Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Sources/German Wikipedia discussions

This is a summary of an ongoing discussion of the community of the German language Wikipedia about the Movement Strategy 2017.


name of group German Wikipedia
virtual location (page-link) or physical location (city/state/country) w:de:Wikipedia_Diskussion:Wiki 2030/Zyklus 1
Location type (e.g. local wiki, Facebook, in-person discussion, telephone conference) local wiki
# of participants in this discussion (exact number) 63

The discussion started on Saturday, the 18th of March 2017, after an announcement and call for participation on the Kurier, which is equivalent to the Signpost (permanent link of the announcement: de:Benutzer:Gereon K./Kurier#Wiki 2030: Deine Meinung ist gefragt).

The following questions were given as examples of topics of the discussion:

  • What do we want to achieve or build within the next 15 years?
  • Which impact would we like to have on the world within the next 15 years; which change do want to achieve?
  • What is the most important thing we should do together in the next 15 years?
  • What will unite and inspire us as a movement in the next 15 years?
  • What will accelerate our process in the next 15 years?
  • What will we be known for in the next 15 years?

Subject 1: Editorial expert boards

Line Link Contributor Contribution Keywords
1 Redaktionen Schlesinger There will only be a chance for an acceptable future of Wikipedia if we manage to have editiorial expert boards. These users should be democratically elected among Wikipedians. The reason: many conflicts in the last years are caused by contrary opinions of dominant contributors. Legitimate contributors who are not so dominant do not have a chance to voice their approach any more. Elected experts could find a balance. editorial expert boards
Line Contributor Answer Keywords
2 Traumflug Does not believe that this will work. Rather the editorial experts would be a dominant factor which would make the situation worse. no editorial experts
3 Schlesinger In case the experts have their legitimation by a democratic vote they would be accepted. In case the decision was wrong he could be voted out of his position, similar to administrators on de.wikipedia. To become a member of the editorial board for a subject however, one has to prove one's expertise by his written Wikipedia articles on the subject. expertise
4 Crown-job It has to be insured that by this the portals really get experts. There is a difference between people that are actually professionals in their subject and hobbyists that just write about it. He does not believe that a proposal like this will ever find a majority. experts
5 Luha afraid that there won't be enough qualified volunteers for this approach for some portals. The de:Portal:Philosophie was once trying something like this, but did not succeed, because they could not get enough experts. volunteers, experts
6 Zinnmann To verify a person we would have to abandon editing anonymously. And what about all the editors that correct typos and take care of small things? Would they disappear? editing anonymously
7 Schlesinger Indeed the very best thing would be if edits were only possible with your name, not anonymously anymore but this might be too much at the moment. Projects such as Citizendium came too early, but it might happen that we have to incorporate the ideas of Citizendium to survive from political and economical influences. Like this we don't even need administrators any more. We should set our course for the future ourselves instead of relying on the Foundation or its successor. Citizendium
49 Hubertl To achieve quality in the future we have to think of a very different approach to a very different public participation. I am talking about maintenance of the articles. Portals have a pecking-order that is almost impossible to penetrate. As a consequence thousands of articles are not updated. At the same time we have a huge number of potential editors that are willing to contribute, at the same time they do not contribute. maintenance, pecking-order

