This document describes the design and behavior of the WikiLove extension for Wikipedia. This tool is designed to promote the spread of positive user feedback (WikiLove) within Wikipedia. Specifically, it makes adding awards and gifts to user talk pages as simple as clicking a few buttons.
Wikipedia, as a community, has several mechanisms for indicating displeasure or to provide negative feedback to its users. Certain gadgets, such as Twinkle, are heavily engineered towards warning, blocking, and reverting.
Since Wikipedia is in need of positive reinforcement, especially for new users, a system designed specifically and only towards positive feedback is desired.
Use of whimsical style
The system has a heavy style of "whimsy" to its design. This is intentional and is intended to align closer to the expectations of users of modern websites. Further, the entire principle of "awards" is in and of itself whimsical (e.g., cookies and kittens).
This style may be abandoned based on user feedback.
Note on nomenclature
Some template types, such as welcome templates, are not technically "awards".
This document uses the term award interchangeably with template. Since the system is user-focused, and not intended directly for power-users, user-facing nomenclature has been used.
The WikiLove dialog is modal. Initiating it (from anywhere) will cause it to appear over the text of the page. It can be dismissed with a simple click.
The user will initially be presented with a short set of easy-to-understand instructions and a list of available award categories.
Upon selecting an award type, the user is presented with a section in which they can add details to the award (such as a short message).
Note that some award categories (e.g., "cookie") will not have a secondary award creation step and will go directly to "Preview".
The user then clicks the "preview" button, which will load a preview of the award so that they may see how it will look on the user's talk page.
Once the user is satisfied, they may click the "Send WikiLove" button. At this time, AJAX calls to the server API will be fired, adding the template to the user's talk page.
Since most new users are unlikely to be aware that they even have talk pages, they may not be aware that they have received the WikiLove in question.
Accordingly, the server will email the recipient (if they have provided an email address) informing them of the WikiLove as well as short instructions on how to access their talk page.
Initially, the awards that can be given are to be defined in the gadget itself. If this system is elevated to an extension, then the names of the awards and the templates should be defined in the site's LocalSettings.php.
Alternatively, such information can be stored in the database. An administration console would be required to add or subtract available awards and award categories.
For statistics gathering purposes, every time an award is given, data is tracked and stored in the database. A simple table, written to via the API, is all that need be required:
- From User - The username of the person who is giving the award
- To User - The username of the person receiving the award
- Template - the name of the template awarded
- Timestamp - when the award was given
- Award Text - Optional; this would be the text of the award
- Submitter Edit Count - the number of edits the submitter has, at the time of submission
- Recipient Edit Count - the number of edits the recipient has, at the time of submission
- Submitter Account Creation Timestamp - Account Creation Timestamp for Submitter
- Recipient Account Creation Timestamp - Account Creation Timestamp for Recipient
In the future, it should be possible to create a page, Special:WikiLoveStatistics, that could be used to see how often the system is used as well as providing insight into who gives the most love, what awards are most popular, and who receives the most awards.
This will help to provide a global overview of community health. The more awards given, the healthier the community.
Phase two of this project could result in "Send WikiLove" links being dynamically added to signatures on talk pages. This would allow for WikiLove to be sent in a much easier manner, directly from other talk pages.
- Determine how best to cause the dialog to fire (link the tab bar, most likely)