Spotlight Wikimedia : Engaging Contributors

Wikimedia Foundation

Creating an Article Feedback Tool To Encourage Contributors

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is the non-profit foundation dedicated to bringing free content to the world, and the organization behind Wikipedia. They came to OmniTI to help them develop a new, Article Feedback Tool that is, in their words, ". . .an 'on-ramp' to engage readers to contribute to Wikipedia--and become editors over time." Wikimedia foundation turned to OmniTI for implementation of this project because of our reputation in the Open Source community (Mediawiki, the software behind Wikipedia, is completely open-source).

Our Solution

OmniTI’s team worked with Wikimedia’s product managers, data analysts, community managers, designers and Wikipedia’s distributed developers’ community to design and implement the multiple software components for the Article Feedback tool. There were several different versions of the feedback collection UI (on which A/B testing was performed to determine the most engaging variant), feedback view system with different functionality levels for the different Wikipedia user types (readers, editors, senior editors, moderators, administrators), and, of course, an extensive database system on the back-end, allowing Wikimedia’s team to perform analysis on discrete and aggregated data using a variety of tools.

The solution was developed as a complete Mediawiki plug-in (module), deployed in stages in accordance to the research timeline and then into the Wikipedia complex production environment. At first, Article feedback was enabled for a certain percentage of the articles on the English Wikipedia, which allowed A/B testing of the user interface. Once the UI variant was selected, the module was enabled for more and more articles with each deployment cycle. As the project lifecycle neared its end, the development and maintenance of the software was smoothly transitioned to Wikipedia’s developers.

The Benefits

Providing users with options to give feedback in various ways engages them to participate and interact with Wikipedia editors. In addition, providing article-based feedback pages adds another level of interactive community engagement, encouraging users to be become active contributors and editors, involved in Wikipedia moderation and content creation. Currently, Article Feedback continues to be deployed to other, localized Wikipedias to cover more and more content, engaging readers and editors in creating, and perfecting, Wikipedia’s content.

Kudos to our development partners at OmniTI, without whom this project wouldnʼt have been possible.

~ Fabrice Florin, Product Manager, Wikimedia Foundation.