Survey results

Wikimania 2008 Alexandria :: Change the shape of wisdom
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A personal survey was handed out to many of the attendees at Wikimania 2008. The results are as follows:

About the participants
More than 3 years and/or an hour a day or more 21
Less than one year and/or less than an hour per week 6
Moderately active/experienced 4
Just an onlooker 19
Live in Egypt 26
Do not live in Egypt 22
Relationship to Wikimedia
Contributor 21
Supporter of Wikimedia 20
Supporter of free culture/open source 28
Research or academic 17
Contributor (money) 3
Colleague (partner or business) 3
Supporter of the right to knowledge 25
Observer/onlooker 17
Most important goal
Encourage participation 23
Increase quality 18
Disseminate off-wiki 7
Hardest goal
Encourage participation 10
Increase quality 27
Disseminate off-wiki 10
Least interesting or important goal
Encourage participation 6
Increase quality 11
Disseminate off-wiki 27
Personally feel most capable to accomplish
Encourage participation 22
Increase quality 18
Disseminate off-wiki 7


Q1--Biggest impediment to achieving the goal of encouraging participation?
  • If Wikimedia has several committees in different countries, this can encourage participation.
  • Lack of involvement in language communities.
  • Saturation, some people just won't be interested.
  • “Digital Divide” problem which is particularly seen in the developing countries, also the culture of the community (even as a joke it's said “encyclopedia which used to say anyone can edit) in consequence of its maturity = bureaucracy
  • When reaching people that do not participate yet, these people have to go across the wrong image of Wikipedia in some circles/mediums.
  • Making people on wiki to behave nicely all the time is futile. People aren't robots, so we can never be in an ideal position here.
  • Convincing more people of its viability. Reduce the courage threshold of entering a new community and becoming active while being a newbie.
  • The wikimedia is encourage student to use the Internet in a good way because it have a lot of information in all field of life we live!
  • Users who discourage new editors by a static and rather unfriendly approach, telling users in an indirect (and surely not intended) way to piss off.
  • Show how its value regarding disseminate the knowledge is important to leverage the personal and professional skill of persons.
  • Cultural barriers; limited cultural tolerance
  • If you find out, please let us know at Et.wikipedia
  • Encouraging participation's biggest impediment is unsourced information or facts. Also, cultural conflict between different cultures; what Wikimedia should do is to find a common ground between these different cultures and being able to apply different opinions of the Considerate topics.
  • Connect with people
  • Difficult to make it easier to engage with projects for unrepresented cohorts.
  • Language and technology barriers in developing countries
  • 1) UI is a big impediment for diversifying contributor base, could be more intuitive; 2) Community can be a big impediment by causing burnout.
  • I think that would be trying to earn the users' confidence in the wiki, which is a serious problem that most people specially in the conference are talking about.
  • Help info come so fast
  • The limited time that researchers have for writing articles
  • Reaching out [to] all the web users -> announce about themselves -> showing the advantage of such work -> Encouraging participation
  • Participating should be default for anyone who does serious education or research.
  • I think that the bigger your community be, the harder the control will be. How will you be able to control either whatever is written is right or wrong. Other thing, the “edit” thing, anyone can edit in anyone's writing, how do you control this?
  • A lot of people want to contribute to wiki but they're afraid of the environment they live in (strict Internet rules or lack of freedom of speech, etc).
  • WYSIWYG editing. Improving UI by AJAX.
  • Complexity of editing – not just technical, but social. Community reactions, deletions, etc. may frustrate users.
  • I think that participation will get increased by the disseminate the wiki.
  • Making the whole experience more user-friendly and understandable to newcomers.
  • By finding new ways of encouraging individuals such as awards
  • It should allow the web 2.0 technology sending newsletter to users, allowing donations, letting us know how to participate in wikimedia because I'm one of those who would like to participate but I don't know how, my mail is
  • I don't think that encouraging participation is a goal. It is a tool to achieve other goals which require massive participation. Please focus on those goals and determine which level of participation is actually required.
Q2--How should Wikimedia approach the goal of encouraging participation? What should it avoid?
  • Through conferences like Wikimania. Avoid complications and untrusted contents.
  • Wikimedia should always be free and open source.
  • Concentrating on English. (avoid)
  • Make it easier, simpler to get involved quickly.
