Grants talk:IdeaLab/Research team editing

Latest comment: 8 years ago by I JethroBT (WMF) in topic Consider an Individual Engagement Grant!



I've always felt that the ability to share work and support each other to do what we each do best is Wikipedia at its finest in theory...but often not in practice. So, I'm fascinated by the idea of a more collaborative workflow for editing. Not sure what this would actually look like, how teams would form, or if indeed the culture of Wikipedia would support such a thing (would teams be considered "cabals" by some communities?). But exploring it seems like a good start. Thanks for sharing, looking forward to seeing this develop further! Siko (WMF) (talk) 19:07, 1 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

TBH, I don't know about the perception, the uses, or the constraints, that would come with something like this. Maybe it becomes an open tool? Like the result of a Hangouts discussion, or a collaborative chat session. Or maybe it is not practical. Who knows. I guess the only option is to start surveying the field to facilitate the emergence of a new edit option. --Micru (talk) 21:22, 3 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

Eligibility confirmed, Inspire Campaign


This Inspire Grant proposal is under review!

We've confirmed your proposal is eligible for the Inspire Campaign review. Please feel free to ask questions and make changes to this proposal as discussions continue during this community comments period.

The committee's formal review begins on 6 April 2015, and grants will be announced at the end of April. See the schedule for more details.

Questions? Contact us at grants(at)

feedback and comments from Thepwnco


@Micru: hello and congratulations on having your grant proposal confirmed as eligible for review! This is a really interesting idea and I'm wondering if you could elaborate on what you meant by "perform some tests" (under the community engagement section). Were you thinking of piloting a few group editing sessions (perhaps facilitated by a chat tool)? Would your research activities include lit reviews and do you also intend on surveying off-wiki communities (e.g. distributed teams that engage in collaborative editing tasks). I'd love to hear more details about all this and see the list of proposed activities for the project manager expanded upon. cheers -Thepwnco (talk) 21:57, 5 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

@Thepwnco: Sometimes I feel that we wikimedians tend to put a lot of emphasis on the tool, the perfect workflow that will save us from hatred, however this is not just about that (part of it maybe, but not entirely). By "perform some tests", I do not merely want to try a workflow, but also observe if communication guidelines are needed, or the kind of dynamics that emerge in those sessions. One of the purposes of this research is to investigate how the medium can give access to a different array of communication strategies and also learn to use them in a more loving way. At the present moment I have the impression that it is more important to just ask the community about what is acceptable for them and what not, instead of coming up with a "canned" solution.
For instance, during the first phase (survey), some of the questions would aim to find the limits of editors. Would they be comfortable arranging chat or offline meet ups? Are they comfortable with groups arranging those meetups? Which kind of transparency is needed? Or perhaps some sort of match-making is needed first? Do users need to reveal something about themselves and are they willing to? Can it mimic the structure of the IdeaLab or Teahouse? For now I see too many open questions...
Once that is done, then it will be the time to define the tasks and the group editing tests. I don't think there is much point in defining now the activities without knowing first what are the wishes of editors. I think they might be more appreciative to be asked before engaging in more work, or coming up with tests as if group editing was a "done deal". If for any reason, the survey shows that it is a bad idea or meets with a lot of resistance, then I will be happy to finish the grant after the three first months instead of doing something that is not wanted.
Anyhow, thanks a lot for your comments. If you have any more thoughts about this please share them, and I also might need help approaching the communities.--Micru (talk) 10:06, 8 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

Comments from Superzerocool


Hi @Micru:, thanks for sharing your idea. After a brief reading, I have some questions and comments about the proposal:

  1. How do you avoid break the policy "Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point" if you have a group editing the same article or knowledge area?
  2. You talk about the "idea", do you have any kick-off idea?
  3. In the activities section, you must explain more the proposed tasks because I don't see (and understand) how much time you need to develop the project.
  4. About the travel costs, please indicate the event, time or somewhat :)

Regards Superzerocool (talk) 14:17, 9 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

