Wikimedia blog

News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Archive for July, 2011

Brazil beginnings

At the end of June 2011, we had the opportunity to visit Brazil as part of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Brazil Catalyst Project – a project designed to develop open and collaborative approaches by which the Wikimedia Foundation can support the growth of the Wikimedia community in Brazil. Brazil is a priority country for the Wikimedia movement, both for contributions to Portuguese and other Wikimedia projects and for the opportunity to connect with millions of potential readers who are coming online.

Our visit involved a variety of meetings ranging from community gatherings to exploration of business partnerships to presentations at one of the biggest international conferences focused on free software (FISL); the whole agenda and supporting information can be seen on the Brazil Catalyst Project metawiki page. We spent most of the time listening and learning about Brazil and the Brazilian Wikimedia community. It was incredibly valuable to hear from a variety of people and we hope to continue the dialogue.

Sao Paulo: WikiSampa 8
Paulistas have been gathering periodically under the banner of WikiSampa for years, and we were fortunate to get a nice group together on a bank holiday. The group ran the gamut in depth of wiki experience: wiki newcomers sat alongside long time editors,  admins, and community members to share their experiences with Wikipedia and discuss the health and future of Wikipedia in Brazil. We spent about six hours together including a relaxed dinner at a local pizzeria.

As with every community gathering around the world, we were in awe of the positive spirit, dedication and friendliness. We were reminded again that, as Jimmy likes to say, Wikipedians are just “nice people.” We also heard about the struggles in the community. We heard the word “conflito” a lot as the more experienced editors all shared a concern that the Portuguese Wikipedia community has an over-abundance of conflict between editors and that the community needs to find ways to refocus away from fighting. We are not yet clear on the causes of the conflict or if PT:WP is worse that others, but there was a clear sense from those in attendance that they need to find new ways of working together so that new contributors will feel welcome and experienced contributors stay active and energized to continue building a great Wikipedia.

For more pictures see: Category:8_WikiSampa_June_2011, and for the official community page (in Portuguese) see: WikiSampa8.

Rio de Janeiro: first broad community meet-up!

Rio meet-up

Seven Cariocas began what we hope is a regular community gathering in Rio de Janeiro. This group brought fresh faces and minds eager to contribute to the sum of all knowledge. The excitement of the possible future of the RJ community specifically and Brazil at large was palpable: one professor in attendance is now planning to incorporate Wikipedia-editing into a university seminar course! She already has a blog just focused on this experience. A long time Wikipedian and self-proclaimed Wiki-addict met other Wikipedians for the first time and shared his experiences as an editor primarily on English Wikipedia.

Our conversation in RJ focused on the potential of Wikipedia as we had a number of newer community members. They were interested in exploring new ways to bring people into the community. One interesting theme was the prevalence of English. Unlike Sao Paulo, the conversation was in English.  We discussed the fact that a significant number of Brazilians apparently prefer to contribute to English Wikipedia to reach a global audience, even though there is plenty of room for growth of the Portuguese Wikipedia. Some also expressed that Portuguese Wikipedia is considered second class vs. English. We all agreed that having a first class Portuguese Wikipedia is vital to meeting our vision and we took away the question of how to encourage bilingual Brazilians to contribute in Portuguese.

Creating an offline Wikipedia
We had some promising conversations about the potential to distribute offline versions of Wikipedia to people who have computers, but do not have regular access to the Internet. This is a large proportion of Brazilians. We are committed to supporting partnerships to do this, but we need to create a selection of the Portuguese Wikipedia to make available offline. We would love it if community members who were interested in contributing to this initiative would connect with Jessie.

General remarks
These specific meet-ups in addition to other interactions with community in Brazil (in Recife, Campinas, and Porto Alegre) on this trip collectively communicated the great need and potential for mobilization behind the Portuguese Wikipedia within Brazil. While there are great obstacles – negative quality perceptions, low numbers of editors, limited admin support in addition to the fact that some editors prefer to edit the English Wikipedia – opportunities to mobilize existing community and engage a broader Brazilian population seem abundant, and there is no better time than now. We’re excited to continue supporting such a dynamic movement within Brazil and will continue to support and encourage outreach activities designed to further catalyze the collection and dissemination of knowledge within Brazil. We continue to seek more opportunities to hear from Brazilian community members and to learn more about opportunities. We’d also like to thank everyone who helped with the visit and who met with us. Muito Obrigado!

