Growth/Non-editing participation


This is a potential project that is not currently prioritized, but is being considered as part of Growth's 2023-2024 Annual Plan.


Successful editors tend to build their “contribution skills” through iterative, progressive learning in safe spaces where the stakes are lower (New Editor Experiences). The Growth team hypothesizes that if we find ways for readers to participate in Wikipedia in an easy, low-risk way, that some of these readers will eventually funnel into contributing to the Wikimedia movement in more meaningful ways.

The Growth team will utilize Non-editing participation research to guide this project.

Current status[edit]

  • April 2023: WMF Annual planning discussions
  • June 2023: Initial non-editing participation research planning started (T337969)
  • July 2023: Initial research completed by YUX
  • October 2023: Recruitment for reader interviews started (T342353)


The Growth team is guided by the Annual Plan of the Wikimedia Foundation and the Product & Technology department's Objectives and Key Results. This hypothesis and associated project relates to the Reading and media experience objective.

  • Reading and media experience objective: Produce a modern, relevant and accessible reading and media experience for our projects.
  • Key Result 3: Deepen reader engagement with Wikipedia via 0.05% of unique devices engaging in non-editing participation.

This key result focuses on deepening reader engagement, while also exploring ways in which readers can contribute to our projects that are not editing pages. We hypothesize that there are people who are interested in getting involved with the wikis but for whom editing of any kind is too big of a leap. We want those people to have a way to get more deeply involved, perhaps becoming more committed readers, or eventually becoming comfortable enough to edit.

"Non-editing participation" refers to any actions users can take on the wikis besides editing (we are also counting edits to discussions as 'editing'). While our websites don't have any of this, our apps do, in the form of reading lists or sharing content to social media. This work could include letting users configure their own personal reading experience, or could also focus on sharing content across the wiki, curating, and suggesting content to others. The KR is inclusive of work on the mobile and desktop websites and the apps.  For mobile and desktop it may include the adoption of some non-editing participation functionality that exists on the apps. 

The number 0.05% is approximately the ratio of editors to unique devices -- so perhaps in the first year of this feature set, we see a similar ratio for non-editing participants, which would eventually increase to greater than the number of editors in the future.

Potential Growth team hypothesis related to WikiExperiences 2.3 Key Result:[edit]

If we add new reader-centered modules to the homepage, readers will be more likely to participate in the wikis in non-editing ways.


We want to[edit]

  • Explore the needs of the 19% of users who create accounts to “read Wikipedia” [account creation reason].
  • Create opportunities to participate in the wikis in small "non-editing" ways that feel safe and accessible to new account holders (creating reading lists or sharing section of articles).

We don't want to[edit]

  • Discourage newcomers from editing in traditional ways.
  • Create more work for patrollers or experienced editors.
  • Create confusion about Wikipedia's purpose or values.


Literature Review[edit]

A literature review was deemed necessary to start exploring non-editing participation ideas. This lit review serves as a vital foundation for understanding the existing body of knowledge and research in the field of user engagement, particularly in the context of online platforms. By conducting a literature review, we can better understand best practices, learn from past efforts on other platforms, explore new opportunities, and expose ourselves to a more global perspective.

We worked with YUX, a pan-African research and design company, to conduct initial research: Non-editing participation Literature Review.

YUX identified 13 sites namely Medium, Quora, Lenali, Substack, Reddit, Stackoverflow, Kindle, Wattpad, Twitter, and Discogs including news channels such as Google News, BBC and Le Monde. YUX then reviewed 9 "Non-editing participation" features that exist on these platforms and are relevant to Wikipedia. The features are claps, votes, likes, sharing, highlighting, spaces, submit a response, save/bookmark, and reading list.

Key findings from this research are:

  • The number of non-editing participation mechanisms offered by a platform reflects the extent to which it relies on contributors.
  • Medium has the most non-editing participation features out of those assessed, with ‘claps’ feature unique only to Medium.
  • Non-editing participation mechanisms are found in various places in the UI, including in the “main view” and “hidden” in menus.
  • Most news channels don’t offer many non-editing participation features, and ‘share’ is the most common feature they have.
  • The share feature on news channels link to other platforms, with Facebook being the most popular.

Reader Interviews[edit]

Our research plan entails a series of interviews with recently registered account holders who have completed the Welcome Survey and specified "To read Wikipedia" as their motivation for creating an account. Our objective is to gain deeper insights into this user group, particularly identifying the catalysts behind their account creation and their expectations regarding features and functionality. Subsequently, we will present a set of low-fidelity mockups, illustrating various non-editing participation concepts, to gauge reader interest in features that can enhance their engagement with the wikis.

Community discussion[edit]


Measurement and results[edit]