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English Wikipedia first

Summary by Qgil-WMF

An evolved proposal is being handled at Phab:T85602. Further discussion should continue there.

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)
A subjective and very simplified view. The original file has notes.

We don't need to run any survey to be sure that:

  • Plenty of potential technical contributors are regular users of English Wikipedia.
  • The big majority of them are not aware that we have plenty of open source projects and activities welcoming developers as well as other technical contributors.
  • The big majority of them don't follow, the Wikimedia Blog, Village Pumps, our mailing lists or our social media.
  • Therefore we are basically not talking to them, even if they visit "us" regularly.

Proposed drivers for a strategy:

  • Tight collaboration with English Wikipedia: we are both interested in turning some of those readers in technical contributors improving (among other things) the software running English Wikipedia.
  • Work on news and activities with an impact in mainstream tech media: raising the awareness among potential contributors at large.
  • Collaboration with established organizations: many active groups out there have an interest in doing technical contributions to Wikipedia.

We are doing a bit of each, but through disconnected activities with more improvisation than common strategy. We are still patching away problems as they come. And we invest a lot of energy in many other activities that always struggle receiving enough attention and attendance.

This is also basically the strategy we are following for engaging editors: first, take advantage of any media opportunities to pitch the need for more editors, and programs like GLAM or Education to work directly with organizations.

So what if we would focus our little resources in these three areas until we register a clear trend of growth in new contributors?

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

After a quick first round of feedback:

  • We are talking primarily about tapping new readers, not editors. Editors are important too, but they are already contributing and busy. Proposals here must be visible to anonymous readers and not rely alone on watchlists, Village Pumps, etc.
  • We need to target well our actions in order to get high signal vs noise ratios, and volumes we can digest. We could potentially reach huge audiences at, but also get drowned with noise and a volume of requests we can't handle. Some ideas:
    • Agreeing on using the {{mediawiki}} template in Wikipedia pages about topics where we have also information related to them. Someone created it and I actually added it to a few pages as an experiment. Some kept it, but others (more popular and maintained, like "Git") reverted it: en:Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:MediaWiki
    • Adding more connections like "For the use of Jenkins in Wikimedia projects, see..."
    • Having a category for MediaWiki/Wikimedia tech related pages and run a campaign only to the pages included there. For instance, imagine promoting the Wikimedia Hackathon during 2 weeks to readers of those pages from the Netherlands and surrounding countries.
    • Have a banner at en:Web testing to recruit volunteers for our next Browser testing QA week.
  • English Wikipedia first doesn't mean only. is the most popular by far, tech readers rely on it regardless of their mother tongues and our basic contribution channels are in English-only anyway. But we will welcome collaboration and experimentation with any other Wikimedia project. In fact, even if we push first it might well be that we end up seeing results somewhere else first, since other projects might be faster and more adventurous. All is good and will help drawing a general strategy.

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

Waldyrious (talkcontribs)

The general principle sounds great, and most of the specific ideas listed above are great and good examples of the way we could tackle the issue.

I have to agree with those who removed the mediawiki template in articles, though: those "project X also has info on Y" are generally aimed at providing extra info about the concept itself, detached from its relationship with Wikimedia. In contrast, the Git page and pretty much every documentation page we have here on are targeted at MediaWiki development and its surrounding ecosystem. After all, this isn't a generic FOSS documentation project, unlike, say, So that kind of outreach seems to be much more suited to disambiguation hatnotes and targeted banners/campaigns, than to that sort of template.

That said, I wholeheartedly agree we ought to invest on those initiatives. We could for instance start a page with the list of MediaWiki/Wikimedia tech related pages, to facilitate marking which already have the appropriate dab headers (and thus provide a quick to-do list for those interested in contributing in this regard). That list would also help pave the way for a banner campaign, so we could use it to start discussing the content of potential banners as well. And it could host the list of ideas above to a more permanent place, where we could further expand it.

Just my 2 cents.