- Barry Newstead, Carolina Rossini, Jessie Wild

“Rate this Page” is Coming to the English Wikipedia

Since May, the Article Feedback Tool has been available on 100,000 English Wikipedia articles (see blog post). We have now kicked off full deployment to the English Wikipedia at a rate of about 370,000 articles per day and will continue at this rate until deployment is complete.

Ratings interface for the Article Feedback Tool

We wanted to take a moment to briefly recap what we’ve learned so far, what lies ahead, and how we can work with the community improve this feature.   Features like Article Feedback can always be improved, so we will continue to experiment, measure, and iterate based on user and community feedback, testing, and analysis of how the feature is being used.

Rating data from the tool is available for your analysis — please dig in and let us know what you find. Toolserver developers can also access the rating data (minus personal information) in real-time to develop new dashboards and views of the data.

What We’ve Learned So Far

 

Readers like to provide feedback. The survey we’re currently running shows that over 90% of users find the ratings useful.  Many of these raters see the tool as a way to participate in article development — when asked why they rated and article, over half reported wanting to “positively affect the development of the page.”

 

Users of the feedback tool also left some enthusiastic comments (as well as some critical ones) about the tool. For example:

The option to rate a page should be available on every page, all the time, once per page per user per day.

As a high school librarian, I want my students to assess the sources of information they use.  This feature forces them to consider the reliability of Wiki articles.  Glad you have it.

Ratings seem like an interesting idea, I feel like the metrics used to determine the overall value of the page are viable, and I’ll be interested to see how the feature fares when it’s rolled out and has some miles under its belt.

The vast majority of raters were previously only readers of Wikipedia.  Of the registered users that rated an article, 66% had no prior editing activity.  For these registered users, rating an article represents their first participatory activity on Wikipedia.  These initial results show that we are starting to engage these users beyond just passive reading, and they seem to like it.

The feature brings in editors. One of the main Strategic Goals for the upcoming year is to increase the number of active editors contributing to WMF projects.  The initial data from the Article Feedback tool suggests that reader feedback could become a meaningful point of entry for future editors.

Once users have successfully submitted a rating, a randomly selected subset of them are shown an invitation to edit the page. Of the users that were invited to edit, 17% attempted to edit the page.  15% of those ended up successfully completing an edit.  These results strongly suggest that a feedback tool could successfully convert passive readers into active contributors of Wikipedia.  A rich text editor could make this path to editing even more promising.

While these initial results are certainly encouraging, we need to assess whether these editors are, in fact, improving Wikipedia.  We need to measure their level of activity, the quality of their contributions, their longevity, and other characteristics.

Ratings are a useful measure of some dimensions of quality.  In its current form, the Article Feedback Tool appears to provide useful feedback on some dimensions of quality, while the usefulness of the feedback on other dimensions of quality is still an open research question. Completeness and Trustworthy (formerly “Well-Sourced”) appear to be dimensions where readers can provide a reasonable level of assessment.  Research shows that ratings along these dimensions are correlated with the length and amount of citations, respectively.  We need to determine whether the ratings in “Objective” and “Well-Written” meaningfully predict quality in those categories. We released public dumps of AFT data and would love to hear about new approaches of measuring how well ratings reflect article quality.

We received feedback from community members on how to improve the feature. We’ve received a fair amount of feedback from the community on the usefulness of AFT, mainly through IRC Office Hours and on the AFT discussion page.  There have been many suggestions on how to make the feedback tool more valuable for the community.  For example, the idea of having a “Suggestions for Improvement”-type comment box has been raised several times.  Such a box would enable readers to provide concrete feedback directly to the editing community on how to improve an article.  We plan to develop some kind of commenting system in the near future.

