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Wikipedia plans to share the WikiLove

by Hugo Jobling on 27 June 2011, 22:12

Tags: General Business

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Wikimedia, the company behind Wikipedia, is planning to roll out a new feature designed to encourage new users to edit its articles as much as its veteran visitors. It's called WikiLove and the premise is simple: let users share their appreciation for each other, via messages and Barnstars (badges displayed on your user profile - ostensible useless, but prized by Wikipedia veterans).

The introduction of WikiLove comes as the result of the 2011 editors' survey. According to the results, 78 per cent of respondents declared that complements from other editors were a driving factor in editing further, while 69 per cent of those surveyed said that " being looked down on by more experienced editors" is likely to discourage participation in the editing community.

Because the best results on Wikipedia - and, in fact, all encyclopaedias build using the open -source MediaWiki framework - come with an increasing number of editors, Wikimedia is keen to try and encourage participation from visitors who, despite often having useful knowledge on the subject they are browsing, fail to share it. It's hoped that making this feedback user-generated will produce a much better response that simply having a piece of software encourage users to edit articles.

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Mediawiki will be rolling out WikiLove to the English Wikipedia only, initially, and users will have to opt-in while the initiative is trialled. The way in which users are rewarded for their contributions to Wikipedia will be fine-tuned over time, and is likely to vary regionally.

Whether, WikiLove will have the impact it is hoped to remains to be seen. Nonetheless, it's encouraging to see that as Wikipedia progresses towards it's goal of collecting the sum total of all human knowledge, it is striving to expand the number of contributors away from its central core of dedicated editors, and embracing a wider base of contributors.


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