Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wikipedia adding 'WikiLove' button


"Random acts of kindness barnstar" screenshot a

By Athima Chansanchai

Because we are creatures who crave and need positive reinforcement, Wikipedia is going to add a "WikiLove" button to encourage its contributors to keep editing despite the increase of corrections and criticism.a

The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, published a blog post Friday that introduced the button as a new feature being deployed on its prototype site. Users will be able to send each other messages of encouragement to keep from getting down when the haters heap on the snark. Wikimedia is asking users to create a test account, try out WikiLove and give them feedback via the WikiLove talk page.a

As the blog explains:a


WikiLove screenshota

WikiLove is a simple experiment in appreciation. It makes it easy and fun to send barnstars or whimsical messages of appreciation to other users. The tool was first built by Wikimedia Foundation developer and Wikimedian Ryan Kaldari as a small gadget, and the new editor engagement team at the Wikimedia Foundation has developed it into a full feature over the last few weeks. a

As a rationale, Wikimedia cited a survey of Wikipedia editors that pointed to 69 percent of them saying "being looked down on by more experienced editors" is the most likely among 17 variables "to cause people to say they will edit less frequently."a

Wikimedia Foundationa

This chart shows the relative increase and decrease in warning messages, praise/thank you messages, criticism and teaching messages over time.a

Conversely, 78 percent say "having others compliment you on your edits/articles" is the most likely to cause people to say they will edit more frequently. As Howie Fung, senior product manager and Erik Moeller, deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation, write, "editing Wikipedia has tended to become harder over time, and the likelihood that new users will receive correction/criticism has increased."a

Starting Wednesday, you should be able to use the WikiLove extension, or disable it. The Wikimedia Foundation has also built-in metrics to the tool so that they'll be able to measure how frequently it's used and how it affects new editor activity. They also want to explore ways to engage new users and make the site more inviting. a

There was one comment under the blog that pointed to an obvious tongue-in-cheek observation of any button that resembles that other button: "Showing appreciation by declaring 'Love'? I suppose it will have to be, since 'Like' has already been taken."a

More stories:a

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