Subject 2: Climate and improvement of articles

Line Link Contributor Contribution Keywords
8 Climate and improvement of articles Man77 There is no way we can predict the future, so I can't take this discussion for serious. But it is certain that we have to promote a climate in which new users feel at home while we have to maintain our quality at the same time. But steering the community is not possible. And we have to not only maintain but improve the quality of the existing articles. improving quality, climate
Line Contributor Answer Keywords
9 Martin Rulsch (WMDE) Welcoming new users is an important subject as was shown by the survey about the culture of welcoming of 2016 and the Community dialogue. welcoming, community dialogue
10 Marcus Cyron WMF is not interested in our answers anyway, the whole phrasing of the strategy process is rather for cheerleaders. What will accelerate our process? I don't want acceleration, I want a quiet progress with emphasis on quality. What will we be known for in 15 years? For stupid surveys. Wikipedia and its sister projects are not plannable. quality, stupid surveys
11 UweRohwedder Then just write about what you wish for.
12 Martin Rulsch (WMDE) "A quiet progress with emphasis on quality" I understood as a wish. progress, quality
13 Marcus Cyron My main demands:
  • Downsizing WMF to the absolute minium (manage the trademark, legal counseling, collecting money for the regions that cannot do that themselves)
  • Searching for a headquarter outside the US (Silicon Valley is too expensive and they don't get good employees there because the competition from Google, Facebook and Apple is too big). It has been proven by Wikidata that there are better locations for software providers)
  • A chance for growth for regional and thematic organizations including their own fundraising or fundraising done by WMF for them
  • MediaWiki should be entirely open
  • Any change or extension of software should only be done by approvement and demand by the community only.
  • Democracy. All supervisory positions shall only be appointed by editors, not by 3 people alone. All 10 of them and no guaranteed position for Mr Wales.
  • No more Lex Jimbo, unblocking of Russavia
  • Stop the distribution of assumptions regarding the ration of Women articles and the percentage of female staff. Conduct studies and work with acutal figures and not with guessed assumptions. The problem we have is not the number of articles about women but the quality of these articles. All activity here is just about quantity, not quality.
  • Stop obsessively searching for new editors. If you lay the right foundations here they will come by themselves automatically. All effort in this direction did not yield any result until now. The activities until now were rather counterproductive.
  • No more faster-higher-stronger when evaluating projects from volunteers. We are the ones who are financing their jobs.
  • A central dictum is that WMF and its associated organizations exist for us, not the other way around.
  • WMF has to learn that there is more than en.wikipedia and the US and we're not a US chapter. You cannot address us with this sickly sweet politically correct lingo that your US employees are used to.
downsizing & relocating WMF, open MediaWiki, democracy, new editors
14 Sinuhe20 All important articles should have a minimum standard. standard

Subject 3: The most important

Line Link Contributor Contribution Keywords
15 The most important Gestumblindi The most important is to keep existing articles up to date. This is what our reputation depends on. keeping articles up to date
Line Contributor Answer
16 Aschmidt We should delete the category for Wikipedia articles in need of updating, since all articles requirte that automatically. But to update all articles permanently is almost impossible, see Die Grenzen der Wartung. We should narrow down our criteria for notability, otherwise it won't be possible to maintain quality. updating, notability
17 Sinuhe20 The system is self-regulating. When a subject is notable enough there will be a suffient amount of people to keep it up to date. If it is not notable enough nobody will read the article anyway. Just keep things that change permanently out of the articles. self-regulation, notability
18 Matthiasb For this we have technology such as Wikidata. I especially like the way the French are doing it, by using templates in subpages. Another advantage is that the data will be provided from people and sources from the regions where the data is from originally. Our problem is not non-notable articles, but rather not having enough writers for many subjects. So it is nonsense to worry about 2030, I'm rather worried about 2017. Wikidata, templates
19 Goldzahn Wikidata as it is is not a solution. Editors have to update the data there as well. So in the end we need an automatic input of data. I don't know if Bots will write Wikipedia in 2030, but as it is now with the disappearance of just 1 important editor all falls apart regarding the up-to-dateness of certain topics. I don't believe in another boom of editors such as we had in 2006. Either we get more productive and efficient or we become irrelevant. Knowledge is unlimited, ressources are not. updating, efficiency, ressources
20 Gestumblindi It is not true that there are enough editors to keep important subjects up to date. And it's true that many specialty topics do not need much maintenance. maintenance
21 Aschmidt Quality is more imporant than quantity. But that's not the intention of the Foundation. Every article needs updating. This post growth period we are in certainly needs different concepts and goals and probably different authors. If that is not understood we don't need to worry about there being a Wikipedia in 15 years. quality
22 Nanimo5 And let's not forget quotes and citations. Old articles hardly have any and new articles seem to require hundreds. That does not go together. quotes, citations
23 Rabanusmaurus We should take that to the local meetups. Imagine not a single article updated for one year. We could print Wikipedia and place it next to the dusty encylopaedia in the shelf. updating
24 Anima Not true. We have old articles that are excellent. What is important is pluralism. pluralism
50 Falkmart Wikipedia should create an archive for digital sources. archive for digital sources