Illustration of a potential "Suggest Improvements" feature

AFT could help surface problematic articles in real time, as well as articles that may qualify for increased visibility. We’ve started experimenting with a dashboard for surfacing both highly rated and lowly rated articles.   Ultimately, the dashboard could help identify articles that need attention (e.g., articles that have been recently vandalized) as well as articles that might be considered for increased visibility (e.g., candidates for Featured Articles).  We will continue to experiment with algorithms that help surface trends in articles that may be useful for the editing community.

Next Steps

Over the coming weeks, we will continue to roll out the Article Feedback Tool on the English Wikipedia.  Once this rollout is complete, we will start planning the next version of the tool.  For those interested in following the discussion, we will be documenting progress on the Article Feedback Project Page.  We would love to get your feedback (pun intended!) on how the feature is being used, what’s working, and what might be changed.  We also encourage folks to dig into the data.  Once the feature is fully deployed, there will be mountains of data to sift through and analyze, which will be a boon to researchers and developers alike.

We’d especially like to encourage members of the community to get involved in the further development of the feature.  If you’re interested in getting involved (e.g., design input, data analysis/interpretation, bug-squashing, etc.), please drop a note on the project talk page.

Howie Fung, Senior Product Manager

Dario Taraborelli, Senior Research Analyst

Erik Moeller, VP Engineering and Product Development

Shedding light on women who edit Wikipedia

The Wikimedia Foundation has made a strategic goal of increasing volunteer participation, in particular by encouraging women to edit Wikipedia.  In the Wikipedia editors survey we analyzed the edit history of male and female editors to look at the key differences between the two genders. An analysis of self-reported edits by gender shows significant differences at the lower and higher end of the editing spectrum, but also shows relatively similar patterns between edit counts by men and women in the middle of the spectrum.

While women editors are more likely to make 1 to 50 lifetime edits compared to men, male editors are more likely to make more than 10,000 + edits compared to women. One-third of women editors reported that they had made between 1 to 50 edits, compared to 18% of male editors. On the other hand, a higher percentage of men (23%) reported having made upwards of 10,000 edits, versus 18% of female editors. There are no statistically significant differences among men and women editors within other groups based on total edit count.

A full 91% of editors who participated in the April 2011, Editor Survey are male, while 8.5% are female. The remainder (0.5%) identified as transsexual or transgender.

Much has been written about Wikipedia’s highly skewed gender distribution, including this recent NYT story.  WMF Executive Director Sue Gardner wrote this insightful blog post on the topic as well.

The Foundation is aiming to increase the number of women participants on Wikipedia from 9,000 (as of spring 2011) to 11,700 by spring 2012. We will accomplish this partly by introducing tools and features that making editing simple for everyone – including a visual editor.  We’ve also seen great success in the participation of women via our Wikipedia in the class room initiatives.  These efforts, which are expanding around the world, tend to bring in a much representative proportion of men and women contributors.

Keep an eye out for future product updates that will enable us to work towards our strategic goals of increasing participation. We have a tall task ahead of us, and we’ll reach it even sooner if we all put our heads together. This is one smart community.

Mani Pande, Head of Global Development Research

(This is the sixth in series of blog posts where we will share insights from the April 2011 Editors Survey)

 

Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit held in Boston

The first Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit was held last week on the campus of Simmons College, a women’s college that participated in the Public Policy Initiative in the spring. More than 125 professors, students, and Wikipedia Ambassadors gathered for 2 1/2 days to talk about their experiences and plans going forward for using Wikipedia in the classroom.

Advanced editing workshop at Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit.

Advanced editing workshop at Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit.

The Public Policy Initiative is a 18-month pilot program to bring Wikipedia editing into university classrooms. Participating professors assign their students to write articles in place of a paper for the course, with assistance from Wikimedia Foundation-trained Campus Ambassadors (in class) and Online Ambassadors (virtually). In the 2010-11 academic year, we worked with 47 classes whose 821 students added more than 8.8 million characters of quality content to the English Wikipedia.

Attendees

The conference brought together 33 Campus Ambassadors, 11 Online Ambassadors, 49 professors, 9 students, 15 local professors, and 12 WMF staff/board members. About half of the professors had used Wikipedia in their class in the past, and the other half were interested in using it in the future.

