Wikimedia Foundation elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ&A/Question1/ca

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Com creieu que es pot augmentar el nombre de voluntaris als projectes de Wikimedia?

Pregunta rebuda d'un membre de la comunitat al xat de Telegram de Selecció de la Junta
Gerard Meijssen (GerardM)
Farem créixer els nostres voluntaris quan hi hagi un benefici per ser voluntaris. Guanyarem més interès per Commons quan sigui fàcil utilitzar Commons com a recurs, sobretot en idiomes diferents de l'anglès. Quan hi ha llistes i infotaules disponibles per als enllaços vermells, és fàcil afegir com a mínim el mínim de textos a la Viquipèdia. Farem créixer els nostres voluntaris quan no els carreguem i trobem valor en les seves contribucions.
Dariusz Jemielniak (Pundit)
Crec que hem d'abordar diverses coses per assolir aquest objectiu.

En primer lloc, com vaig escriure a la meva declaració de candidatura, cal tractar millor l'assetjament. És complicat, ja que les cultures difereixen, i la WMF no pot imposar un llibre de regles a tothom, excepte algun codi de conducta fonamental. Tot i això, crec que la WMF, de la mà de la junta del moviment, pot treballar tant per establir regles socials com per solucions tècniques per millorar la situació. En última instància, l'edició de projectes de Wikimedia no hauria de ser *només* per a persones dures de pelar.

En segon lloc, com ja s'ha dit a la meva candidatura, hem de créixer en idiomes i regions en què encara no tenim una bona representació. Crec que la creació de hubs regionals d'afiliats pot ser un bon camí a seguir i distribuir recursos no per part de la WMF a nivell mundial, sinó a un nivell inferior, també per fomentar col·laboracions entre afiliats. Els afiliats, per cert, tenen un paper molt important a l'hora d'augmentar el nombre de voluntaris: fer la feina localment és realment clau.

En tercer lloc, crec que millorar la nostra interfície d'usuari i animar els novells a editar (i també proporcionar-los bones oportunitats d'incorporació) pot fer meravelles. La iniciativa Teahouse va ser un dels enfocaments que va funcionar molt bé i crec que podem fer més (tant en termes de tecnologies/eines com del sistema social) per augmentar la retenció.

Finalment, crec que el desenvolupament d'associacions amb l'acadèmia és molt important i pot donar-nos un gran impuls aquí. Vaig escriure un parell d'articles sobre per què la Viquipèdia encara és descuidada pels acadèmics, o per què l'edició de Wikipedia hauria de comptar per a la titularitat, i crec que enfortir les col·laboracions amb institucions acadèmiques pot ajudar molt. Pundit (talk) 11:15, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
Lionel Scheepmans (Lionel Scheepmans)
I have many ideas on this question of how to increase the number of writers. And I spent a lot of time wondering why suddenly the number of active publishers fell within a large majority of Wikimedia projects at the start of 2007. Obviously, the answer to this question is multifactorial and that we can certainly take into account the launch of vandal-resistant bots, new publishing rules, harshness in welcoming newcomers, the expansion of social networks, etc. But all this happened gradually, while the drop in participation was brutal and even spectacular at the level of the Wikipedia project in English.

This is the reason why I have always thought that it was a recent event that created this drop in participation. Today and following the historical research carried out as part of my doctoral thesis, I discovered that the decline in participation appeared very shortly after the displays of the first banners calling for donations within the projects. These also contained a link to the Virgin Unit company site which was quickly withdrawn following the dissatisfaction of some contributors who considered it a form of advertising or "spam".

And the call for donations message happened to say exactly this in French: "Take part in the free dissemination of knowledge by making a donation to Wikipedia!" "And this in English:" You can give the gift of knowledge by donating to the Wikimedia Foundation!". Such a message could therefore only encourage people to donate money rather than edit the projects. In addition, a statistical study carried out in Canada in 2007 on the basis of a survey based on the theme "donations in time, donations in money" shows that people who give money have a "relatively high probability" of not be a volunteer.

