Wikipedia talk:Wikimedia Strategy 2017/Cycle 3

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Week 1 Challenge: How do our communities and content stay relevant in a changing world?[edit]

Initial comments[edit]

I already spoke up at Meta-wiki about this. See more at meta:Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Cycle 3. --George Ho (talk) 18:02, 5 July 2017 (UTC)

These two challenges do not sound new or really that different from each other (apart from the lack of educational resources around the world). Many people like to rely on word of mouth, ask a question get an answer. So, there are forums on the internet that do just that - Wikimedia can make its own forum for just that. But it can't make all the people in the world trusted personal friends. (Also, reading an encyclopedia, has never been a universally loved pastime, anywhere in the world). As for lack of educational resources, well, invest money in Kahn Academy - the long distance educator of the age (which, you know, involves hiring experts) - or go out and build and staff schools. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:36, 6 July 2017 (UTC)

One of my remarks about "word of mouth" is it's best at very specific topics like opinions on restaurants or certain local attractions ('official' or not), with a very hit or miss level of thoroughness.
Another point from a different angle is that professors have never respected Wikipedia in any classroom setting beyond a 30 second answer for off the cuss sidelines in class. I think certain topics are "less likely to be trolled" than others, but then it's time to start doing sources with Wiki as only the broadest branch point.
As I roughly understand it, "Guinness Records" came about because of squabbles on word-of-mouth. So for my Wiki is (but only is) a sweet spot that a solid range of topics are at least semi competently overviewed, enough to get talking points going, which is sufficient for about 40-60% of conversations on the fly. But as soon as any value needs to be attached to the info, the ultimate lack of full trust in anything Wiki does hits the spotlight.
To close I think "notable" is the most dangerous principle right now - before grand initiatives cross cultures are hitting the convo, "notability" is X people's guess that "something isn't worth our time to keep on our servers" which is a DISASTER for "knowledge". It tinges on Logical Fallacy range. One example I was personally involved with was the page for actor Josh Blaylock, for which I presented problems in 2013. With help from user IronMaidenRocks, the page was restored in 2016, and it remains there today.
So what happened between 2013-2016? That feels like a snapshot of a major internal issue that can contribute to "browsing Wikipedia has not been an interest" if a major gap like that hits one of the prospective user's specific research. The question discusses "specific knowledge", so what is there to do when the entire page is deleted because it's not "notable"? TaoPhoenix (talk) 09:41, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
Agree working with Khan would be excellent. Right now they license their videos under a CC BY SA NC license and have been unwilling to reconsider. We could of course allow "CC BY SA NC" videos locally as we are an "NC" reuser and that would allow us to use Khan videos right now. Might be tough to get consensus on this though. Would involve a trade off between ideal and good enough.
Thankfully those who work on medical videos have split off from Khan and formed Osmosis. Osmosis is working closely with use and releasing their videos under a WP compatible license. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:39, 6 July 2017 (UTC)

There is a common theme in both challenges, though each one pertains to a slightly different audience. The common theme, as I read it, is: people start caring less for in depth information and want everything served in an easy-to-digest concise format. The second challenge pinpoints this to the younger generation and the gagdet oriented fashion. The way the challenge is formulated seems to imply that we might as well forget about rich information and turn into some Wikpedia version of Of course I see that the question is phrased as a general concern of the changing times, but I do see the direction this is pointing at, and I think I'm not the only one. No wonder there is low participation in the forum. As a wikipedian who has contributed for more than a decade, the connotations here are chilling. "These changes may threaten Wikipedia’s relevance to a large audience". I don't think so. I think that a particular way of facing these real world problems may threaten Wikipedia. So here is my question: if the pressure of our times distances people from higher education and rich knowledge, do we give up higher education and lower the standards of information or do we keep them high and help find solutions for the real life challenges instead? Surely Wikimedia can find an additional way of feeding more concise information to the gadget oriented audience. But we can't afford to go out and inspire people to stay interested in quality information. BTW, what happened to the Version 1.0 Editorial Team? Could they not be part of a solution in this direction? My point: Whatever is discussed and decided, we should not compromise to any degree the quality of what we have built all these years and we should keep striving for more, not less. Hoverfish Talk 16:16, 6 July 2017 (UTC)

Excellent points User:Hoverfish. I have many people asking for more indepth Wikipedia content. But these are generally medical students and physicians from the developing world asking. The question is how do we balance the needs of the different audiences we serve? We at WPMED are working to address this by providing a point form overview in our infoboxes, writing short and simple overviews as leads, providing more in depth knowledge in the body, and having subpages for more in depth content yet. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:47, 6 July 2017 (UTC)
Simple well-written overviews as leads should be encouraged (if not required) by all means. A well organized overview could link to the part of the article where each topic is explained in more depth. This could be done by in-article links ([[#section or anchor]]), a practice which is mostly absent from articles apart from the Table Of Contents. Hoverfish Talk 14:42, 7 July 2017 (UTC)
@Hoverfish: I think the summary's attempt to be concise has partially confused some people. [note: many communities asked for shorter and easier-to-translate content to engage with, for Cycle 3]. It is not suggesting that we necessarily need or ought to change anything about the existing Wikipedias' contents; it is challenging us to conceive of how we, as a movement, might grow/expand/adapt in the medium & long term, whilst also retaining all the existing contents and communities that are fundamental to everything we do. It is addressed at Wikimedians as a whole, not any particular project, despite calling out the encyclopedia project as the core example (because that is sadly the only globally renowned project, so far...).
As I wrote at Metawiki: My personal take on it: I think we should invest more internal energy in the sister projects, and get them more closely integrated with each other. (Someone else suggested Wikiversity quizzes interconnected with Wikipedia articles). We should also interlink more with movement partners, and be more active participants (and/or leaders) in the global open knowledge (and educational) movement(s). We can't (and shouldn't) do everything ourselves in isolation, and we could be much more collaborative (both amongst our existing sister projects and with our external movement partners).
Hope that helps. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 03:20, 7 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I guess it's reassuring. Basically, the full-text articles are the core of Wikipedia, like real artefacts in a museum. After that, all the singing and dancing audiovisuals are a means of presenting the core content to certain audiences: but these depend absolutely on a solid core to work from. To put it another way, though we speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not reliably sourced content, we are nothing. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:09, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

We should know what we are and own it[edit]

I posted this at meta since it seemed to have more activity, but cross-posting this here since it is my home Wiki. To be blunt: we should know what we are. While the various sister projects are very valuable, Wikipedia is clearly the most high profile of the projects. It is an encyclopedia that is free and open for use and remixing by anyone. Full stop. That is what it is. It is not a new version of Ask Jeeves or Quora where people can ask questions and get answers by people. Its purpose is to have well written, trusted, information that is a summary of reliable sources. If we try to be all things to all people we will fail.

We already are the default source of information for much of the world. We have already changed the way the world accesses information: we don't need to change the way the developing world educates. While that is a noble mission, it is not our mission. We might have a place in that: local education systems could use our content in a reform of how they work, but ultimately we help those who formal education has failed by being better at our core function: providing a trusted summary of reliable sources open to anyone in the world. There is a space for that even while there might be a space for other ways to share knowledge. We don't have to be all things to all people, and we shouldn't try to be.