It would be hard to underestimate the energy in each session for the use of Wikipedia in higher education. We even scrapped a planned icebreaker in the agenda because everyone was already excitedly chatting with their new Wikimedia friends.

Sessions

Wikipedia Governance workshop at Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit.

Wikipedia Governance workshop at Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit.

The full agenda is available online, but sessions at the Summit focused on making connections among attendees and documenting our learnings from the pilot academic year. Speakers included Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, Public Policy Initiative team members, and Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner. Chief Global Development Officer Barry Newstead talked about plans for the global expansion of the higher education program, and our Regional Ambassadors led sessions with attendees from their region.

We at WMF learned a lot about the experiences of the various participants in our program. You can read more about the event in The SignpostInside Higher Ed, and one attendee’s blog, or check out photos at Wikimedia Commons. Full documentation, including links to photos, videos, and presentation slides are also available.

The Future

Preeti Mulay will be using Wikipedia in her class in Pune, India, next term.

Preeti Mulay will be using Wikipedia in her class in Pune, India, next term.

The Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit really crystalized for the team that all the work we’ve put in to making Wikipedia and academia blend has been incredibly useful. We’d invited representatives from Canada, the U.K, Germany, Brazil, and India, who were all there to talk about how they will be using Wikipedia in classrooms in their countries in the next term. But while we were there, we also had professors approach us and say they wanted to be the liaison between the WMF’s global university program and other parts of the world, including the Middle East, North Africa and Chile.

If you’re interested in using Wikipedia in your classroom or joining the program as an Ambassador, reach out to a Regional Ambassador in the United States or consult the Education Portal for more information. The whole team is very excited to see where the global university program heads — one thing is for certain, there is a lot of enthusiasm for Wikipedia in higher education!


LiAnna Davis
Communications Associate – Public Policy Initiative

Armenian Wikipedia: Part of a Bigger Battle

(This is the second installment in a series of updates from the WikiHistories summer research fellows, who will be studying the history of different non-English Wikipedia editing communities and publishing their findings over the course of the summer.)

I am writing this post from a nice, cool part of Armenia called Ijevan, where I’ve come to escape from the unbearable heat of the capital city, Yerevan.

Fresh air and green mountains for fresh mind.

For the last week 40 degrees Celsius was the temperature in the city where over 1/3 of the population of the country lives and all the major developments in social life take place. I ran away from the city buzz for a few days to enjoy the cool air and breathtaking nature, which makes fieldwork fun and helps me get a fresh perspective on thoughts and ideas.

But to explore the Armenian Wikipedia community you need to spend time in Yerevan. This is where I met some of the Wikipedians during my first week in Armenia: Aleksey, Maro, Rob and Mher are Wiki activists and contributors. We found a nice open-air cafe for the meeting: Armenian Wikipedia does not have any office, Wikimedia headquarters, or any other physical space. They are just a small community of people who contribute to Wikipedia in their local language and try to promote the movement in their country. Passion for Wikipedia is something they all share, but the community is quite diverse – from high school students to mid-age professionals, architects, historians, web-developers, etc…

About 14.000 articles, a few dozen or hundred contributors and only 6 admins: these are the general figures about the Armenian Wikipedia that can be traced back to the founding of the project in 2005. Armenians write about their interests, idols, hobbies, but more intensively they share information about their country, history and culture. As some of Wikipedians mentioned, they would welcome more articles on science and innovation.

The first wiki-meetup in Armenia took place in 2009, when the most active members met to put faces to

January 2011: Armenians celebrate Wikipedia's 10th birthday!

usernames, to talk and to share their concerns. The last official meeting was Wikipedia’s 10th anniversary, which they celebrated with a symbolic cake.

Xelgen is one of the small number of admins and active contributors. He is active in promoting not only Armenian Wikipedia but the Armenian language on the internet in general. He believes that paper is no longer the main medium for language; it’s digital technologies, and the language we use on the iPad, computer, and cell phone largely affects the way we think.

Xelgen (Aleksey Chalabyan in real life), thinks that having Wikipedia in Armenian is important to store knowledge in the local language and to give everyone in Armenia access to that knowledge.

