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Wikimedia Product Development/Personæ

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This is a place for the Product team to list personæ for Wikimedia users.

Readers and content contributors[edit]

Persona Category[1] Differentiation characteristics Core motivations # per month Quant. characteristics % female
Casual Reader


  • Casual reader of Wikipedia.
  • Uses Wikipedia to find information, maybe learn about topics.
  • Gets to Wikipedia via search engine or social media, a reflection of Wikipedia not being top of mind when looking for information
  • Reg or anon, but mostly anon
  • Does not edit

Find information they need right now


  • 12 PV/month
  • 2.5 PV/visit
  • 4.5 visits/month
  • (comScore average)


Power Reader (repeat)


  • Reads Wikipedia *a lot*[2]
  • Delves deeply into topics
  • Gets lost in the endless sea of wiki links (and may articulate this behavior as such)
  • May have even seen a template or two, recognizes "citation needed", infoboxes
  • Reg or anon
  • Does not edit
  • Find info they need right now
  • Lifelong learning



(app data will help develop baseline)


New Editor (transitory)


  • Just started editing Wikipedia/contributing to Commons
  • Could be anon or registered
  • Not yet comfortable with syntax, rules, etc., but were motivated to start contribute
  • Reg or anon
  • Fix something that’s wrong (grammar, typo, remove incorrect info)
  • Add missing information
  • Also antipatterns


(maybe more)

=”New Active Editors” + active IP editors


(could drill more into survey data to get at this)

Casual Editor (repeat)


  • the "middle class" of editors that edit at a relatively low volume
  • may do this constantly or periodically
  • Many don’t consider themselves part of the community
  • make ~20-40% of edits on English Wikipedia
  • Registered
  • Overall, not well understood
  • "I can fix this", normal response to disorder


5-99 edits/month[3]

~9% (?)

Power Editor[4]


  • Very active, care a lot about their articles/work
  • Includes editors who care about policy, governance, dispute resolution, admins, etc.
  • Registered
  • Personal fulfillment
  • Recognition
  • Altruism/belief in mission


100+ edits/month


Technical contributors and software or content re-users[edit]

Persona Category Differentiation characteristics Core motivations # per month Quant. characteristics % female

Wikimedia technical contributor


  • involved in Wikimedia open source software projects, from MediaWiki core and extensions to bots, gadgets, and templates
  • professional or hobbyist
  • ?

~1000 total

~500 each month


3rd party developer


  • creates applications and services using the MediaWiki APIs
  • uses Wikimedia data / APIs to create services
  • professional or hobbyist
  • ?




MediaWiki sysadmin


  • administrators of MediaWiki instances
  • professional or hobbyist
  • ?




Examples of personas for readers and content contributors[edit]


  • Eamon – An administrator editor, Eamon is mostly interested in preventing breakage to existing content and hunting down the people that break things. He wants a system that makes it easy and simple to see exactly what has changed and who changed it, so that he can intervene to undo bad edits, warn editors, and discuss edits with others.
  • Eileen – An IP (“anonymous”) editor, Eileen is aware that she can edit but not very experienced in how to edit, both technically and socially. She wants a system that can guide her into making edits, making suggestions about what is and is not OK and what she might want to do next.
  • Eliot – A long-form editor, Eliot makes most of contributions to the projects by way of long, complicated article creations, extensions and re-writes. He wants a powerful, comprehensive, easy-to-use editor that doesn’t get in his way as he flicks between sources and writing copy.
  • Enya – A new editor, Enya is just finding out how to edit and whether this is something she’s interested in doing. She wants a fast, familiar, easy-to-understand editor that makes it simple for her to find things to do and know what is right and wrong.
  • Eoan – An occasional editor, Eoan reads the projects a lot, editing only when he spots something obviously wrong. He wants a fast, familiar, easy-to-understand editor that helps him make quick small changes and then move on to reading without having to remember the arcane ways to make edits and what he is and is not meant to do.
  • Erin – A reviewing editor, Erin makes small edits to content to improve it in little ways, like adding citations and flagging articles as suspect. She wants a system that lets her quickly and easily see what has changed recently and helps her do common ‘gnoming’ tasks.


