Talk:Reading/Readers contributions

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Clarification[edit]

Some of the options are just listed as provocation/recap of past attempts, not because you are seriously considering them, right? Nemo 12:57, 31 August 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Hey Nemo, well all of them are suggestions at the end of the day. What specifically do you find provoking? BTW, mentioning Wikigrok, doesn't mean that the team is actually reconsidering it; just listing an example of a micro-contributions games, otherwise it would sound vague, so listing a tangible example helps visualize the idea. Same applies to article rating. This is a very very early level of planning, the team itself isn't considering any of the ideas before discussion --lets have some good faith :) Thank you --Melamrawy (WMF) (talk) 17:25, 31 August 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Well, I think it's not especially productive to discuss ideas which are already dead in the water, so it would be helpful if the team removed the clearly discarded items. Then I can debunk the rest if needed. ;-) Nemo 17:47, 31 August 2016 (UTC)[reply]
MZ PSA 6.svg haha, okay, if you found a clear way to phrase or give a tangible idea of microcontributions, then go ahead, (if Wikigrok is the problem). Just remember that this Reading team is the very team that already killed this feature earlier by themselves, without even a community consultation :) --Melamrawy (WMF) (talk) 18:27, 31 August 2016 (UTC)[reply]

All of this is a bad idea[edit]

