Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Recommendations/Iteration 3/Prioritize Topics for Impact

Active discussions
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it.

Open, facilitated community conversations have finished. You are welcome to continue commenting and discussing, but the discussions will not be as closely facilitated and documented.

Thank you to everyone who shared their input. To learn about what’s next, visit our FAQ page.

In charge?Edit

Administrators and patrollers on the encyclopedia, who are in charge of judging the credibility of information in which Wikipedias are any specific people "in charge" of this function, and by what authority? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 11:24, 20 January 2020 (UTC)

Note: This is not in the recommendation. It's a quote from the Guinea community salon. --Tgr (talk) 18:47, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
Hey Peter (Southwood), I'll take a stab a clarifying, happy to have suggestions on how to make the language more clear. That phrase on the Prioritize Topics for Impact recommendation originates, in part, from a strategy salon. The context of which is that the idea that more representation and participation is needed in those regions by local editors. The community governance structures on-wiki would help determine what is permissible as a source and what polices help guide the content policies on a wiki, but those should take in the knowledge and familiarity of the local communities that are being written about. CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 17:46, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
User:CKoerner (WMF) To suggest alternative language I first need to understand what you are trying to say. At this point that remains unclear. I do not wish to simply assume that I know what it is, because it looks like somethig I really don't like, and I prefer to ask clarification than to jump to conclusions other than those suggested by an ordinary interpretation of text at face value.
Secondly, if people from local communities wish to be better represented, the Wikipedia way is for them to represent those communities by actively taking part in editing and discussing the relevant topics on the Wikipedias of their choice. As volunteers we edit the areas we find interesting. We represent the communities we are from by taking active part in content creation and discussion. This option is open to anyone with the competence, desire, and connectivity to do so. WMF can help with competence by providing training, it could possibly help with connectivity by paying for bandwidth for disadvantaged editors who show interest and competence, but the desire to participate comes from the participant, and cannot be tacked on because there is an imbalance percieved by some people. There will always be unbalanced representation in a world of diverse cultures and interests, and artificial methods for attempting to force equality on the population of the world are unlikely to be particularly effective, desirable as they may seem to people who do not bother to think through the possible consequences. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 10:04, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
PS: I cannot speak for other projects, but this is not how it is done on the projects where I do most of my work. On English Wikipedia all editors get to express an opinion on the credibility of information. In theory the strength of their opinions is judged by the quality of their explanations. In practice this may not always work out well, but it is the policy we try to follow. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 11:23, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
I do not understand this either. Who is going to determine which sources are permissable? Today, it is the community of a wiki. But I read your explanation that the community should only "help determine"? And what do you mean by "more representation and particpation is needed in those regions by local editors"? The "local editors" are the community members of the language version e.g. of Wikipedia? --Ziko (talk) 18:51, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Hey Ziko. Hmm, I think again (like "guidelines") we're risking getting stuck on language. It can be modified if there's a benefit to clarity. :) Maybe I should have omitted the word "help" from my reply? Does that read differently? As for "local editors" the context of this recommendation is regional. CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:47, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
CKoerner, Are you saying that local editors are editors in or from the region, as opposed to local to the specific Wikimedia project?
If so, how does this fit in with anonymity? Or is this a suggestion that a comittee of regional people should have authority over what content and sources are appropriate for their region? Something else? I accept that it is probably not your recommendation you are trying to explain, but someone should be available to clarify this stuff. Preferably someone who knows what it is intended to mean. If such person exists. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 11:23, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
User:Pbsouthwood Apologies for my answer not making this more clear. This recommendation is to make it easier for those who have the competence and desire, but currently do not have the representation within the movement. Folks in areas of the world who don't know about Wikipedia, or that they can contribute. Conversely, folks we (the movement) don't know about! Who are they, what topics would be of value to them, and have the most impact in their lives? Where could we create resources for interested editors - with a focus on new folks - to contribute to these gaps? The recommendation encourages a more systematic approach to research, evaluation, and organization of these topics to increase representation (in content and hopefully participation!) in areas that are currently underrepresented as we seek the "sum of all knowledge". CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 18:08, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
What sort of representattion are we looking at here? How would these unknown people who dont know about Wikipedia, yet are competent and interested, be identified? How would people who do no even know about the existence of Wikipedias be competent to represent anyone, and who would they represent? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 13:35, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
If we are looking at the organised sectors of the movement outside of the content creating projects (i.e, WMF, chapters and special iterest groups) doing organised and coordinated research with cooperation from regional experts to assess what areas of knowledge are not currently covered sufficiently by the content creation projects such as the Wikipedias, and producing a review/report/list of gaps with suggestions of what topics would be most useful to the users from those regions, and suggestions for reliable references for those topics, and collect such references for a Wikimedia reference library, and leave it to the content project communities and their editors to continue to choose what to work on as volunteers, and to retain editorial control of their projects withi the bounds of the terms of use, then there should not be much objection. I can see this as a possible interpretation of this recommendation, but I think it is clear that many of the contributors to this page do not see it that way. I don't see any conflict of interest in using donor money for paying experts and interns to do this kind of research as long as due diligence to value for maney is done, and it does not get in the way of adequate technical support for the content creation projects. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:41, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
So, who is going to determine which sources are permissable? Will the WMF order a Wikipedia community to accept "oral traditions" as source? Ziko (talk) 21:47, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Hi Ziko, this is super useful feedback on how to make the recommendations more clear. Your question is actually answered in Innovate in Free Knowledge - no ordering around - "Community consultation will also be needed on whether we incorporate content with minimal notability limits as Wikisource, Wikidata, and Commons have done; change the interpretation of the current policies on other platforms; or create new projects based on different notability requirements." Much can be done across the projects and via partnerships of course with trusted aligned movement partners that could share such sources of knowledge with us on projects that can accommodate them, like Commons. MPourzaki (WMF) (talk) 02:21, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Hello, thank you for the quote which indeed seems to be relevant. So, who is this "we" in "we incorporate content"? The community is only supposed to be consulted. I assume that the "we" is the "Governance Body". In future, what is a reliable source will no longer be decided by English Wikipedia community for English Wikipedia, but by the Governance Body. Ziko (talk) 08:14, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
I doubt that any governance body will be deciding for Wikipedians what constitutes a reliable source. They are welcome to make suggestions in their personal capacities as editors like anybody else, and it may happen that for reasons connected with terms of use or other legal issues they may on rare occasions find it necessary to ban some sources. Otherwise trying to coerce Wikipedians from outside is historically very poorly recieved, and there is no obvious reason to assume that the chapters, WMF etc will want to further damage the content creating communities which are their reason for existance.· · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:56, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

@All, I don't mean to shut down this line of discussion, but I think your time would be better spent discussing the text of the recommendation instead of things that were said in the various community conversations which were held to gather feedback from the community for the strategy process. (Or, if you prefer to discuss other recommendations, it would be better to do that on their own talk page - otherwise the people most involved with that recommendation won't see your comments, and there is a larger chance that your feedback will be accidentally ignored.) --Tgr (talk) 08:48, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

The text of the recommendation defines the meaning of the recommendation, and it is not clear. This lack of clear meaning makes it difficult to make useful suggestions other than to clarify the meaning of the recommendation. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 10:04, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

Hello @CKoerner (WMF):, let me try to understand your sentence from above:

"The community governance structures on-wiki would help determine what is permissible as a source and what polices help guide the content policies on a wiki, but those should take in the knowledge and familiarity of the local communities that are being written about."

What are the "community governance structures on-wiki"? I never heard that term before. Do you mean the e.g. English Wikipedia community? And who are the "local communities that are written about"? E.g., an ethnic group in country X? Okay. And who is finally deciding about the content policies such as NPOV and Notability? If I understand you correctly, the English Wikipedia community will only "help determine". Who or what is "those" in your sentence? "the community governance structures on-wiki", "what polices" (read: policies), or "the content policies on a wiki"? How will who "take in the knowledge and familiarity"? Do you mean that the English Wikipedia content policies have to respect the knowledge (?) of that ethnic group? Ziko (talk) 15:54, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

Content guidelines?Edit

"WMF should also publish the guidelines for content diversity to ensure the editor community can get involved in knowledge production that is relevant for marginalized communities"... Hello, I understand most of the segment in this way: WMF should make proposals about which content the volunteers could write. But "guidelines for content diversity" sounds like expectations that the WMF is going to enforce somehow? What if no volunteer is interested in content about "marginalized communities"? --Ziko (talk) 18:47, 20 January 2020 (UTC)

