[Foundation-l] Adding a comment section under every Wikipedia article

FT2 ft2.wiki at gmail.com
Tue Jan 24 12:40:43 UTC 2012

The difference is, we tread a narrow line here.

We want talk, but of a contributory kind, high signal-noise, high
proportion of information. There are three kinds of "discussion" that can
take place:

   1. *User feedback* - characterized by specific one-off posts left for
   others to uprate or downrate and (presumably as far as they're concerned)
   editors to hopefully do something with or listen to.  Ideally this filters
   3 ways - (a)* ignore, (b) pass to editors with thanks, or (c) note but
   no action taken, with explanation and thanks*.
   2. *Editor discussion of the article*, high quality dialog specifically
   about the article, or good points fed back on it.
   3. *Discussion of the _topic_, or general chat, forum-y stuff, random
   whatever*... this is what people also expect. Look at any popular blog
   or facebook page, the chat below is often just people discussing the
   subject, what's said about it... low signal to noise generally.

The article feedback tool is working towards (1); when it's closer to
complete I imagine articles will have a "give feedback here". (2) we
already have. *

What is worth asking is, is there a place in Wikimedia for (3)?* If so it
can only be for social interest and "stickiness" (people who discuss may
contribute or at the least will be made more aware). It could be very good
for that. The downside is it attracts advocates, might draw attention away
from content discussion, needs patrolling (distraction from content), etc.
So here's the focused question -- is there a net return from the "plus"
side, and if so is there a way to get that benefit that returns more than
it costs?  Where:

   - "returns" will be oxygen for the project generally and articles
   specifically, awareness, wider attention, stickiness, more public eyeballs,
   a way to get some more focus here of the kind social sites leverage, and
   maybe a start for more editors from (3), and

   - "costs" will be the distraction from working on high quality
   discussions (1) (2) and article editing as a result of patroling and other
   needs of (3)

(And of course the standard of comparison could be "better of two evils".
For instance if the crystal ball says a wiki project dies due to fading
attention then maybe chat and patrolling is net harmful but less harmful
than eventual loss)


On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 12:09 PM, David Richfield
<davidrichfield at gmail.com>wrote:

> I would like to add my voice to the list of those who say that this is
> a very bad idea, for reasons already listed.
> One kernel of truth is that users who are unfamiliar with Wikipedia
> expect discussion at the bottom of EVERYTHING on the web.  Blog posts,
> videos, facebook posts.
> Maybe at the bottom of the page, put a big fat link to the talk tab?
> I would not mind social media buttons at the bottom of a page, but I
> think I'm the minority here.  I certainly don't think it's
> strategically necessary, but I'm no strategy expert.

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