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Readers of Wikipedia

Ziko van Dijk-3
Hello,

I just watched the showcase of December 2018, thank you for the interesting
contribution! It would be great it further research could have a look at
questions such as language choice.
With regard to have more insight in what readers want, I struggled in the
past with two questions:

Regionally important content: Should a Wikipedia language version
concentrate on regional topics, or try to cover a large variety of topics?
Heinz Kloss in the 1970s introduced the idea of "eigenbezogene Inhalte",
content, that is closely related to a language and its region, like local
history, culture and typical crafts such as fishing on the Faroe islands or
farming in the Alps. What do the readers in Hungary want? That hu.WP
concentrates on Hungarian topics, while they consult English wikipedia for
specialized technical topics or other countries?

Large or small articles: Some printed encyclopedias had relatively few, but
large articles. Others segmented the content into many small articles.
(Think of Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropedia and Micropedia.) What do
Wikipedia readers want? Do they prefer to read about a larger topic in one
long, well structured article? Or several short ones, linking to each other?

I could imagine that a reader who is interested in information for work or
school prefers long articles that provide an in-depth approach in order to
became familiar with the overall topic (that is, what one would expect
traditionally). And that "news" readers want to look up something quickly,
in a short, simplyfing article.

Kind regards
Ziko
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Re: Readers of Wikipedia

Bob Kosovsky
I didn't see the showcase but I'm intrigued by Ziko's comments.  The
general response I would make to his question "What do Wikipedia readers
want?" is that different readers want different things, sometimes in
conflict with one another.  To elaborate on two of Ziko's points:

"Regionally important content."   This reminded me of a Signpost editorial
some years ago discussing a then-recent Arbcom debate concerning how the
city Jerusalem is described in the opening section of several different
language Wikipedias.  As you can imagine, not only was there strong
variance but it seemed that some of the versions were making unstated
points that, if not political, were trying to convey stability of
definition without alluding to any controversies.  Admittedly Jerusalem is
an extreme example, but I would think there would be any number of
geographic or even topical ideas which certain languages would want to
convey certain meanings and issues of which other languages might be
unaware.

"Large or small articles."  I've noticed this point of contention at the
outset of my Wikipedia editing.  There are some editors (and presumably
readers) who want Wikipedia to look and function like a traditional
encyclopedia, with thorough articles reflecting well-written and thoughtful
essays that one used to find in encyclopedias.  Those who know anything
about web design know that a long essay goes against the design ethos of
the web where some advise against webpages that require excessive scrolling.

The bottom line is that I don't think one can or should make a definitive
rule regarding these issues because different communities will want
different attributes and styles.  To be sure, editors/readers should be
aware that such options exist and that Wikipedia style varies considerably
from article to article (and community to community).

Bob
(user:kosboot)


On Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 5:02 AM Ziko van Dijk <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello,
>
> I just watched the showcase of December 2018, thank you for the interesting
> contribution! It would be great it further research could have a look at
> questions such as language choice.
> With regard to have more insight in what readers want, I struggled in the
> past with two questions:
>
> Regionally important content: Should a Wikipedia language version
> concentrate on regional topics, or try to cover a large variety of topics?
> Heinz Kloss in the 1970s introduced the idea of "eigenbezogene Inhalte",
> content, that is closely related to a language and its region, like local
> history, culture and typical crafts such as fishing on the Faroe islands or
> farming in the Alps. What do the readers in Hungary want? That hu.WP
> concentrates on Hungarian topics, while they consult English wikipedia for
> specialized technical topics or other countries?
>
> Large or small articles: Some printed encyclopedias had relatively few, but
> large articles. Others segmented the content into many small articles.
> (Think of Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropedia and Micropedia.) What do
> Wikipedia readers want? Do they prefer to read about a larger topic in one
> long, well structured article? Or several short ones, linking to each
> other?
>
> I could imagine that a reader who is interested in information for work or
> school prefers long articles that provide an in-depth approach in order to
> became familiar with the overall topic (that is, what one would expect
> traditionally). And that "news" readers want to look up something quickly,
> in a short, simplyfing article.
>
> Kind regards
> Ziko
> _______________________________________________
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
>
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Re: Readers of Wikipedia

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by Ziko van Dijk-3
Ziko van Dijk, 13/12/18 12:02:
> Regionally important content: Should a Wikipedia language version
> concentrate on regional topics, or try to cover a large variety of topics?