Note: This is not a recommendation. It's a quote from the arabic community salon. Alice Wiegand (talk) 08:36, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Are flat-earthers a marginalized community? Or do those who believe Pizzagate was no hoax but Sandy Hook was have a right not to be marginalized? What about Nazis? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 18:54, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Ziko, yeah in the wiki world the word "guidelines" is more akin to policy. Here it suggests guidance. So nothing related to enforcement. Instead think of this recommendation as the folks involved in these recommendations saying we (the foundation) should be spending some of our energy bringing to light ways communities might be more successful increasing diversity of participation (and content). One way we could do this is by publishing guidance all communities can benefit from. I think the footnote addresses your second question – at least in part. because they help to appreciate and give right to areas that may be marginalized and not really cared for by all. :) So yes, while folks might not care about a particular area, I think the existing, and growing diversity, in our movement shows that there are people who will be interested. Especially with some support from the foundation. CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:42, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
So WMF knows the right diversity and supports the ones who are on the right path ...Sicherlich Post 20:48, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Guidelines has a particular meaning on English Wikipedia. If it is not the meaning intended in the recommendation, use a different word. Suggestions and recommendations we can live with, because we can ignore them if we think they are inappropriate. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:01, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
I'm sorry Sicherlich, I don't understand how you came to that conclusion from reading the strategy recommendation. Assuming good faith here. Perhaps it would be useful to read the working group recommendation? There it expands on the summary with More communication by community leaders, WMF and utilization of existing working models like Women in Red’s redlists can make people aware of where gaps are and how their specific interests can be focused to fill those gaps. So the foundation wouldn't doing anything on its own, but alongside community leaders and with due diligence (consultation, research, etc). If you'd like to clarify your point it would be helpful. CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 21:01, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
AGF towards WMF? Sorry but gone long time ago. And my English is not good enough to read that page. I seriously doubt "the foundation wouldn't doing anything on its own" - the Universal Code of Conduct is already worked on - one can find it in this (pretended) draft of strategy paper. - this Code is inniated by the same WMF stuff which invented Superprotect and Framban. And you expect me to believe "wouldn't doing anything on its own"? ... Yeah. Sure ...Sicherlich Post 21:07, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Sorry you feel that way. I wish there was something I could say to convince you I'm acting in good faith regardless of the WMF in my username. :( CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 21:10, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I may trust you as a person, but I have no trust whatsoever for people who implemented Superputsch against the communities like Jan Eissfeld. Has he ever apologised for his anti-wikipedian behaviour? I haven't seen any apology besides useless mumbojumbo from the WMF for all the bad things they did to the communities with Superputsch, Framban, VE-implementation, FLOW, you name it, and the negligence towards aften asked for software maintenance, the main thing the WMF was created for. The recommendation by Tinz are something, that every C-level at the WMF should openly subscribe, without it they are not really part of this thing here. And without any meaningful remedies for all the bad stuff they inflicted, there will not be much trust to speak of. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 21:24, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
(BK) Hmm, hardly feelings. Does have superban and Framban have something in common? Yes: they are explicitly against the will of the Community, they where put in place without consultation of the community and they had been done by WMF. Right? - Next: was there any personal identity in this process? Yes. ... Is the CoC in any conection with this personal? Yes it is. ... Does a CoC need a kind of enforcment to have any sense? Yes. ... If you can explain to me how this is not true and has nothing to do with each other: go for it .... and WMF is already working on this CoC. While it says "Recommendations" here its already worked on. So asking the community is apparently only a figleaf ...Sicherlich Post 21:29, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
User:Sicherlich, User:Sänger. I get it. In the past the foundation has done, or not done, things that you feel strongly about. That's frustrating. In the context of this discussion around the recommendations, I politely ask that we keep things on topic. A lot of people – many of them volunteers – put a lot of work into these recommendations. Continuing to express your frustrations, while valid, does not respect the work of your fellow volunteers. Please. CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 22:43, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
And another cheap deflection of responsibility. The constant ignorance of these topics by the WMF, and the complete lack of consequences from the disasters that were the sole responsibility of the WMF, are not to be ignored. As long the the WMF is actively and aggressively ignoring these topics, the frustration will stay. Why do you want to look besides the elephant in the shop? This here is just another power-grab by the WMF, not more, not less. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 22:49, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Framban is not so much past, isn't it? ... what leaves me puzzled "express your frustrations, while valid, does not respect the work of your fellow volunteers" - sounds to me like "don't point out what you feel is wrong." - if you don't like the feedback, don't ask for it. A lot of work does not necessarly means its good. ...Sicherlich Post 22
58, 20 January 2020 (UTC) and I put effort into this as well. Since years I repeat that an organization calling itself "global" needs to speak more than one language. This is the first time I see it happened. (partly, If I drop down e.g. here its still english only.
Where did you find this, Ziko? I'm pretty confused that the recommendation names the Wikimedia Foundation as the responsible entity for content issues. Alice Wiegand (talk) 20:53, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Ah, where did I copy and paste that from? The document is terrible: so many pages, so many collapsed parts you have to click on, otherwise the search engine won't find the text. Google does not help either... I keep searching... Ziko (talk) 21:53, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Now I found it, it was from a document linked above (input from Arabic community conversion). This is really terrible: the current document is shattered over a number of pages. Hiding parts of the texts in "expand" sections does not help. The navigation tool is difficult to use. Then, we have on Meta a large number of pages coming from different stages and "iterations". This all is quite a mess. Even Google has problems finding whole sentences for me. Can't we simply have a PDF file? Ziko (talk) 22:03, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Hi Ziko et al. Taking note of your navigation challenges. We'll be improving user experience based on the feedback collected, thank you. Your preference for PDF is also noted. On another note though, the writers of this document, the majority volunteers and passionate movement advocates, worked really hard to bring together ideas generated by individuals, working groups, and communities that comprise our movement. As you mention, the thread started here is a quote from a community salon and not the actual recommendation, and it gets tied to deeply rooted frustrations. Nonetheless, I choose to assume good faith, but it's unfair to the 30 plus community-led salons that were held all over the world to put forward ideas for a more vibrant and diverse future, and unfair to the writers who contributed to the body of work that has brought us to this point. What will actually take us forward and lead to the changes desired and positive outcomes, many of which would directly address your frustrations, would only be accomplished through constructive feedback and relevant, collegial discussions. Many of these recommendations aspire to build on this institutional memory and expertise to overcome past challenges and create a better future for everyone. Remaining grateful for your interest in movement strategy, your contributions to our movement, and your rich experience. MPourzaki (WMF) (talk) 02:59, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Hello User:MPourzaki (WMF), thank you for your reaction. Given the ... nature of the previous recommendations, I think that it is vital to analyse very carefully also the present recommendations. Also, you write about "changes desired", but the changes may be desired only by some and not by others. You write that the "positive outcomes ... would directly address your frustrations", but I think that the outcomes are actually fostering many people's frustrations. In general, I also like to make up my own mind about what is taking "us" (whom?) forward. Ziko (talk) 08:22, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
You're absolutely right Ziko, change is relative. I was referring to the overlap of changes desired in the previous 89 thematic area recommendations, currently presented amongst the 13 for the movement's review, and otherwise those surfaced at community salons and events. What changes do you desire? Do you see any of them here? MPourzaki (WMF) (talk) 13:17, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
  • How about a recommendation that WMF should publish an analysis of what we have already got and what is missing, and update this periodically. I would not see a problem in paying professionals to do this. Volunteers who have access to this kind of information may be inspired to fill in some of the gaps. Some WikiProjects already do this sort of thing in a limited and project-specific way, and it has had positive consequences. Note that this analysis would not be "guidance", it would be data, and therefore neutral. Wikipedians will formulate guidance among themselves if they feel it is necessary or desirable. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 10:17, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

For my part, I see only one "change" that I desire: "we must invest more into research on how our content gets used (and misused)." However, the purpose of this research is exactly the opposite of what I desire. We should definitely not do research "to provide a clear list of topics that have the greatest impact on the world and on knowledge consumers’ lives". We should not strive for impact, not at all! But research into how Google uses (and misuses) our content would be highly necessary, just because we should strive to reduce its impact on people's lives.Mautpreller (talk) 13:41, 21 January 2020 (UTC)


Could someone please clarify the specific definition of the word "impact" as it is used in this recommendation? EllenCT (talk) 05:16, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

@EllenCT: the fundamental assumption of this recommendation is that our main impact is in empowering people to improve their lives. If you are asking more generally, the word in the first sentence does link to a glossary entry. --Tgr (talk) 08:16, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

Hello, Magiers elsewhere referred to this sentence (annotation 1):

"Reinforce that the intentional Movement prioritization in the Terms of Use for editorial control will not be impaired, so volunteers will continue to choose what want to work on freely."

Could someone please repair this sentence? I cannot relate the elements of the sentence to each other. So there are the Terms of Use. I find there the statement:

"Generally we [read: the WMF; Z.] do not contribute, monitor, or delete content (with the rare exception of policies like these Terms of Use or legal compliance for DMCA notices). This means that editorial control is in the hands of you and your fellow users who create and manage the content. We merely host this content." (Terms of Use)

Can the WMF confirm that the WMF (or the Governance Body) will not interfere with content policies, that those policies will be determined by the communities? Ziko (talk) 10:19, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

That footnote might be some kind of copyedit mistake; footnotes are generally used to connect back to the sources the recommendation was based on. Anyway it is trying to say volunteers should always be free to chose what to work on (in the recommendation itself that's written as respect our long-standing principles of welcoming everyone who shares our vision of free knowledge, and their free will to contribute to any topic while respecting content neutrality guidelines. --Tgr (talk) 09:32, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Hi Ziko, I would say you're fastfowarding a bit to implementation. Ideas and elements put forward in these recommendations are emergent and would be decided collectively with community involvement. The composition and the role of the governance body will be decided collectively with implementation discussions. This is stressed in the document, both in principles and the recommendations. There is no interference. As per innovate in free knowledge recommendation, "community consultation will also be needed on whether we incorporate content with minimal notability limits as Wikisource, Wikidata, and Commons have done; change the interpretation of the current policies on other platforms; or create new projects based on different notability requirements." MPourzaki (WMF) (talk) 16:13, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
I am trying to understand but it's not easy. I understand that you don't see fit to confirm that the WMF or the Government Body will not interfere with content policies. Is that correct? Mautpreller (talk) 16:46, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Hello MPourzaki, thank you for the explanation. I wonder again who is "we", and I read about the incorporation of "content with minimal notability". So the leaders are unhappy with the current notability policies on present day Wikipedia? And the recommendations open the possibility that "we" (so not the wiki commmunity only by itself?) "change the interpretation of the current policies on other platforms" (= other than Wikisource, Wikidata and Commons). So I read that "we" (the Governance Board?) wants to decide on the notability criteria on e.g. English Wikipedia. Okay, there will be a "community consultation", but the "we" is going to decide itself, not leaving the decision to the community (the "community" as in "everybody", or the community of the wiki in question?). Ziko (talk) 17:05, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
By the way, I stumbled over this wording: "In regards to the languages whose knowledge does not have encyclopedic sources". I suppose, it was meant to be like: "language communities who do not have expert based knowledge systems creating secondary sources suitable for an encyclopedia". Or something like that, "sources for an encyclopedia", not sources that are encyclopedic. Ziko (talk) 17:13, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Another question. I read from above: "The composition and the role of the governance body will be decided collectively with implementation discussions." But - I understood that this decisions will not be made collectively, but by the WMF Board? Ziko (talk) 17:34, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

Totally wrong pathEdit

I think this recommendation should be discarded in toto. There is no way to evaluate which knowledge might have a "useful impact", simply because you cannot say which content is or could be more "useful" than other content. But the problem is still deeper: the usefulness of knowledge cannot be determined in terms of "impact". We should not maximize our "impact" but leave it to the readers what they do with the contents, more precisely: we should step back from the wish to exert an "impact". This idea is the exact opposite of emancipation, it is patronizing. Why and how should "we" be entitled to evaluate the "personal and societal value" of knowledge and even topics? We should definitely not do this.