If the calls for donations within the projects were a good thing for the development of the Wikimedia foundation as we will have seen later, they will have perverted the principle of initial sharing where everyone made their contribution to increase dissemination. free and without publicity of human knowledge. Instead, appeals for donations installed a barter system in which it became possible to donate money so as not to participate in sharing but only to consume.

I therefore conclude that in order to increase the number of publishers within Wikimedia projects it is therefore necessary to publicly recognize this mistake of the past in order to remedy it today. Wikimedia projects must once again become two accesses on sharing only and abandoning the rapid abandonment of the WikiMonnaie indicate that no form of monetary exchange is really compatible with this state of mind. Of course, the foundation must continue to operate and find the necessary funds to do so, but no longer claim money within the places of sharing that are the editorial projects. My budget analyzes seem to show that this is possible thanks to the money received outside the projects and which is collected by email, bank direct debits, via chapters, from major donors and other ways already existing but also to be developed. Here is a specific point that I would like to develop during my mandate as director in addition to the many points mentioned by the other candidates.
Reda Kerbouche (Reda Kerbouche)
From my experience there are several types of methods to increase the number of volunteers:
  1. It is necessary to put forward projects which are the most visible such as the projects in video format. like for example, the video clip (watch it here) which speaks about Wikipedia, achieved by my team in Algeria. These projects will bring the movement and about it to life. lots of new contributors can be attracted by this project to the Wikimedia movement (statistic about the video in one week from 10 to 17 July we have 35,542 views and 5.5k likes). We have another good example the awesome contributors from Nigeria made lots of funny and attractive videos on Wikipedia, and also Wikimedia in Mexico with their music video too.
  2. Create jobs at the Wikimedia Foundation which will specialize in partnerships, with the involvement of contributors who already exist in the partnership regions. And target NGOs and universities, to implement new material to study. NGOs have lots of activists in many very interesting areas, and universities can provide have lots of good contributors as well.
  3. To listen to the different communities in the world without making the difference between languages, sex, religions, political orientations.

The foundation must be more flexible at all levels without being influenced by country policies. Or at least find out how to fix these problems. lots of Wikimedians around the world want to be heard without knowing how to do it because of where they live.

  1. Analyze Wikimedia platforms (sites) and do them more friendly to potential new contributors and make our site more attractive for readers and those who use our content such as photos for example.
Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight (Rosiestep)
There has been a lot of work done by the community/Board/WMF to develop 45 Movement Strategy Initiatives. Those associated with increasing the number of volunteers include: --Rosiestep (talk) 00:04, 9 July 2021 (UTC)
  1. Improve editor retention: improve the user experience, improve access, more convenient access to the types of resources that editors want, safety/civility/human kindness, develop hubs, develop mentoring skills, identify/share potential topics. (Initiatives 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 25, 33, 37)
  2. We need to better understand global awareness and accessibility. For example, we know that there’s a Wikipedia reader gap and that the reasons associated with it vary by region. More research is necessary. See: Characterizing Wikipedia Reader Behavior, particularly the sections on "Country level statistics and Wikipedia use cases" and "Demographics and Wikipedia use cases". (Initiatives 2 and 3)
  3. Develop new and nurture current partnerships (e.g. GLAM, academia, open source orgs) as partners = new editors. (Initiative 29)
  4. Make it more evident that anyone can edit. Example: I got a haircut recently and the stylist asked me what do I do. I said that I edit Wikipedia, and added, “You know: the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” She replied that she reads Wikipedia but didn’t know that anyone/everyone can edit it. (Initiative 11)
  5. Develop new strategies for engaging with our “wiki enthusiasts” who are connected with our various communities via social platforms. (Initiatives 6 and 11)
Mike Peel (Mike Peel)
I don't think that the WMF can do this - at least, not directly. There are two places to get more editors: online or offline.