Taking into consideration overall internet usage figures, the Armenian-speaking audience is very limited (in Armenia about 37% of the population uses Internet), so many people prefer sharing English or Russian content to reach a wider audience. The main reason is that the vast majority of Armenians also speak Russian or English. Despite operating in Armenia, many blogs and corporate websites do not have an Armenian-language version. Moreover, there are lots of Armenians who have been living abroad for generations, many of whom don’t know Armenian very well.

Using Armenian on the Internet means facing certain technical issues, as well: Armenian still can’t be used on many mobile phones and there is no one unified Armenian keyboard: with 39 letters and tons of punctuation marks, Armenians need to agree to some compromises…

Aleksey and his friends are concerned with these tendencies and they feel that promoting Armenian Wikipedia will help people to feel more comfortable reading and writing in their local language on the Internet. They meet with NGOs, visit universities and schools to encourage young people to join them.

During our meeting Xelgen, Chaojoker, Rob and Beko were discussing the translation of words such as “fellowship” versus “scholarship,” “state” versus “region” versus “province” to find the right Armenian words for certain articles: none of them is a linguist, but getting the translation right is a priority for them all.

The dominance of English on the Internet is a major issue for many nations, even for big ones. For small nations like Armenia, it is a matter of national identity, and they take the language issue very seriously. Armenians, who are very proud of their rich and unique language and 1600-year-old alphabet, consider Armenization of the Internet a key mission, and developing Armenian Wikipedia is a big part of this battle. Wikipedians are optimistic: they say that the number of articles has almost doubled during the last year, although they put stress on quality rather than quantity. Over the summer they also hope that many students will use their holidays to spend more time adding and editing articles on Armenian Wikipedia.

 

Lusine Grigoryan

MSc Digital Anthropology (UCL), journalist

Wikimedia 2011-12 Annual Plan Released

Since the WMF Strategic Plan was released this past March, the realization of an ambitious set of goals surrounding Wikipedia’s progress over the next five years has been widely discussed among our community. We’ve now moved into the second of the five year strategic plan we’re pleased to share the Foundation’s 2011-12 Annual Plan, which our Board of Trustees approved on June 28, 2011.

The Annual Plan provides an overview of the Foundation’s main work through the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30), most importantly highlighting our efforts on diversifying and expanding the Wikimedia project editor/contributor community, growing our presence in India and Brazil, increasing our reach via mobile devices, and ensuring our financial sustainability.

We have seven big targets for the fiscal year.  Highlighting two:

1. We want to increase Wikipedia page views on mobile devices to two billion by June 2012, up from 726 million in March 2011. This will mean a big emphasis on partnerships with mobile service providers and technological improvements to our mobile Wikipedia gateway. Mobile is crucial for engaging online users, particularly those from the Global South, where mobile devices are already the primary method of accessing the Internet, and for some, the only method available to edit.

2. The declining participation of seasoned Wikipedia editors must be reversed. We’re aiming to increase the number of active editors from just under 90K in March 2011, to 95K by June 2012. Our community has been continuously engaged in this conversation for several years, and the Foundation has made the decline a major focus of our work over the coming years. Proactive steps must be taken to reinforce Wikipedia’s core community of strong editors, and we must continue our research into the causes and solutions for the decline.

Our other major targets in this fiscal year:

3. Increase the number of Global South active editors from approximately 15.7K in March 2011, to 19K in June 2012.
4. Increase the number of female editors from approximately 9K in spring 2011 to 11.7K in spring 2012.
5. Develop the Visual Editor. First opt-in user-facing production usage by December 2011, and first small wiki default deployment by June 2012.
6. Develop a sandbox for research, prototyping, and tools development, with initial hardware build-out and first project access by December 2011, and full access for all qualifying individuals/projects by June 2012.
7. Increase read uptime from 99.8% in 2010-11 to 99.85% in 2011-12.

The full plan includes more details and footnotes related to these goals. We’ve also posted detailed questions and answers on the annual plan hosted on the Foundation wiki.