This question is automatically solved if instead of focusing on
Wikipedia you do Wikisource. Wikisource will only contain texts
published in that language, such as local fiction and official acts of
local entities. An example is Ladino/Ladin (as in lld, not
lad/Judaeo-Spanish):
https://it.wikisource.org/wiki/Categoria:Testi_in_ladino

Federico

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Re: Readers of Wikipedia

Leila Zia
Hi all.

On Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 2:02 AM Ziko van Dijk <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I just watched the showcase of December 2018, thank you for the interesting
> contribution!

For those interested who haven't watched it, Ziko is referring to:
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Research/Showcase#December_2018

Thanks, Ziko! More below.

> It would be great it further research could have a look at
> questions such as language choice.

Agreed. This has been a request by a few other community members as
well. One interesting question to address here is: can we characterize
language switching? More specifically: are there specific conditions
under which switching happens? This will allow us to answer questions
like: Are there specific topics that are covered in language x and not
y that trigger switching? Is switching a function of availability of
content or we can still see switching even when the content exists in
the 2+ languages the user is comfortable reading content in? ...

Diego started looking into this, and you can follow his future work at
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Characterizing_Wikipedia_Reader_Behaviour/Demographics_and_Wikipedia_use_cases
We will do more work in this space in coming 6 months.

> With regard to have more insight in what readers want, I struggled in the
> past with two questions:

> Regionally important content: Should a Wikipedia language version
> concentrate on regional topics, or try to cover a large variety of topics?

This is a good question, and as you stated, it is related to
understanding reader needs and some of the research in understanding
language switching behavior can help us understand this better.
Another aspect to keep an eye on is Denny's recent proposal for
abstract Wikipedia [1]. If that direction is picked up, we may have
more reason to emphasize on regionally important content creation
first.

> Large or small articles: Some printed encyclopedias had relatively few, but
> large articles. Others segmented the content into many small articles.
> (Think of Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropedia and Micropedia.) What do
> Wikipedia readers want? Do they prefer to read about a larger topic in one
> long, well structured article? Or several short ones, linking to each other?

This is an interesting one, too. There are at least two ways to
approach this question: study how Wikipedia readers learn (what it
means to learn needs to be defined) and then do a series of user
studies across languages and regions to find patterns and provide
recommendations for how to organize content with readers in mind. The
other approach, which I would love to see in action, is to break down
the article into many pieces and allow the reader to pick and choose
to create a learning experience for learning topic x. Then, learn from
the way readers learn. This will be building on Collection [2], Gather
[3] or other similar initiatives. Search data can also be valuable
here. (just to be clear: this is not something we're looking into
right now, but it's a fascinating area that if someone has bandwidth
and resources to look into, it can help us learn a lot.)

> I could imagine that a reader who is interested in information for work or
> school prefers long articles that provide an in-depth approach in order to
> became familiar with the overall topic (that is, what one would expect
> traditionally).

We don't know if this assumption is correct: in fact, we have the
length of article as a feature in the study and it's not picked up as
a feature that defines this user group. What we know is that across
the 14 languages in the study, this group of readers have longer dwell
times on articles, they use the desktop platform, and they come to
Wikipedia in the afternoon [4].

The above being said, we can't say for sure based on the recent study
that this group of readers don't prefer longer articles because if the
longer article in the topic of their interest doesn't exist on
Wikipedia, they may have to work with the shorter article. It would be
great to have some user studies to understand this group and their
needs better.

> And that "news" readers want to look up something quickly,
> in a short, simplyfing article.

This one we don't know. :) What we know is that across languages, this
was not observed as a consistent pattern (check table 2 in the most
recent paper [5]. for enwiki specific audience, check table 2a in the
first paper [6]: while 38% of the users motivated by media are coming
to look up a fact another 62% are there for overview or in-depth
reading.).

On Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 5:58 AM Bob Kosovsky <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> "Large or small articles."  I've noticed this point of contention at the
> outset of my Wikipedia editing.  There are some editors (and presumably
> readers) who want Wikipedia to look and function like a traditional
> encyclopedia, with thorough articles reflecting well-written and thoughtful
> essays that one used to find in encyclopedias.  Those who know anything
> about web design know that a long essay goes against the design ethos of
> the web where some advise against webpages that require excessive scrolling.

We need to understand this better. What we see in the recent study is
that readers in countries with low Human Development Index read
Wikipedia more frequently in-depth (when compared to those in high HDI
countries). What we don't know is if the current forms that the
articles are written in is satisfying their learning needs or they
would prefer to read and learn using the same content but in different
representations. I shared some ideas in my response to Ziko how we can
learn more about this aspect of reader needs.

> The bottom line is that I don't think one can or should make a definitive
> rule regarding these issues because different communities will want
> different attributes and styles.  To be sure, editors/readers should be
> aware that such options exist and that Wikipedia style varies considerably
> from article to article (and community to community).

Agreed, but I suggest we don't stop there:
* We should experiment with ways to bring editors and readers closer
to each other. I mention this in the discussion part of the showcase
as well: at the moment, the broadly available link from readers to
editors is pageviews on an article page, and perhaps some other
features. We can experiment with ways that can empower editors to
understand the audience of their articles better.
* We can think of ways to make the content and its representation less
rigid from the reader perspective. While each language community has
their own style of writing, we can experiment with allowing the reader
to pick and choose content and represent it in the way that is most
useful for their reading needs.

On Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 6:31 AM Federico Leva (Nemo) <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Ziko van Dijk, 13/12/18 12:02:
> > Regionally important content: Should a Wikipedia language version
> > concentrate on regional topics, or try to cover a large variety of topics?
>
> This question is automatically solved if instead of focusing on
> Wikipedia you do Wikisource. Wikisource will only contain texts
> published in that language, such as local fiction and official acts of
> local entities.

Correct, but the sources in a given language may or may not be about
regional topics. So even in the case of Wikisource, the question of
whether to focus on regional (geographically close) topics can be
valid. I /think/ in the case of Wikisource you can imagine that while
it's important to capture all of the possible sources of a language,
you may want to prioritize region-specific sources over others if you
have specific objectives.

Best,
Leila

[1] http://simia.net/download/abstractwikipedia_whitepaper.pdf
[2] https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Collection
[3] https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Gather
[4] First bullet point on page 6.
[5] https://arxiv.org/pdf/1812.00474.pdf
[6] https://arxiv.org/pdf/1702.05379.pdf

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Re: Readers of Wikipedia

Kerry Raymond
In reply to this post by Ziko van Dijk-3
I think the decision on the scope probably depends on whether people who speak that language also speak other languages. For example, many people in the Netherlands and Norway speak English very well. There may be less need to provide some topics in their own language if that topic is well-covered in Wikipedia so perhaps the focus can be more on local content. But if the speakers of that language are less likely to speak a "larger" language, then the need to provide a wide variety of non-local topics may be more important than providing information on local topics.

I don't know if any Wikipedias consciously make a decision to focus (or not) on local content, but even if they do, I presume they are hostage to the interests of their contributors (unless they actively remove the material). That is, you get the topics that the contributors are willing and able to write, no matter what the intention might be.

Australians are often surprised to find content about the Australian Outback appears in German Wikipedia and not in English Wikipedia but if you travel in the Outback, the reason is obvious -- the outback is full of German tourists in campervans and this is reflected in their Wikipedia contributions.

Kerry

-----Original Message-----
From: Wiki-research-l [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Ziko van Dijk
Sent: Thursday, 13 December 2018 8:02 PM
To: Research into Wikimedia content and communities <[hidden email]>
Subject: [Wiki-research-l] Readers of Wikipedia

Hello,

I just watched the showcase of December 2018, thank you for the interesting contribution! It would be great it further research could have a look at questions such as language choice.
With regard to have more insight in what readers want, I struggled in the past with two questions:

Regionally important content: Should a Wikipedia language version concentrate on regional topics, or try to cover a large variety of topics?
Heinz Kloss in the 1970s introduced the idea of "eigenbezogene Inhalte", content, that is closely related to a language and its region, like local history, culture and typical crafts such as fishing on the Faroe islands or farming in the Alps. What do the readers in Hungary want? That hu.WP concentrates on Hungarian topics, while they consult English wikipedia for specialized technical topics or other countries?

