Grants:IEG/WikiProject X/Renewal/Midpoint

Welcome to this project's midpoint report! This report shares progress and learnings from the Individual Engagement Grantee's first 3 months.



In a few short sentences or bullet points, give the main highlights of what happened with your project so far.

  • We decided that writing a new MediaWiki extension was the best way to achieve our goals for this grant renewal, and have started work on it accordingly.
  • We launched a new system called Wikipedia Requests and it is slowly gaining traction.
  • We are consulting with WikiProject Women in Red on recommended improvements to their WikiProject.

Methods and activities


How have you setup your project, and what work has been completed so far?

Describe how you've setup your experiment or pilot, sharing your key focuses so far and including links to any background research or past learning that has guided your decisions. List and describe the activities you've undertaken as part of your project to this point.

  • We held a session at the Wikimedia Developer Summit in San Francisco. The session focused on the technical hurdles we encountered in implementing our WikiProject layout, including the difficulties encountered by our users in making modifications to their own WikiProjects, the lack of ease in deploying it anew on WikiProjects, and the over-reliance on expertise in the template system that would make export to projects other than the English Wikipedia highly unfeasible. Following discussion, the decision was made to create a new MediaWiki extension, CollaborationKit. Phabricator task phab:T123028 describes the rationale and minimum feature set. CollaborationKit's development is crucial for the achievement of several of our goals, including module standardization, tools for DIY deployment, and product adoption on English Wikipedia. The work on this extension is being coordinated on the CollaborationKit board.
  • We discussed a shared platform for Wikipedia article requests with WikiProject Women in Red, Art+Feminism, and Wiki Loves Women. Coordinating with volunteers addressing the gender gap was one of our goals for renewal, and as part of this we launched Wikipedia Requests, a central platform for logging requests to create and improve articles. While our work with Reports Bot helped create automated lists, this is a system for editor-curated tasks. Accompanying this platform is a syndication bot that allows these requests to be arbitrarily embedded on pages such as WikiProjects and edit-a-thon pages. (Disclosure: I maintain WikiProject Occupational Safety and Health as part of my work at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.)
  • We consulted with WikiProject Women in Red as our most active users of our tools. Areas highlighted for improvement include the metrics report (currently done by hand), making navigation between the various pages easier, and a more straightforward process for signing up as a member. Their feedback plays a key role in the development of the CollaborationKit extension.
  • During the Wikimedia Hackathon in Jerusalem we opened up our database of article–WikiProject relationships to allow other developers to build tools with the data we collect. As a result, the Citation Hunt tool now lets you find uncited statements on Wikipedia according to WikiProject. The next step is to integrate this tool directly into WikiProjects.

Midpoint outcomes


What are the results of your project or any experiments you’ve worked on so far?

Please discuss anything you have created or changed (organized, built, grown, etc) as a result of your project to date.

  • To date, the underlying content model and a basic editing interface have been implemented in the extension. These are the most complicated parts of the extension, considering that the content handler is a relatively new feature in MediaWiki and there are not many examples of its use to go by.
  • Wikipedia Request lists are embedded on WikiProject Hampshire, WikiProject Occupational Safety and Health, WikiProject Women in Red, and WikiProject Women scientists as test cases. A campaign for wider adoption will take place later. There are currently 929 open requests and 4 completed requests logged in the system, mostly from migrating lists from Art+Feminism, WikiProject Occupational Safety and Health, and WikiProject Women scientists.
  • The WPX UI is now used on ten WikiProjects. WikiProject Hampshire County, West Virginia is the latest WikiProject to use the interface. Additionally, WikiProject Zanzibar City is the first WikiProject to use WPX UI independently of our team ("organic adoption").



Please take some time to update the table in your project finances page. Check that you’ve listed all approved and actual expenditures as instructed. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided there to explain them.

Then, answer the following question here: Have you spent your funds according to plan so far? Please briefly describe any major changes to budget or expenditures that you anticipate for the second half of your project.

To date, we have spent $10,000 of the budgeted $30,000, which is $5,000 short of how much we were expecting to spend. We have had delays in our reports bot-related work due to personnel issues. For the second half of this renewal period we have asked for modifications as reported on the finance page.



The best thing about trying something new is that you learn from it. We want to follow in your footsteps and learn along with you, and we want to know that you are taking enough risks to learn something really interesting! Please use the below sections to describe what is working and what you plan to change for the second half of your project.

What are the challenges


What challenges or obstacles have you encountered? What will you do differently going forward? Please list these as short bullet points.

  • We have encountered significant delays due to personnel issues. While they will be resolved shortly, there really isn't much that can be done about them.
  • Going into this renewal, we did not expect we would end up writing an extension, instead making iterative improvements on the current set of templates. Regardless, we decided it was the best path going forward after we consulted with the broader technical community. We are compensating for this by prioritizing extension development in the budget and bringing on some additional help.
  • WikiProjects, it turns out, have quite the capacity to grow and become cluttered, despite attempts at reining in clutter with design. We are reviewing what the priority is for presentation of content and how best to present it.

What is working well


What have you found works best so far? To help spread successful strategies so that they can be of use to others in the movement, rather than writing lots of text here, we'd like you to share your finding in the form of a link to a learning pattern.

Next steps and opportunities


What are the next steps and opportunities you’ll be focusing on for the second half of your project? Please list these as short bullet points.

  • We are going to focus on finishing, testing, and deploying the CollaborationKit extension, and we are going to fix the many outstanding bugs in the reports bot.
  • I would like to make it easier for people to migrate lists to the new Wikipedia Requests system.
  • I (James Hare) will be attending WikiCite 2016 in Berlin. I hope to see progress in the development of a central database of reference material that can be used to develop Wikipedia articles. A significant hurdle to writing articles is finding sources, and a lot of work can be done to make it easier.

Grantee reflection


We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on how the experience of being an IEGrantee has been so far. What is one thing that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed from the past 3 months?

  • It is interesting to watch the project I originally proposed in September 2014 start to mature, but because it is maturing, there are now many opportunities to build on it, and that excites me. harej (talk) 20:29, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
  • We have so far taken a huge problem and broken it down into discrete pieces, and are now building solutions with huge scope out of those much smaller pieces. This is very confusing, but surprisingly fun. I really, really hope it actually works. -— Isarra 22:03, 4 May 2016 (UTC)