WikiProject X presentation

A fragment of the Garden of Remembering



  • This was all James Hare's idea. Other people made it work too.
  • Project to research and improve wikiproject experience
  • Started in january, ran through september (extension)
  • If you were at wikimania, you got the end middle point presentation from a more product-oriented persective
  • Now you get the final presentation from the design perspective, or at least something very cranky.

What we did in a nutshell

  • Establish problem in which most wikiprojects aren't very useful
  • Try to figure out why, and what more useful ones do
  • Try figure out what to maybe do about it
  • Maybe do something about it
    • try some things
    • try some more things
    • run into a whole lot of bugs
    • come up with really horrible workarounds for bugs
  • Run out of grant and ask for more money.

Actual process

  • It wasn't actually that bad.

Research and outreach

More research

  • Once we had stories and volunteer projects, ran through the stories and volunteers
    • Story analysis (common things, whatever)
    • Component analysis [1]
  • WikiProject Directory:
    • Because we needed to know what we're dealing with.
    • What we're dealing with is terrifying.

The problem

  • Yay we know what the problems are!
  • WikiProjects are terrifying.
    • No, really.
    • For us, for new users, for people trying to maintain it all.
  • No technical support for wikiprojects
    • Everything needs to be done by hand
    • Hard to maintain, difficult to navigate
    • Few automatic updates/notifications
    • No way for new users to find them and become engaged
  • Unrealized potential

Mockups and test project

  • I made some mockups. Yeah. [2]
  • James turned one of them into an initial project. And then ran an editathon using it with some folks.
  • So some testing happened.
  • Some drinking happened.
  • Some other things happened.

Much, much later



  • Five pilots! Templates changed. Bugs showed up. Bugs got fixed. Hopefully.
  • A few others got converted/made as well.
  • At some point we established that this really, really isn't sustainable.

Serious problems

  • Setup
    • We have a wizard for signup. We need a wizard for project creation.
    • We can't make a wizard for project creation because project creation needs to initialise the wizard for project signup.
    • Initialising a wizard requires admin permissions.
    • Also some other weird complications.
  • Maintainability (now bots, off-project; horrible template soup)
  • Cross-project integration (wikidata, commons, etc)
  • Echo and Flow
  • Simply put, we're not done.

The future