Even more fundamental: knowledge cannot be measured in terms of the empowerment of people to improve their lives, and it cannot be measured in terms of what is "needed". The special quality of knowledge is that you didn't know whether you need it before you acquired it. Real knowledge has the peculiarity that the realm of non-knowledge is being extended. You learn that there is more to the world than you thought before, you get information about questions you never dreamed of. And incidentally, you also learn that the answers to your knowledge questions are not a simple as you may have thought. Knowledge implies effort if you want to acquire it, not least because the answers are much more uncertain and complicated as it may have seemed when you tried to say what knowledge you "need".

The whole recommendation focuses on the "usefulness" of knowledge and thus on an instrumentalization of knowledge for certain "values". This instrumentalization is a tragic error.Mautpreller (talk) 11:55, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

We should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Sure, everyone is the ultimate authority on what's useful for them, and it can only be predicted so far; it's still much better than not caring about it at all. I don't think it can be reasonably denied that content that can literally save your life by imparting important health information, or which can provide you important life skills, or help you through education, can do more good to more people in total than, say, content on popular culture topics (which, to be sure, has its value; but it's not impossible to compare that value to the value of other things). Movement resources (like grants or paid developer time) are finite and will get allocated between different areas of content unevenly, even if we close our eyes and ignore how the content gets used; we just miss out on the opportunity to increase the good those resources do. --Tgr (talk) 19:59, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

Developers should not care about content, that's definitely not their job. Devs should not be allocated between different areas of content, because content is irrelevant for the work of devs. Paid devs should maintain the working software and delete bugs as the main venue, and work with community devs on new developments and wishes. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 20:04, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Different bugs and wishes have different effect on different areas of content. Do you prioritize work on math formula rendering or handling news article citations or OCR features? Do you focus on improving access for the visually impaired or people with only basic education or non-native speakers? These questions are hard to answer in a non ad-hoc way without knowledge of how our content affects people's lives. (But granted, software development is a less clear-cut example of prioritization than, say, grants for outreach projects.) --Tgr (talk) 20:17, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Do you really think that a Wikipedia article (or even video) can save your life by "imparting important health information"? In my opinion, this is a gross misconception. The best such an article could do for you is to tell you that you should see a doctor (or even a nurse if no doctor is available). You also won't learn a language or get vocational training through any of the Wikimedia projects. You can learn something but mostly that things are not so simple as the tabloids or the rumours say. This is definitely something but more than that is illusionary.
I happen to be interested in the use of Wikipedia knowledge. For example, I wrote articles about 20th century history simply because I found that certain events and persons were represented in discussions in a highly dubious manner. I wanted to know what scholars of history say about this, and then I wanted to tell. Well, there is some effect (in internet discussions, some people refer to the articles; sometimes even publications make use of the articles) but not much, because the main reason why people believe in rumours is not that they lack access to knowledge. Sometimes these articles are also grossly misrepresented, often by Google (and they are used for pupils' or students' homework). These articles do not save lives, they don't provide life skills, they don't help with education, they don't tell you how to do research, they do what they can do: they show that there is more to history than many people believe. No one needs an article about the de:Massaker vom Lago Maggiore (the English article en:Lake Maggiore massacres is largely a translation but not by me) but if you read it you get some information that you possibly didn't dream of. (This is not meant to be arrogant: I hadn't heard anything about it myself before I wrote the article because someone asked about this subject on the Reference desk.) I also write articles about chess composition. These are very seldom read. They will never save any life, provide education, etc. But it's a hobby for which you don't need any money, and a few people like it. Are these articles "useful personal or societal knowledge"? Who can tell? Not me, and most certainly no working group, governance body, you name it.
By the way, I never asked for funding for any of these articles and I don't intend to do this in future.Mautpreller (talk) 20:49, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

Focus on enabling knowledge creation instead of focusing on consumptionEdit

Our ultimate reason for curating and sharing knowledge is to empower people to improve their lives.

No, different people are driven by different aims. Plenty of people contribute to Wikimedia because they believe that knowledge is an intrinsic good that goes beyond it's utilitarian impact. People who come to share knowledge for knowledges sake shouldn't feel left out of our movement.

The focus on knowledge consumers is awful. Wikimedia should focus on being welcoming to people who want to create quality content inside Wikimedia. There was no growth in editorship in the big Wikipedias in the last years and instead of prioritizing topics for impact WMF's key mission should be on supporting the Wikipedia's in a way that produces growth in editorship. You don't get that growth by telling people what to write. ChristianKl❫ 14:00, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

@ChristianKl: let me frame it like this. The Wikimedia movement can only exist because some people donate their time to it, and because some people donate their money to it. People who donate their time should be the ultimate authority on how that time gets used (the recommendation also says so); at best we might offer them information and arguments on how/why they should use it differently, which they might accept or reject. The same is not true for money: there is just no feasible mechanism by which individual donors could directly control how their money gets used. So when allocating movement resources (ie. everything paid for by donor money), we need to make assumptions on what they would want (assuming perfect knowledge etc). A focus on knowledge consumers does seem the correct stance for making those assumptions.

You are right that people who share their knowledge for non-utilitarian reasons should not feel left out; again, the recommendation does say so (Furthermore, we need to respect our long-standing principles of welcoming everyone who shares our vision of free knowledge, and their free will to contribute to any topic while respecting content neutrality guidelines ). --Tgr (talk) 19:37, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

"we need to make assumptions on what they would want". No, you need not. If someone chooses to give money to the WMF, the latter can use it according to their own decisions. There is no earthly reason why you should guess what he or she might want.Mautpreller (talk) 19:56, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
And we should not even think about it, as that's what I would call corruption, especially if big bucks come from one source and we would even dare to think of behaving like they want us to behave. Donors give us money, because the like what they saw, so they like the way we do it. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 19:59, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
I think the moral argument for people having a say in where their money goes is pretty clear-cut (even if it does get overridden by practical considerations, e.g. most donors not knowing enough about the internal workings of the Wikimedia movement to make decisions), but it's kind of a side point. The main point is that, like all good charities, the WMF strives to maximize its impact and spend its revenue in the best way. This recommendation argues that an important aspect of how to think about impact is not being considered currently. --Tgr (talk) 20:10, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
On the contrary. If you donate to WMF because you want to support Wikipedia you have your say where your money goes: it goes to WMF as you wanted it. Donations must not be abused (say, for personal enrichment). But it is absolutely crucial that donors have no say in content questions. Otherwise it's not a donation.Mautpreller (talk) 20:56, 21 January 2020 (UTC) P.S. And any "donation" that is bound to content-related wishes should be rejected since this means undermining of neutrality.Mautpreller (talk) 21:10, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Ich schreib's auf Deutsch, da kann ich mich besser ausdrücken. Sollen doch zur Abwechslung die Anglozentriker mal was übersetzen. Ich nenne das weiterhin Korruption, wenn sich irgendwelche Spender hier durch ihre Spenden Einfluss kaufen könnten. Wir müssen weiterhin nicht käuflich bleiben, sonst verlieren wir unsere Glaubwürdigkeit. Schon gar nicht sollten wir mit solchen nicht mal ansatzweise vertrauenswürdigen Datenkraken wie Google, Facebook, Amazon etc. eng zusammenarbeiten, auch wenn sie noch so sehr mit trojanischen Pferden winken. Kein Spender sollte irgendwas über unsere Arbeit mitzureden haben, wenn sie sonst nicht spenden wollen, dann sollen sie es halt sein lassen, wir benötigen solche vergifteten Spenden nicht, wir haben mehr als genug Geld in der Kasse. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 16:40, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
I agree, volunteers are motivated by many many different things. Plenty of the people who volunteer all their time to Wikipedia do it because creating Wikipedia is fun, not because of hte impact on the reader. I think it's worth reading this recommendation alongside Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Recommendations/Promote Sustainability and Resilience which does also talk about editor retention and making the production of knowledge rewarding. Generally the recommendations are quite 'people-centred', which is new for us. Thinking back over the history of the movement, we've often ended up focusing on particular technical tools - Imagefilter, Visual Editor... - not the human impact of those tools.
All of this said, the Wikimedia Foundation and most of the organisations within the Wikimedia movement are required to exist because they benefit humanity, not because they benefit Wikipedia editors (because of how the law on charities works, at least in the USA and the UK) Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 17:11, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
However, the Wikimedia Foundation could not claim that it "benefits humanity" were there not editors who create contents "for the benefit of humanity". Knowledge is in itself a benefit for humanity, not because of any "impact".Mautpreller (talk) 18:35, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Knowledge that is useful, interesting, and gets used benefits humanity more. It is not rocket science. There will still be place for other stuff as long as it fits the project policies and guidelenes.· · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:57, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
@Chris Keating (The Land): The right-way to be people centered in a project like the visual editor would have been about engaging with the community of knowledge producers within Wikipedia and see what they need. You don't need to know anything about the impact that the produced knowledge will have on other people who consume knowledge to do that well. If you focus on knowledge consumers in your people-centered approach a project like the visual editor still wouldn't be developed well. There's a good chance that the knowledge consumer people centered approach will lead to technology that will be rejected by the community in the same way that past technological approaches failed to get community acceptance. ChristianKl❫ 16:53, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
We do not have to make assumptions on what donors want, we can ask them. The danger of asking is that they may want things that we don't want to do. One of the things we can assume is that if they donate and do not specify anything that they want, they are reasonably satisfied with what we are already doing. One of the things about a voluntary service is that if the volunteers dont want to do a thing they don't do it. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 17:16, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
Our ultimate reason for curating and sharing knowledge is to empower people to improve their lives.
Once again it should be made clear that the "Our" of this statement is not referring to the project communities. They have far more complicated and diverse and personal reasons. This is a goal of the organised groups, and as such it is a reasonable and valid goal as long as they don't try to extrapolate to individual volunteers in our herd of cats. We as private volunteers are part of the movement. but our alignment as a group is chaotic. Some of us share this goal, others find it irrelevant, but we should all be able to live with it as long as no-one tries to force it down our throats. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 17:07, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
And especially after the recent experience with en:WP:FRAMBAN (and the wee bit older ones with Superprotect) this forcing down our throats is something, that looks very probable. Why should they suddenly change their attitude of forcing their will down the throats of the projects? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 17:19, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
I think that as a longtime editor, I am to be seen as a part of the "Movement we". (I am not sure if I like that, but otherwise the movement talk loses any sense it might possibly have.) Talking from this point of view, I am definitely against this prioritization along "impact" and "utility". These are criteria that are totally alien to the nature of knowledge. For example, an article about en:The Holocaust is useful for what exactly and has impact in what exact sense? Try to measure it how you like it, it can never compete with an article about a current subject. The "utility bias" and "impact bias" is a really problematic thing. There is a reason why an encyclopedia chooses not to write articles what you should do in cases of emergency. These are vital how-to issues that should definitely not be the realm of an "encyclopedia that anyone can edit". The Red Cross is better equipped to deal with such issues. There is also a reason why articles about diseases usually have a disclaimer "This article deals with a health issue. It does not serve as a help for auto-diagnosis and does not replace a diagnosis by a professional doctor." I am also concerned about the idea that certain contents should be pushed. This may very well result in edits of persons who have not the knowledge to write anything encyclopedic about a subject. To be sure, that happens all the time, but we shouldn't push it. - The German Wikipedia has no classification system for "priorities" (and I would strongly oppose anyone who tries to set up one). Of course, I see that funding is always limited and a funding authority needs to say which projects should be funded. (I never needed funding so I could say I don't care.) But the criteria should never be supposed "impact" or "utility". The most important priority is soundness of the knowledge, not any "use" that could be made of it.Mautpreller (talk) 16:57, 27 January 2020 (UTC)
I could imagine that, for example, an overview article needs a basis in literature that is not so easy to get without funding or support. This could be a criterion for funding because it could be that pure volunteers cannot afford the time and money to get this literature base together. It should in such a case, however, not be the writing of the article that is funded but the literature. And in any case the decision should not be a "global" but a "local" one. But also here the criterion must not be "usefulness" or "impact". It must be that the project enables sound knowledge and the money helps to create this whereas without money it would be much more difficult.Mautpreller (talk) 19:27, 27 January 2020 (UTC)
  • It's not true that the WMF has no possible way to make it's spending more inline with donor demands. It could change into a membership organization with a member fee. That would be a way to raise more funds and it provides a basis for letting it's membership vote out leadership that doesn't do what the members want. If you stay with one vote per person, you also don't have a problem with big donors pushing the Wikimedia into actions against the interests of our movement.
I don't think it should be the role of the WMF to pick topics. The WMF should let the editorial decision about what topics people want to write about with the individual Wikiprojects. The WMF should use it's funds to enable the individual Wikiprojects to be more effective. The WMF should measure it's effectiveness at enabling the Wikiprojects to be more effective by looking at whether the amount of editors rises (editors with 1/5/100 edits per month).
Even if I would support prioritizing topics for WMF funds, that doesn't eliminate the problem of the exclusionary language. In that case the language of the recommentation should also be specific about the facts that it's about funding decisions. ChristianKl❫ 17:59, 11 February 2020 (UTC)