Online, it has to be up to the communities to *want* more editors. I think it would be fairly easy to get more new editors into the projects, e.g., run a banner campaign on-wiki saying 'please help us by editing this article', or by advertising to one-step-removed organisations (for example, local history groups). However, they would need people to help them online when they start editing - not just being reverted or blocked. The WMF could help by making the projects friendlier, both technically and socially, and helping with advertising (in the appropriate language/context/venues) but the driving force—wanting to have more editors and to help them get started—has to come from the community.

Offline, I think the affiliates have to be the driving force, since training should be local and in the new editor's language. This way they can get both a solid introduction, and help with making those crucial first edits. The WMF could help by making sure that funding and support materials are available, and maybe finding training opportunities if needed (although this ideally would come from affiliate networks).
Adam Wight (Adamw)
To start with, we need to treat our existing volunteers well, prevent abuse, and create paths for growth such as mentorship. The WMF can build software affordances (make it easier to "thank" and casually interact with other users, make edit conflicts less disruptive, etc.), and the editors can push on cultural issues (deletionism, notability, combativeness, etc.). Some approaches might involve both organizations and individual volunteers, such as support for building mentorship capacity.

The Teahouse is a great example of how to support newcomers, in fact one of the only successful experiments, but the estimated impact is just 1% after six months, in absolute terms. This is a good start, but we need many more interventions. Social issues were cited as the main negative factors in a 2011 survey, some of these can be directly addressed. For example, when an article is deleted it could be moved to an unindexed user page so the content is still easily available to the author.

However, I see diversification as one of the most effective and underappreciated tools we can reach for. The active editor count is an S-shaped or logistic curve, with our fastest growth period ending in 2007. This curve is typical for a population that hits some limit such as using up the pool of people interested in a narrowly-defined encyclopedia project. I would like the Wikimedia Foundation to support an experimental open wiki farm, something like but without the advertising. This connects us with a potential group of people interested in a wide range of topics, who will have wiki skills and may bring fresh innovation to our existing projects.
Vinicius Siqueira (Vini 175)
We need to focus on overcoming barriers of access to increase the number and diversity of volunteers in the Wikimedia projects. I think that these barriers are specifically relevant in some regions of the world and for underrepresented groups. Currently, contributing to the Wikimedia Projects still demand good devices –unaffordable for many people in impoverished communities and developing countries. The user experience through mobile phones, specifically for editing, can be simplified and the process of editing itself should require less tech skills. WMF also must increase awareness and motivation for contributing among new publics. --Vinicius Siqueira (talk) 00:53, 10 July 2021 (UTC)
Yao Eliane Dominique (Yasield)
It is obvious that this questioning raises thoughts at all levels of evolution of our community. For me, there is a major concern that needs to be addressed to overcome the permanent reduction of contributors in our communities and on wiki projects in general. This is mainly the frustrations that these newbies encounter on our wiki platforms with the controllers. It is good to keep Wiki content solemn, but it is also good to coach beginners when they make mistakes. When the blame is wrong, some new contributors see it as the law of the strongest over the weakest. And this "drives them out" in a way. There is also the lack of encouragement of some very active volunteers who, over time, get discouraged and give up.

Here are my suggestions to improve this situation:

  1. Creation of call for contribution campaigns in all communities. Apart from the different contests that are organized every year and that generally only concern the experienced contributors, we could initiate campaigns that allow non-contributors to contribute on subjects that they are passionate about with rewards that could encourage them.
  2. Initiate an international mentoring system based on languages. The more experienced ones would encourage and help the new ones to do better.
  3. When funding community projects, require in the objectives a defined number of new contributors to be recruited and monitored.
  4. Encourage local communities to initiate thematic meetings with the goal of recruiting more contributors.
  5. Strengthen the awards of international competitions that in one way or another help recruit new contributors.
  6. IlEncourage and retain former community volunteers. For example, there was an initiative to reallocate computer equipment or work materials to the Foundation's employees. I don't know if this initiative will continue, but it should be considered. It could encourage volunteers to contribute more to benefit from it. Yasield (talk) 13:23, 20 July 2021 (UTC)
Douglas Ian Scott (Discott)
For the past seven years I have been involved in efforts to increase the number of volunteers on Wikimedia projects in southern Africa. That experience has lead me to conclude that there are three mutually supporting approaches to increasing the number volunteers. Doing all three at once is much better than doing them one at a time. They are detailed below in no particular order of importance.