@Superzerocool:, thanks for your questions! Here you go my comments:
  1. There are more wikipedias other than ENWP, I would ask which wikipedias would be interested in testing
  2. The kick-off idea is "team editing". The first step is to define exactly how it should be, for that a survey is needed. After that, and depending on the results, an array of tests will be proposed. I cannot predict the results, but it could be chat sessions to edit (or create an article) as a team, or a videoconference to discuss different approaches, or trying different knowledge building workflows, or trying teams with different roles... as you can see there are many options, it all depends on how the survey goes. Hopefully well enough to continue after the first feedback gathering round :)
  3. I don't see (and understand) either how much time I need to develop the project either :) TBH, during the Wikisource community building project the situation was pretty much alike, it is hard to estimate how long it can take without actually start working on it. Normally it always take more time and dedication than expected.
  4. Travel costs are mainly for Wikimania (since my scolarship was rejected) to present the project, and for open knowledge conferences (like OKfest), where I can approach activists other than wikimedians and gather momentum in social media if the project becomes successful and has to be presented to a wider audience.
I hope that answers your initial questions. Please keep asking, because that motivates me a lot :) --Micru (talk) 07:55, 11 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

Activities section expanded


@Siko (WMF), Thepwnco, and Superzerocool: Given that there were concerns about the lack of definition of the activities that would be conducted, I have expanded the "Activities" section in the grant proposal. I would appreciate if you could read it and comment from your perspective. Thanks! --Micru (talk) 08:41, 11 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

Community notifications


Hello Micru, and congrats on reaching this stage of the process with the proposal. I'm doing some reminders about the notification part of the process, where participants are asked to post to noticeboards on projects that may be impacted by the idea. As you appear to still be mulling which projects to work with, that may have to be settled first. Once you have a list, it's important to do some Village Pump posts about the proposal. Let me know if you have questions about this step, PEarley (WMF) (talk) 17:34, 13 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

Dear PEarley (WMF), I considered that starting spamming the Village Pumps with news about a project that has not been approved yet, could have been too much for the audience (and even for myself). Instead what I have done is to request feedback to the Tech Ambassadors using the massmessage tool. If the list is right, I reckon around 400 people have received the message, which might be a lot, but more commensurate than initiating a full-fledged communication campaign about a project that has not been greenlighted yet.--Micru (talk) 09:40, 30 April 2015 (UTC)Reply



Could you give an idea how "team editing" would differ from WikiProjects? Thanks, Bazj (talk) 10:30, 30 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

Group accounts


Group accounts are not going to work on the English wikipedia, as multi-user accounts are forbidden there. Andrew (talk) 11:27, 30 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

I want to amplify on Andrew's point: One of the critical components of wikis, such as Wikipedia, is accountability - which requires being able to identify exactly who did what (hence, history pages). Without accountability, allowing anonymous (IP) and non-real-name editing, as Wikipedia does, would make no sense. So "group accounts", where multiple people use the same login, is a non-starter. John Broughton (talk) 15:14, 30 April 2015 (UTC)Reply
@Andrew Davidson and John Broughton: Thanks for your feedback. Noted.--Micru (talk) 13:16, 1 May 2015 (UTC)Reply
I think history pages are there for authorship, not just for accountability ;) and "group attribution" may simply be too much for our projects to handle correctly given our free license. --Elitre (talk) 17:06, 4 May 2015 (UTC)Reply
"Authorship" and "accountability" both relate to the same potential problem - what if there is a person (and it would only take one) on a project who doesn't understand the policies of Wikipedia? This happens fairly often, even when "tech-savvy" or "scholarly" groups are interested in editing Wikipedia. This one person could cause problems for the entire team, up to and including getting the team blocked or banned.
This leads to a subsidiary problem of communication with the problem user and education/correction. Unless there is some way to ensure that the user causing the problem is the same person as the user receiving the education/correction, remedying any problems would be quite difficult. (This issue of identity in communication would also lean towards prohibiting group accounts from participating in many kinds of discussion - how could we tell if the multiple voices for/against a point were one person or several?) – Philosopher Let us reason together. 23:02, 14 May 2015 (UTC)Reply



Team editing already occurs at editathons. For example, I recently attended an editathon at the National Maritime Museum. The structure there was to have tables working upon particular topics. My table worked upon James Cook and William Whiston. The table had a subject-matter expert - one of the curators - while I provided editing expertise to execute particular ideas which the curator suggested. The third team member had no special expertise but was a sounding-board and helped with general facilitation - refreshments, security &c.