... mit spezialisierten Mitwirkenden, die bei der Priorisierung von Themen helfen könneEdit

Mit anderen Worten: WMF will Einfluss darauf nehmen was geschrieben wird und schleust dazu auch Leute ein? .oO ...Sicherlich Post 23:45, 20 January 2020 (UTC)

@Sicherlich: this is about getting help from external experts on how to prioritize. Think of something like WikiAfrica education, a program run by an external organization to use Wikipedia articles to teach schoolchildren in Africa (while also engaging them to become editors). Such intiatives are the ones that really deliver the knowledge collected on Wikipedia to the people (especially in the developing world where internet access and internet literacy are often not self-evident), yet we do not systematically collect and use their feedback on what content is / would be the most useful for them. --Tgr (talk) 19:00, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

Thx for explaining but I can't see it. We are talking about WP & the others. So a topic is smth explained von en:Topic --> articles. Maybe its just unclear written, maybe its meant your way. With such a broad possible meaning it can be used for everything. ... And again: the outcome written on the page is not an outcome but a process to get somewhere. The outcome could be to have the processes and relationships in place. ...Sicherlich Post 06:23, 25 January 2020 (UTC)

Erwartete ErgebnisseEdit

Ein erwartetes Ergebnis ist "Recherchen und Analyse" - was ist das denn für ein Ergebnis? Wir haben eine Recherche und Analyse gemacht? ... IMO wäre ein "richtiges" Ergebnis (ob sinnvoll oder nicht sei mal dahingestellt): "Eine Liste von Themen, die die größten Auswirkungen auf die Welt und das Leben der Wissensnutzenden haben" - das ist der Output. Die Recherche und Analyse dazu ist der Weg. ...Sicherlich Post 23:48, 20 January 2020 (UTC)

I guess that depends on your point of view. For an editor, you probably don't care about how such a list was composed, so yes. For the organization which would have to implement this recommendation, the research is the real work they have to produce, and composing / publishing a list is a trivial task. Usually these recommendations are written from the POV of whoever would have to accomplish them.

In any case, I think the knowledge to be gained here is much more nuanced than a list of topics. What are the important articles within a topic, in the sense that readers actually depend on them? (Wikiprojects on enwiki and some other large projects do importance rating, but it tends to be of questionable quality.) What is imporant within an article? (For example the WikiMed project tried to distribute medical articles in underserved languages, and they found they are better of just using the intro section of the article; the rest is too hard to understand and just confuses people. How should that knowledge influence our product choices, e.g. ContentTranslate?) What presentation works well for one topic or another? (Think WikiVideo for example.) And so on. --Tgr (talk) 19:37, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

User:Tgr: the research is the real work - sure it is. If my aim is to have a nice, warm place where me and my kids can be happy, the outcome is not the hard work to build the house; its the house. ... and you even say it yourself the knowledge to be gained - so not gaining the knowledge, no. Having it. ...Sicherlich Post 06:28, 25 January 2020 (UTC)

"Diskussionen organisieren, um das gemeinsame Verständnis..."Edit

Ich verstehe schon den Satz nicht (weder deutsch noch englisch) .. von daher ja, unbedingt Diskussionen dazu organisieren 😂 ...Sicherlich Post 23:52, 20 January 2020 (UTC)

Die Themen nach ihrem Einfluss in einem deliberativen Prozess gewichten, das wäre eine andere Umschreibung. Grüße --CJackel (WMF) (talk) 13:12, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Nein, das ist falsch. Die Diskussionen sollen das "gemeinsame Verständnis" (shared understanding) verbessern. Das Verständnis von was? Von "Einfluss" (impact), "Prinzipien" (principles) und wie man den Einfluss am besten misst ("effective ways how to measure it"). Das heißt, man soll sich in Diskussionen darüber einig werden, was man unter Einfluss versteht und wie man ihn misst (die "Prinzipien" fallen aus dem Satz leider raus). Das Problem ist, dass ein Verständnis und eine Bewertung von "Einfluss" bereits vorausgesetzt wird, die nichts weniger als konsensfähig sind. Wenn man sich offen über "impact" unterhalten will, sollte man nicht schon gleich in der Präambel vorschreiben, wie man "impact" verstehen muss und dass man es (natürlich) "maximieren" muss. Auf dieser Basis ist eine produktive Diskussion ohnehin ausgeschlossen.Mautpreller (talk) 09:09, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

Die Basis für diese Bestimmungen findet man, wie fast imemr in diesen Dokumenten, ganz woanders: "If we understand knowledge as a service, we need to understand the needs of the people we serve so we can accommodate them." Wenn wir Wissen als Dienstleistung verstehen, müssen wir die Bedürfnisse der Menschen kennen, denen wir Dienste leisten, damit wir diese Bedürfnisse befriedigen können." Der Haken daran ist der Bedingungssatz: Wir sollten Wissen eben nicht als Dienstleistung verstehen. Wissen ist nun mal kein "Dienst", den "wir" im Auftrag irgendwelcher Kunden zur Verfügung stellen. Es gibt überhaupt keinen Auftrag. Wissen muss auch keineswegs irgendwelche Bedürfnisse befriedigen, außer vielleicht dem, mehr wissen zu wollen. Sinnvolles Wissen wird im Gegenteil Bedürfnissen oft zuwiderlaufen. Ein Bedürfnis kann zum Beispiel sein, Argumente für oder gegen Trumps Wahlkampfkampagne in möglichst leichtverständlicher Form zusammengestellt zu kriegen. Das hat aber mit "Wissen" gar nichts zu tun. Wenn man bspw. etwas über Arbeitslosigkeit in den USA wissen will, muss man sich in jedem Fall anstrengen. Man muss sich damit befassen, wie man die eigentlich misst (und wieso man das anders tut als in Europa), was Arbeitslosigkeit bedeutet, woher sie kommt, wie das Verhältnis zwischen statistischen Daten zur Arbeitslosigkeit und politischen Entwicklungen gedeutet werden kann usw. Wenn man sich da durchgekämpft hat, weiß man wohl mehr; allerdings läuft dieses Wissen darauf hinaus, dass man vieles gar nicht so genau sagen und bestimmen kann, wie es in der Politik gern behauptet wird. Sucht man aber bloß leichtfassliche Argumente für etwas, was man sowieso schon für richtig hält, will man gar nichts wissen. Das ist ein sehr wohl existentes Bedürfnis, das "wir" doch bitte möglichst frustrieren sollten.Mautpreller (talk) 09:28, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

Who does this recommendation apply to?Edit

I am getting the idea that this recommendation is not intended to apply to the projects themselve, but to the more organised structures of the movement, mainly WMF, the chapters, and relevant special interest groups. If I am correct, this is not sufficiently clear in the way the recommendation is expressed, and this may be a cause of misunderstanding. If this is the case, it should be spelled out in an unambiguous and specific way, because there is a serious disconnect between the organised groups and the actual content providers. Keep the language clear and simple, we have people with many home languages working here. Good communication does not mean American PR/managerial or legal jargon, no matter how fashionable it may be within the in-groups. We need language that translates well to versions with the same meaning as the original, with no ambiguities.

