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Wikimedia Product/Contribution taxonomy

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Our wikis are nothing without their communities, and retention of new and existing editors alike has been a perennial challenge. There are a very large number of contribution tasks across our wikis, and they vary considerably in their approachability, scalability, and how much they contribute to editors' retention or burn-out.

Almost all tasks and workflows involve the platform maintained by the Foundation (edits, diffs, templates, categories, …); some tasks are supported directly with native tools maintained by the Foundation (the citoid service, the OTRS e-mail ticket system, the page views tool); some use near-native tools created and maintained by community members (gadgets and user scripts), or more full "second party" tools (RTRC, AWB, Twinkle, etc.); finally, some use "third party" tools (browser spell checkers, browser extensions like Grammarly, and so on). Some tasks require a lot of experience, domain knowledge, social capital within the community, having the right tools, or other key items.

On-boarding to these tasks can thus require these needs to be met, but without proper support editors can fail to get "in". Similarly once using the tools, editors can be frustrated by lack of workflow support and eventually leave. Understanding what we have is key to building better editing experiences.

What does the Contribution Taxonomy consist of?[edit]

The concept framework for the initial contribution taxonomy project, is to the right. It defines the scope of contribution workflows that were documented in this first round.

There are two parts to the contribution taxonomy:

  1. The master inventory, which includes:
    • The catalogue of Wikipedia workflows and steps,
    • The assessment criteria,
    • The scoring of workflows and steps against these criteria, and
    • The team-led weighting matrix by which to judge workflows and steps; and
  2. The visualization system, which includes:
    • The visual elements used to build workflow visualizations, and
    • Workflows that have been visualized.

Please see the Key to codes of the master inventory, and the master inventory walk through for details; you can access a copy of the master inventory on Google Documents.

How do the parts of the Contribution Taxonomy work together?[edit]

The master inventory[edit]

The master inventory contains the bulk of the information on workflows and steps.

  • Scroll through and look at details of the 88 workflows and over 500 steps listed in the initial round of building out this taxonomy.

The Assessment criteria[edit]

The assessment criteria was designed to assess each step and workflow in order to select the most important steps and workflows to focus on for a particular project or team. Each step and workflow in the master inventory has been scored against the "current user difficulty" and "mobile potential ability" criteria, on a scale of 1-5. A score of 5 indicates low effort (easy) to accomplish the step or workflow. A score of 1 indicates a high level of effort (difficult) to accomplish the step or workflow. The scores in between 1 and 5 indicate gradations between the two extremes. (See the image of the criteria to the right to read examples for each criteria at each score).

The criteria are divided into two sets:

  • Current user difficulty asses the skill levels needed to accomplish the workflows or steps. These specific criteria are:
    • Process familiarity: How visible and clear is the process? What's the learning curve like?
    • Technical comfort: Is much technical experience needed for me to be comfortable taking part?
    • Community feeling: How much understanding of the community and its values do I need to do this?
    • Personal social capital: Do I need to have and spend my personal social capital to make this happen?
    • Domain knowledge: How much familiarity with the content's or policy's topic you I need to have to be able to participate?
  • Mobile potential ability criteria assesses if the step or workflow is most or least suitable across to be built for mobile. The specific criteria are:
    • Parallel activities: Do I need to have many things open at once to do this?
    • Detail/high context (small screen issues): Is there a lot of context, where I might need to repeatedly zoom out and in to understand it?
    • Temporal length (continuous use issues): Do I have to do this all at once, or can I do a little and then come back?
    • Tied steps (continuous use issues): Must I do lots of steps in succession, or is it one-and-done?
    • Precision needed (touch screen issues): How important is very careful pixel-perfect / key sequence precision to the task?
  • There are also some measures about scale and permissions included in the master inventory. These measures are used along with the above groups of criteria, to assess the importance of working on one workflow or another.
    • How many times does this workflow happen per day? (See columns R, S, T, U, and V)
    • Does this happen on every wiki listed, or just one / some? (See columns Z, AA, AB, AC, and AD)
    • Is this step something that happens a lot? (To do this, one needs to filter by the steps’ codes in column Y)
    • Do I need any special rights / access to do this? (See column AT)
    • Do I need a special tool to take part here? (See column X)
    • Does this only work if my wiki has this set up? (See column AR)
    • Do I need anything as a user to do this? (See column AS)

The weighting system[edit]

The weighting system is inside the master inventory, and is used to raise or lower the priority of specific criteria. In using the weighting system, people assessing which workflows to focus on can weight the criteria for a specific audience, community, platform or team. Once the weighting is defined, it is applied to the workflows and steps that have been scored against the assessment criteria, in the master inventory.

The visualization system[edit]

The visualization system consists of a set of elements that are used to visually build out the steps and workflows listed in the master inventory. The files in this gallery are .svg files and can be viewed and edited by any vector editor software like Inkscape, or others.

Flow statements[edit]

User decisions[edit]

User intentions[edit]

User roles, tools, and notes[edit]

Visualized Workflows[edit]

In this gallery, you can see visualized workflows.

How does someone navigate the master inventory?[edit]

The master inventory is a detailed list of contribution workflows, steps that accomplish the workflows and any tools and / or permissions needed to complete a workflow. Please see the master inventory walk-through for a written, step by step walk through that will guide you through each detail of the master inventory. Also see the Key to codes for the master inventory.

What are the uses of the contribution taxonomy?[edit]

Use the current contribution taxonomy[edit]

  • Learn about the details of a specific step or workflow by looking in the master inventory for it.
  • Assess one Wiki's workflows agains another Wiki's workflows by looking in the master inventory.
  • See what is described about your wiki's workflows and steps (Czech, English, French, Hindi, Korean).
  • Find a complete visualization of a workflow or step.
  • Select the most important workflows and steps for a specific project.

Add to the contribution taxonomy[edit]

  • Visualize a step or workflow that is not already visualized. To do this, download the visualization elements and open them in a vector graphics editor. Then refer to the workflow, its steps, roles, and tools, and lay out the workflow using the elements.
  • Share a visualization you created by uploading it to the workflows gallery above.
  • Add a new wiki's workflows to the master inventory.
  • Score newly added workflows and steps against criteria.
  • Add another team to the weighting matrix.
  • Weight scored workflows for a specific project’s priorities.

See also[edit]