The first approach is to increase awareness of Wikimedia projects such as the different language versions of Wikipedia. Many people, especially in emerging countries like South Africa, are not aware that Wikipedia is available in their local languages. They are also often not aware of how Wikipedia (and related projects) are run by volunteers; instead assuming that it is written by a small army of paid employees. Increasing awareness of our different projects and how our community works is very important to encouraging new people to give editing Wikipedia and other Wiki projects a try.

The second are outreach projects with like minded groups and organisations that have access to networks of people who are more likely to give volunteering to Wiki projects a go. A great example of this is the 1Lib1Ref campaign aimed at encouraging librarians to give editing Wikipedia a try and welcome them into the community. Many of the most dedicated and active members of Wikimedia South Africa and Wikipedia are librarians who came through the 1Lib1Ref project. This is a project that takes many years to build networks and develop champions that will join our community. However it is the type of activity that has had promising results over the years.

The third is to create a more welcoming community on our different Wikipedia projects. Each Wiki community is very different from one another with regards to how welcoming or how many editing rules there are. The English language Wikipedia community has become increasingly difficult to join as the number of complexity of its rules has increased whilst isiXhosa language Wikipedia is just happy to have new people join it no matter how much they know of Wikipedia editing rules. A more forgiving and supportive environment for new editors is an important first step. This includes the development of technology to make editing and learning about Wikipedia easier such as the default adoption of the Visual Editor. This also includes editor retention. Many editors are put off by toxic or unwelcoming behaviour of other editors. Encouraging the evolution of a more inclusive, supportive and welcoming community for all is vitally important to the long term success of our movement.--Discott (talk) 11:02, 20 July 2021 (UTC)
Pascale Camus-Walter (Waltercolor)

There are a lot of ways to increase the number of volunteers in Wikimedia projects. My prefered ones : self-appraisal tools, collegial trainings, a new great project.

  • campaigns on WP with 3 questions to the reader : “For this article : What did you learn ? What would change ? What would you add ?” If response, propose the person to participate as a contributor.
  • give people self-appraisal tools to evaluate their degree of knowledge of the rules and provide autonomy and ability to respect by themselves the rules when editing. Provide self-evaluation tools highlighting in a new edit potential risks of suppressing, reverting, banner, refnec, etc…
  • Besides individual tutoring, afford regular collective videoconference training sessions to animate the community, propose ice-breakings, allow trainees to meet their fellows and shape the future diverse community.
  • provide clear and understandable knowledge of how the spaces are maintained by editors, patrollers, admins, etc…
  • present in an attractive way the numerous rules applied on our spaces (eg : index of WP :XX with easy access on the sidebar or header, specific search page for rules…).
  • create a new great project to involve new types of contributors (see my proposition question 10).
--Waltercolor (talk) 10:10, 9 July 2021 (UTC)
Iván Martínez (ProtoplasmaKid)
It's an answer long overdue, and one of the main issues the movement has faced historically. Personally, I have experienced great difficulty when trying to persuade more people about Wikimedia's mission in environments outside the usual spheres of influence. In sites with low or no connectivity, where there is lack of access to devices and connectivity, the challenge of retaining people sounds almost impossible'. I would therefore see the following points as a priority:
  1. 'An improvement in mobile editing technology'. The editing experience can be more simplified, it can be oriented to the growth of projects that are not Wikipedia.
  2. 'Healthy environment'. When I came to the movement its initial spirit of we are doing this, come and help us still persisted. I don't know if today it is the generalized experience for all people. I don't know if we are an internet community that has a welcoming and inclusive spirit. Additionally, mechanisms for enforcement of policies that are conducive to a pleasant experience are completely necessary.