This was ok for an event with training as a major goal. But I find that serious writing is quite a solitary activity and I don't like to have interruptions when I am in full flow. This is the big social problem with Wikipedia. When someone has been deeply immersed in a topic and has expended much effort in doing the research and putting down the words, they are naturally inclined to resent criticism and changes. Please see an article which I started on an approach to this in IT development: egoless programming. Andrew (talk) 11:27, 30 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

At the same kind of events, I used etherpad to create long articles and the overall experience was good to me and the peers -- it was good to chat face2face and in the chat embedded in it, teaching in real time how to do some tasks. --Jonas AGX (talk) 13:23, 30 April 2015 (UTC)Reply
@Andrew Davidson: Regarding your comment "I find that serious writing is quite a solitary activity and I don't like to have interruptions when I am in full flow", I want to add that this is a personal choice. There might be other characters that work better when having to report to a group (personally I work better under such circumstances).
@Jonas AGX: Thanks for sharing your experience, maybe that is the kind of environments that have to be tested more. I will take a look to existing options, like etherpad as you suggested or others.--Micru (talk) 13:21, 1 May 2015 (UTC)Reply
@Micru: did you know it: ? --Jonas AGX (talk) 18:06, 4 May 2015 (UTC)Reply
(Something I know because of my job at WMF) Although it may take a long while to get there, collaborative live editing is also on the mw:VisualEditor/Roadmap. --Elitre (talk) 10:40, 5 May 2015 (UTC)Reply

Do we really need a project?


Team editing already occurs on EN:WP. I've been involved in multiple collaborations to improve articles (for example en:Donner Party, en:Texas A&M University, en:Ima Hogg, en:Texas Revolution) to Featured Article status, and multiple other collaborations on articles that were improved, but not to that level. The teams I've worked with have ranged from 2 -7 people, and, in every case were diverse - both genders, multiple races, various national origins, age ranges, sexual orientation, etc (based on self-identification on WP).

  • The hardest part is finding editors who wish to collaborate as a team to improve a specific article. In one case, I saw a notice on an article talk page asking for help in improving the article, in another I was invited specifically by another editor who knew of my interest in the topic, in one the idea came out of an April Fool's Day prep conversation on a WP-space page, and in another a few editors were chatting on a user talk page and decided to work on an article.
  • We ALWAYS edited under our own accounts, and I would oppose any attempt to allow people to share an account. We need accountability.
  • Generally we organized the work on the article talk page. In a few instances, we did some of the organization/division of labor by email. Email was used primarily to discuss access to sources. The vast majority of the discussions were on the article talk page - this was done on purpose so that a) other editors might be able to participate and join the team (and some did) and b) for accountability. I would oppose any attempt to have discussions about article content at someplace off-wiki (either video chat, IM, email, FB, etc). This excludes others who may want to participate and loses the accountability. Those who come along later won't know that the article says X because of this long and involved conversation.
  • People chose different roles - research, writing, copyediting, images, layout, etc. The division of work depended on the size of the team and the talents (and source access) of those who volunteered. For some areas, multiple people were involved in a single role; in some cases, a single editor took on/participated in multiple roles.