Where does this leave the WMF as well as the sister projects? Well, I think it is quite simple: they should be the best at what they are and try to excel at that rather than try to be something that they might not be. We should also acknowledge where we have failed. WikiNews is dead, let's just call it that. Wikidata has issues with reliability (some of which are highlighted at this discussion on en.Wiki), and I'm sure the various other projects have their issues as well. The thing is, we need to be more open about what our failures are rather than just keeping the projects going and adding new ones. Might there be room for a new way for people to share knowledge through a WMF wiki? I'm sure there will be. That doesn't necessitate that we change the things that we are already good at, though. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:48, 6 July 2017 (UTC)

Replied at Meta-wiki. --George Ho (talk) 20:19, 6 July 2017 (UTC)

Per "The Western encyclopedia model is not serving the evolving needs of all people who want to learn."[edit]

We have Wikibooks and Wikiversity for other formats of content. Both these can host instructional content. They do need greater development though. An ability to have Quizzes within WP and WBs would be cool and might be possible through partnerships with other organizations. While we have rudimentary abilities to do this now we need some tech support to make it function better and work on WP (maybe as a gadget?). Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:33, 6 July 2017 (UTC)

@Doc James: could you explain what do you mean by Quizzes? SGrabarczuk (WMF) (talk) 16:57, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
User:SGrabarczuk (WMF) sure. People read a Wikipedia article. Than they want to quiz their knowledge of the topic in question. They hit the quiz button and questions pop up. Some details here[1] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:01, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

I thought you meant as application for small devices, but on second thought I think you mean beta gadgets for WP. Hmm... Maybe a combination of both, i.e. an application that can work independently on small devices but can also be activated as a gadget. Hoverfish Talk 14:53, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

I agree with @Doc James:, we already have projects for at least a large part of what is presented as unfilled demand. Sure Wikibook and Wikiversity may benefit more development and communication resources. The quiz extension would really need more work to be really useful, both for those who write them and those who use them. Quiz writer should be able to use a visual editor, create more easily more interactive works (like different questions and feedback depending on the user previous answers). Users should be able to track their progresses, that is being able to save their previous answers and have stats on their answer accurateness, you can even imagine large gamification on this topic. Regarding question/answer platform, well, that is something that is indeed absent of the Wikimedia community, and I would be favorable at launching some of them, as the stackexchange solutions are far too English centric to my mind, so there would be a real plus to launch a Wikimedian concurrent. Regarding the "knowledge sharing has become highly social", hu?! Ok, maybe people use more so called online social network, but knowledge sharing is a social behavior by definition. Defiance against institutions, whether grounded by scrupulous enquiries or general paranoia fed by some mass manipulation evil secret conspiracy group is nothing new either. If extra-institutional alternative sources gains more credibility (which may or not coincide with popularity), then our community should just add them as source in their articles and signal eventual doubts and controversies about respective theories and parties which promote them. At worst, people are free to fork Wikimedian projects, and we should just ensure that they stay free to do so. Maybe just better planning how we may reintegrate back relevant forks, but otherwise just let the community evolves seems fine to me. --Psychoslave (talk) 09:03, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

Encyclopedia models[edit]

What is the Western encyclopedia model? Is there an Eastern or Southern encyclopedia model? An encyclopedia is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of information from either all branches of knowledge or from a particular field or discipline. During the 19th and early 20th century, many smaller or less developed languages[which?] saw their first encyclopedias, using French, German, and English role models. While encyclopedias in larger languages, having large markets that could support a large editorial staff, churned out new 20-volume works in a few years and new editions with brief intervals, such publication plans often spanned a decade or more in smaller languages.[citation needed] In 2001, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger launched Wikipedia, a multilingual, open-source, free Internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Unlike commercial online encyclopedias such as Britannica Online, which are written by experts, Wikipedia is collaboratively edited by volunteers. As of 24 June 2019, there are 5,878,524 articles in the English Wikipedia. There are 287 different editions of Wikipedia. As of February 2014, it had 18 billion page views and nearly 500 million unique visitors each month.[1] Wikipedia has more than 25 million accounts, out of which there were over 118,000 active editors globally, as of August 2015. Wikipedia's accuracy was found by a Nature study to be close to that of Encyclopædia Britannica,[2] with Wikipedia being much larger.

However, critics argue Wikipedia exhibits systemic bias,[3][4] (such as gender bias and racial bias) and its group dynamics hinder its goals.[clarification needed] Many academics, historians, teachers, and journalists reject Wikipedia as a reliable source of information.[citation needed]

While Wikipedia is by far the largest web-based encyclopedia, it is not the only one in existence. There are several much smaller, usually more specialized, encyclopedias on various themes, sometimes dedicated to a specific geographic region or time period.[5] One example is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

If 18 billion page views and nearly 500 million unique visitors each month doesn't make Wikipedia "relevant", then I suppose we need to examine the meaning of relevance. Relevance is the concept of one topic being connected to another topic in a way that makes it useful to consider the second topic when considering the first. The concept of relevance is studied in many different fields, including cognitive sciences, logic, and library and information science. Most fundamentally, however, it is studied in epistemology (the theory of knowledge). Different theories of knowledge have different implications for what is considered relevant and these fundamental views have implications for all other fields as well. "Something (A) is relevant to a task (T) if it increases the likelihood of accomplishing the goal (G), which is implied by T." (Hjørland & Sejer Christensen,2002).[6]

A thing might be relevant, a document or a piece of information may be relevant. The basic understanding of relevance does not depend on whether we speak of "things" or "information". For example, the Gandhian principles are of great relevance in today's world.

If you believe that schizophrenia is caused by bad communication between mother and child, then family interaction studies become relevant. If, on the other hand, you subscribe to a genetic theory of relevance then the study of genes becomes relevant. If you subscribe to the epistemology of empiricism, then only intersubjectively controlled observations are relevant. If, on the other hand, you subscribe to feminist epistemology, then the sex of the observer becomes relevant.

It seems, from the "expert insights", that we believe that teenagers are intended to be the primary users of Wikipedia.{{citation needed}} Therefore, only encyclopedia models that are useful to teenagers are relevant. I recall that back in the days of paper encyclopedias, publishers produced separate editions of their encyclopedias, one targeted to adults and another targeted to youth. Perhaps a relevant question then is, why isn't Simple Wikipedia relevant? While it takes over 750,000 page views to break into the top 100 on the flagship, the top article in the Simple edition has just 142,000 views (and #100 is barely over 11,000). wbm1058 (talk) 18:52, 6 July 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Cohen, Noam (February 9, 2014). "Wikipedia vs. the Small Screen". New York Times.
  2. ^ Giles, Jim (December 2005). "Internet encyclopedias go head to head". Nature. 438 (7070): 900–901. Bibcode:2005Natur.438..900G. doi:10.1038/438900a. PMID 16355180.(subscription required) Note: The study was cited in several news articles; e.g.:
  3. ^ "Gender Bias in Wikipedia and Britannica". Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  4. ^ "Analyzing and visualizing the semantic coverage of Wikipedia and its authors". Complexity. 12: 30–40. doi:10.1002/cplx.20164. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  5. ^ Sideris A., "The Encyclopedic Concept in the Web Era", in Ioannides M., Arnold D., Niccolucci F. and K. Mania (eds.), The e-volution of Information Communication Technology in Cultural Heritage. Where Hi-Tech Touches the Past: Risks and Challenges for the 21st Century. VAST 2006, Epoch, Budapest 2006, pp. 192-197. ISBN 963-8046-74-0.
  6. ^ Hjørland, B. & Sejer Christensen, F. (2002). Work tasks and socio-cognitive relevance: a specific example. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53(11), 960-965.