Large or small articles: Some printed encyclopedias had relatively few, but large articles. Others segmented the content into many small articles.
(Think of Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropedia and Micropedia.) What do Wikipedia readers want? Do they prefer to read about a larger topic in one long, well structured article? Or several short ones, linking to each other?

I could imagine that a reader who is interested in information for work or school prefers long articles that provide an in-depth approach in order to became familiar with the overall topic (that is, what one would expect traditionally). And that "news" readers want to look up something quickly, in a short, simplyfing article.

Kind regards
Ziko
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https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l


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Re: Readers of Wikipedia

Ziko van Dijk-3
Hello,
Thanks for the link and the comments, Leila!

Am Fr., 14. Dez. 2018 um 00:44 Uhr schrieb Kerry Raymond <
[hidden email]>:

> hostage to the interests of their contributors (unless they actively
> remove the material). That is, you get the topics that the contributors are
> willing and able to write, no matter what the intention might be.
>

That's a very pointy expression: "Hostage to the interests of their
contributors"! In fact, WP should serve recipients, but the reality is
often different. We alreday saw that Article Feedback Tool as a means to
find out what recipients think. I would be happy with a new, less ambitious
approach, where we don't expect recipients to contribute to the improvement
of content but just want to know their opinion.

By the way, the distincion of large and short articles I have found in
Collison's "Encyclopedias through the ages" (or similar) from 1966. It is
not very prominent in there, but I have elaborated on the idea in 2015,
with a distinction of definition articles, exposition articles, longer
articles and dissertations.

An encyclopedia with "short" articles - or a meaningful combination of the
four types above - would fit well to the original concept of hypertext not
being an actual set of texts (or nodes), but being an individual's specific
learning strategy or reading path.

Federico: remember, most of the oldest German texts (Old High German) deal
with Biblical topics... :-)

Kind regards
Ziko
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Re: Readers of Wikipedia

Kerry Raymond
Pointy? I think you may misunderstand  my use of the term “hostage”. I don’t use it with the meaning of abducting people for ransom, but in the sense of “subject to things beyond our control”.

 

I agree entirely that Wikipedia should serve its readers and to that end “To do” lists are compiled with the intention of giving adequate coverage of topics perceived to be needed. Yet, many of those “To do” lists are full of redlinks years later because we have volunteer contributors whose interests / expertise may not align with the perceived needs. Whereas if Wikipedia employed its writers, it could direct them to write articles about required topics. It would be a wonderful thing if we could harness the volunteer energy that goes into largely unproductive activities like endless category reorganisation (given studies show readers rarely look below the reference section and don’t see or use the categories) into writing content that is actually needed. But alas it is not so.

 

Kerry

 

 

From: Ziko van Dijk [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Sunday, 16 December 2018 3:32 AM
To: Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>; Research into Wikimedia content and communities <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] Readers of Wikipedia

 

Hello,

Thanks for the link and the comments, Leila!

 

Am Fr., 14. Dez. 2018 um 00:44 Uhr schrieb Kerry Raymond <[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]> >:

hostage to the interests of their contributors (unless they actively remove the material). That is, you get the topics that the contributors are willing and able to write, no matter what the intention might be.

 

That's a very pointy expression: "Hostage to the interests of their contributors"! In fact, WP should serve recipients, but the reality is often different. We alreday saw that Article Feedback Tool as a means to find out what recipients think. I would be happy with a new, less ambitious approach, where we don't expect recipients to contribute to the improvement of content but just want to know their opinion.

 

By the way, the distincion of large and short articles I have found in Collison's "Encyclopedias through the ages" (or similar) from 1966. It is not very prominent in there, but I have elaborated on the idea in 2015, with a distinction of definition articles, exposition articles, longer articles and dissertations.

 

An encyclopedia with "short" articles - or a meaningful combination of the four types above - would fit well to the original concept of hypertext not being an actual set of texts (or nodes), but being an individual's specific learning strategy or reading path.