It also seems that this is not intended to imply that the editorial independence of the projects would be reduced or taken over by any formal group, as that would imply that any such group would become legally responsible for content - not a good strategy - like painting a target on their backs with a sign saying "SUE ME". I recommend some clear, simple straightforward text in the recommendation clarifying this position. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 14:04, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

Good point. If this is only about promoting and funding issues, some problems disappear, albeit not all of them. Maybe it would be advisable to confirm that this Recommendation has no effect for the editorial independence of the projects.Mautpreller (talk) 15:56, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
I agree this would be useful to clarify. This recommendation mainly stems from the Resource Allocation recommendations regarding how to allocate funds, staff and so on. So while I wasn't involved in this particular round of drafting, I believe the intention is basically for the 'organised part' of the movement not the projects. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 19:34, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

@Pbsouthwood and Mautpreller: Yes, this would not affect the editorial independence of the projects in any way. I suppose there are legal reasons for that, too, but more fundamentally it's a moral one, I think. Volunteers donate the content they have created in their free time; you don't get to tell a donor that they should give you something else than they are offering. You might suggest that something else could be more useful, at best. Also, we see being able to participate in the construction of knowledge as a human right of sorts, so we should include everyone in it, to the extent feasible.

Note that the recommendation does say this already: Furthermore, we need to respect our long-standing principles of welcoming everyone who shares our vision of free knowledge, and their free will to contribute to any topic while respecting content neutrality guidelines. The ability for a participant to bring their knowledge to the world is empowering. We must continue to support editorial control and opening new pathways for all stakeholders to prioritize content according to their specific wants and needs.

The recommendation would apply to the organized part of the movement in the sense that they would be the ones who had to carry it out (so implementation would involve things like updating grant rules and taking real-world effect of content into account in chapter strategies or measurement plans, and not, say, changing Wikipedia policy). But it would affect the wikis; e.g. software changes would be prioritized differently if we take into account how they affect the impact we have on people's lives. (As a hypothetical example, how do you prioritize math formula display improvements versus better audio file support? They are going to be useful for very different types of articles.) In that sense, I don't think a bright line of separation between the wikis and the organizations exist; almost any change to how the organizations work affects the wikis in profound ways, even if those ways are not apparent to people. (Which other recommendations in this proposal try to fix, such as making our software prioritization decisions more transparent and more open, and make an effort to include editors in the discussion before those decisions happen.) --Tgr (talk) 20:00, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

I would also hope that that the ability to efficiently build and maintain reliable content would have top priority, as without it we are nothing, and as it is open to almost any fool and scoundrel to edit, it would be a very high priority to build tools to help the editing communities to quickly, accurately and reliably identify and exclude people who willfully contravene our principles, policies and terms of use. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:27, 6 February 2020 (UTC)

This is not the WMF's remitEdit

The WMF seems to have added a goal that our main purpose is to improve the readers' lives. Personally that seems a bit of a leap, we could probably do a better job of that by redistributing half our annual funds.


I do not believe that the WMF, very clearly created as a support organisation, should be pushing certain themes. If affiliate groups wish to do that, they can, but the WMF should have no involvement, no enabling, nothing to do with it. That path leads to getting distracted from their primary job. I guarantee that if it was written about, there'd be positive statements, blogs etc commenting on the progress being made. Which would nicely make everyone not editing in those fields feel like our tens of thousands of hours were worth less.

When it comes to sources, any reference to them should be struck, and replaced with "Local communities will remain the sole arbiters of the sources suitable for their work". For Wikipedia, that might include something like "in line with the Pillars". Nosebagbear (talk) 11:09, 23 January 2020 (UTC)

Hi Nosebagbear, our goals are still very much knowledge equity and knowledge as a service. Analyzing and understanding our impact in the world can take us closer to these goals. The recommendations were written by Wikimedians, including affiliates and volunteer editors, commissioned by the WMF Board of Trustees. We already engage in many creative initiatives to boost content and address gaps. This recommendation states clearly that the 'intentional Movement prioritization in the Terms of Use for editorial control will not be impaired, so volunteers will continue to choose what want to work on freely.' MPourzaki (WMF) (talk) 21:24, 23 January 2020 (UTC)

I never anticipated that you'd actually be editorially restricting what content was created, it's the effect that your words may have - for some to be a priority or more important, other content must be less important. Nosebagbear (talk) 21:30, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
Importance is in the eye of the beholder. If I want information about a topic it is important to me. If I want to write about a topic, I choose one which is both important to me and which I know enough about to be able to write competently. (alas, this is not everbody's strategy, but there is wheat amonst the chaff). If a billion people want to know about a topic, it becomes objectively important to a knowledge provider. If 3 people want to read about it, not objectively so important. Which topic should we prioritise as a group? This has little bearing on what you or I will actually choose to write. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 14:53, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
If the WMF or chapters or thematic organisations etc think that a topic that is poorly covered is important, and spend a little time and money providing access to good sources for anyone who wants to write about it, I will consider it time and money well spent, specially if someone actually uses it to create or improve an article. Even a list of accessible sources covering a topic can be extremely useful. Preferably a balanced list, but even an unbalanced list is a starting place, and anyone who can add to the list to get better balance is helping the potential article. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:50, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

No, no, noEdit

This is possibly the worst of all the recommendations. NOBODY should be telling our volunteers what they can or should write about. Vexations (talk) 03:21, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

