Wikimedia online promotion campaign

Wikimedia should start promoting membership through online fora, focusing its efforts to broaden the breadth of interests and expertise in the community. NB: this page is only a suggested campaign; feel free to modify and improve it as you see fit.


Newsgroups are potentially a good source for attracting contributors who are interested in specific topics, since newsgroups themselves are organized into topical areas. However, promoting Wikimedia in newsgroups requires an understanding of newsgroup culture. Ideally, any such promotion should be undertaken by individuals who regularly participate in newsgroups, to avoid newbie mistakes or the perception that a group is being spammed.


Public Usenet groups cover a very wide array of topics, but must be approached carefully. There are a large number of low-activity or "dead" newsgroups on Usenet, and some groups attract large numbers of Internet trolls who might not be desirable participants in Wikimedia projects.

Some suggestions for how to best approach promotion of Wikimedia on Usenet:

  • Target specific groups. The breakdown of newsgroups into numerous (and often highly specific) topics allows for highly specific promotions. For example, if there is a concern that Wikipedia articles on medieval history need more attention, messages soliciting help could be posted to newsgroups on that specific topic. This would maximize the chances of reaching people who are interested and qualified, and minimizes the chances of offending readers with an off-topic message. Groups that discuss academic subjects would be likely targets, while groups primarily used for social "chat" or file sharing should be avoided.
  • Read before posting. Promotional messages should never be posted to a newsgroup without someone first checking the group to ensure that it 1) is in active use, 2) is about a topic that is appropriate for the specific promotion (sometimes newsgroup names are misleading or ambiguous), 3) is not primarily filled with spam or flame wars, and 4) does not have any specific rules against promotional messages or solicitations.
  • Participate. The ideal distributer of promotional messages to a newsgroup is someone who is willing to be an active participant in that newsgroup. At a minimum, the newsgroups used for a promotion should be checked for several days after the posting to see and respond to any follow-up messages. Posting messages and then ignoring any replies creates an impression of spamming in the minds of many newsgroup readers.

Private newsgroupsEdit

  • La Nozze

Forums and bulletin boardsEdit

Initial focus: forums on topics not yet well-covered

Mailing listsEdit

Initial focus: lists addressing groups of people not yet well-represented

  • Shostakovich list

Alumni listsEdit

Initial focus: lists from schools in countries and fields not yet well-covered