 

Federico: remember, most of the oldest German texts (Old High German) deal with Biblical topics... :-)

 

Kind regards

Ziko

 

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Re: Readers of Wikipedia

WereSpielChequers-2
I've long seen categorisation on wikipedia as a way to bring articles to
the attention of those who follow certain categories. During the cleanup of
unreferenced biographies a few year ago this was a useful adjunct, with
several wikiprojects cleaning up all the articles legitimately categorised
for them. Some of the other Wikiprojects did at least go through and prod
or speedy the non-notables and hoaxes in their areas.

I'm pretty sure it still operates that way, categorisation of an
uncategorised article sometimes brings it to the attention of people who
know the topic.

And of course where the article doesn't contain the words in the category,
categorisation then improves search.

If like me you are a glass third full person categories make a useful
contribution.


On Sat, 15 Dec 2018 at 22:21, Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Pointy? I think you may misunderstand  my use of the term “hostage”. I
> don’t use it with the meaning of abducting people for ransom, but in the
> sense of “subject to things beyond our control”.
>
>
>
> I agree entirely that Wikipedia should serve its readers and to that end
> “To do” lists are compiled with the intention of giving adequate coverage
> of topics perceived to be needed. Yet, many of those “To do” lists are full
> of redlinks years later because we have volunteer contributors whose
> interests / expertise may not align with the perceived needs. Whereas if
> Wikipedia employed its writers, it could direct them to write articles
> about required topics. It would be a wonderful thing if we could harness
> the volunteer energy that goes into largely unproductive activities like
> endless category reorganisation (given studies show readers rarely look
> below the reference section and don’t see or use the categories) into
> writing content that is actually needed. But alas it is not so.
>
>
>
> Kerry
>
>
>
>
>
> From: Ziko van Dijk [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Sunday, 16 December 2018 3:32 AM
> To: Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>; Research into Wikimedia
> content and communities <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] Readers of Wikipedia
>
>
>
> Hello,
>
> Thanks for the link and the comments, Leila!
>
>
>
> Am Fr., 14. Dez. 2018 um 00:44 Uhr schrieb Kerry Raymond <
> [hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]> >:
>
> hostage to the interests of their contributors (unless they actively
> remove the material). That is, you get the topics that the contributors are
> willing and able to write, no matter what the intention might be.
>
>
>
> That's a very pointy expression: "Hostage to the interests of their
> contributors"! In fact, WP should serve recipients, but the reality is
> often different. We alreday saw that Article Feedback Tool as a means to
> find out what recipients think. I would be happy with a new, less ambitious
> approach, where we don't expect recipients to contribute to the improvement
> of content but just want to know their opinion.
>
>
>
> By the way, the distincion of large and short articles I have found in
> Collison's "Encyclopedias through the ages" (or similar) from 1966. It is
> not very prominent in there, but I have elaborated on the idea in 2015,
> with a distinction of definition articles, exposition articles, longer
> articles and dissertations.
>
>
>
> An encyclopedia with "short" articles - or a meaningful combination of the
> four types above - would fit well to the original concept of hypertext not
> being an actual set of texts (or nodes), but being an individual's specific
> learning strategy or reading path.
>
>
>
> Federico: remember, most of the oldest German texts (Old High German) deal
> with Biblical topics... :-)
>
>
>
> Kind regards
>
> Ziko
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
>
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Re: Readers of Wikipedia

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
For your information, at Wikidata we have a large number of categories
where through query logic we know about articles that should include a
category. It is a tool that can be automated for many of them in two ways..
Harvesting Wikipedia for inclusion in Wikidata and also the reverse;
harvesting Wikidata for including a category in an article.
Thanks,
      GerardM