  • To do: funding improvement of accessibility: third-party assessments e.g. on accessibility of the aged, the handicapped // relation to the external orgs and institutes // To avoid: direct to the community, suggestions are welcome, but not to handle the content itself.
  • WMF should make more Wikipedia Academies, make some sorts of ads across the schools/colleges in the US and Europe, hire some people that would evaluate accessibility of the software as well as help in making it better.
  • Talks in schools; approaching teachers in higher education to have them direct part of their students' effort towards wikipedia.
  • Professionally created commercials. Launch them on Commons (and maybe YouTube)
  • I think it must avoid some point to be more attractive to the participant like being more interesting, having a lot of photos.
  • It should avoid words like “expert” because it could seem to current editors that they are not appreciated
  • Lobbying with universities, schools to introduce the idea and its impact to youth
  • By establishing mechanisms for reaching out to society/communities. It should avoid stereotyping or using a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Yes, that's the question we are wondering in Estonian Wikipedia: how to encourage editors to join and continue? We have many new articles unpatrolled; editors haven't enough time.
  • Addressing professors, scientists, teachers and academic students to participate in Wikimedia, cause they mainly will apply their articles, and scientific topics and even edit others or add others and in sequence they would invite their colleagues and students to the access in Wikimedia, and others will tell others and so on till reach the civic society.
  • By offering new services. It should avoid any services by money now.
  • Focus on digital inclusion and ease of use (WYSIWYG) etc.
  • Recognize contributors
  • Ease the process of participation, attract participants by making it easy for them to create content in their own language by using existing content in other languages
  • keep experienced participants, editors, consider recruiting new editors more important than keeping existing ones. Improve passing on existing experience in the community
  • Increase quality/try to attract users to the site, for example, adding free software downloads if there isn't which attract many users (open source) maybe adding free scholarships
  • Gaming approach/self-wall approach. Gaming approach: For example -> creating a Facebook application that gives score for each edit (depending on other “players” rating of its importance), it should give penalties for wrong editing. Self-wall: creating also Facebook application named “my edited pages” storing pages a user has edited.
  • Be more present in scientific communities.
  • Keep doing events where people can meet and learn from each other. Avoid impatient.
  • It should avoid the “edit” so I could rely on it without any concerns and trustable.
  • Affiliations with governments, local trusted organizations in similar countries.
  • Make it easier, more rewarding. Give an active pointer for deleted articles (maybe on a Wikia-wiki)
  • ->Do some UX work (usability) ->(avoid) over-bureaucrasation
  • See above (I don't think that encouraging participation is a goal. It is a tool to achieve other goals which require massive participation. Please focus on those goals and determine which level of participation is actually required.)
Q3--Biggest impediment to goal of increasing quality?
  • Lack of content to improve on from most languages.
  • Identifying universal but useful criteria and metrics.
  • It may turn off people from participating.
  • Lack of systematic academic review, like journos but IMO it's inevitable. the other impediment may be external; lack of educated people in a certain language could be impediments.
  • Teaching knowledgeable people such as academics is a good thing, but such figures tend to be vain and their participation wouldn't last long, IMO.
  • Improve quality without impeding participation or affecting openness
  • it will be very good to achieving the goal of increasing quality because that will attractive more people to participate in it
  • the difference in visions between people
  • having QA on the content and verify the sources of the content
  • 1) the dilemma of encouraging/broadening participation while enhancing quality. 2) challenge of handling culturally sensitive topics
  • Motivating administrators and editors is difficult; it has it's risks if doing it with money; on the other hand money is the best motivator...
  • About sourcing informations and scientific articles, as to give the sources from where the information came from, cause we are facing “information vandalism” as to apply information which is rather not correct and others may believe them.
  • The desire
  • Difficult to overcome institutional bias in academia/etc. to get them to join us.
  • Work on editing technology
    • conflicting ideas in the community on what is core to “wiki” * fear of sacrificing ideals to achieve quality (e.g. needing approval to change article)
  • It may be using people in a fixed job to check the quality of the pages, because there are so many pages to check and that would need a full-time employees, which may be hard in a funds-based organization.
  • raise awareness within the communities that bad articles should be deleted more strictly
  • Wikimedia projects should be used actively by scientists in their work without losing the openness that anyone can contribute.
  • the inability to verify credentials of contributors and also not being able to determine the motive why someone is contributing
  • New feature to protect contents. Science research (visualizations). Avoiding enterprise.
