turned into NASCAR-esque branded
adverts for dozens of social sites. I know Mozilla people have been
discussing coming up with better ways of doing social sharing at the
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