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The Longest Now

Wikipedia loves editors: 2011 campaigns?
Saturday February 05th 2011, 10:16 pm
Filed under: chain-gang,fly-by-wire,Glory, glory, glory,popular demand,wikipedia

Wikimedia had a terribly successful fundraising campaign ths year, with a team of stats-loving traffic and feedback analysts learning a lot about our reading audience and how to connect with them. There was diverse support for the idea of running some banners to promote donating time and expertise and edits as well as money, and some general-purpose “discover Wikimedia” banners were run the first week of January, but this was soon overtaken by preparations for the (wickedly fun) 10th anniversary celebrations.

We should do more of this. The idea of inviting people more explicitly to edit, and running campaigns dedicated to this, is more fundamental to the nature of Wikipedia than fundraising itself. We should be thinking about all year round, spending as much time and effort campaigning for meaningful content contributions as we have for funds.

What would that look like? Here is one idea: WikiProjects could be encouraged to write copy for their own banners, from a hook to a detailed call for what they need. These would be run for a % of new visitors proportional to the project’s capacity to absorb new contributors. A few generic projects would be geared up for a larger influx of editors, and established editors would be asked to help work with those newbies (and to set up comfort zones where they can find and help one another).

The generic projects would ramp up slowly; with one month’s newbies helping welcome those who came the next month. Some new policies regarding working with newbies would need to be proposed on the major wikis, possibly with a group like the original Fire Brigade dedicated to helping the ambassadors and welcomers with the extra load. And the specific WikiProjects could continue to draw in as many new editors as they want, and could try out different messages to attract just the right sort of reader (including efforts at targetting specific kinds of readers).

What do you think? How would you reach out to readers if you could change the way the site looks? (What ever happened to the idea of highlighting the “edit this page” tab?) Over 1% of people who saw the best fundraising messages clicked through them — imagine what we could do if we showed all of those people that they could really edit.

ICT4Dev and three-legged stools
Thursday August 20th 2009, 1:58 pm
Filed under: popular demand,Uncategorized,wikipedia

The ICT4Dev aggregators on technology and learning have been covering some excellent topics over the past few months, and doing a good job of bringing some new commenters into these discussion online.

Here is a series, part of the Educational Technology Debate, on ebooks and affordable access to [preexisting] content, featuring Dick Rowe (Olé!)and Angus Scrimgeour. People still avoid talking about building new materials from scratch – the sort of work that a skillful teacher engages in every week – which is when another leap forward will begin. But they are keen on finding ways to let interactivity and creativity improve and annotate books and class materials.

Do we need a three-legged stool? Will it balance?*  What else is missing?

* I can see a whole new series of YouTube videos based on this hook… including everything from architecture to ontologies.

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