Hi Vexations. While I can understand to a degree your concerns about “telling volunteers what they should write about”, I really don’t understand for “what they can write about”. Why do you think this would be an issue?
Also, would you consider something like en:Wikipedia:Vital articles falling under that definition?
Jean-Fred (talk) 11:17, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
I think it is an issue because editorial decisions belong with the editors and nobody else. To maintain neutrality and earn the trust of our readers we need to be free from any outside influence and able to make our own editorial decisions.
Would I consider Vital articles falling under sorry, what definition? Vital articles are supposed to be "Wikipedia's most important articles". The notion of a hierarchy of important topics is absurd and outdated. There is no single tree of knowledge with mathematics or art at the top as its root. Vexations (talk) 12:40, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
But, really, how is someone (either a person or an instituation or anything) going “Hey, here is a list of topics on which you are missing articles” be a problem? You still make your own editorial decisions no?
Ok, let me rephrase that, maybe my example was not well-picked: there are plenty of red lists on Wikimedia projects of “things to write about” (eg this, to take an example from my early Wikipedia days). Technically, that is somebody telling me (as an editor) what I can/should write about . So I wanted to clarify whether that is a problem in your book (I guess it is not), and if so, why is it different. Jean-Fred (talk) 12:51, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
I have no problems with redlists. In fact, have contributed some myself: en:Wikipedia:WikiProject_Women_in_Red/Missing_articles_by_dictionary/International_encyclopedia_of_women_composers for example. I have also participated in organizing edit-a-thons and helped identify possible topics to write about. What I'm concerned about is interference with editorial decisions. Let's say that research shows that we have age-related biases in our biographies: 17% of the Canadian population is over 65 years old, but 34% the subjects of our biographies of living Canadians are over 65. (I checked, the ratio is 10482:20262) Clearly, we're discriminating against young people. Something should be done! (I'm kidding) Vexations (talk) 14:05, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
There is a big difference between recommending topics that are inadequately covered that editors can write about, and specifying what they must write about, and for that matter specifying what they can't write about. My reading of this recommendation is that the intention is recommending topics that are inadequately covered that editors can write about, if and when they want to. That would be a good thing, it will encourage those who want to fill the gaps to fill those gaps. This will not stop people from writing about schools, professional wrestling, football, video games if that is what they want to do. The projects already specify what we can't write about. I don't foresee that changing. As for specifying what we must write about, that just is not going to happen. It is not happening, and I don't think anybody in the movement, projects, WMF or affiliates, wants it to happen or even thinks it is an option, because as any fool can plainly see, it is not an option. It. Will. Not. Happen. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 14:44, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
I would really look at this recommendation through the lens of 'what tools should we use to evaluate projects we have spent money on' rather than 'should we start telling volunteers what articles to write'. Maybe that can be clarified in the next stage of amendments. But there is currently a big gap in terms of how we evaluate projects and there have been some very naive methods of doing it in the past (we created a million new characters worth of Wikipedia content! Fund us again!). In my view it's really important that we get a better understanding of impact so we can do better at this in future. But the idea is not to tell volunteers what they have to be doing. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 15:03, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes, as Chris says, this is primarily about how to spend movement funds (where prioritization choices are a necessity, since those funds are finite; those choices do happen today, just in a very naive way). I think there's some value in telling editors "this is our estimation of how useful this article is going to be to its readers; if helping readers is a major motivation to you, you might want to take it into account". And then some people will and some people won't. (Some already do; that's why wikiprojects have importance ratings or track pageview numbers.) But the main issue the recommendations are trying to address is that the metrics the WMF uses to measure how successful its own projects (and the projects of chapters and other affiliates) are are not super useful (number of pageviews, number of articles created and such). @Vexations: see also the discussion at #Who does this recommendation apply to? --Tgr (talk) 20:13, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
I think that impact or utility as a metric is problematic for several reasons: we don't know why me measure it, we don't know how to measure it, and we don't know what to change if we find that the metrics show that we're not meeting our goals. But "impact" is not a meaningful goal. The problem you seem to be trying to solve is that we're giving away money, but we have no idea what we're spending it on. The money is supposed to improve something, but nobody seems to know exactly what. Now you need to find a way to justify the expense, and you do that by inventing a metric that supports the case for doing so. That's backwards. What we need is more editors who stick around long enough to learn how to edit. So measure that instead: what kind of funding results in the highest levels of editor recruitment and retention. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Vexations (talk) 21:46, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
If this is actually the case, then the first thing to research is how to measure impact or utility. That would require defining what it means, and by defining what it means we get a better idea of what it may be useful for. All these are good things in their own way as they all increase understanding of the knowledge network - the thing we all seem to be trying to build. It would also help us all to understand what we are trying to do, or just doing, and improve communication when we discuss the topic, so there is less running off at a tangent because the terminology is ambiguous and everyone chooses to interpret it in their own way and pass judgment without first finding out if the concepts are similarly understood by all involved. Language can be used as a tool to improve understanding and work towards agreement, or as a weapon of disinformation, misinformation and general confusion. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:31, 27 January 2020 (UTC)
There may be several metrics for impact and utility. When a list of missing information is produced based on assessed impact or utility the specific metrics should be mentioned, as there will be differences depending on which is used, and over time they may change. This would just be proper application of scientific method to the research and reporting of the results. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:38, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
@Pbsouthwood: This article describes three projects that attempt to measure impact. It's conclusion is sobering: "measuring impact matters but we need to be realistic about the constraints. It requires a level of research expertise, commitment to longitudinal study, and allocation of resources that are typically beyond the capabilities of implementing organizations. It is crucial to identify when it makes sense to measure impacts and when it might be best to stick with outputs — especially when an organization’s control over results is limited, and causality remains poorly understood." Alright, back to us: Let's say that we find that there is a huge gap between our coverage of dog and cats. We have 85 articles on cats and 330 articles on dogs. That's a problem, because there are 75 million cats vs. nearly 70 million dogs in the U.S., so we instead of a 1:0.93 ratio, we have a 1:2.88 ratio. We set a goal of increasing the ratio of cat:dog articles to 1:1 and create 245 excellent cat articles. We find that there is an affiliate that wants to fix the taxon gap. We fund a bunch of their edit-a-thons and after a year, they created 250 articles. Success! But when we look at the numbers of cat and dog articles we find that members of Wikiproject Frizgility changed the Subject Specific Notability Guidelines for dogs to include every dog that ever participated in a official Frizgility competition and have been writing 7 dogs stubs each day, bringing the total to 2,855 dog articles and 335 cat articles. The ratio is now even WORSE than it was before: 1:8.74 That's the trouble with measuring outcomes. Vexations (talk) 16:47, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
OK, so it is not easy to measure impact. That does not surprise me and it does not necessarily mean that no-one should try. It appears to be a job for professionals, not a job that should be avoided altogether. You example of the dogs and cats does not make sense to me. Requiring or even suggesting that the number of articles on one topic should be the same as the number of articles on another topic is oversimplification, as not all articles are of equal impact or utility. However, noticing that there is for example an absence of articles on the economic aspects of scuba divimg, and on the health and safety aspects of cat breeding would suggest that the encyclopedia could be enriched by a few articles covering those topics. It is not difficult to see that those topics could be of interest to a number of people, and could have practical implications for some of them. It does not mean that anyone will necessarily write them, but if the research finds that the topics are well covered in the literature, and lists a good number of potentially useful sources, it is more likely that someone with an interest in economics or scuba diving will write the one, and someone interested in heath and safety or cat breeding might write the other. We do not know what is missing in most cases, but it is likely that more is missing that already exists. What we have is the stuff that people have already noticed, for which there are sources available, and that people wanted to write - the low hanging fruit. Six million may be a good start, but it is only a start.
Going back to your examples. The creation of the 245 excellent cat articles is a good thing, because the creation of 245 excellent articles is inherently a good thing. Ignoring the suggestion of pushung notability guidelines in an apparently undue direction, the creation of 7 dog articles of dubious value per day does not reduce the value of the 245 excellent cat articles, and by itself may be good, bad, or irrelevant, depending on the quality of those articles. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 19:39, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
The taxon gap was just a silly metaphor for the gender gap. Substitute men for dogs, women for cats and soccer for Frizgility, and adjust the numbers. Does it make more sense now? For a good introduction on measuring impact, see for example It's a good read, relatively free of jargon. Vexations (talk) 00:59, 7 February 2020 (UTC)

Specialized partnersEdit

The last of the outcomes: "Develop processes and relationships to work with specialized partners who can assist in prioritizing topics", cites which doesn't really address the working with partners or prioritizing topics. Is this supposed to reference something else? Vexations (talk) 03:31, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing this out. I have edited the footnote to cite the Strategy salon's report, and I tried to specifically link the section to which I believe the reference was made --Abbad (WMF) (talk) 01:54, 25 January 2020 (UTC).
Thanks, this may be what was intended. I'm baffled by the document itself though: "WMF can establish partnership with authorized international institutions to facilitate any obstacles", "Establish partnership with whom State’s laws allow them to make it without any security restrictions" I understand that English is not everyone's first language, but what is the author trying to say here? I don't actually see anything about prioritizing topics either. Vexations (talk) 12:23, 25 January 2020 (UTC)
Hello and thank you for discussing this. I have participated in the support of this specific Salon, and I believe that I can give some useful clarifications in this regard: (1) First, the participants wrote this report from their own local context. As you probably know, not all regions of the world enjoy the same level of freedom of speech, so the idea behind that section was that partnering with specific organisations will help Wikipedians to be "protected" and work/edit in better conditions. The relation with prioritization is that, when the topics to be prioritized are defined, it might need to be done with partners (in some contexts), as the resources and help that they offer can be the only way actually to have any editing done there. This does not mean that partners will get to choose the topics, but rather that the prioritization need to take in consideration that partners are needed, otherwise there will be no activity at all. Of course, there are core values (neutrality for example) that cannot be breached, so this needs to be followed thourouly during the implementation phase. (2) Second, views from the strategy salons represent the point of view of the participants, not of the writing team or the recommendations. However, important elements presented in the Salon reports constitute a valuable and rich background for the recommendations to explain why they are written the way they are, and what problems they are trying to solve. I hope that this clarifies a bit better the picture. Regards -- ASedrati (WMF) (talk) 17:45, 25 January 2020 (UTC)

Esta forma de expresarse da miedoEdit

El punto que se propone no me gusta nada. Cuando leo más el material hay cosas en que estoy de acuerdo. Especialmente en que la desinformación es un riesgo y que el papel de Wikimedia es informar (por tanto, ir contra la desinformación). Pero informar de todo.

Cuando me hablan de “impacto” en este contexto mi cerebro lo enlaza con cosas como “propaganda”. También con “inmediatez”. Creo que lo que debemos hacer llegar es el conocimiento. Todo. Eso permite luchar contra todas las formas de desinformación. Dreyfus era inocente porque tenemos acceso a los documentos del caso. Sí, hace más de cien años de aquello, pero tenemos las pruebas, distribuimos el conocimiento, sacamos a la gente del error. Habrá gente que no quiera salir del error, pero eso es otro tema.

Enfocar las cosas al impacto es un error serio en proyectos de larga duración. Lo que hoy es muy importante, mañana puede no serlo. Puedes incluso haber ayudado al enemigo (la historia del siglo XX está repleta de gobiernos que apoyaron a alguien para acabar con un enemigo, y ese alguien acabó haciéndoles aún más daño que el enemigo inicial). Digo esto porque para empeorar las cosas se junta el impacto con consideraciones estratégicas.

Veo que se trata sobre notabilidad. Me alegro. Me gusta la idea de que la notabilidad se fije por encima de cada comunidad lingüística. Planteé el tema de la notabilidad a los candidatos a la Junta de la Fundación y la amplia mayoría pasaron del tema, no iba con ellos, no tenían opinión ni pensaban tenerla. El mero hecho de que se mencione el asunto ya es una buena noticia. Por desgracia sale en los comentarios, no en el cuerpo de la propuesta. Si la creación de un sistema general de notabilidad es uno de los fines que se persigue, lo mejor sería decirlo abiertamente. Porque ésa es una idea que comprendo y comparto. Pero promover líneas de edición en función de intereses estratégicos es una línea que me asusta.

P.S: I can understand English. I've written in Spanish to avoid translation problems: I've said what I've said.

B25es (talk) 08:34, 25 January 2020 (UTC)

@B25es: Impacto, tal y como lo hemos entendido nosotros, significa cambiar vidas. Esta recomendación quiere reflexionar entorno como los contenidos cambian vidas en el mundo y a su vez entender qué contenidos pueden ser más prioritarios de crear (en según qué lenguas). Podemos suponer que hay temáticas que pueden tener impacto en conocimiento médico, político, etc. y ayudar a los habitantes de ciertas regiones del mundo a estar educados y progresar en un sentido democrático como sociedad o individual en salud (en parte, es lo que comentábamos de Knowledge Equity). La recomendación pide entender cuales son estos contenidos, cuales faltan y qué impacto tienen. No quiere imponer un criterio editorial para que los editores dejen de escribir sobre jarrones griegos de la isla de Lesbos o séries de Netflix (probablemente muy popular a nivel de visitas), pero que estén informados sobre la repercusión que pueden tener las temáticas. Lo que se propone es identificar las temáticas, el impacto, los agujeros o grado de cobertura que tiene una Wikipedia, el conocimiento que tienen los Wikipedistas. A partir de ahí, se pueden proponer campañas, priorizar recursos, buscar partnerships en agujeros concretos (e.g. para cubrir temáticas de Kenya o cubrir medicina en Swahili) o buscar tecnologías que ayuden a los editores a mejorar la calidad de los contenidos pensando en el impacto (e.g. combatiendo la desinformación). Recientemente encontré varios estudios sobre el impacto de Wikipedia.
  • Este estudio agregó dos párrafos de texto e imágenes bonitas a artículos seleccionados al azar sobre pequeñas ciudades europeas. Los que fueron tratados vieron un aumento del 9% en las estancias en hoteles.
  • Otro estudio enseña que un único artículo de calidad escrito por expertos en química en Wikipedia influyó en el contenido de 250 artículos académicos revisados por pares publicados! ¡Una de cada 830 palabras en artículos publicados proviene de Wikipedia!
  • Este otro estudio muestra como los artículos de Wikipedia sobre empresas reducen las ventajas de los expertos y los gerentes en el mercado de valores. Este documento encuentra que los gerentes tienen más dificultades para contener las malas noticias para las empresas con buenas páginas de Wikipedia. ¡No está mal lo que impacta Wikipedia en el mundo! Creo que es importante mantener la neutralidad, pero informar a los editores de qué contenidos faltan y qué contenidos tienen impacto puede ser útil para el proyecto. --Marcmiquel (talk) 10:48, 26 January 2020 (UTC)

Who is going to decide?Edit

Hello, I understand that this section of the "Recommendation" is not about ordering Wikipedians what to write about. It is rather about a) finding out what content the readers want, and b) supporting the creation of that content. Fair enough.