This whole idea is wrong-headed. I hate that the WMF thinks it's a software company because it keeps giving us solutions looking for problems. The editor base (that writes the content that draws eyeballs) is made up of encyclopedists. They're self-selecting. The last thing I want is to co-opt mere readers into doing anything. You're really just opening the door to more vandalism. I suggest that had the WMF not treated its contributors with such contempt for the past ten years you'd be in a better position now. None of the suggestions listed on the project page are going to help the encyclopedia. It would be better if you replaced most of your tech sector workers with librarians, quite honestly. Chris Troutman (talk) 12:09, 19 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Chris Troutman. Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate you engaging with us after what seems to be a long, painful history working with the WMF. It sounds like there are two issues with this way of thinking, which I will try to separate. One of them is the WMF's historical approach to the community, which I can do nothing about except to strive to partner better with contributors like yourself (and learn what specifically we should do better). The other issue, which may, in your mind, stem from the same mindset as the above, is the issue of whether or not we want to give casual users a way to contribute outside the very serious world of encyclopedia writing. For this, I would say
1. It sounds like we didn't do a great job of explaining the problem. I'll take a stab here. The problems are
  • Primary problem: most people don't learn best by simply reading, so we are not optimizing the value of the content
  • Secondary problem: editors are stretched thin. There are loads of backlogs and missing information that attest to this.
  • Tertiary problem: we (the WMF) don't have a lot of experience creating great contributory mechanisms on mobile and we need to practice
Here are some outcomes we hope to achieve in order of priority.
  • readers interact and learn more as a result
This is the low bar - it’s straightforward and we just make sure we don't make life worse for editors. The problem here is that content is static and increasingly research shows that learning by doing or via multiple modals reaches more people.
  • readers interact and help with existing editor needs (or add new value)
This is what we're aiming for. That is why we're asking. The problem we know is that editors cannot get to a million bottlenecks and backlogs--what are some of yours?
  • readers interact and eventually segue into editors (this funnel is probably overhyped)
Probably a stage 'n' priority, but shouldn’t be focus now. The problem here is that current editors are stretched thin.
  • we develop skills in building simple contributory tools for mobile and evolve into building power-tools for our editors on mobile
This isn’t a focus, but could be a fallback value
2. I would ask you, as a doubter, to provide the proof you would need to see in order to support this and then it is my job to try and come up with that proof or admit I don't have it. In other words, "In order to support such work, I would have to know that readers would not vandalize, would be happy to contribute and would alleviate some of our more mindless chores". Something like that. It might be that you simply believe no matter what readers do that it violates a principle you hold dearly (i.e. Wikipedia should never prompt anybody", in which case, please share that and why you hold it. For instance, prompting readers to take a picture of something nearby them that doesn't have an image seems like a potential win (if we can figure out the moderation). Is there a reason this sort of contribution wouldn't be welcome, or is it just a reasonable doubt that we can handle the moderation without creating more work for moderators? One of the reasons we strated this conversation is to tease this out and see what, if anything we can do.
Lastly, I will say that my colleague is working on some wireframes that might flesh out what both the contributory mechanism and moderation will look like. This might help clarify. I can ping you when they are up. Thanks again! Jkatz (WMF) (talk) 01:04, 21 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@Jkatz (WMF): Thank you for your reply though I didn't expect one. We have a philosophical difference here. You believe (if I'm understanding you correctly) that through the right process and GUI you can encourage readers to become editors and help crowdsource the wiki. There is NODEADLINE so I have no incentive to deal with new editors to address backlogs. In fact, it's the new editors that are causing backlogs at AfC and NPP that I and many others have been struggling with. WMF has, against community consensus, refused to implement the autoconfirmed article creation trial and has threatened to use superprotect when enterprising editors find a code work-around to fix our problem locally. Given enough time we'll eventually improve all the articles and end the backlogs if only we could send the unhelpful editors back to Facebook or where ever they came from. I don't want them here. Most of them think they have to correct something on Wikipedia that is correct, as is.
Generally speaking we have only two types of contributors: vandals and self-selectors. The vandals don't need direction but they might weaponize the tools you hand them. You will get POV editors trying to push something on wiki and I don't think outreach will change their minds about contributing in a positive manner as you're trying to address nuts-and-bolts editing, not ethics. Readers just want to read and most of them don't even do that very well based on the talk page comments I see from IPs. I have been to many an edit-a-thon and have attempted to teach editing to people who didn't really want to be editors. It wasn't my method of instruction; it was their motivation. Even in the half-dozen courses for which I served as campus ambassador, where the students literally had their grades riding on editing Wikipedia, the people who did not self-select generally did poorly and 100% of perhaps a hundred students quit Wikipedia when the semester was over never to return. I gave them all the editing skills they needed and I can point to the articles they wrote to prove they knew how to contribute. None of it mattered. Even the new users at edit-a-thons that want to write an article about their favorite hobby horse quit forever as soon as "their article" is published.
The self-selectors, however, see insufficient/inaccurate content and try to fix it. I don't believe you need to perform the sort of outreach you describe so they can learn by doing because anyone that can't be self-taught fails CIR. You could try to target these self-selectors if you wanted by anticipating what shortfalls they may find in an article and offer instructions on how to fix it but again, I think that's unnecessary and suspect. The special stuff inside these self-selectors is hard-to-come-by motivation. Once it's gone it's gone. Please read our Missing list and see a short but representative list of editors who have either quit in frustration or just walked away. I've been contributing for no pay and no thanks even while the WMF Board fires Doc James, a board member whom I helped elect. I think there's far more efficacy in editor retention than editor recruitment. I notice on your talk page that some of this has already been pointed out to you, which is why I don't understand your current task. Retain the editors that wrote your encyclopedia (and maybe try to lure back the ones that quit) and the content will draw the eyeballs.
Your first two problems aren't, to my mind, problems at all. Your tertiary problem of "building simple contributory tools for mobile" has nothing to do with an encyclopedia and everything to do with a tech company. I don't work for a tech company so I'm unconcerned if the coders have work to do. I don't edit on mobile because the app doesn't seem to allow it and I prefer the functionality of a laptop. I use a bunch of different gadgets and code on my .js page so I don't want to work on mobile without those tools like Twinkle. If in the future you want to make it easier for established editors to work on mobile I'm sure you can get feedback on that question. The Commons app, for example, doesn't show me where there are subjects located near me that need pictures. That's one thing WMF could implement pretty easily. I remember years ago there was a tool online that did something like that but it didn't work and I lost track of it.
In summary, I don't want Wikipedia to undertake this initiative because I have no faith it will accomplish anything good. There is no proof you can show me because I feel I've been around this community long enough both online and in real life to see what's going on. I'm a volunteer continually on the edge of quitting so you'll have to interpret my input in that context. Chris Troutman (talk) 04:25, 21 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Hi Chris Troutman, Thank you for your really thoughtful response. It helps me understand your concerns a lot better and you gave me a lot to read and consider.
Value to reader
As you say, it may be that we have a philosophical impasse around the value we can provide readers through different experiences.
New “Editors"
As to who can become a good editor, I am inclined to agree with you. I think the WMF learned through years of having a ‘growth team’ that encouraging all readers to edit is not a particularly useful thing to do (because those editors leave), but we can only theorize at this stage as to who to target better or how to help them succeed. Your concept of motivation as the distinguishing characteristic is new to me and interesting. Taken to an extreme, we could make it harder to edit in order to improve the quality of Wikipedia. After all, it is hard to imagine we have achieved the perfect equilibrium here. It also is true that no matter how motivated someone is, they need to have a capable device and be aware that wikipedia exists and editing is possible! Even using the theory of self-selection is true, I suspect there are still some perfectly capable encyclopedia writers who do not feel properly empowered either due to physical constraints or other. It turns out that most of our users, particularly in places where the internet is new, do not know what Wikipedia is or that they can help. Looking at the apps, it is not very obvious that Wikipedia can be edited and I think we can do some work here to introduce potential editors to that idea and to make editing on the apps easier. Maybe, the theory of self-selection thinks only those who can somehow surpass hurdles like awareness, confidence and devices are going to be good editors…that is definitely an argument I take seriously.
Casual contributions
While article feedback tool showed that doing reader contributions well is very hard, I haven’t seen enough evidence that more casual ways to contribute, requiring less motivation/context, would be impossible. In fact, maybe if we took all the folks who want to help by editing, but can’t seem to get it right and funnel them into things like the wikidata game, we will have a double win? While I agree with you that most readers would not provide value, all we would need in order to have significant impact would be to get <.01% of our readers to contribute (that would be 50k contributors using our low-ball 500 million user/month metric). In my experience, we are capable of driving those kind of % changes :) One thing you wrote struck me, because it seems to highlight an area where we might agree, is that “nearby articles requiring a photo” would be a welcome feature, but doesn’t currently work. In my mind, this is exactly the kind of contribution that others less inclined towards encyclopedia writing, but nonetheless passionate about Wikipedia could make and provide value.
Anyway, thank you for clarifying further and your patience. Are you going to be at Wikicon North America? I will be there and it would be good to catch up—I am interested to learn more about why you’re continually on the edge of quitting, but that’s not a subject for this talk page…if you’re not going to Wikicon, maybe we can catch up on Skype? Thanks! Jkatz (WMF) (talk) 17:15, 21 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@Jkatz (WMF): Yes, the Wikidata game is awesome! I've made many edits to Wikidata that way and I put a user template on my en-wp user page to advertise it. If the Wikipedia and Commons apps were designed for editing instead of reading that would also help. I'd like to emphasize again that AfC and NPP are continually being overrun by clueless new editors and promotional accounts. If WMF would turn resources to that problem it would do a lot to restore the community's faith in the WMF.
No, I won't be going to WikiCon in San Diego. You're welcome to hit me up on my talk page or e-mail if you have further questions for me. Chris Troutman (talk) 04:49, 23 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Did something just go live?[edit]