Promote the generation of evidence. There is a need for evidence about both the reading experience and the experience of people trying to enter the community. Who are they, what are they doing, what do they do, do they stay or leave, for what reasons...? Respecting all the necessary privacy considerations, we need a permanent evaluation project with disaggregated and open data on the growth or not of the communities.. It is possible to generate user experiences or new volunteering experiences different from the edition and contextualized to different needs. It is possible to motivate from all current resources for people to collaborate on Wikimedia projects in ways other than editing and creating new articles for the different editions of Wikipedia. This includes encouraging a balance between quantitative and qualitative in our measures of success within affiliates, which are heavily focused on edits and articles, an issue that can be exhaustive, particularly for new people. Generating a dialogue in our community on this topic seems fundamental to me.

To make much more evident our thanks to the volunteers'.
Victoria Doronina (Victoria)
We should stop relying almost entirely on “organic growth” of the movement and start promoting Wikipedia more actively. It’s essential to reach the established communities and recruit people from the underrepresented groups.

The largest underrepresented group in the Wikimedia movement across the world is women. Partly because we have less spare time and money to spend on hobbies, but mainly because Wikimedia culture is a male online culture. These cultures are usually hostile to newbies, especially to women.

Wikimedians are wary of other movements such as the LGBT+ rights movement, feminism, etc., because their representatives struggle with NPOW. But we can find common ground by helping them create Wikimedia - compatible content, but we need outreach support. The Wikimedia ambassadors should work not only with institutions but with activists as well. --Victoria (talk) 05:47, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
Lorenzo Losa (Laurentius)

Finding a way to grow the number of volunteers is a key problem, one that we have been facing for ten years now. There is no easy solution, and none of us can provide a formula to fix the decline in the number of editors on our largest projects. There are, however, a few general principles that can be followed.

  • Highlight the common vision and the purpose of what we do. Our work is important because it serves a high purpose (building «a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge»), and this is the main source of motivation for many of us.
  • Recognize and value the work of the volunteers. The contribution of each volunteer is valuable, and it is important that each volunteer understands that.
  • Be welcoming. Joining something new is never easy, and the beginning is the time when one is most likely to drop off. Provide clear ways to join, and please do not bite the newcomers.
  • Foster a spirit of community. We are all humans, and it is important to know that we are not working alone. We are a community that works together towards a common goal.
Raavi Mohanty (Raavimohantydelhi)
Wikimedia volunteers are those people who invariably use  Wikimedia projects on a regular basis. The number of volunteers is directly proportional to the users. Therefore, our objective needs to the expansion of Wikimedia users in their respective projects. We need a two-pronged approach, the first being online. The second needs to be the offline approach.

Online campaigns would be both organic and inorganic. However, we should also run offline outreach programs and campaigns in premier educational institutions, where we can develop referral groups within a targeted section of people, i.e. professors, lecturers, students, researchers, travel writers, environmentalists, professionals, etc. These users can be motivated and trained to contribute their articles to WMF projects.

Since WMF projects follow strict guidelines and protocols, we need to provide special attention to users and guide them to contribute their efforts within the foundation protocols. 

Once Wikimedia projects become reachable amongst the student community, we would have cultivated a dedicated section that would be activated using Wikimedia throughout their lives.

Raavi Mohanty (talk)
Ashwin Baindur (AshLin)

An increase in the number of volunteers is imperative for a citizen-participation based movement such as Wikimedia to keep it going as before, and to provide the participation towards newer initiatives.

Volunteer recruitment happens in many ways — some are encouraged by friends to join, some join because of their own interest and curiosity, yet others are brought into the fold because of outreach events and organised edit-a-thons etc.

So, volunteer recruitment is basically not a process that can be pushed but that can be encouraged, as indicated by feedback and studies.

Recruitment of volunteers is primarily a community function. It is for the community to engage and encourage prospective Wikimedians, and to organise efforts in different locations and in different ways to get more volunteers.