Adaption, but not as much as to make Wikipedia lose its anatomy[edit]

To counter the first challenge, I suggest Wikipedia could broaden itself. I propose that Wikipedia broaden its range if content to make it more lively. This includes increased use of videos & further integration with other wiki projects. Also, due to language barriers that occur between developed countries and emerging ones, it may help to place more emphasis on the Simple English Wikipedia.

For the second issue, Wikipedia may need to slightly evolve. As I said before, it may help to include as much multimedia as reasonably possible. It could also help to increase Wikipedia's presence on social media, and possibly have Wikimedia and Wikipedia have their own social media accounts specifically aimed at the younger generation. This could help to engage younger readers. To add to that, Wikimedians and Wikipedians could be encouraged to make presentations at schools and promote Wikimedia and Wikipedia to locals. Finally, to allow discussion on articles, what I think is the best single proposal is to have a comment section where non-Wikipedians can discuss issues and possibly make suggestions to improve the article, as is done on YouTube and other websites. Thanks, trainsandtech (talk) 23:30, 6 July 2017 (UTC)

  • @Trainsandtech: What do you mean with the term "emphasis"? Who do you think sets "emphasis"? ChristianKl (talk) 16:20, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
  • I would presume that nowhere near as many people know of Simple English Wikipedia as opposed to the standard English Wikipedia. What I meant his that it possibly could be promoted more. Maybe there could be a hyperlink on the left to Simple English Wikipedia, or complex articles could have a template notifying of an equivalent on the latter. It's only a suggestion that I came up with and decided to share, that's all. trainsandtech (talk) 23:25, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

Concrete suggestions[edit]

tl;dr: Management has heard about social media and wants in. The outside experts are obviously experts in making money, and relying only on that advice that ignores the interest of pure science and the love of knowledge. We're getting a nonsolution for a nonproblem if we try to make Wikipedia into a commercial social media site. What they might have is expertise in technology and implementation - and if we now ignore the heavy social implications in the problem statement and think just about the technology, then: modularize articles into parts that can be more easily read. This puts more emphasis on quality editing vs. just writing. Improve peer review to recognize good article structure and content. Assign editors more suggested targets and even "ownership" (in the "process owner" sense, not copyright sense). Currently, although Wikipedia has a massive amount of information in it, knowledge management is very rudimentary, so that coverage can be very uneven - maybe rewards or professional editing work is needed to bring article series into completion. If you insist on connecting to social media, providing real identities could have some value in the same sense as with e.g. Scholarpedia. However, the issue is that such things might evolve into commercialization of Wikipedia, which must be avoided. The best thing about this site is that it's not in control of a commercial or political entity, like a social media site. --vuo (talk) 00:59, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

@Vuo: The ideas are more like social media in the other direction...
For example: If I want to refute some [bad science or fake news or a misunderstood plot] that I see in my twitter feed, then it is currently a very non-intuitive process for me to get a link to a sentence in a Wikipedia article. I.e. Once I'm at the article, if the sentence is cited, then I need to click on the footnote link, and then again on the ˆ or A/B/etc links, in order to get a sharable hyperlink to e.g. the end of a sentence. Can we improve that? -- [Your point about "modularize articles" is quite relevant to that example.]
Or for another example: How can we make Wikipedia/Sister project content more enticing to read and more accessible to edit, for audiences we're not currently reaching? There are people hooked on educational youtube videos (and their associated communities), or edutainment games. There are people who would love to give 10 minutes a day, but don't have much more than that. -- There are a few people experimenting with various kinds of games, and various kinds of micro-contributions, but perhaps some of us will be inspired by this question to take those ideas further, or conceive of new interfaces. (Specific example: At the last hackathon, one developer was working on a prototype for a service that goes in-between a standard messaging app and translatewiki (where the interface for our sites gets translated into ~300 languages, and there are between 4,000 and 30,000 strings for each language, so it takes a while), which once completed will allow people to translate short strings of text, just by replying to a bot, in a messaging app, which they could do on a commute to work). Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 03:55, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

Educational topics[edit]

i think we should base not just on biography's alone but also on other educational topics Eboysmart61 (talk) 21:13, 6 July 2017 (UTC)


A companion version of wikipedia which just gives a mobile-screen-full of condensed information with links to associated quick access information and to Wikipedia articles for deeper discussion. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:27, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

Along with a search engine dedicated to question/answer queries. Google does a good job of this, often displaying condensed Wiki content when you type a question. A Wiki companion project could do the same. Maury Markowitz (talk) 11:24, 7 July 2017 (UTC)
Excellent idea, Pbsouthwood, and not a bad name either! I was thinking of something along the lines of study-cards, something like a glorified infobox with some lead text in it, which would link to the full wikipedia article, as a read-only app. You got there first. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 09:38, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

Include diagrams showing how information about a topic ultimately derives from core knowledge[edit]

The whole point of including references in Wikipedia, scientific articles etc. is to point to the source of information. The source one points to will itself either present the proof of the cited fact or it will cite some other source or it will present a proof that needs other fact that it will cite. One then needs to consider the cited sources in that source and repeat this procedure until one arrives at basic facts that are considered to be accepted truths that no one doubt. Many people today do not actually know that all nontrivial statements in scientific papers are always supposed to be backed up like this, many people believe that there is considerable room for expert opinion. This is why you can have so many people doubt the scientific consensus on climate change. What Wikimedia can do is make clear that scientifically verified knowledge can always be traced back to its fundamental sources, and it can then make this visible. So, instead of just having a Wiki article on some topic, we could also have flow charts showing where the information comes from tracing that back not to the cited sources but all the way back to the ultimate origins. This will then make it clear to people that the content of the article is 100% based on rigorous proof, that there are no gaps and it's not based on any expert opinion that one could potentially argue with. Count Iblis (talk) 02:26, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

Drill down to subsections[edit]

"The Western encyclopedia model is not serving the evolving needs of all people who want to learn." Well, it wouldn't do, how could it: nobody really ever became learned by studying Pears Cyclopedia or any other such work, printed or Wiki. So perhaps the paucity of comments reflects the rather blunt, 'cosmic', nature of the "Key insight".