It can be a lot of fun to share the workload in this manner, one can learn a lot from the others, and the result is usually a better article than if only one person was working on it. The existing framework at WP allows for this already. I think your proposal would be much more useful if you focused on ways to identify potential teammates. Karanacs (talk) 14:04, 30 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

I can see how, in some cases, an idea like this could be workable. If individuals were to try to do any sort of "test runs," however, I think the best way to do might be to just choose a few specifically defined articles, preferably ones which can be readily sourced, and start something like a "collaboration of the week" over at wikipedia, but maybe making it more of a "collaboration of the month" or similar, with maybe separate weekly activities of:

  • 1) Gathering information at a common page, like reference sources and secondary sources
  • 2) Having the individuals involved all receive forwarded versions of such sources, and reading them, at the same time putting together an "outline" format for the article
  • 3) Implementing the outline
  • 4) doing the actual editing of the page.

I could really see this being workable for those comparatively few paid editors we have over there wanting to develop the content they are paid to edit and articles on important topics which might not get a lot of coverage in widely distributed English-language sources but a lot of coverage in foreign sources or less accessible English-language sources. Maybe the best first step would be to choose an article or two to work on in this way and maybe ask for some people to give the process a try. By the way, I don't come here often. If you seek a response, probably best to post on my user talk page, which I get e-mail notifications about. John Carter (talk) 15:31, 30 April 2015 (UTC)Reply

@Karanacs and John Carter: Thanks for your input, it really matters, specially now. I tend to agree with Karanacs that most important is having a match-making service like "IdeaLab". I wonder if the technical structure can be expanded to create a sort of "ArticleLab", where editors meet to work on suggested articles. Regarding off-wiki communication there seem to be different views, however accountability seems to be the common factor. It seems workable but needs more thinking. --Micru (talk) 13:26, 1 May 2015 (UTC)Reply

It would probably also be useful to recruit volunteer mentors/project managers. There are a lot of people like John Carter and I who have a lot of experience with this type of collaborative editing - more long-term improvement of an article - and can guide in how to organize the work. That may be a big help for people who want to do this and perhaps already have a team put together but aren't sure how to get started (or how to get to GA or FA status). Karanacs (talk) 14:49, 1 May 2015 (UTC)Reply
@Karanacs: good idea! Can we have a irc/skype/hangout session any time soon? John Carter and others are of course welcome to join. It can be escalated to PEG and I think the idea has more potential supported by a team of people (also as the feedback from the committee suggests). At the moment I am reading "the psychology of written composition" by C. Bereiter to flesh out the theoretical framework, this book in particular has many interesting ideas about "knowledge building environments".--Micru (talk) 07:19, 4 May 2015 (UTC)Reply

Aggregated feedback from the committee for Research team editing

Scoring rubric Score
(A) Impact potential
  • Does it have the potential to increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects, either in terms of content, contributors, or both?
  • Does it have the potential for online impact?
  • Can it be sustained, scaled, or adapted elsewhere after the grant ends?
(B) Community engagement
  • Does it have a specific target community and plan to engage it often?
  • Does it have community support?
(C) Ability to execute
  • Can the scope be accomplished in the proposed timeframe?
  • Is the budget realistic/efficient ?
  • Do the participants have the necessary skills/experience?
(D) Measures of success
  • Are there both quantitative and qualitative measures of success?
  • Are they realistic?
  • Can they be measured?
Additional comments from the Committee:
  • The proposed research is interesting, but it is unclear whether it will result in outcomes that have a significant potential to increase gender diversity.
  • It has the potential for online impact, and is an interesting idea, but the connection to addressing the gender gap is a bit tenuous. Also concerned about messaging attempts to make the connection clearer, i.e. suggesting that women need an entirely different wiki infrastructure than men.
  • Although not directly related to the gender gap in terms of content creation, I agree that people (including women) might like to edit in teams, so it has the potential to change the demographic of who edits WMF projects. Since it is related to editing, it does have online impact. The point would be to do a pilot project and share the results so that it could be used on WMF projects. But it doesn't have a crisp way that this would happen.
  • Given that the proposal involves changes to fundamental community policy and practices, and consequently requires significant community support to be successful, would like to see lots of community engagement.
  • No evidence of endorsements, community engagement, or indication that this would be permitted on any WMF site.
  • The proposed budget appears reasonable, but could probably be made more efficient by reducing the planned duration of the program.
  • The plan needs more work by a team of people to get traction and be successful.
  • Would like to know more about how this research will be carried out, and I'd like to see a more detailed budget. Also, it would be great if the participant showed some familiarity re: existing studies about team work in other kinds of computer supported collaborative environments.
  • It is unclear how the second of the proposed measures of success (increase in perceived confidence) can be effectively monitored.
  • Would like to see this idea linked to research about the social aspect of online activities and gender. And then measures of success created to see if women are more likely to want to edit as part of a team. Otherwise, the measures of success need to have a stronger rationale, and connection to addressing the gaps in contributors or content.
  • Needs more work to be a viable proposal. I like the idea and encourage them to keep building support for it in the community, revise the timeline and budget, more research to justify the basis for the proposal, and then come back to PEG at a later time.
  • Perhaps the budget and scope can be adjusted and the participant can focus on exploring this idea within the Catalan community first?