Based on community feedback, we may initiate ways and means that encourage people to edit, make the process of getting the basic skills for editing easier, encourage more new editors to stay, prosper and become long term editors who contribute to the movement in a wide variety of ways.

However, there are communities where there just aren’t enough editors to do more than barely survive. These communities need many new volunteers if they are to achieve their potential. However, they are unable to do it by themselves and would need help from others.

I suggest that each language community and their Wikimedia projects be assessed to determine whether it is constrained in growth and development by sheer lack of volunteers. Based on our findings, such communities should be supported by WMF staff, and regional hubs, as and when they form, in their efforts to recruit volunteers.

Measures to recruit volunteers could include:

  1. Appeals to the people of the country to edit Wikimedia projects and thereby support open knowledge, and to preserve their country’s heritage, language and culture.
  2. Outreach activities both to schools, colleges and other institutions, as well as to not-usually engaged communities, such as old citizens’ groups, professional bodies,
  3. Use of social media to inform people, get them interested, and to facilitate their recruitment.
  4. Lobby for support from government organisations so that they cooperate in outreach and activities that will help recruitment.
  5. Have public competitions of contributions so that more people are attracted to the movement in hope of recognition and reward.
Pavan Santhosh Surampudi (Pavan santhosh.s)
I spent a considerable amount of my volunteer experience organising various community growth activities. I also spent a good amount of time writing work plans and executing them with WMF-funded money to achieve community growth. After some successes and failures in these activities, I believe the following are key aspects to achieve this goal:
  • As my candidature statement says 'improving user experience and investing in technical advancement can solve several issues we are facing in participation and retention. Lack of adoption to rapidly growing technological aspects is one of the major problems for us in this way forward. For example, contributing to Wikimedia projects using mobiles is difficult in a world where mobile-first is the mantra for many tech-giants and mobile is the only way to use the internet for millions of users. Improvement in User experience and technological advancement would be the cornerstone for remaining efforts to bring more users and retain them.
  • As I wrote in my candidature statement, harassment is another major issue that is stopping communities to grow and thrive. I witnessed some communities becoming dormant because of harassment and bullying, and also could see how difficult it is to intervene for other movement entities to support those communities. I believe efforts to reduce harassment and make communities safe should go hand in hand with leadership and skill development especially in the regional and community level.
--Pavan Santhosh Surampudi (talk) 17:15, 13 July 2021 (UTC)
Ravishankar Ayyakkannu (Ravidreams)

As a community member since 2005, a former staff member of the Wikimedia India chapter and also the Wikimedia Foundation, I strongly believe the number of volunteers in Wikimedia projects can be increased as below:

  • Improving the user interface design of Wikipedia projects interface.

The interface is not easy to edit on mobile phones and the majority of the new generation users use only mobile phones. We need to heavily invest in improving our technology and user interface. We cannot expect the users to go through a steep learning curve to contribute to us just because we are a non-profit project. We need to separate the workflows for content collaboration and distribution. This is even more relevant for projects like Wiktionary, Wikisource, and Wikibooks which can have wider adoption if they have modern apps.

  • Empowering the volunteers.

Wikipedia’s vision says: "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing."

Free knowledge doesn’t need to be produced only through free labour. The current volunteer-driven model only works in most developed countries as we can clearly see 20 years after we started Wikipedia. We need to explore different models to encourage and empower the volunteers. Even simple steps like providing free laptops, reimbursing the internet bills can go a long way in empowering the editors as we can see from the results of Project Tiger, a project which I initiated as a staff of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Farah Jack Mustaklem (Fjmustak)
Individuals, online groups, WMF affiliates, and external parties have been - for years - trying to increase the volunteer user base, with varying degrees of success. This has been done through outreach, the Wikipedia Education Program, workshops, and online courses. While I understand there is no magic solution that works for everyone, I believe the WMF should invest more in producing tools and providing training and training material to help the individual efforts be more successful. The vast and varying experiences of different parties at promoting involvement in the movement should be used as a starting point. --Fjmustak (talk) 20:21, 14 July 2021 (UTC)