However, "getting answers to specific questions" and "looking for short, standalone, and/or visual ways of engaging with content" do suggest a simple mechanism:

Suggestion: provide an interface (an app, a tool) which drills down to (sub)section level, and attempts to extract a summary of that subsection, in much the way that Google extracts a summary of an article's lead section to answer searches - with a heading, a one-sentence text, and (often) an image. It could also provide a 'Context' link to the parent article (or for a subsection to a parent section, and then to the article itself).
Example: Annisa is having trouble with her school Biology task. She asks Wiki-specifi-pedia (yeah, we need a snappier name for the app) what the starfish's water vascular system is all about. It finds a subsection of w:Starfish#Anatomy named "Water vascular system", extracts and simplifies the lead sentence, and returns heading, image, and text:
Context: Starfish - Anatomy
Water vascular system
Starfish arm with tube feet
The water vascular system is a hydraulic system made of fluid-filled canals, used in locomotion, adhesion, food manipulation and gas exchange.

Since a typical article has 7 or more sections, this tool potentially exposes many million "short, standalone, visual" answers not currently directly accessible (buried in long, wordy, structured and properly-cited articles, tsk tsk). Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:11, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

I was also thinking along this way, and I think this idea points to a database oriented solution. So I would like to suggest here that this might mean educating Wikipedians (maybe a team or a project) to insert some kind of microformatting (or similar system of subtle coding) that would make the information available on demand for some application or gadget. In its turn, this would mean having a tech oriented team that would cooperate with specialists of various areas (biology, chemistry, law, etc) to mark such information. Hoverfish Talk 22:35, 7 July 2017 (UTC)
I guess you're right there will need to be a database, but we cannot rely on microformatting or subtle coding. It is imperative that the tool has sufficient capability to make useful choices of what to extract. In other words, the information it will mine or drill into already is available, and it is already well structured: the tool must be made clever enough to make use of it as it is. The tool can make use of other sources of knowledge to help it decide what to extract - for example, it could harvest millions of scientific papers to extract the indexing keywords that they explicitly record to assist libraries: every index entry is a potential micro-article heading for a future Annisa. Chiswick Chap (talk) 05:42, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

Here's how to 50% fix the problem in 30 seconds[edit]

Delete the sentence in the "what Wikipedis is not" POLICY that says "The purpose of Wikipedia is to present facts, not to teach subject matter."' North8000 (talk) 20:50, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

There is already a project available for teaching subject matter. Presenting facts is the purpose of Wikipedia, teaching subject matter is the purpose of Wikiversity. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:37, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
The given insights that we're to respond to here include: "Many who seek knowledge online are looking for short, standalone, and/or visual ways of engaging with content and acquiring new skills.[3] Wikipedia's current model of the long-form, in-depth, text-heavy encyclopedia article may not meet these changing needs. It also does not yet provide a space for other forms of educational knowledge.". I think that my post is valid with respect to this. Besides Wikiversity is relativley tiny, obscure, and has a name that indicates for university-level learning. I'm not advocating turnign Wikipedia into textbooks. Just that some articles be made more explanatory, and present the topic. North8000 (talk) 18:44, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

Things that aren't clear[edit]

What are they actually asking? "Which is the best local takeaway?" is going to remain a bit outside wikipedia's remit. How much is asking friends simply driven by valuing the social interaction?©Geni (talk) 04:11, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

Information versus Delivery[edit]

For learning to occur, two things are needed:

  1. accurate information;
  2. delivery of that information in a manner that is accessible, understandable, engaging, etc.

This scenario about how to cater for teenagers who are using mobile phones is about addressing the second process rather than the first. However, it is important to note that while people have always used encyclopaedias to reference accurate information, there have also always been other organisations that deliver the information in alternative ways (textbooks, documentaries, classes, newspaper articles, etc). These different methods are not necessarily in competition with one another: they can be two different processes in a mutually beneficial partnership. Consider the flow of information:

  • (a) There are journal articles, newspaper articles, books with various pieces of information disbursed widely around the world.
  • (b) Wikipedia cites those sources when compiling the information into encyclopaedia form.
  • (c) Other people and organisations use Wikipedia as a reference to gain the information they need when creating content that is accessible, understandable and engaging for their own target audience. They may draw on information from Wikipedia to include in a youtube video, an essay, an article, a website, an astronomy app for kids, or a lesson plan for a class they will teach.
  • (d) The end user - in this case teenagers - who gain the information in their preferred format for whatever their purpose is.

(a) and (b) are essential to ensure accurate information that (c) can draw on, to satisfy the needs of (d).

In many ways the delivery of information is the most complex, varied, and expensive part of the process. This is why our world has so many different textbook publishers, tv stations, radio stations, podcasts, magazines, newspapers, apps, websites, etc as when it comes to the delivery of information (and the learning process) what is needed for a small child is different to an older child; what is needed for someone with a casual interest is different to someone who is an expert in the field; what is needed for someone who requires specific information immediately for work purposes is different to someone who is engaged in leisure time learning for pleasure.

Wikipedia cannot be all things to all people. What it can do is ensure that the information is accurate, and partner with other organisations (such as Khan Academy, Wikiversity, Future Learn, app developers, etc) to encourage them to innovate content delivery that is accessible and engaging for these teenagers and other groups in society.

That is not to say that Wikipedia shouldn't innovate and keep pace with the future; it's simply about recognising what Wikipedia's role is in the world so that innovations are relevant and strategic. What can Wikipedia do that no one else is doing, versus what can others do (and already are doing) that we needn't? How can we work together with other organisations to achieve our common goals? Do they value the accuracy of information that wikipedia is compiling? Do they need changes in how it is organised or coded so they can draw it into their own systems? Do we need to rethink how we create and edit content so it is compatible with third party software?

Having said all of that, the wikipedia website is difficult to navigate as a reader or seeker of information. The way that people create, edit, and link pages independently without editorial control means that it is a bit of a mess. And, when looking for specific information: no one wants to wade through a whole big article to find one fact. So, regardless of teenagers or mobile phones I believe some more thought is needed about the organisation and display of information. (Though, as mentioned above, this could be done in partnership with an organisation that wants to focus on the delivery of information rather than the compilation of it). Powertothepeople (talk) 08:51, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

The Wikimedia community needs to be more mobile friendly.[edit]

The Wikimedia community needs to strengthen it's mobile strategy. Two years ago, Google confirmed that their was more mobile searches than searches on computers.[1] Personally I think this will help the community out a lot. --Skim

The wikimedia community also should consider to make some changes in the mobile editing,for example after drawing a table sometimes we may find difficulties to add information to it(sometimes we could get a message "Your browser does not support your editing").But mobile view is much convenient to users when compared to the desktop view according to the structure.Abishe (talk) 04:39, 20 July 2017 (UTC)


More active use of social media for Wikimedia users and content creators to exchange information and share.[edit]

Wikipedia is not only an online encyclopedia. It is a community. Through Twitter it is possible for people around the world to help each other locate information and photos, as well as translate content, and to reach out for content. Streamlining and promoting the Wikimedia social media accounts to clarify what each one is designated for is very important.RachelWex 16:56, 11 July 2017 (UTC)

Have more Reference desk helpers[edit]