  • Redundancy, non-machine-readability of content, number of languages, low exposure sites, high maintenance, fluctuating contributors
  • Educating people what quality actually means
  • Increasing participation will increase quality (I think that).
  • Concerning the images and portraits, it should always provide a hyperlink for a larger size and work on enhancing the images like many sites of fine arts of paintings do, as well as allowing users to participate with better images.
  • Increasing quality might require to focus on skilled authors which in turn might counter measures to encourage broad and unskilled participation.
Q4--How should Wikimedia approach the goal of increasing quality?
  • Wikimedia could integrate with any new technology that help improve projects quality
  • Increase content and community.
  • Educate contributors on quality-related issues. Avoid creating new restrictions.
  • Avoid over-governance.
  • Bridge to third party orgs, specially academic, e.g. improvement drive in a univ. class – volunteer-based activity designed by academics may work.
  • Support on-wiki projects for improving the quality and reliability as much as possible.
  • Encourage academic review and participation provided that they submit to the same community rules, with no short-paths or initially higher credibility.
  • Attract more contributors. Also more volunteers and staff to keep up with that growth.
  • it will approach the goal of increasing quality by make more benefits to the writer and advertise about that
  • It's hard, I current have not got a short opinion. My last two answers before this one could somewhat be named here (It should avoid words like “expert” because it could seem to current editors that they are not appreciated) and (the difference in visions between people)
  • Lobbying again with academic orgs to contribute to the QA process
  • Again by involving the society/community & capitalizing on efforts of local NGOs.
  • Maybe using treats? More scholarships to participants of Wikimania, etc. etc.
  • By inviting professors, inventors, scientists, scholars, and other academic students to have continuous access to as many articles as they are interested in, and help editing or adding or sourcing information, articles and stories. It should avoid the highlight of vandalism of information, as not to be fascinated by the stories rather than sourcing them.
  • By teaching a lot of academics
  • Focus on bring high-quality/ “titled” contributors; avoid trying to bring in existing content, or, though it's great to have more stuff under CC/etc., it's better to come from the community.
  • Work on editing technology
  • Sell it to the community!
  • Maybe making standards in the wiki pages, and that by trying divide pages into subjects and asking the user which division he wants to edit in.
  • By encouraging student write more.
  • More Wikimedia conferences/sessions. It may also make projects to help teach editing.
  • Support the switching on of flagged revisions.
  • Some sort of observation/reviewing of edited scientific material to be more trustable and authorized and documented
  • Keep admitting errors. There will never be 100% quality. Make the process transparent. Avoid POV.
  • -Make content less redundant. -Enable bots to work on content. -Add (semantic) metadata that can be checked from outside.
  • Require real names for all main space edits: reduces conflicts and drama, increases accountability and quality.
  • It should avoid the small sizes of images because they are useless. It also should provide fine images and avoid the images that have a lot of pixels in them although being larger in size.
  • Listen to third parties, cooperate. Create products which are (in contrast to Wikipedia itself) “complete”, such as DVDs, books, geo-information, person-data.
Q5--Biggest impediment to the goal of disseminating off-wiki?
  • Cost and/or resources.
  • It is not old media. Why bother?
  • 1) Net availability; it's still a problem for many ppl. Also 2) Wikipedia interface may be complainted by some ppl. 3) Its principle unreliability (not always reviewed properly etc)
  • Pervasive connectivity may make this effort obsolete (or maybe I don't know enough about this idea.)
  • Most countries aren't “affected” with the production and dissemination of educational materials, so most people won't actually get off-wiki contents.
  • Local reproduction, unless reproducers are encouraged to benefit from this financially, while not down-looked upon by the volunteer community and openness advocates.
  • it will be great if it achieving the goal of disseminating its educational materials
  • keeping the information free
  • cost and business model?!
  • The organizations want to participate with Wikimedia
  • Legal liability/ “quality” issues.
  • I don't know
  • Not sure this should be a Wikimedia goal, this should be done helping out organizations that have experience in this field
  • I think that would be the copyrights issue which is the most hard to solve problem because it may make authors, writers work for free which not most of them would agree.
  • Education is a human right – Wikimedia can help that people can use their right.
  • Licensing violation
  • -Quality -Trust -Costs
  • Lack of decent off-line reader than works across platforms, full-text searchable
  • Readers' interests
  • Our restriction to do commercial projects on our own.
Q6--How should Wikimedia approach the goal of disseminating off-wiki? What should it avoid?