But this does mean that someone outside of the wiki community (I alway mean "editor community" when I write "community") has some influence on the content. Well, this is already now the case, when e.g. a chapter has a partnership with a museum and organizes a joint workshop. The proposal is, well, going some steps further.

My questions:

  • Who is going to decide which content has priority? The Governance Board? The WMF Board or the WMF Director? A local chapter?
  • Why is it necessary to put this in the strategy document? A chapter can already decide which topics to give priority. E.g. when WMNL decided in its own strategy to support more content about "Netherlands and the world". / If this is considered of strategic importance, I guess a global body will make the decision?
  • What about content that does not fit in this prioritazation? If the Governance Body decided that the readers want more content about cats, but I want to write about dogs. Will my proposal about cooperating with the dog museum be ignored?

Kind regards, Ziko (talk) 18:44, 25 January 2020 (UTC)

This recommendation does not change the current scenario in which chapters and other organizations have an influence on content (through campaigning, through partnerships, etc.). It already happens and I think it is quite inevitable. We've seen campaigns on Human rights, on certain world regions, etc. On many topics actually. Instead, this recommendation does want to provide a framework to understand a) what content is missing, b) what content creates which kind of impact, c) what kind of tools and partnerships we need to create this content. By being able to answer these three questions, editors can freely decide what they want to write about whether it is a popular soap opera or the most lethal diseases but with greater awareness, and the Wikimedia organizations can also decide what they campaign for/allocate resources for and estimate their possible impact. --Marcmiquel (talk) 11:06, 26 January 2020 (UTC)
Hello, thanks for your reaction, but you are answering non of the three questions. Ziko (talk) 11:30, 26 January 2020 (UTC)
All this things are happening since quite some time, they are driven by the communities and special interest groups within the communities, be it de:WP:WlM, de:WP:WlE, de:WP:GLAM, de:WP:CUP, de:Wikipedia:Städtemarathon or many others. What should change in this regard? Will those projects by volunteers be taken over by the WMF? Or by whom else? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 11:59, 26 January 2020 (UTC)
Ziko, Sänger ♫, this conversation feels a bit déjà vu. Please refer to the principles that underpin these recommendations, especially inclusive community development. Throughout this document you see repeated distribution of power and inclusive decision-making, no one is taking over anything or anyone. MPourzaki (WMF) (talk) 15:41, 26 January 2020 (UTC)
MPourzaki, could you please explain what do you mean by "déja vu"? Also, you did not actually answer a question. And if "no one is taking over anything or anyone", what about the role of this new Governance Body? Ziko (talk) 18:47, 26 January 2020 (UTC)
Hi Ziko. I'll try answer your questions based on my understanding of previous conversations around this. Of course there is some risk of me reading things that I expect to be there even if they are actually not. If they are not then my feedback is that they should be. ;)
  1. The idea is that the Governance Body sets an overall framework: e.g. "we want to focus on cats, especially cats in Africa, South America and India" - then movement entities work out how to respond to that. There is a lot about decentalisation in these recommendations, so I don't believe that establishing a very detailed framework would be in line with that. Also from other recommendations it should be clear that content is not going to be the only priority for funds dissemination, there is a lot about skills development and community building in other recommendations.
  2. Why does it need to be in the strategy? Well, currently there are implicit criteria around this - the FDC makes comments saying people should do more of X, or the WMF grantmaking team decides to offer grants only for Y purpose - this makes those things more explicit, transparent, and (through the Governance Body) under the control of the community.
  3. What about things that don't fit these priorities? I'd anticipate they receive less (but not necessarily no) support. Say I want to set up a partnership with my small local museum of in the United Kingdom to upload their dog content to Wikipedia, when the priority is cats. Wikimedia UK should probably still speak to me, offer me advice, and maybe give me a small grant if I have a good idea, but I should not expect to be invited to the meetings of People Doing Cat Partnerships, or expect to get appointed as a British Dogs Wikipedian-in-Residence.
Again, the level of detail and the distribution of funds on content vs communities or to priorities vs non-priorities is all to be worked out in the implementation phase.
Of course one can raise the objection that one should not choose one kind of knowledge over another, for moral or philosophical reasons. That is a sensible objection, though my own view that this kind of prioritisation is pretty inevitable it might as well be done in an explicit and transparent way. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 21:22, 26 January 2020 (UTC)
The Land I find your writing generally more lucid than the recommendations themselves, so thanks, I really do appreciate that. Where you wrote the Governance Body sets an overall framework, did you mean: the Governance Body sets priorities. If you did mean framework, which I understand as a basic conceptional scheme or structure, then I don't understand what you mean by framework in the context of prioritizing topics. Can you clarify? Vexations (talk)
Hi Vexations. "Framework" could simply mean priorities, or it could also include conducting some high-level parts of the process, and/or specifying other parts of the process. It's easy to see the FDC being replaced by a grantmaking committee of the global governance body, or the Governance Body being the WMF's advisor/partner in reforming its grantmaking structures, or things along those lines. But exactly what and how is all left to be specified in the implementation stage (as, indeed, is the existence and/or involvement of the governance body...). Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 10:35, 27 January 2020 (UTC)
Hey The Land, thank you again for your insights. Sounds very good. There is still the problem to find volunteers to do something with the ... advice or proposals what to write about. Ziko (talk) 22:11, 26 January 2020 (UTC)
When it is made clear that there is a knowledge gap, and the size and shape of it is on record, it is more likely that someone will take notice and attempt to fill it. If it does not happen immediately, the gap has at least been recognised and listed, and someday someone will probably try to fix it. It may take a long time, but if anyone thinks it is important enough, there is not much to stop them from going ahead and doing it themselves. I would not be surprised if a few new WikiProjects spring up to address the worst of the gaps - for that matter there will probably be new projects to fill in some more esoteric and special interest gaps once they are publicly identified. The mere fact of someone identifying a gap means that at least that person thinks it is worth filling, and may feel motivated to do so. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:47, 27 January 2020 (UTC)
Every time I read the line of argument “but what if there are no volunteers interested in cats?”, I’m always thinking, we must have met very different Wikimedians :-) Let’s say the Governance Body sets a focus on cats. Sure, not everyone is super-into cats. But after the affiliate Wikimedia Syldavia successfully approaches the Cats Museum of Klow − I could bet eyes closed that several volunteers there, even not known for being particulary into cats, going “Oooh, cats! Did you know that cats <something>” and enthusiastically participate to this new partnership. It’s really not a stretch, I have seen it happen time and time again. ^_^ Jean-Fred (talk) 08:30, 27 January 2020 (UTC)

Structure and navigationEdit

One of the by-products of identifying knowledge gaps is that a better model of the structure and navigation options may be developed, as knowledge that nobody ever finds is also pretty low on impact. Search engines are an amazingly effective way of finding information if and only if the searcher knows how to describe it sufficiently for the search engine to work. They listen to what you say, but are not able to discern what you mean. Other methods of getting to what you need to know, but don't know how to explain it are valuable. Wikilinks are incredibly useful but limited to things that you are already reading about. Navboxes can be good, but are very labour-intensive and usually out of date. Categories require skill both to create and maintain and to use effectively, often contain garbage and do not even allow for the possibility of annotation, Indexes and similar lists are sometimes useful, particularly if well annotated and well maintained. Help-desks allow human involvement, but this is only effective if the human is sufficiently knowledgeable and actively trying to help - not always the case. As a knowledge database grows, it becomes more complicated to find what one needs, as opposed to finding what one is specifically looking for. A good model of the content could help a lot when navigating the more chaotic patches. Wikidata may be useful for some of these problems, probably not all. Admittedly these problems are focused on the Wikipedias, but other projects may have analogous problems, better described by their own editors. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 07:12, 27 January 2020 (UTC)

Feedback from French-speaking WikimediansEdit

  • There has been one comment about the French translation being less subtle than the English one, otherwise agrees with the content.

See feedback links and context here.