On Sun, 16 Dec 2018 at 16:26, WereSpielChequers <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> I've long seen categorisation on wikipedia as a way to bring articles to
> the attention of those who follow certain categories. During the cleanup of
> unreferenced biographies a few year ago this was a useful adjunct, with
> several wikiprojects cleaning up all the articles legitimately categorised
> for them. Some of the other Wikiprojects did at least go through and prod
> or speedy the non-notables and hoaxes in their areas.
>
> I'm pretty sure it still operates that way, categorisation of an
> uncategorised article sometimes brings it to the attention of people who
> know the topic.
>
> And of course where the article doesn't contain the words in the category,
> categorisation then improves search.
>
> If like me you are a glass third full person categories make a useful
> contribution.
>
>
> On Sat, 15 Dec 2018 at 22:21, Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > Pointy? I think you may misunderstand  my use of the term “hostage”. I
> > don’t use it with the meaning of abducting people for ransom, but in the
> > sense of “subject to things beyond our control”.
> >
> >
> >
> > I agree entirely that Wikipedia should serve its readers and to that end
> > “To do” lists are compiled with the intention of giving adequate coverage
> > of topics perceived to be needed. Yet, many of those “To do” lists are
> full
> > of redlinks years later because we have volunteer contributors whose
> > interests / expertise may not align with the perceived needs. Whereas if
> > Wikipedia employed its writers, it could direct them to write articles
> > about required topics. It would be a wonderful thing if we could harness
> > the volunteer energy that goes into largely unproductive activities like
> > endless category reorganisation (given studies show readers rarely look
> > below the reference section and don’t see or use the categories) into
> > writing content that is actually needed. But alas it is not so.
> >
> >
> >
> > Kerry
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > From: Ziko van Dijk [mailto:[hidden email]]
> > Sent: Sunday, 16 December 2018 3:32 AM
> > To: Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>; Research into Wikimedia
> > content and communities <[hidden email]>
> > Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] Readers of Wikipedia
> >
> >
> >
> > Hello,
> >
> > Thanks for the link and the comments, Leila!
> >
> >
> >
> > Am Fr., 14. Dez. 2018 um 00:44 Uhr schrieb Kerry Raymond <
> > [hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]> >:
> >
> > hostage to the interests of their contributors (unless they actively
> > remove the material). That is, you get the topics that the contributors
> are
> > willing and able to write, no matter what the intention might be.
> >
> >
> >
> > That's a very pointy expression: "Hostage to the interests of their
> > contributors"! In fact, WP should serve recipients, but the reality is
> > often different. We alreday saw that Article Feedback Tool as a means to
> > find out what recipients think. I would be happy with a new, less
> ambitious
> > approach, where we don't expect recipients to contribute to the
> improvement
> > of content but just want to know their opinion.
> >
> >
> >
> > By the way, the distincion of large and short articles I have found in
> > Collison's "Encyclopedias through the ages" (or similar) from 1966. It is
> > not very prominent in there, but I have elaborated on the idea in 2015,
> > with a distinction of definition articles, exposition articles, longer
> > articles and dissertations.
> >
> >
> >
> > An encyclopedia with "short" articles - or a meaningful combination of
> the
> > four types above - would fit well to the original concept of hypertext
> not
> > being an actual set of texts (or nodes), but being an individual's
> specific
> > learning strategy or reading path.
> >
> >
> >
> > Federico: remember, most of the oldest German texts (Old High German)
> deal
> > with Biblical topics... :-)
> >
> >
> >
> > Kind regards
> >
> > Ziko
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wiki-research-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
>
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Re: Readers of Wikipedia

Kerry Raymond
In reply to this post by WereSpielChequers-2
I’m not suggesting categories are bad. I certainly don’t want uncategorised articles. I also make use of hidden tracking categories to manage groups of articles associated with various projects. But we do have to recognise that it is editors that appear to make the most use of them. Eye-tracking studies on desktop and I believe some instrumentation in mobile viewing shows that readers don’t look at them (although I acknowledge that they may indirectly benefit the reader through improved search). I do outreach work (general talks about Wikipedia and edit training) and I know from those interactions that our readers have mostly never seen or used our categories, even many librarians (folks for whom categorisation is part of their fundamental way of working) appear not to have noticed our categories.