Jkatz (WMF), did some prototype just go to live testing? There was a post on EnWiki Village Pump asking about a a grey box at bottom left of the screen, hovering over the various sections it showed that you could perform various actions including unmarking as reviewed, nominating for deletion, thanking editors and tagging sections as needing improvement.

I was meaning to comment on the ideas here, but I was busy, and it didn't seem like anything was happening yet. Most article tagging will be actively-unhelpful if done by readers with no familiarity with policies or expectations for using them, and especially if there's zero chance of engaging them on talk pages to discuss. We are already have tons of tags to deal with, placed by experienced editors. Tagging Dead Links would be good, it can be done with zero knowledge, and many of those can be fixed by bots.

Inviting readers to nominate article for deletion would be really bad. It takes policy knowledge to know what articles should/shouldn't be deleted, it generally takes the labor of multiple editors plus an admin to deal with each deletion nomination, and we are already a bit of a shortfall of experienced editors reviewing deletion nominations. Alsee (talk) 11:41, 5 October 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Alsee, Thanks for checking in. This is definitely not the reading team's doing and I don't think there are any projects across the WMF product department that would do this.. Thanks for checking. I also appreciate your feedback. Is there anything we're not thinking of that editors find dead-boring or monotonous that a bot couldn't do, but a human could? We were thinking something having to do with photos or audio would be good since machines still aren't so hot at deciphering that sort of content. I think some of the issues around moderation (but obviously not all) would be met if we required multiple readers to agree on something before it went live. Jkatz (WMF) (talk) 15:25, 5 October 2016 (UTC)[reply]