[Wikimedia-l] Editor retention implies social features
nawrich at gmail.com
Tue Apr 17 00:20:57 UTC 2012
Tom, you're assuming that adding "social features" to Wikimedia projects
must mean integrating with commercial social networks. I don't think that's
a given at all. If we accept that social interaction, and more
opportunities for positive social interaction, are beneficial for
collaborative projects like the English Wikipedia (which I think we
should), then it's perfectly possible and quite common to internally add
certain social features.
There are many different ways to achieve a better social atmosphere;
whether its better discussion systems, better notifications, better tools
for exchanging ideas and interests, internal communications (like e-mail
style messages to individuals internally, or to groups), or any one of a
thousand other options. Boiling it down without reason to a decision over
Facebook "like" buttons is a disservice to honest discourse.
On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 2:53 PM, Tom Morris <tom at tommorris.org> wrote:
> 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
> browser level.
> Tom Morris
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