As mobile phones gain wider use, and desktop access declines, there will need to be more live helpers at the Reference desk, and the format will need to be streamlined more for phone viewing, perhaps with more, shorter subject groups. Although Google seems to be answering more short questions, there are still horrific shortcomings, such as "How to pronounce Tophane? (Turkey)" [answer: /Top-Ha-nay/] or many thousands of other words, where Google is not designed to give a short answer but list numerous websites to read and search endlessly in hopes of a pronunciation. It is really primitive, archaic, and almost unforgiveably stupid to not answer pronunciations. And as for smart-ass voicers, it is hopeless to say: "Siritonin, how do you pronounce [word I cannot say]?". Hence, the world of the future is talking computers that cannot talk about pronouncing the unpronounced words. Total, mega-crapnology. Hence, Wikipedia needs to answer, "How to pronounce xxx?" and other simple questions the $billion crapnology cannot handle (oops), and that will likely require more human helpers. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:24, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

Week 2 Challenge: How could we capture the sum of all knowledge when much of it cannot be verified in traditional ways?[edit]

Initial comments 2[edit]

  • The key problem here is resolving the tension between the two forks of the mission a) allowing anyone to edit and rigorously protecting the privacy of editors who choose to use pseudonyms and b) providing the public with accepted knowledge. We resolve that now, by giving all authority to reliable sources as defined in WP:RS and WP:MEDRS, and all content must of course be verifiable to such sources, and anybody needs to be able to go check that source (and to use it for further learning). We look at what such sources say overall, to keep articles neutral per WP:NPOV. It all comes down to sources. To meet this challenge, each WP community would need to agree on specific definitions for "non-traditional" sources that would be considered reliable and what kind of content those sources would be reliable for.
The only other real world option - and it would be hard and controversial to do - would be to have some articles or sections be editable only by people whose authority has been validated and are given trust to summarize accepted knowledge, and that content would need to be signed by them; that person would be the authority for that content. Jytdog (talk) 14:56, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
This could work but it could not be Wikipedia. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:49, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
I assume you mean the last bit about having signed articles. I should have been more clear that I meant only for defined topics; it would be a hybrid model where for topics where there aren't traditional RS (like oral traditions), the only way to bring that content in would be through personal authority of a named author. I doubt it would be possible to get consensus for, and would be hard to implement as well. Jytdog (talk) 17:06, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
No, I mean it would have to be a completely different project where all editors must use their real identities so they can be recognised and held accountable for their work. Trying to split parts of Wikipedia to run on a different and incompatible set of rules would lead to chaos. Wikipedia is what it is. An attempt to change it in this way would almost certainly fail, and if it succeeded it would no longer be Wikipedia. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:39, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
Someone tried that. – Joe (talk) 10:50, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
  • (I'm intoxicated on lite beer while writing this.) There should be no tolerance for minority points of view and here's why: Wikipedia's policies are written with a specific eye to verifiability, relying on the input of reliable sources. Critics of this model will spout nonsense about non-traditional (eg bullshit) sources. Having information published in books, magazines, and newspapers isn't a Western, white, rich, or educated norm. It's a reliable norm. The field of subaltern studies isn't helped by placing trust in oral histories or other poorly-written sources. Wikipedia, in an effort to bend over backwards for these populations, does the audience a disservice by questioning our business practice. It is incumbent on the rest of the world to get onboard. My undergrad is in history. I challenge any member of Phi Alpha Theta to disagree. The fact that children want to read poorly-sourced information should not incentivize us to stoop to their level; handing them poorly-sourced lies because that's what they want. We need to stick to sources. One of Wikipedia's major failing points is it's reliance on journalism and scholarship, both of which have been compromised by lax professionalism, crass commercialism, and rank partisanship. Those are hardly our problem as they lie beyond our remedy. Wikipedia needs to ignore the siren's song of inclusivity and hold fast to our existing policies. Chris Troutman (talk) 03:46, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
  • It is impossible to have these three aims: (1) anyone can edit; (2) reputable reputation; (3) published reliable sources are not needed. Like many people, I often read about some obscure topic for a quick overview. That would be pointless if people could post what they really truly believed—I may as well read Facebook. For topics such as cultures with oral traditions where published sources are unavailable, the WMF might consider a separate project with different aims and procedures. Johnuniq (talk) 04:37, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
  • We don't attempt or want to capture the sum of all knowledge, we want to capture the sum of all verifiable knowledge. I don't remember where I saw the vignette of a political rally with a heckler holding up a placard reading "citation needed", but that insistence on verifiability is the essence of what makes Wikipedia unique (and quite different from projects such as the Encyclopédie and the eleventh edition of the Britannica, written by experts). We should concentrate on finding ways to improve and broaden access to sources – at the moment, most of us are hopelessly dependent on the internet and resources which have been digitised, and those seem to be heavily biased towards the Western world in general and the United States in particular. The Wikipedia library has made huge strides in getting database access for editors, and a few people do Herculean amounts of work at WP:RX. Two random off-the-cuff suggestions:
  • a Wikimedia-financed scan-on-request service, where paid staff would physically visit libraries to get scans of specific pages of books and documents (under acceptable fair use for educational purposes)?
  • an inter-wiki translation request board, where editors could request help with understanding foreign-language sources?
Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 08:39, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
  • This is explicitly out of scope. By all means, digitise and increase access to what reliable sources are out there, but the proposal here undermines what Wikipedia strives to be -- a collection of verifiable, unbiased knowledge. No.
As an aside, both of these "issues" have been raised by the WMF before. The cynic in me says the outcome of this consultation has already been predetermined and/or the comments here will be selectively quoted. MER-C 12:19, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
  • @MER-C: That's almost certainly the case. I suspect WMF doesn't want to lose market share to less reputable sites. Chris Troutman (talk) 15:41, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
  • I can already see how this scenario may play out: this "issue" appears in some key WMF strategy document possibly with the intention of being a separate project, then some clueless donor/board member/WMF staffer (select all that apply) shoves it onto Wikipedia, being the flagship, without regard to the aims of the project or its integrity. (To respond to the comments below: material from a separate project still wouldn't be usable in Wikipedia -- it's the same stuff with the same problems, but with a different label attached.) MER-C 12:27, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Replying to a few comments above, at once:
    (1) The issue keeps coming up because thousands of people keep asking (at the helpdesks, at AFC/AFD, at OTRS, to local chapters, at all the other Wikipedias, etc etc) how they can help document these uncovered topics. Nobody has good answers for them, beyond "come back [to Wikipedia] when your information has been published in a reliable source". This makes sense from our point of view, but is frustrating for almost everyone.