  • Communicate with other organizations through conferences and forums.
  • Collaborate with educational organization.
  • Use partners. Avoid unfree licensing and the appearance thereof.
  • I think it's a waste of time – off topic. Outside of the mission and already done better by traditional publishers.
  • To establish relation with educational orgs etc. Not to: publish materials by themselves.
  • Try to find as many orgs that are willing to cooperate with WMF and publish off-wiki materials.
  • Striving to create distribution channels where off-line media is really needed, instead of having it as just an option for the least in need.
  • By holding conference and seminar that will be talking about the benefits of that
  • It should find a sponsor that does not want to claim some sort of rights on the information (only their logo on, for example, a USB stick should have to be sufficient.)
  • Lobbying (3rd time) with multinationals that have interest in such domain
  • Make offers to the organizations
  • Encourage a market re-use principle (as currently); don't try to publish ourselves.
  • I don't know.
  • Point back to previous answer (Not sure this should be a Wikimedia goal, this should be done helping out organizations that have experience in this field)
  • I think this could be approached in a co-organizational way between one wiki and the authors to keep everyone a winner and reach one goal
  • Some sort of cooperation with large computer firms and companies like: Microsoft, IBM, be distributed with the normal sales and products (software) from those companies.
  • Don't underestimate printed material and different ways to access digital content than home PC, for instance, mobile devices, Internet cafés, etc.
  • Add (peer) review for published material. Make explicit links to online material.
  • Support Zeno Reader project
  • To look what people need.
  • Consider starting a for-profit entity, such as
Q7--If you could say one thing to the Wikimedia Foundation?
  • Keep up the good work. Thanks.
  • Thank you. Keep in this right track.
  • Content more. Languages more. Collaboration more. Funding more
  • First of all I'd like to thank you for your genius project and useful conference, as I have initial experience with your project (as reader for definitions in Wikipedia). I couldn't answer the previous specific questions. But all I want to say is that your project – Wikipedia for me till now – is a reliable resource for me, which encourage me to participate in this conference to learn how to edit also, and anything more. Finally, I consider your project idea as a revolution of our era: to make all people all over the world to add for humanity.
  • I hope the building of an institution out of Wikipedia won't ruin what brought about Wikipedia in the 1st place.
  • Respect the community, but be bold to take actions; keep the community to be informed what the office is doing. I hate the January “Kaltura” threads on wmfound-l (or internal?); it could have been prevented IF you had informed them/us much before. Transparency doesn't mean “we decided, just accept!” In some cases, fine, but not always. Thx
  • Keep up the good work and next year, please, please, please find more sponsors for Wikimania and do the selection process for scholarships at an earlier time (and I'm aware that's not quite in your remit, but still....)
  • Thanks for being persistent.
  • Keep up the good work!
  • “you are the best”
  • surprise, encourage and amaze me.
  • Sustain please and have an innovative model for that. Thank you.
  • Keep up the good work!
  • Keep on going, I'll keep participating with my time and knowledge :-) I hope I got kinda “butterfly effect” editing Wikipedia. Thank you for asking
  • Thank you for providing knowledge and information worldwide. Hope you don't find it hard to find sources of information you offer.
  • It is a great work.
  • Fantastic work – keep it up!
  • Keep it up.
  • Free collaborative educational information
  • Good work people, if anyone could do it, it's you and thanks for the great efforts. Note: you can get more funding by allowing advertising on wiki for a respectable amount of money of course.
  • Make a wiki for kids “simple”
  • Good job ;)
  • Good work...Good luck...Way to go...
  • 1) Thanks. 2) Please use Simple English for the next survey.
  • Good work. Keep it up.
  • Best online idea I ever came across.
  • Go ahead.
  • You're doing great. Don't get too scattered.
  • Never put ads on any Wikimedia sites
  • Thank you very much for the great work you did to keep us high knowledged with your amazing wiki projects.
  • Please help us promote Wikipedia better.
  • A powerful example of open source participation
  • Well, I'm a foreign language publisher in which my work mainly based on getting old images from Wikimedia to design covers for the Book Depository Company, and really I can admit that Wikimedia had helped me a lot in improving my work as a graphic designer. So thank you Wikimedia and keep going on because you are on the right track.
  • Go ahead!
  • Make a project about the educational scholarships around the world. Make a project about the job opportunities around the world. Make a project about learning languages for free.