Subject 4: Length of discussions

Line Link Contributor Contribution Keywords
25 Length of discussions Anima Turn all negative aspects of Wikipedia into positive ones:
  • Any discussion should be polite
  • A discussion page should never be longer than the corresponding Wikipedia article
  • Wikipedia should be a direct and representative democracy
  • On all talk pages and everywhere the law of Germany, Austria and Switzerland should apply
  • Primary sources have the same value as secondary sources
  • Conspiracy theories are treated like everything else: position and counter are to be mentioned.
length of discussions, democracy
Line Contributor Answer Keywords
26 Oliver S.Y. In the beginning there were so many different alternative projects with a similar approach and where are they now? Your proposed changes are extreme and counterproductive. Absolute consensus is not encouraging creativity. creativity
27 Sinuhe20 The system is self-regulating. When a subject is notable enough there will be a suffient amount of people to keep it up to date. If it is not notable enough nobody will read the article anyway. Just keep things that change permanently out of the articles. self-regulation
28 Gestumblindi It is not true that most discussions are unfriendly. Most of our more than 2 million articles were created and updated without struggle. discussion
29 Anvilaquarius There are many examples where it makes sense that the discussion is longer than the edit. In case we have to establish a date of birth for instance the discussion about sources is longer than the actual edit. discussions

Subject 5: Five-year plan

Line Link Contributor Contribution Keywords
30 Fife-year plan Oliver S.Y. We better talk about the next five years. What do we need?:
  • We need an internal quality management, that evaluates articles and edits in a standardized way.
  • We need an evaluation of several policy and guideline pages. These pages have to be restructured without changing the content.
  • Search functions that really work, reaching Google standards
  • Temporary employment of scientific experts to fill gaps in certain topics
  • Basic rules for technological gadgets (rules for bots were rejected)
  • An intensive contact between Wikimedia and Wikipedia, not in general, but rather that a Wikimedia employee gets in contact with a portal.
quality management, evaluation, search
Line Contributor Answer Keywords
31 Gestumblindi Why should an WMF employee get in contact with a portal? It's one of our basic rules that people from Foundation and chapters should not get involved in editing. separation of editors and chapters
32 Oliver S.Y. But employees could get experience and understand us better. They could learn a lot. experience
33 Sinuhe20 Regarding the internal quality management I vote for the WikiProject assessment, which is already used in 19 language versions of Wikipedia. assessment
34 Gestumblindi The assessment project is a waste of time. It seems that tagged and assessed articles are not edited more often after tagging. The time it takes to assess would be better used for editing the articles. Catscan resp. Petscan should be integrated into the search. assessment project, Catscan, Petscan
35 Oliver S.Y. A traffic light system would be sufficient for showing readers what quality the article is. traffic light system, quality
36 Sinuhe20 Progress in improving article quality is only possible when you have actual figures on the quality quality
37 Aschmidt The search function is really crap. — Apart from that, we should consider to set up a permanent scholarly committee to check articles for accuracy, and to advise the authors with regard to further quality. Said committee could also organise courses for authors to keep them up-to-date within their chosen field of expertise. But most of all articles constantly require updating. search, scholarly committee, updating
38 Gestumblindi A solid integration of Catscan and Petscan into the search function would help Catscan, Petscan
39 Matthiasb Organized editorial staff should meet regularly editorial staff
40 Braveheart We were talking about "how we want it", but we should rather talk about "what do we want". To point at strategic goals that could be reached:
  • To design the improvement of quality of Wikipedia articles, so that it is more organized and effective
  • Reducing buerocracy
  • technological improvement of MediaWiki software to keep up with up-to-date standards
  • reducing workload that could be more easily done automatically
  • more efficent communication between communities and their chapters

One possible question is for example if Wikipedia should generally be included in school curricula about digital competence.

quality, MediaWiki, communication, digital competence
41 Zenith4237 Catscan and Petscan have to be integrated into Wikipedia Catscan, Petscan
42 Anvilaquarius For many years there have been many simple proposals for improvement, but nothing happened. For example the usability of categories: there is a simple software solution. Or giving one and the same category a different name in an article (male/female form). Or to merge categories and galleries in Commons. Instead we get a bureaucracy monster such as Wikidata. Wikidata will rearrange Commons in such a way that anybody who's not a bot won't be able to work there any more. We have to make small steps. The big ideas? They were mainly idle chatter and Jimbo's world improvement dilusion already 10 years ago. Categories, Galleries, Commons, Wikidata
51 Falkmart WikiProject assessment sounds good, but it consumes manpower. Only the reader can classify an article. readers