    (2) The challenge is open-ended, but is directed at the entire Wikimedia Movement. The potential solutions might be [likely are, IMO] outside of Wikipedia. They could involve things like new sister projects, or new external sites that we send people to, or color-coding the reliability of a source, or something(s) completely different. We're smart people, who love sharing knowledge [about the world] with the world; we might be able to improve the current situation [and we might not]. That's the challenge. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 00:52, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Why do we need to capture the sum of all knowledge when we will not even check whether that knowledge is true? "Traditional" verification is traditional for a reason. We can choose to be "culturally inclusive", or we can choose to be "truthful and accurate". —azuki (talk · contribs · email) 06:06, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
  • The implication that a tradition of written documentation and source criticism is unique to Westerners strikes me as incredibly patronising. We're not going to uncritically base articles on, for example, an indigenous oral history, in the same way that we wouldn't uncritically base an article on Herodotus. The problem is not Wikipedia's reliance on reliable sources, it's the unequal production of reliable sources in developed vs. developing countries.
The solution to this problem is beyond Wikipedia's scope. Encyclopaedias like Wikipedia have a well defined role in scholarship: we collate and summarise knowledge in existing trustworthy sources. The aim is to be comprehensive but also authoritative. The production or documentation of original knowledge is the job of researchers, and we as a community are not well equipped to do that job for them. Lowering our standards of evidence to attempt it would only compromise our core purpose.
This is the first time I've heard that Wikimedia's mission is to "capture the sum of all knowledge". If it were up to me I'd perhaps go for more modest goals; say writing a top-quality encyclopaedia. But if that's the mission, then one thing that immediately comes to mind is that Wikimedia is now a rather wealthy organisation. Perhaps you could look at making grants available to scholars who are compiling non-written and/or difficult to access knowledge. With the stipulation of course that they would then create freely available sources which Wikimedia projects could use. – Joe (talk) 10:44, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Re The issue keeps coming up because thousands of people keep asking (at the helpdesks, at AFC/AFD, at OTRS, to local chapters, at all the other Wikipedias, etc etc) how they can help document these uncovered topics. Nobody has good answers for them, beyond "come back [to Wikipedia] when your information has been published in a reliable source". This makes sense from our point of view, but is frustrating for almost everyone. Oh, come on now. These "thousands of people" are not asking to submit oral histories of Africa from the centuries before the Europeans arrived on the scene. The vast majority of these "thousands of people" surely have a conflict of interest because they keep asking how can I get reliable sources to write about me, or my company, or my product or my band or my whatever. Part of the problem is that Wikipedia, Google, and other new online sources are suffocating the life out of old, traditional reliable sources. – wbm1058 (talk) 16:22, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Does information even count as "knowledge" if it can't be verified? At that point, isn't it just an idea, or a theory? ApLundell (talk) 18:41, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
  • You need to have fact checking to ensure that "oral histories documenting uncovered topics" aren't made up, i.e. that they are not "fake history" (a close relative of "fake news", e.g. did The Holocaust really happen?). This is the role traditionally filled by traditional reliable sources, but as they are continually squeezed for revenue by "free content freeloaders" they may have to resort to cutting their budget for fact checkers in order to still turn a modest profit. I'd guess that in order to legitimize an "oral history", trained and qualified experts would need to randomly interview a sufficient number of members of the society being studied to come up with a consistent, consensus societal view of their own history. Even then, you would only have a consensus history of those people, and you still wouldn't know whether that history was actually true, or just a widely accepted myth. wbm1058 (talk) 18:54, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Unless we want to ruin Wikipedia, this is absolutely unacceptable to accommodate. One can, however, think about a dedicated sister project. (I suspect this project will quickly turn into a trash can, but at least people could be pointed out to it).--Ymblanter (talk) 06:38, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia could perhaps take steps to encourage anthropologists and folklorists to record oral histories (in both the developing world and indeed the developed world) and to publish their studies in peer-reviewed journals, but I think that we should really avoid any move that allows editors to cite oral history (or other forms of personal testimony) as if it were a reliable source. I'm not an expert in the study of oral history, but what I have read on the subject makes it pretty clear that oral histories are rarely if ever accurate testimonies of events in the past, but rather change and adapt to suit the needs of the story teller and their environment. While oral histories often have their basis in factual events, they are as close to legend as they are to (more accurate forms of) documentary history.
I fear that if we begin to allow editors to use oral testimony as an RS then pretty soon we will be getting into territory where legend (and even religious mythology) will be presented on Wikipedia articles as true history, particularly when covering developing countries and marginalised communities. While it may start out as a well-meaning attempt to bring in more non-Western editors and readers, pretty soon there will be many Westerners (members of religious groups, political parties etc) who will jump on this as a means of promoting views and perspectives on the past which are contrary to those present in the RS produced by academics. How long would it be before we have some quack claiming to have secret knowledge of the druids because they are part of an ancient druidic lineage? And on what basis would we reject their claims if at the same time we were accepting the claims of a Yoruba or Ibo individual claiming to accurately describe the exploits of their ancestors for twenty generations? That could lead us on to the idea that it is acceptable for members of indigenous communities in parts of Africa, Australia, and the Americas to provide oral testimonies but that we will not accept them from Westerners, which in turn is both patronising and a stark case of double standards. Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:22, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
  • As a person who has a lot of experience with commercial history in Australia, a typical problem is that much information is in advertising which is not verified and if you do not quote the advertisements, you lose much of the historical information. BernardZ (talk)
  • It's pretty clear that Wikipedia must remain exclusively based on reliable, published sources. That's not really negotiable I'm afraid. But the Wikimedia Foundation is at liberty to begin another project, separate from Wikipedia, which could be a publisher of previously unpublished thought. There would need to be fact checking. By experts, who would need to be paid; I suggest that the WMF could consider funding scholars in third world universities to collect oral data and publish it, full text on the net CC-BY-SA style. Wikipedians could then be encouraged or incentivised to build articles based on these scholars' published research.—S Marshall T/C 19:04, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
  • i am agreeing with what everybody is saying here. There is really no way to bend the fundamentals of RS nor to allow "authored" content. Jytdog (talk) 01:40, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Unpublished oral histories etc. disappear every day I imagine. As long as people don't reliably record the knowledge they possess Wikimedia can't be expected to capture it. That said, Wikipedia is a work in progress and There is no deadline so we probably shouldn't worry too much over this. -- œ 05:55, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Please stop. This has already been discussed and died. Things like "oral traditions" need to be dealt with by appropriate external professionals. The phrase "sum of all knowledge" is just a catchphrase, and a poor one. We can't, won't, and shouldn't deal with information that hadn't been filtered though some sort of external respectable institution. It is an external job to compile reliable information. It is an external job to decide what information is worth publishing. Then we summarize those sources. Any idiot with a recorder can generate and upload a fictitious "oral tradition" saying anything they want.
    There are only two ways you're way you're going to fix the problem of the lack of reliable sources from developing countries. (1) Help them develop and produce more of their own local reliable sources, or (2) open a site site named, and expect that 99% of the content on there will be garbage. Alsee (talk) 16:51, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

