Meta:Documentating project ideas, proposals, and reports on meta

Noto Emoji Pie 1f4c4.svg (English) This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

This page documents concepts and proposals related to finding a common structure for project documentation across meta.


There are really three types of project documents that we need to track: ideas, proposals and reports.

Ideas are like proto-proposals. Ideas usually start out understaffed and under-documented. The trick with Ideas is to make sure that they are visible to potential participants. Interesting ideas gain participants and resources while the project members flesh out documentation. The concept of research ideas was used in L2. See Research:Ideas and specifically Research:Ideas/Is_ptwiki_declining_like_enwiki?

The Grants:IdeaLab uses "ideas" (e.g, Grants:IdeaLab/Open_Access_Reader) as a location for potential participants to explore and gain support for completing a project. In a lot of ways, it solves the same problem as L2 ideas, but more generally -- and in the Grants namespace (which unintentionally implies that all IdeaLab ideas must be related to a potential grant application).

Proposals are well documented project descriptions that are fully staffed, but not ready to start. For research proposals, we tend to conflate them with project reports (see below). Research proposals are usually requesting support for subject recruitment, but they could also be requests for data or other support. See Research:Women_and_Wikipedia for a good example of a recently endorsed subject recruitment proposal.

Grants has a much more structured way of thinking about proposals. An Individual Engagement Grant Proposal (IEG) is a good example of a well described document/process. Community members can convert IEG Ideas into Proposals through a little bit of wiki magic (replacing a template name). Once a proposal is accepted (and funded), work begins.

Reports document the status and results of a project. Most of the documentation written by WMF Researchers winds up as some research report on meta. E.g, Research:Wikipedia_article_creation. Sometimes external researchers and community members will document research projects there as well. See Research:Wikinews Review Analysis.

Grant reports tends to happen on a sub-page of the proposal page itself. See Grants:IEG/The_Wikipedia_Library/Midpoint and Grants:IEG/The Wikipedia Library/Final for examples of reports of an IEG Grant.

Problems and opportunitiesEdit

Conversion and co-membershipEdit

While Ideas, Proposals and Reports have historically been split between Grants and Research, there doesn't seem to be a good reason to continue that. There should be a clear means by which a research proposal can also request an IEG -- or that an IEG proposal could also be a research project proposal. Surely both proposals contain a sufficient common elements that conversions should be simple.

It should also be straightforward for a project beginning with an IdeaLab Idea to turn into a both an IEG Proposal and a Research Proposal and then eventually Research and Grant Reports.

Common listings -- bringing attention to active workEdit

Right now, finding out which projects are actively developing which artifacts is not straightforward. You can find out about active Labs^2 ideas by visiting Research:Labs2/Ideas. You can find out which Research projects people started this year (and past years) by visiting Research:Index. You can find out about active IEG proposals by visiting Grants:IEG.

It's great that we have so many pretty portals to find active projects, but it would be much more desirable to have just one. That way, a potential participant/collaborator could easy find out which projects are active -- regardless of where the project started.

Piles and piles of templatesEdit

Every project document on Meta has it's own associated template info-box for tracking project details, membership, etc.

While many of these documents share common fields, they do not share a common code (templating) and that results in a vastly different visual presentation and category strategy. This makes it difficult to either browse these artifacts using the category structure or machine process the pages with bots. It also means that there a lot of duplicated work as new templates are created.


JS Gadget support for common document actionsEdit

  • Usable data input into templates
  • Adding self to list of members/collaborators/participants/interested individuals.

Move IdeaLabs & Consolidate idea documentsEdit

Ideas, by their nature, are not completely fleshed out. Therefore, it is unclear whether an idea is a Grant idea or a Research idea at the time of conception. All ideas -- research/grants/whatever -- should be documented/listed in the same place and that documentation should not be in either the Research or Grants namespace so that impression would be given that some project ideas are more welcome than others.

Use a common templates & category structureEdit

Since templates are difficult to change are will have common fields between document classes (Idea/Proposal/Report), I (Halfak (WMF)) propose that we (1) use shared templates across document affiliations and (2) use category affiliation templates to track the type of the document (Grants/Research).



An example of an affiliation is Template:Research_project/Affiliations/WMF_hosted. It can be transcluded within a Template:Research_project to add a note to the bottom of the template and add the page to the Category:WMF-hosted projects. Documentation authors can use such affiliations to associate project ideas, proposals and reports with one or many of IdeaLab, IEG, PEG, Research, etc. E.g. Adding Template:Affiliations/IEG_graft might add the category Category:IEG/Proposals/Draft.