[Wikimedia-l] Editor retention implies social features

Fabrice Florin fflorin at wikimedia.org
Mon Apr 23 02:53:13 UTC 2012

Here's a thoughtful suggestion on this topic from a journalist who emailed me today about our editor engagement challenges at Wikipedia.

I generally agree with his observations that Wikipedia needs to be more social. And one of the ways we can do this is to encourage more positive feedback for editors, both from within Wikipedia -- and from the broader community outside Wikipedia.

To be continued ...



Subject: Re: GIFT ECONOMY -- suggestion for Fabrice

Here's my 2-cent suggestion for Wikimedia:

The value that a user gets in making gratis contributions to any site
including Wikipedia is in the feedback from your fellow users. No feedback,
or negative feedback, and you don't hang around.


On Wikipedia, there is very little in the way of positive feedback if you
do something good, and a ton of negative feedback for everything from a
style/format error to those "this article needs more whatever" boxes. Yes,
those things are necessary to maintaining quality, but if you contribute
content (which I've only done a little of) they wear you down. It's like
being in a course where the professor fills your papers with criticism and
never once says, "good job".

So I think the answer is that Wikipedia needs to be more social. It needs a
different kind of moderation. And it needs more mechanisms for positive


Fabrice Florin
Product Manager,
Editor Engagement
Wikimedia Foundation
+1 (415) 839-6885 ext. 6827 work
fflorin at wikimedia.org

On Apr 22, 2012, at 2:51 PM, wikimedia-l-request at lists.wikimedia.org wrote:

> Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2012 10:34:34 -0700
> From: Oliver Keyes <okeyes at wikimedia.org>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Editor retention implies social features
> Message-ID:
> 	<CAAUQgdCH9wAurhERb_Yb1KvbY2g1oSb20bCaKMV_DSMLfMOYaw at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Just to chip in here; Privacy, with *any* feature we introduce, is a top
> priority. When Product Development was coming out with the features
> engineering plan, anything that looked like it could screw with individual
> privacy was very, very quickly nipped in the bud.
> Now, if by "social" you mean "features purely dedicated to
> recreational/sharing activities", the answer is no: we're not currently
> planning any. From my (personal) perspective, it is very very hard to do
> these things and integrate into other services without putting our users at
> risk. And putting our users at risk is not what we're about. We're not
> doing what Facebook does because we're *not Facebook*.
> If, on the other hand, you just mean "features to promote greater
> communication and networking between editors", that's a clear priority -
> I'm happy to talk to people about the work we're doing, and to hear any
> suggestions along the way :).
> On 21 April 2012 21:52, Mono <monomium at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Tom, has a reputable news source actually verified this? Even Wikipedia
>> editors know that HuffPost isn't reliable...
>> On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 11:53 AM, Tom Morris <tom at tommorris.org> wrote:
>>> On 16 April 2012 18:41, Jan Ku?era <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:
>>>> http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Proposal:Improving_our_platform
>>>> http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Social_features
>>>> 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.
>>> See
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:PEREN#Share_pages_on_Facebook.2C_Twitter_etc
>>> .
>>> English Wikinews already has some, but there's a much smaller
>>> community there who can decide which services we wish to integrate
>>> with.
>>> 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. [1]
>>> 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.
>>> [1]
>> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/11/facebook-targeted-advertising-gay-teen_n_1200404.html
>>> --
>>> Tom Morris
>>> <http://tommorris.org/>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Wikimedia-l mailing list
>>> Wikimedia-l at lists.wikimedia.org
>>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>> _______________________________________________
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> -- 
> Oliver Keyes
> Community Liaison, Product Development
> Wikimedia Foundation

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