People's Archive of Rural India[edit]

Invited expert Adam Hochschild's talk at WMF headquarters covered a lot of ground, but the partial transcript steers us towards taking a closer look at the People's Archive of Rural India. I don't have much feel for how rural Indians contribute to PARI, but their "homepage for contributors" would be a good place to start. I found that page by scrolling down their homepage until I saw a link titled "Here's how you can contribute". Contributors fill out a Profile Form (personal data: name, addresses, etc.) and a Content Upload Form (appears similar to submitting media to Commons). – wbm1058 (talk) 21:45, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

It appears that you need to fill out the Profile Form before you can "write content for existing films or edit content that has been written but needs the careful eye of an editor." In other words, they, unlike Wikipedia, do not allow anonymous contributions from IPs? wbm1058 (talk) 21:51, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

And, as they say "Help us understand your skills" as a rationale for the Profile Form, then it seems this is not a People's Archive that anyone can edit, but rather only people with the appropriate skills can edit? wbm1058 (talk) 22:13, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

So, sorry if I'm beginning to sound pointy, but maybe the "Western encyclopedia model" that we should consider abandoning is the one that allows any anonymous, unskilled person to edit? It may be that Eastern and Southern encyclopedias can't allow this as they can't afford the luxury of sophisticated bots and other vandalism reversion tools? wbm1058 (talk) 00:07, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

Yeah that is the Citizendium thing. There is so much crazy magic in our model of "anyone can edit" and "RS are the only authority" and "free". Take any one of those away and the magic goes away. Jytdog (talk) 01:43, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Scholarpedia, anyone? --George Ho (talk) 03:19, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

A more complex view of oral history[edit]

So, as a Wikipedia, anthropologist, and someone trained in oral history methods, I've been wanting to contribute to this conversation. It's hard to keep up with the dismissive generalizations about the valuelessness of oral history as a source, so let me ask everyone to step back and realize that yes, oral historians have heard and considered all of these issues. Any standard introduction to oral history considers all of them. For example, this one—Linda Shopes' "Making Sense of Oral History" here. In the US, oral historians define the field by the systematic keeping of an audio record of an interviewee's memories—"a self-conscious, disciplined conversation between two people about some aspect of the past considered by them to be of historical significance and intentionally recorded for the record," as Shopes describes it. Oral historians archive this audio and a corresponding transcript. Standard professional practice allows interviewees to review and correct the transcript to make sure it accurately reflects their memories. Then it is preserved for access in perpetuity. In terms of verifiability, it can be a highly accessible source.

As Shopes describes it, there are intrinsic limitations to oral sources, including some discussed above:

  • "As with any source, historians must exercise critical judgment when using interviews–just because someone says something is true, however colorfully or convincingly they say it, doesn’t mean it is true. Just because someone 'was there' doesn’t mean they fully understand 'what happened.'"
  • "inconsistencies and conflicts among individual interviews and between interviews and other evidence point to the inherently subjective nature of oral history. Oral history is not simply another source, to be evaluated unproblematically like any other historical source."
  • "What is needed then is an understanding of oral history not so much as an exercise in fact finding but as an interpretive event, as the narrator compresses years of living into a few hours of talk, selecting, consciously and unconsciously, what to say and how to say it. … What is said also draws upon the narrator’s linguistic conventions and cultural assumptions and hence is an expression of identity, consciousness, and culture."

The easiest and best way for an encyclopedia to draw on oral history is through the published interpretations of experts, such as historians who use oral history as their primary source. Doing this, of course, requires no change in Wikipedia's practice other than—perhaps—overcoming some of the prejudices described on this page. Something similar can be said of compilations of oral and interview sources into published into collective oral histories by a professional interpreter, such as Kathy Davis' The Making of Our Bodies, Ourselves: How Feminism Travels across Borders. Similarly, documentaries based on one or several oral interviews, such as Errol Morris' The Fog of War (single interviewee: Robert McNamara) and Charle Ferguson's No End in Sight can be important citable sources. For example, McNamara's account of the Havana conference on the Cuban missile crisis could amplify that section of the article. and a future article on the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance—currently a section of Coalition Provisional Authority would greatly benefit from appropriate use of material from No End in Sight. Such scholarly or professionally produced compilations have similar obligations for error checking as history monograph or a printed interview, and (depending on quality of that fact-checking and editing work) are citable in the same way as textual sources.

Oral sources that are archived and accessible are sometimes parallel to self-published sources. As WP:SPS advises: "Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the subject matter, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications." So if an established expert in a primarily oral field, such as Zulu mythology, has been interviewed, recorded, and archived, then their expertise can and should be cited. (By the way, the GNG tag on Zulu mythology is a clear example of our need for a wider range of sources for some highly notable topics.) In many areas—as the discussion prompt for this strategic conversation correctly notes—the published anthropological literature may be outdated and inaccurate by comparison with contemporary oral sources. Excluding them because of their format would be unwise.

Oral historical sources are also parallel to self-published sources of figures speaking about themselves. The guidelines at WP:ABOUTSELF are appropriate and adequate for using them.

Finally, in some fields, especially fields which are themselves an oral tradition—e.g., mythology and folklore—oral sources (when told by an established storyteller within the tradition) are more like television episodes or fictional texts than dubious sources. They should be treated as advised by MOS:FICT, rather than dismissed as tainted by unreliability.

In summary, oral sources can be verifiable if transcribed, archived, or otherwise maintained for reference. Oral (historical and folklore) sources are inadequately discussed within current advice on verifiability, reliable sources, and works of fiction. Minor tweaks to these existing guidelines could better inform editors about when to include them, and when not to. Where they are not appropriate for inclusion in the encyclopedic text, they are often well-suited to inclusion in external links. There are also high existing standards for archiving oral historical sources; it may be possible to develop a free-content Wikimedia project that follows these standards and makes more content available for wide distribution and, when appropriate, for sourcing encyclopedic content.--Carwil (talk) 18:46, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

Carwil, I think the only disagreement is where you say "overcoming some of the prejudices described on this page". The "prejudice on this page" has been saying exactly what you said: The work needs to be done by anthropologists, historians, and other similar professionals. Those experts either need to be validated by some respectable institution, or they need to be published by some journal or magazine or newspaper, or they need to publish a proper book on the subject. If a couple of professionals publish about the folklore of the tribes of Farawaymountains, we'll happily write an article on it. If you want to make the source-material available under an open license, that can probably(?) go on wikisource. I presume that the wikisource community only accepts content which has been published through a proper book-publisher or other respectable institution. We couldn't really use that content ourselves, we definitely can't write an article based on that source content. Putting it on wikisource would be little more than a free-web-host for professionals to share source-content with each other. Alsee (talk) 17:33, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

Subject matter topic essays[edit]

Beyond the core Wikipedia article pages, there could be "essay-space" spinoff articles to provide wider coverage of topics. The topic-essays could have top-banner warnings that the contents are subject to opinion. Currently, opinion text is limited to direct quotations from published sources, but subjects are typically very limited. For example, there is little coverage of horse behavior, where horses typically when told "no" will sneak back while no one is looking and try again, or horses in a severe windstorm will stand in mid-pasture with their backs to the wind, or after the death of one horse in a herd, the herd will tend to stick closer together for a few days, as if unsure the danger which killed the other horse. There are similar thousands of other topics to cover, but Wikipedia has limited scope for "notability" and significance of such subjects. Such topics, which began as topic-essays, might later be expanded into article sets with documented opinions of experts in the subject areas. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:49, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

Those would (and should) get deleted via MfD; WP space is not for people to post OR. Jytdog (talk) 01:20, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
I concur with Jytdog. If you want to post an essay, already lets you do that. It would be useless and disruptive for Wikipedia to have five hundred contradictory privately-owned essays on evolution, and trying to consolidate it into one or two opinion essays will fail catastrophically when everyone endlessly argues over opinions. Alsee (talk) 18:13, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

Week 3 Challenge: As Wikimedia looks toward 2030, how can we counteract the increasing levels of misinformation?[edit]