DRanville (WMF) (talk) 16:37, 28 January 2020 (UTC) - French Strategy Liaison

Some personal feedback belowEdit

In Expected outcomes > People, "We also need to make sure that our volunteers have the time to work on content by supporting them in administrative and organizational tasks that compete for their free time." Care must be taken how this is written, specially taken into account previous leadership and empowerment sections. Volunteers need to be supported in these tasks, but they also need to be empowered to evaluate and decide which tasks they actually need that support. --Toniher (talk) 22:30, 28 January 2020 (UTC)

Feedback from Hindi speaking community for Prioritize Topics for Impact RecommendationEdit

The recommendation had overall support of six users who endorsed prioritizing knowledge with local relevance to the community for diverse and equitable representation on Wikipedia. There was positive feedback on analyzing the knowledge gaps for improving community’s understanding on prioritizing content that is missing and is of high importance to the knowledge consumers. It was commented by a user that prioritizing knowledge should be important, but if there is no proper planning for execution, it would be a waste of movement resources. RSharma (WMF) (talk) 19:18, 16 February 2020 (UTC)

Feedback from Wikiwomen Office Hours February 4 and February 9Edit

Strong support from 5 women on this recommendation. It was mentioned that it is very difficult to find sources of information on indigenous people, women, people of color and instead of utilizing vague general knowledge sources, it would be helpful to have access to sources for women for different language groups. It was added that with better sources, there would be less problems keeping the content on-Wiki about a particular topic concerning marginalized group. RSharma (WMF) (talk) 19:43, 16 February 2020 (UTC)

Feedback from Office Hours from 2 February and 9th February with members from Emerging communities from South Asian and AfricaEdit

Anass Sedrati (Strategy Liaison - Arabic) and Rupika Sharma (Strategy Liaison - Hindi) hosted Office hours on two Sundays (February 2nd and 9th) to discuss with members of Emerging communities from South Asia and Africa. Overall, around 50 people in total participated in either of the calls, representing various areas and regions.

Regarding recommendation 10, there was an overall agreement about prioritizing topics for impact by 4-5 users. It was commented that editors find problems about references, and they need to be free to write about what they want. Local editors should be able to make decisions about what needs to be prioritized depending on their own context, not on what is imposed from external parts. RSharma (WMF) (talk) 20:01, 16 February 2020 (UTC)

Our ultimate reason?Edit

Our ultimate reason for curating and sharing knowledge is to empower people to improve their lives.
Admittedly I am not up to date on the research concerning the motivation of our userbase, but anecdotal evidence I have encountered in the past ten years or so suggests to me at least a solid helping of more selfish reasons. Empowering other people to improve their lives seems to be at best a nice side effect for many contributors, not their main goal. And judging by reporting on potential new users (A global timepass economy. In: The Economist Vol. 431 Nr. 9146 (June 8th 2019), pp. 21-24) perhaps we might achieve more towards said goal, if we treated it less like a goal and more like a side effect. --HHill (talk) 22:36, 16 February 2020 (UTC)

Highlights from the Spanish Speaking Conversations - Prioritize Topics for ImpactEdit

About 70-80 present in conversations at different degrees (not everyone said something, of course). It is the recommendation with the most diverse feedback.

Smaller languages (Euskera, few Catalan and Galician editors) seem more interested.

There are Basque and Catalan experiences that have already explored this option. It does not generate a big opposition because it is understood that topics would be suggested and never will interfere in existing editing communities. Recommendation should focus on affiliates (partners, contests)

When it comes to intermediate positions, some people can’t imagine how impact editing can be made when edits depend on volunteer interest and available bibliography.

The biggest oposition and need for clarification comes from users who find it dangerous to say “Impact for our readers” but doing “Impact for Wikipedia positioning in search engines”. They understand the need to fight Fake News, but Wikipedia is not Wikinews. They prefer stability rather than volatility of knowledge.

People don't want to focus themselves only in recentism. Besides, there are concerns about the point where it is said that resources would be invested in Impact Topics: there are global impact topics (US elections) completely irrelevant for the context of smaller wikis. Distributing resources with Impact in mind can harm their projects and diversity.

Dobuts about how the impact topics would be made (adapted to context or only for English? If combined with combating Fake News, the selection must be done daily).

Suggestions for improvement: Impact should be used as a way to call for more people to join.--FFort (WMF) (talk) 14:16, 21 February 2020 (UTC)

Highlights from the Catalan Speaking (Valencian) Conversations - Prioritize Topics for ImpactEdit

About five people present in different ways, giving feedback via both formal and informal channels. Different backgrounds.

Impact causes disagreement. In addition, there are editors who do not see how this recommendation relates to others. The recommendation is for readers, but we should look at how to "impact" editors... or new editors.


1- It tells editors what they have to do, which is a bad idea, because editors do what they want, it is for something that they are volunteers.

2-Thinking on combating fake news: The idea is good, in the sense that we are in a project to provide information. There are several potential issues, such as the fact that at a given point we are focusing on an actuality issue (Trump impeachment) and next we forget about it. Possible problems of recentism, problems on editing following the agenda of certain "powers" or interests. Total opposition when perceiving the risk of "hiring" or priming people to edit topics (ex. Ukraine) in languages where there are no people to edit about it (ex. how many Middle East specialists edit in Korean?). An alternative would be to find partnerships that are able to offer material (ex Asian speaking museums or university departments for Wuhan Flu).

3- Neither WMF nor affiliates have editorial control over the projects: How the hell are we going to make the recommendation feasible if the publishing community decides the opposite?

Quoting a generally accepted point of view: "WMF cannot impact on content more than any other user or group, ..., I do not want to have articles created because of the impact fashion that week ... we are not a newspaper or a social network ”...

4- Fear of paid editing, which by the way, is incompatible with current project regulations if it is not explicitly displayed, and fear that if WMF or affiliates promote paid editing in certain contexts, the coca-cola may come and, start doing the same transparently and legally. Or a communications agency. Who controls illegitimate edits? (in general)

Possible points in favor: 1- In the Catalan context, and in Amical's Strategic Plan, there is an explicit mention to increase the number of visits to projects in Catalan, which is a work on the impact line. We have projects (to be developed) to partner with other entities to promote system configuration in our language, etc ... It is a grassroots model of working on impact, but it is an example of how wikimedists can work along the same lines. (In addition, we have the experience of creating "populist" articles, such as those on Youtubers, which also come from the same philosophy of generating visits and focusing on what readers are demanding).--FFort (WMF) (talk) 13:56, 21 February 2020 (UTC)

Feedback from Wikimedians for Sustainable DevelopmentEdit

This is the collective feedback from Wikimedians for Sustainable Development:

  1. In general, we agree that this recommendation is important for the movement, and we support it.
  2. We could save the Movement time and effort by avoiding to create that "list of topics that have the greatest impact on the world" and instead just adopting the United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals as the fundamental topics humanity needs to address in exactly the same time span as we are aiming for with our strategy. On that basis, we could then consider what to emphasize, but whatever we choose for that, we should not overemphasize it: the world, and our readers, would clearly benefit from having well distributed knowledge about everything that is covered by the Sustainable Development Goals, from the highest overview and policy level down to detailed (and actionable) facts and instructions that can empower people to engage with these Goals, including through our Movement. But much of the engagement so far both by contributors and users was driven by attention to the systematic — or even systemic — interweaving of knowledge, rather irrespective of the perceived importance of individual topics.

On behalf of Wikimedians for Sustainable Development, Ainali (talk) 19:40, 21 February 2020 (UTC)

Feedback from the Wikimedians in Residence Exchange Network (WREN)Edit

General FeedbackEdit

Our group's general feedback for the entire set of recommendations can be found here.

Feedback on “Prioritize Topics for Impact”Edit

This could encompass working with at-risk partners, whether they are Palmyras or Museu Nacionals (Brazil museum fire), or Museum of Chinese in America (NYC fire recently).

This could mean more of a focus on general topics (which are likely to be higher impact) than on particular items in collections, and more cross-institutional collaboration. We want pathways for new contributors, including more mechanisms for people in education, science and culture. Sustainability of the movement as it applies to GLAM participation and resources for them.

Where will resources related to WREN needs be supported? For example, digitization, data imports. Will the support process be more centralized through the Foundation, seeking official partnerships and support from organizations, partnerships, or other organizations like Europeana?

“In order to “become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge” and to advance the world equitably, we must consider our great responsibility”

To prioritize efforts on topics aiming at having an impact on the world, we recommend an approach based on several actions. The evaluation of our impact must include assessment of how well we support knowledge equity so we can focus our efforts on the communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege,[6] and address global challenges (such as those described in the Sustainable Development Goals).[7] At the same time, we must acknowledge the human and financial sustainability of the Movement as a necessary prerequisite to long-term impact (even if priorities differ in the short term). Remembering that we are in it for the long haul, strategic choices that enable or protect future impact must be prioritized over immediate impact.

  • This statement implies that having an impact in the world and human and financial sustainability are at odds which we think is false. We do not think that investing in the most important topic areas will jeopardise the long term sustainability of Wikimedia. It is a false equivalency and assumes its a zero sum game.
  • As the Wikimedia Foundation only provides 7% of its operating budget to fund chapters and user groups, there is not already a commitment to supporting content production at scale. This recommendation fails to address that need.
  • This arguably devalues the work of immediate impact/WREN/building tools - these projects are useful and do extend beyond wealthy countries, but are not supported in a regular or systematic way.
  • This also assumes that there is a lack of funds, that the fundraiser couldn’t be continued or external funders wouldn’t be interested in funding supporting important areas of knowledge.
  • The risk involved in ‘protecting future impact must be prioritized over immediate impact’ is not made clear. What is the risk?

“To better understand how we empower people to improve their lives, we must invest more into research on how our content gets used (and misused).”

  • There is a mistake in this statement which makes it appear paternalistic and colonial. You cannot empower other people, people can empower themselves and you can give them the tools and resources needed.

Develop processes and relationships to work with specialized partners who can assist in prioritizing topics.

  • This statement is very passive, specifically it misses out:
    • It only talks about identifying topics, it should also include helping to prioritise topics and also to share and create content.
    • It does not address working with partners to then get topic knowledge into Wikipedia
  • In what way do WREN folks help to prioritize topics for impact? Where is the feedback capability? Professional networks like WREN could have a role in some of these conversations. They are representative of people working in different institutions - and we work with some of these specialized partners and people they’re hoping to make Wikipedia more useful for.

Feedback from Wikimedia UKEdit

It was noted that all such discussions in the past have been highly contentious, particularly as it’s not clear who gets to define "useful impact".

There is a risk of favouring mainstream/numbers at cost of non-high impact areas that are important in terms of equity. Where is the balance?

Would suggest changing this to ‘better use of data’ in the Innovate free knowledge recommendation, as there is the risk of these two recommendations running separately/in competition.

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
Return to "Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Recommendations/Iteration 3/Prioritize Topics for Impact" page.