Recommendation I: Knowledge consumers edit

Q 1 What is your Recommendation? edit

Dedicate resources to reader/knowledge consumer experience and engagement, especially for those who are new. This can include ongoing research, well funded global campaigns to make people aware of Wikipedia, and research to continually understand the needs of new and existing knowledge consumers.  We will dedicate resources to the broader knowledge ecosystem, going where knowledge consumers are and understand their needs so we can provide a better service to them.

Without readers or knowledge consumers (for the sake of clarity we avoid here the word “user”, which has a specific meaning in our movement) of our projects and knowledge services, we are irrelevant. Novel ways of providing knowledge, different needs of the new audiences and the changing expectations of the current ones, even automation, may make our services irrelevant very soon. We need to consider what services people and institutions in their different contexts need from our projects, and how we can provide them. Potentially, we also want to consider including readers eventually as a stakeholder in decision-making.

Q 2-1 What assumptions are you making about the future context that led you to make this Recommendation? edit

As shown by ‘New Voices’ research, future internet users have different information needs, which are not necessarily addressed by the current state of Wikimedia projects. To stay relevant and function in the knowledge ecosystem, we need to be aware of and address these new needs.

We are using knowledge consumers as a broader term than readers. There is an expectation of providing a service and people having different experiences with the different products - we want to enhance the positive ones and diminish the negative ones.

Q 2-2 What is your thinking and logic behind this recommendation? edit

We have to bring the knowledge consumer experience into the equation, especially the newer ones. Currently, it is an afterthought. Knowledge is created and we don’t consider what service is needed.

Knowledge consumer experience relies on the quality of content, intermediating software and other possible services we provide. In the past, we have utilized our position providing a constant inflow of readers, creators and activists. Technological and cultural changes may block us from reaching new audiences and keeping existing ones. If we understand knowledge as a service, we need to understand the needs of the people we serve so we can accommodate them. That will allow as to build a better, more targeted product, and succeed in our mission.

(Example: Wikidata currently operates under the assumption that people will learn sparql to operate it. The reality is that most people in academic institutions do not have the time to learn sparql, and so cannot use the data. This is a missed opportunity in education.)

Q 3-1 What will change because of the Recommendation? edit

Staying relevant - still providing a needed service in the world.

Getting more knowledge consumers (and potentially creators).

Better infrastructure will support content production, consumption and further re-use.

Q 3-2 Who specifically will be influenced by this recommendation? edit

(Future) knowledge consumers

Q 4-1 Could this Recommendation have a negative impact/change? edit

Editors could revolt if their needs/desires are in opposition to knowledge consumers.

The reader variable is conflated with editors or developers and the like (who also read the projects, but are not primarily readers). Wrong conclusions may be drawn.

Research is not adequately communicated to the relevant communities.

Q 4-2 What could be done to mitigate this risk? edit

Participatory research on readers with analysis may provide better, context-informed results. Close co-operation with creators, developers etc. should increase the probability of proper changes.

Promote reader point of view. Inclusion of the point of view of content users will be a cultural change for many communities.

Q 5 How does this Recommendation relate to the current structural reality? Does it keep something, change something, stop something, or add something new? edit

  • Increase spending on tools and programmes focused on readers, including new potential readers (this includes research).
  • Make closer connections with content creators to implement lessons learned.
  • Pave the path for readers as stakeholders with potentially a role in decision-making.

Q 6-1 Does this Recommendation connect or depend on another of your Recommendations? If yes, how? edit

This recommendation could benefit from decentralization and stronger local structures, as the users’ experience may be highly culture and context specific.

Q 6-2 Does this Recommendation connect or relate to your Scoping Questions? If yes, how? edit

It adds the readership angle to the question Q3 What is the purpose of a movement wide resource allocation system?

It also very broadly addresses the Knowledge as a service part of the strategic direction

Q 7 How is this Recommendation connected to other WGs? edit

May be connected with

  • product and technology
  • community health (tangentially)
  • diversity