Submissions/Community matters: Furthering the community

From Wikimania


This is an Open submission for Wikimania 2017 that has not yet been reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Submission no. 2080 - C5
Title of the submission
Community matters: Furthering the community
Type of submission (lecture, panel, tutorial/workshop, roundtable discussion, lightning talk, poster, birds of a feather discussion)
Author of the submission
Louis Suarez-Potts
Language of presentation
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (up to 300 words to describe your proposal)

Wikipedia's usefulness suffers when the subject is recondite or common but poorly presented; it fails, too, when subjects of topical importance lack obvious entries. The fault of these failures is organic to the powerfully anarchic nature of Wikipedia--the source of its undeniable strength but also of its weakness. The problems relate to the absence of supervision that one finds at classic encyclopaedias or academic presses. The worst instances, of obvious falsehoods lingering on and accepted as truths, present less of a problem than routine entries that are not (obviously) false or misleading but which ultimately weaken the strength of Wikipedia as a communal project and as a source of actually useful and usable knowledge by one and all.

The proposals I suggest in this lecture, which I intend to be more of a workshop and open discussion, depending on room and audience, offer a start, a dialogue, not an engineered solution. The point is to engage the users of Wikipedia to improve the thing they use and to bring them into the active community. This idea, of course, is hardly new and there are numerous good tactics and strategies already in play. But, equally, their effect seems to have been limited.

That is, for all its global popularity, for all the current efforts to engage more contributors, Wikipedia remains more a consumer service than a community activity, and to its detriment. I don't delude myself that this session will come up with a program that's cheap or free and easily implemented and result in more contributors and reviewers and thus a better, more usable Wikipedia. But as my experience in, for instance, managing the large open-source project (now LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice; I was on the Apache OO PMC until last year, when I left), engaged communities such as I am envisioning, can be encouraged, established, and these can make Wikipedia more useful than it is now.

This session will go over some proposals that have worked both for other open source projects as well as for Wikipedia. It will also go further and propose some more or less radical programs to engage Wikipedia's members as contributors.

What will attendees take away from this session?
Best case would be if participants suggest and then follow up on good ideas; probable would be that attendees understand that the project of supplying usable information demands engaged responsibility and that current efforts to engage the users of Wikipedia have not worked as hoped. The ideas I'll present are meant to provoke, stimulate and be acted upon, and I will be coming to the session with ways to implement them as well as a history of successfully implementing like programs in large projects.
Theme of presentation
WikiCulture & Community
For workshops and discussions, what level is the intended audience?
Beginning and more
Length of session (if other than 25 minutes, specify how long)
25 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
I hope to.
Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests
Is this Submission a Draft or Final?

This is a Completed submission for Wikimania 2017 ready to be reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

I'll be writing until I can't as I'm receiving interesting responses.

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with a hash and four tildes. (# ~~~~).