[Wikimedia-l] Editor retention implies social features

Sarah Stierch sarah.stierch at gmail.com
Tue Apr 17 16:20:36 UTC 2012

On 4/17/12 12:07 PM, Kirill Lokshin wrote:
> Consider, for example, that Zynga and Facebook have successfully 
> managed to get millions of people to log in at all hours of the night 
> to milk virtualcows and harvest virtual beans (or whatever it is that 
> people actually do in Farmville). Could we do something similar to 
> drive particpation, particularly in editing areas that don't require 
> long-duration sessions (e.g. adding or verifying citations, 
> categorizing articles, etc.)? Even a few percent of Farmville's user 
> base would be an order-of-magnitude increase of our own editor base; 
> and if the price for that is letting these editors display 
> Citationville badges on their user pages and send each other silly 
> messages, is it not worth it? 

Gamification is a huge aspect of crowdsourcing these days. It isn't 
enough to just "share free knowledge," anymore (and for many people who 
currently contribute, it is, but..). People want some type of validation 
that goes beyond the mission, whether it's a "prize," an award, etc.

We've seen how valuable awarding people Barnstars are in English 
Wikipedia. It helps with user retention - when it's genuine and awarded 
to people for the right reasons (yes, I've seen malicious barnstar 
awards in my day), it has a powerful impact on keeping that editor 
around.  I also think it's valuable when people see that other /people/ 
edit Wikipedia. While I'm against becoming a social network in the 
traditional sense ("traditional" meaning Facebook, Myspace, oh, remember 
Friendster?), I think there is a lot of value in encouraging people to 
bring their personalities to Wikipedia by way of their user page, etc. 
In this world we live in today, people want to share a picture of 
themselves and so forth. Saying "That is what a user page is for," isn't 
enough, and we've struggled to make an easy to use userpage that 
encourages new editors to share images of themselves. Wikipedia has 
served as a social network for me - whether people like to hear that or 
not. I have friends I care for a lot around the world that I spend time 
with online and offline. I think it'd be really valuable to express that 
to the world and it could be used to encourage participation.  (We do it 
for donations..what about for attracting editors?)

Through Wikipedia, not only have I gotten to share knowledge with the 
world for free, but, I have also gotten to know an amazing group of 
people that have inspired me.


*Sarah Stierch*
*/Wikimedia Foundation Community Fellow/*
 >>Support the sharing of free knowledge around the world: donate today 

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