  • Norman the Nervous Newbie - Norman is knowledgeable about a topic, and he sees a mistake on an article page that he knows is incorrect. He’s not sure if it’s okay for him to change the page, so he wants to post a message on the article talk page, explaining the problem and recommending that it be fixed. He needs to feel confident posting his message -- and when an editor posts an encouraging reply, he needs to see the response.
  • Ellie the Early Editor - Ellie has just made the jump from reader to editor, and she’s made her first contributions to article pages. She’s made a good-faith new editor mistake, and another user leaves a message on her talk page to tell her about that mistake. Ellie has a clarifying question to ask, and she needs to know how to write back.
  • Donna the Debater - Donna is devoted to the truth; when she sees something on an article page that doesn’t look right, she wants to ask questions and check sources. At any given time, she’s involved in discussions on a dozen different talk pages. She needs to keep track of all of her conversations, but she doesn’t have time to waste skimming through long discussions to make sure that she’s up to date.
  • Oliver the Information Overlord - Oliver is a long-time power player on the wiki. He follows several high-volume talk pages, and he wants to keep up on everything that’s going on. He needs tools that help him sift through the noise, cutting through the boring noise so that he can zero in on the really interesting discussions.

Mobile Web[edit]

Third-party user

  • user who Googles to find a fact and reads Wikipedia information via Google Knowledge graph but does not seek Wikipedia out explicitly as a source of knowledge, may not even know what Wikipedia is

Casual reader

  • user who follows link to Wikipedia in Google to look up a fact not immediately found via Knowledge Graph (e.g. “episode summary Lost season 3 episode 2”) but does not seek Wikipedia out explicitly as a source of knowledge
  • user who follows links to Wikipedia shared via social media (e.g. Facebook or Twitter) but does not seek Wikipedia out explicitly as a source of knowledge

Power reader

  • user who explicitly goes to Wikipedia (browser bookmark, iOS home screen bookmark, Android search settings, typing “Ebola outbreak wiki” into browser, etc.) as an authoritative source of knowledge
    • to look up a fact (e.g. “when was Barack Obama born?”)
    • to get an overview of a topic (e.g. “what does Standard deviation mean?”)
    • to kill time/read for fun (e.g. hitting Random or Nearby to find articles, following internal links & related articles)
  • user who creates an account (via the watchlist star to keep track of pages, the edit CTA, uploads, left nav) out of interest/wanting to be part of Wikipedia but lurks and does not contribute because she is not actively invited/doesn’t see an entrypoint
  • user who taps on last modified call to action to look at page histories and/or page issues to see when information may be missing or biased
  • user who uses the language selection feature to switch between different language projects, in order to compare articles written in different languages

Casual editor

  • new editor who signs up for an account in order to add/remove/modify information, fix a typo opportunistically
  • existing editor who mostly edits via desktop but occasionally contributes via mobile, too, incremental to desktop activity (e.g., on the bus with no access to laptop)
  • existing editor who switches back and forth between mobile site and desktop site on their mobile device to do more advanced editing

Power editor

  • new editor who signs up for an account in order to add/remove/modify information, fix a typo opportunistically and gets hooked, makes many changes to one or more articles via phone/tablet
    • and migrates to desktop editing
    • and remains on mobile site
  • existing editor who began editing on desktop site but now primarily contributes via phone/tablet

Personas Evolving[edit]

Here is a link to a deck talking about Segmentation and Personae, and how we might move forward to evolve a set of personas from what we know currently. We will create a set of pragmatic personae as a group and then move forward to validate them with qualitative research. Once we do the research, we may decide to split up some of the Pragmatic personae or combine them, or create new ones from the learnings we gain from research. Also in this deck are links to further reading about Personae.

  1. Use this term referring to the whole group rather than a specific persona
  2. When we (WMF staff) meet people socially, everyone always says “You work for Wikipedia? How cool! I use it every day!” A Power Reader is someone whom, after talking to them for a few more minutes, you think, “Wow, this person really does spend a lot of time on Wikipedia.”
  3. Need to be careful here and factor in bytes added etc.
  4. We may want to break out Metapedians, but core content contributors, even if it’s vandal fighting and gnoming, should go into this bucket.