Inspire funding decision


This project has not been selected for an Inspire Grant at this time.

We love that you took the chance to creatively improve the Wikimedia movement. The committee has reviewed this proposal and not recommended it for funding, but we hope you'll continue to engage in the program. Please drop by the IdeaLab to share and refine future ideas!

Next steps:

  1. Review the feedback provided on your proposal and to ask for any clarifications you need using this talk page.
  2. Visit the IdeaLab to continue developing this idea and share any new ideas you may have.
  3. To reapply with this project in the future, please make updates based on the feedback provided in this round before resubmitting it for review in a new round.
  4. Check the Individual Engagement Grant schedule for the next open call to submit proposals or the Project and Event Grant pages if your idea is to support expenses for offline events - we look forward to helping you apply for a grant in the future.
Questions? Contact us at grants

The idea is interesting


Group editing happen for example de facto when we organize classes for newbies. I would like to flag somehow my link to those new users, informing the patroller that I am the one to talk with if possible. An idea we discussed was a template in the user page, but not all of the patrollers take a look there.

I am not sure however how you can make it work. If you introduce too much "architecture" it might sound complicated. I would suggest to focus on one single strategy. The key question is: I want people to know that users A and B are a group concerning their edits in that moment, and that's enough, because if I read a group of names, after 1 or 2 years on a wiki I can have an idea about who does what, so informing who is who in the team is not strictly important, at least not at the first step. in addiction to that, in every group there is someone you should know better, people probably won't contact the stranger and discussions will be easier, starting from the easiest way possible, the guy you know. It's like in a party, you talk with whom you know and than you are introduced to the friend of your friend. That means also that the group could act a clear engine for further expansion of social circles in wikipedia.

So my idea is that there should be a page where to request or create a group flag. Once it is created, when people edit they select the box of the group in the personal configuation and the edit will be displayed as part of the group activity. It is still related to the user (accountability) but a flag with a link in the summary inform you that the user is linked with another ones. Patroller and other users will know people are working together just from the page history.

Information about group composition should IMHO be as opens as possible, maybe sysop should control other aspects (=validation, removal of the flag due to inactivity...) but not the access to the information. That information will also offer valuable insight in the dynamics of the community. --Alexmar983 (talk) 23:50, 5 May 2015 (UTC)Reply

Consider an Individual Engagement Grant!


Hi, Micru. I want to remind you that the deadline for the current open call for Individual Engagement Grant proposals is September 29. If you are interested in applying for funding for this idea, there is still time to make it into a grant proposal. The idea is well-developed, and just needs a little more work from my perspective. Specifically, some more engagement with community regarding policy concerns and some volunteer support would both improve this proposal considerably. To get started, go the main page of the idea, and look for, "Expand your idea" section. All you need to do is follow the instructions there to apply. Let me know if you need any help making your grant request. Thanks, I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 22:34, 24 September 2015 (UTC)Reply

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