In addition to the Foundation’s monthly report card meetings, where progress on these goals will be regularly reported, we’ll also be blogging about our efforts throughout the year.  Get involved if you’d like to help.  Join our projects and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge!

Jay Walsh, Communications

Introducing the Wikimedia Research Index

Wikimedia is in the exceptional position of having a thriving community of researchers who have been studying every single possible aspect of its projects for nearly a decade. Wikipedia as a topic for scholarly research, in particular, has seen a dramatic growth over the last few years, partly thanks to the effort of venues and communities such as WikiSym. Manually curated lists of scholarly studies on Wikipedia show a steady growth in attention in the academic community but probably underestimate the actual volume of scholarly publications on Wikipedia that get published every year (a search of the ACM digital library indicates that 82 papers were published in conference proceedings in 2010 with Wikipedia as a keyword in the title)

Despite this growth, resources for researchers and information about research of Wikimedia projects have been incomplete, unmaintained and scattered. Support for researchers from the Foundation has been ad-hoc and for a long time there hasn’t been a team in charge of reviewing external support requests or to facilitate collaboration with external researchers.

To answer to these problems the Research Committee recently started to rebuild the research documentation available on Meta. Today we are proud to announce the first version of the Wikimedia Research Index, the single go-to point for all research-related needs at Wikimedia.
Wikimedia Research Index screenshot

The main purpose of a research index is to centralize documentation on research of Wikimedia projects, but also to create a place for the community to discuss and learn about this research. The Wikimedia Research Index will:

  • provide documentation on resources for Wikimedia researchers, including datasets, tools and code libraries, conferences and events
  • act as a point of contact for researchers with each other and the Foundation (by complementing wiki-research-l)
  • formalize support for research projects and specify what the Foundation expects from the projects it supports
  • host research policies and guidelines
  • track research projects (both initiated by the Foundation and by the research community) that study Wikimedia contents and communities or that build innovative results and applications on top of Wikimedia data

These are some highlights from the Research Index:

  • we have been working on a set of policies to ensure that research supported in different forms by the Foundation is released in the open (with respect not only to its output, but also to code and data). The new open access/open data policy of the Foundation will be announced in a separate post.
  • as part of this work, we will be announcing soon the first in a series of monthly research newsletters covering the most recent updates in Wikimedia research, modeled around the Signpost
  • we will be highlighting via the Research Index, the Foundation’s blog and the research newsletter a series of featured projects that touch on issues of particular strategic importance. The first featured project is the Wikimedia Summer of Research, hosted by WMF Community department
  • we created a dedicated IRC channel on Freenode as a friendly place to discuss in real time issues of relevance to Wikimedia research

The Research Index is, by definition, a constant work in progress and there are several ways in which you can help us improve it: as a researcher, by making sure that your past and current projects are documented in the research project directory and by bringing to our attention to any results, calls for papers and research-related initiatives we should be aware of (particularly if you wish to have them included in the research newsletter); as a community member by participating in project-specific discussions, by highlighting issues that are particularly sensitive from a community perspective and by suggesting topics and issues in search of an answer from the research community.

We hope with this initiative to increase the volume, speed, impact and potential audience of research that helps improve our understanding of Wikimedia projects and communities.

Dario Taraborelli, Senior Research Analyst, Strategy

Wikimedia welcomes $3 million gift from the Sloan Foundation

Today we are very pleased to announce a great gift from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  For the second time since 2008, the Sloan Foundation is providing us with a $3 million, unrestricted grant to support the Wikimedia Foundation in pursuit of its main goals as outlined in our recently published strategic plan.

As described by our Executive Director Sue Gardner in today’s press release:

“Three years ago, at a time when cultural elites were ambivalent about Wikipedia, the Sloan Foundation took a risk by supporting us. I will always be grateful to Sloan for its courage in doing that,” said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Today the academic community in particular has begun to appreciate Wikipedia, and is starting to work closely with us to make it even better. I’m grateful to Sloan for sending an important signal that helped make that happen, and I’m thrilled at this renewed expression of confidence in our work.”

