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WikiProject X Newsletter • Issue 3
Greetings! For this month's issue...
We have demos!
After a lengthy research and design process, we decided for WikiProject X to focus on two things:
- A WikiProject workflow that focuses on action items: discussions you can participate in and tasks you can perform to improve the encyclopedia; and
- An automatically updating WikiProject directory that gives you lists of users participating in the WikiProject and editing in that subject area.
We have a live demonstration of the new WikiProject workflow at WikiProject Women in Technology, a brand new WikiProject that was set up as an adjunct to a related edit-a-thon in Washington, DC. The goal is to surface action items for editors, and we intend on doing that through automatically updated working lists. We are looking into using SuggestBot to generate lists of outstanding tasks, and we are looking into additional options for automatic worklist generation. This takes the burden off of WikiProject editors to generate these worklists, though there is also a "requests" section for Wikipedians to make individual requests. (As of writing, these automated lists are not yet live, so you will see a blank space under "edit articles" on the demo WikiProject. Sorry about that!) I invite you to check out the WikiProject and leave feedback on WikiProject X's talk page.
Once the demo is sufficiently developed, we will be working on a limited deployment on our pilot WikiProjects. We have selected five for the first round of testing based on the highest potential for impact and will scale up from there.
While a re-designed WikiProject experience is much needed, that alone isn't enough. A WikiProject isn't any good if people have no way of discovering it. This is why we are also developing an automatically updated WikiProject directory. This directory will surface project-related metrics, including a count of active WikiProject participants and of active editors in that project's subject area. The purpose of these metrics is to highlight how active the WikiProject is at the given point of time, but also to highlight that project's potential for success. The directory is not yet live but there is a demonstration featuring a sampling of WikiProjects.
Each directory entry will link to a WikiProject description page which automatically list the active WikiProject participants and subject-area article editors. This allows Wikipedians to find each other based on the areas they are interested in, and this information can be used to revive a WikiProject, start a new one, or even for some other purpose. These description pages are not online yet, but they will use this template, if you want to get a feel of what they will look like.
We need volunteers!
WikiProject X is a huge undertaking, and we need volunteers to support our efforts, including testers and coders. Check out our volunteer portal and see what you can do to help us!
As an aside...
Wouldn't it be cool if lists of requested articles could not only be integrated directly with WikiProjects, but also shared between WikiProjects? Well, we got the crazy idea of having experimental software feature Flow deployed (on a totally experimental basis) on the new Article Request Workshop, which seeks to be a place where editors can "workshop" article ideas before they get created. It uses Flow because Flow allows, essentially, section-level categorization, and in the future will allow "sections" (known as "topics" within Flow) to be included across different pages. What this means is that you have a recommendation for a new article tagged by multiple WikiProjects, allowing for the recommendation to appear on lists for each WikiProject. This will facilitate inter-WikiProject collaboration and will help to reduce duplicated work. The Article Request Workshop is not entirely ready yet due to some bugs with Flow, but we hope to integrate it into our pilot WikiProjects at some point.
WikiProject X Newsletter • Issue 4
Hello friends! We have been hard at work these past two months. For this report:
For the first time, we are happy to bring you an exhaustive, comprehensive WikiProject Directory. This directory endeavors to list every single WikiProject on the English Wikipedia, including those that don't participate in article assessment. In constructing the broadest possible definition, we have come up with a list of approximately 2,600 WikiProjects. The directory tracks activity statistics on the WikiProject's pages, and, for where it's available, statistics on the number of articles tracked by the WikiProject and the number of editors active on those articles. Complementing the directory are description pages for each project, listing usernames of people active on the WikiProject pages and the articles in the WikiProject's scope. This will help Wikipedians interested in a subject find each other, whether to seek feedback on an article or to revive an old project. (There is an opt-out option.) We have also come up with listings of related WikiProjects, listing the ten most relevant WikiProjects based on what articles they have in common. We would like to promote WikiProjects as interconnected systems, rather than isolated silos.
A tremendous amount of work went into preparing this directory. WikiProjects do not consistently categorize their pages, meaning we had to develop our own index to match WikiProjects with the articles in their scope. We also had to make some adjustments to how WikiProjects were categorized; indeed, I personally have racked up a few hundred edits re-categorizing WikiProjects. There remains more work to be done to make the WikiProject directory truly useful. In the meantime, take a look and feel free to leave feedback at the WikiProject X talk page.
What have we been working on?
- A new design template—This has been in the works for a while, of course. But our goal is to design something that is useful and cleanly presented on all browsers and at all screen resolutions while working within the confines of what MediaWiki has to offer. Additionally, we are working on designs for the sub-components featured on the main project page.
- A new WikiProject talk page banner in Lua—Work has begun on implementing the WikiProject banner in Lua. The goal is to create a banner template that can be usable by any WikiProject in lieu of having its own template. Work has slowed down for now to focus on higher priority items, but we are interested in your thoughts on how we could go about creating a more useful project banner. We have a draft module on Test Wikipedia, with a demonstration.
- New discussion reports—We have over 4.8 million articles on the English Wikipedia, and almost as many talk pages as well. But what happens when someone posts on a talk page? What if no one is watching that talk page? We are currently testing out a system for an automatically-updating new discussions list, like RFC for WikiProjects. We currently have five test pages up for the WikiProjects on cannabis, cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and Ghana.
- SuggestBot for WikiProjects—We have asked the maintainer of SuggestBot to make some minor adjustments to SuggestBot that will allow it to post regular reports to those WikiProjects that ask for them. Stay tuned!
- Semi-automated article assessment—Using the new revision scoring service and another system currently under development, WikiProjects will be getting a new tool to facilitate the article assessment process by providing article quality/importance predictions for articles yet to be assessed. Aside from helping WikiProjects get through their backlogs, the goal is to help WikiProjects with collecting metrics and triaging their work. Semi-automation of this process will help achieve consistent results and keep the process running smoothly, as automation does on other parts of Wikipedia.
Want us to work on any other tools? Interested in volunteering? Leave a note on our talk page.
The database report which lists WikiProjects according to the number of watchers (i.e., people that have the project on their watchlist), is back! The report stopped being updated a year ago, following the deactivation of the Toolserver, but a replacement report has been generated.