Subject 6: Article talk pages

Line Link Contributor Contribution Keywords
43 Artikeldiskussionsseiten abschaffen! Matthiasb Abolish article talk pages! Discussions should take place in portals and projects. Hardly anybody looks at talk pages, some questions remain there for years without being answered. talk pages
Line Contributor Answer Keywords
44 Sinuhe20 But I don't think that all articles can be attributed to a project or portal. And you will have to browse through archives a lot on portal sites, which is more difficult than doing the same on article discussion pages. difficult attribution
45 IP You can set Flow to a talk page edit showing up at a portal page at the same time, which would be an improvement. Flow
46 Einsamer Schütze It would help if article discussion pages would show how man users have the article on their Watchlist and how many of those are active. In general for everybody with a question it should be easier to find where to ask. watchlist, questions
47 Nanimo5 A central page for questions about articles would help for experts, who could answer the questions. For experts it is difficult to watch thousands of article talke pages of articles that have the same subject. talke pages, experts

Subject 7: "We" and "movement" are lies

Line Link Contributor Contribution Keywords
48 Jedes Wort ist gelogen Mautpreller I read "We have become a movement rooted in values and a powerful vision" and have to say that the words "we" and "movement" are lies. We are rather an apparatus with attached communities. we, movement
Line Contributor Answer Keywords
52 Mautpreller This stuff about "values" and "vision" I take as a pure smokescreen. With a sufficient amount of frankincense you always manage to distract from concrete questions. value, vision
53 Anima No source should have authority, not even scientific ones, see Marcus Klöckner: "Es geht um ein verzweifeltes Rückzugsgefecht der klassischen Massenmedien". authority of sources
54 Mautpreller I do not want to be part of a "we" and we are not a movement. It is a presumtous assumption that we act in concert. It is dissent and not consent that makes Wikipedia interesting. If we could get rid of this "Wikimedia Movement" it would be an achievement. Conflicts are inveitable. We just need a form to solve conflicts. dissent, movement
55 Anima We won't get anywhere relying on unanimity. In discourse theory we need different opinions that are all valid. discourse theory, no unanimity
56 Mautpreller I am not interested into the encyclopaedia as a product. I am interested into the idea of democratisation, the idea that people who are not experts are working on structured articles. democratisation

Subject 8: What will we be known for in 15 years?

Line Link Contributor Contribution Keywords
57 "Wofür werden wir in den nächsten 15 Jahren bekannt sein?" Gestumblindi We will still be known for the encyclopaedia. Wikipedia in all its language versions will be the center of the Wikimedia universe. Amongst the sister projects mainly Wikidata will play a role, but rather internally, in expert circles. For the general public Wikipedia will remain the Wikimedia project. Wikipedia
Line Contributor Answer Keywords
55 Marcus Cyron And Commons, especially when Commons will have been developed by Wikidata II ... and Wiktionary. Commons, Wikidata II, Wiktionary
59 Sinuhe20 Polemically speaking we will be famous for:
  • our obsolete user interface
  • for our annoying fundraising banners and 1000 employees financed by donations
  • for 4 million articles with very different quality
  • for our technical jargon (luckily we can interlink jargon)
  • for millions of dead links that somehow worked 20 years ago
  • for countless unreviwed articles (because the reviewers dissapeared on after the other)
  • for a statical main page (because there is nobody left to update the main page)
  • for glossed over company articles, because paid editing is accepted
  • a tendency to right-wing opinions, because the AFD infiltration could not be stopped.
60 Anima These warnings are not even exaggerated, but I would like to point out to the most important: lots of articles in the humanities have been hijacked by lobbyists and are owned by fanatics since 2002. lobbyists, fanatics
61 Falkmart I second Sinuhe20, but would replace right-wing with biased. biased



This is a summary of a discussion among 63 of the approximately 20,000 active users of the German language Wikipedia. It hardly allows conclusions to be drawn with respect to how the community thinks about the future of Wikipedia. Several contributors have highlighted that they think of the process as being severely flawed.