The grant comes to us as part of the Sloan Foundation’s Access to Knowledge component of its Digital Information Technology program. Sloan Vice President Doron Weber reflected on their perspective on Wikipedia:

“Wikipedia embodies the ideal values of the world wide web and we are proud to be part of this bold endeavor to use the wisdom and the altruism of the crowd to create the biggest, most up-to-date and most open global encyclopedia in human history.”

This is great news for Wikimedia Foundation as we push into our strategic planning priorities: increasing Wikipedia’s quality, increasing the number and demographic diversity of its editors, and reaching more readers, particularly in the global south.

Our thanks to the Sloan Foundation for their continued support!

Jay Walsh, Communications

Wikipedia editors contribute to social media streams too


Wikipedia is undoubtedly the most successful collaborative online experiment in the history of Internet. Wikipedia editors spend hours writing and researching articles that have made the project the success that it is today. But have you ever wondered what other online activities Wikipedia editors participate in? Results from the Editor Survey, April 2011, show that apart from the time that they spend online editing Wikipedia, editors are a lot like other Internet users: emailing, using Facebook, watching online videos on YouTube or other sites, using Instant messaging services like AIM and Google Talk, using Twitter or other similar micro-blogging platform.

Facebook is clearly more popular with Wikipedia editors than Twitter.  Sixty-eight percent of Wikipedia editors use Facebook compared to only 30% who use Twitter. Online gaming is not a popular online activity for our editors. Only 18% of Wikipedia editors play online, multi-player games likes World of Warcraft and 18% play online games like Farmville or Cityville.  Like the rest of the Internet population, using location-aware services like Foursquare has not taken off with Wikipedia editors with only 11% using these types of services.  The Wikimedia movement has had a strong affinity to open source and openness in general, so it is no surprise to see that some editors (22%) contribute to open source software.

We also researched what kinds of contributions editors make across several social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc. Facebook dominates contributions in social media with more editors posting or commenting on status updates, and liking content on Facebook. Since fewer editors are using Twitter, fewer editors tweet or interact with other Twitter users. Blogging continues to be a platform for sharing for about one-third of editors.  Our data clearly shows that Wikipedia editors not only contribute to Wikipedia, but are contributors to different social media streams too.

Helping us better-understand Wikipedia editors’ activities around social media helps us make better decisions about which new features and technologies we should research for MediaWiki, the software that powers Wikipedia and thousands of other wikis online.  This data also helps us determine new ways of improving dialog and communication among Wikipedians, both on-wiki and off.

Mani Pande, Head of Global Development Research

(This is the fifth in series of blog posts where we will share insights from the April 2011 Editors Survey)

More than 15 countries participating in Wiki Loves Monuments 2011

Wiki Loves Monuments is a photo contest centered around Monuments that will take place this September throughout Europe.  In 2010 a version of  the contest was already successfully held in the Netherlands – with more than 12,500 photos submitted by more than 250 participants (see earlier blog post).

Starting in September more than 15 countries, from Portugal to Estonia, will organize their national Wiki Loves Monuments contest. In most cases, the national contests will be organized by Wikimedia chapters, but  in some countries without chapters local Wikimedians have organized the contests. During this month-long contest, people are asked to submit photos of monuments, which will be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons through a dedicated interface. The best photos will win a prize, and the top 10 photos from each country will be submitted to the European contest.

After the results of all of the national contests are known, a European jury will select the best photos from all nominations from the national juries. Several European partners are supporting this initiative with their help and networks.

Wiki Loves Monuments is all about making it easy for people to participate: make it easy to find objects to photograph, make the threshold for participation as low as possible, make it easy to upload and make it easy for the images to get added to the Wikipedia articles.

We hope that we will see lots of participation–by Wikimedians and also by others– who might stick around after they find out they can really edit Wikimedia projects, and start to enjoy helping to bring the sum of human knowledge to the world. Do you want to know more about Wiki Loves Monuments? Check out the project pages on Wikimedia Commons or join our session at Wikimania! You can also follow updates on the WikiLovesMonuments.eu blog.

Maarten Dammers and Lodewijk Gelauff,

International coordinators for Wiki Loves Monuments