  • AI-led Audiovisual content generation
It will be more easy to mislead people who believe that videos are more trustworthy than written-text when videos are easy to generate. On the other hand, the most authoritative sources have always been written text and not video. On Wikipedia it's already our policy that we prefer authoritative secondary sources over primary audio or video sources. ChristianKl (talk) 16:40, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
At this present world,people tend to show less interest towards reading habit because of overestimating social medias such as Instagram,Facebook which attract millions of billions of people by mostly showcasing videos.Therefore there is a necessary to upload videos together with the text information.But on the other hand this might lead to violating the copyrights of Wikipedia.I am not much correct about it.Are primary sources preferred more when compared to secondary sources or not?Abishe (talk) 04:55, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Not many comments about this challenge?[edit]

After discussion about two challenges, why is there not much discussion here? --George Ho (talk) 23:25, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

for me, the answer here is pretty much the exact same as the answer to both challenges above. All the en-WP community can do is generate and maintain content in en-WP based on high quality WP:RS including WP:MEDRS. I spend most of my volunteer time already removing unreliably sourced content from WP, aiming toward the goal in the first challenge.
The other thought is that we (the en-WP community) kind of threw down with the Daily Mail RfC and there are still some community members howling about that. That RfC was a bit silly (we already regularly said "no" when Daily Mail was brought and the RfC was pretty much beating a dead horse). It wasn't the intention (and is not something we should take into consideration) but there was some "just say no" messaging to the public about bad media. Jytdog (talk) 01:19, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
The Daily Mail RfC was not silly. For example, I refer to it when in EE articles users come with sources in Russian and Ukrainian of comparable quality. The Daily Mail RfC needs to be pointed out to to throw these sources away.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:34, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

More verification tools to compare text keywords to footnotes[edit]

It would be helpful to have a better tool to compare page text to footnotes and warn if text keywords were not found in sources, such as claim attended "Oxford" but no footnoted source mentions Oxford, and then the page could be percentage-ranked for how many keywords failed to match sources. -Wikid77 (talk) 04:49, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

choice of keywords would be critical, and of course this can only apply to internet sources. so is inherently limited. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:24, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Curtail the exaggerated coverage of topics[edit]

Among the techniques which have slanted perceptions about various topics, there has been use of exaggerated coverage of some topics. For example, prior to the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, the wp:navbox about candidate Donald Trump had included 5 generations of Trump family members and links to many buildings which had licensed use of the "Trump" brand logo (as expanding the size of the navbox to include dozens more related "accomplishments"); see large navbox perma-link 7 Nov 2016, at election. However, at the time of the election, the equivalent navbox for long-term candidate Secretary Hillary Clinton did not link the numerous major diplomatic treaties or regulations which she had helped to implement, and so the Template:Hillary_Clinton (see: perma-link at election) did not have a large section of numerous related policy "accomplishments" and overall had far fewer links compared to the Trump navbox, despite Hillary Clinton having served in public office for nearly 30 years guiding government policies or treaties. The implied innuendo was that Trump, in listing all the related Trump properties (and golf courses), had accomplished far more than Hillary Clinton, as having no buildings branded as "Clinton" towers, while omitting treaties or regulations, etc. In fact, one editor even complained that the relative coverage seemed "biased" but did not note that the omission of the Clinton-related 30 years of treaties or regulations had lessened the coverage of Hillary Clinton's impact in the world. Such issues of exaggeration need to be watched, and curtailed in realtime coverage of topics. -Wikid77 (talk) 00:35, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Agree with this. As an example, look at Category:Documentary films about Presidents of the United States. JFK and the Donald are the outliers here, the only two with their own categories. Where are all the films about Reagan? You won't find them categorized, but they are listed on the Popular culture line in Template:Ronald Reagan. I pointed this out on June 29 in the discussion at Talk:Bibliography of Donald Trump#RfC about inclusion of films in Bibliography of Donald Trump, but so far nobody's been motivated enough to rectify the situation. Though, for my trouble, I did get a warning on my talk page to "Please take care to keep comments focused on content and not on contributors". Dare I make the observation that a certain contributor may be partially responsible for some of the exaggerated coverage of certain topics? wbm1058 (talk) 00:11, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Ideas for skeptical AI[edit]

The question was asked, (or, the "issue" was "raised") about

[This could become an even bigger issue] "as artificial intelligence begins to use misinformation as “fact” when it brings data together and creates more content."

My comment is that, like many editors on wiki sites, any artificial intelligence agent which is allowed to edit, will need a combination of skepticism and supervision.

Of course, learning how to be skeptical might be a challenge (at first) for the AI agent, just as it is for many human persons (young or otherwise) at first. IMHO being exposed to advertising might well be one of the best ways for a child (and perhaps also for a "young" [just starting out] AI agent) to become skeptical of the possible reasons why a certain claim (such as, in print or on some [radio or TV] broadcast medium, or on a web page or podcast) was spoken or written.

  1. (e.g., "could any of those reasons have included selfish motives?")
  2. (another e.g.: "could any of those reasons have included some well-intentioned but [perhaps] misguided attempt to further some worthy cause or progress toward some social goal, without the appropriate level of skepticism about unintended consequences"?)

Just as humans may be better able to make "informed" decisions (and less likely to make decisions that will later be "regretted") if they have learned sufficiently well how to be suspicious of the motives of any writers or other sources -- especially if that content is from a politician who is running for office, or from an advertisement paid for by a company in the business of raising funds (whether for nonprofit purposes, or in order to further the profits of a profitable business).

No matter how well-trained an AI agent is, to be suspicious in that way, it may still be appropriate (/slash "advisable") to also have some supervision (human and/or automated).

I think that on some (language specific) versions of Wikipedia, I have seen that they have a policy such that edits made by someone not "logged in" with an ID (and a password), are put into some kind of "tentative" status, until they have been checked by someone who was (in some way) known and trusted to a certain extent.

Something analogous to that, might also be appropriate for any edits made by a robot whose code has recently been updated. Such a kind of policy might have to be adapted, to the case in which a robot's "code" is constantly evolving (to some extent) over time, since (or "if") it includes learning from a big body of reading material that is available to the robot ... either over the internet, or through some kind of "educational material approval" channel.

THANKS for your patience if this seems disjointed and not very 100% "thought out" (and edited and revised). My daughter wants me to hurry up and click on "save changes" for this, ... so we can go and play some online games. I might return here later, to revise this ... or -- (at least) -- to respond to comments or "replies" (if any) from other wikipedia editors ... including humans and/or robots, if/as applicable.

THANKS for listening. --Mike Schwartz (talk) 03:31, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Week 4 Challenge: How does Wikimedia continue to be as useful as possible to the world as the creation, presentation, and distribution of knowledge change?[edit]

Not one comment yet?[edit]

I have had high expectations that people would comment on this challenge. Right now, I'm commenting on lack of comments on this challenge lately. Maybe it's same ol' same ol', or why else? Meanwhile, I did comment at Meta-wiki about this challenge. --George Ho (talk) 02:10, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

Week 5 challenge: How does Wikimedia meet our current and future readers’ needs as the world undergoes significant population shifts in the next 15 years?[edit]