 

What I am objecting to is what I see on my watchlist every day, many recategorisations into increasingly fine-grained categories. Also Categories for Discussion Speedy seems to be a way to constantly fiddle with the category tree (mostly just renaming) which then result in huge numbers of edits to rename the categories in all the affected articles. If you look at some of our top contributors, that’s what they do all day, yet goodness knows how much time is spent by the rest of us reviewing these very-low value edits on our watchlists. I would be very interested if anyone had any studies on the cost/benefit of various types of edit (maybe a job for ORES) against the benefit to the article (and hence the reader) and the consumed time (by all parties) of that edit. For example, vandalism would score strongly negative (damage to article content) but corresponding removal of that vandalism would not score as strongly positive, because it’s not a zero-sum game due to risk of exposure of the vandalism to the reader before the revert and due to the reviewer cost (I review many changed articles that have had an edit-revert sequence) and the window in which the vandalism may have been ex, so even though the impact on the content is net zero, the impact on everyone who reviews it needlessly is a net negative for the project). All edits (good or bad) have a reviewer cost. Do we know anything about reviewer costs of edits?

 

A couple of people have asked me about my mention of studies showing people don’t look below the references. I was referring to a presentation at Wikimania this year (URL to slides below). While the slides do not explicitly mention categories, it shows readers rarely get to the bottom of an article, where the categories lurk.

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e1/Which_parts_of_a_%28Wikipedia%29_article_are_actually_being_read_%28Wikimania_2018%29.pdf

 

I don’t know if there is more information available on the topic, but hopefully as it was WMF Research, someone on this list may be able to point us to more info.

 

Kerry

 

From: WereSpielChequers [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Monday, 17 December 2018 1:26 AM
To: Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>; Research into Wikimedia content and communities <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] Readers of Wikipedia

 

I've long seen categorisation on wikipedia as a way to bring articles to the attention of those who follow certain categories. During the cleanup of unreferenced biographies a few year ago this was a useful adjunct, with several wikiprojects cleaning up all the articles legitimately categorised for them. Some of the other Wikiprojects did at least go through and prod or speedy the non-notables and hoaxes in their areas.

 

I'm pretty sure it still operates that way, categorisation of an uncategorised article sometimes brings it to the attention of people who know the topic.

 

And of course where the article doesn't contain the words in the category, categorisation then improves search.

 

If like me you are a glass third full person categories make a useful contribution.

 

 

On Sat, 15 Dec 2018 at 22:21, Kerry Raymond <[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]> > wrote:

Pointy? I think you may misunderstand  my use of the term “hostage”. I don’t use it with the meaning of abducting people for ransom, but in the sense of “subject to things beyond our control”.



I agree entirely that Wikipedia should serve its readers and to that end “To do” lists are compiled with the intention of giving adequate coverage of topics perceived to be needed. Yet, many of those “To do” lists are full of redlinks years later because we have volunteer contributors whose interests / expertise may not align with the perceived needs. Whereas if Wikipedia employed its writers, it could direct them to write articles about required topics. It would be a wonderful thing if we could harness the volunteer energy that goes into largely unproductive activities like endless category reorganisation (given studies show readers rarely look below the reference section and don’t see or use the categories) into writing content that is actually needed. But alas it is not so.



Kerry





From: Ziko van Dijk [mailto:[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]> ]
Sent: Sunday, 16 December 2018 3:32 AM
To: Kerry Raymond <[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]> >; Research into Wikimedia content and communities <[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]> >
Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] Readers of Wikipedia



Hello,

Thanks for the link and the comments, Leila!



Am Fr., 14. Dez. 2018 um 00:44 Uhr schrieb Kerry Raymond <[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]>  <mailto:[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]> > >:

hostage to the interests of their contributors (unless they actively remove the material). That is, you get the topics that the contributors are willing and able to write, no matter what the intention might be.



That's a very pointy expression: "Hostage to the interests of their contributors"! In fact, WP should serve recipients, but the reality is often different. We alreday saw that Article Feedback Tool as a means to find out what recipients think. I would be happy with a new, less ambitious approach, where we don't expect recipients to contribute to the improvement of content but just want to know their opinion.



By the way, the distincion of large and short articles I have found in Collison's "Encyclopedias through the ages" (or similar) from 1966. It is not very prominent in there, but I have elaborated on the idea in 2015, with a distinction of definition articles, exposition articles, longer articles and dissertations.



An encyclopedia with "short" articles - or a meaningful combination of the four types above - would fit well to the original concept of hypertext not being an actual set of texts (or nodes), but being an individual's specific learning strategy or reading path.



Federico: remember, most of the oldest German texts (Old High German) deal with Biblical topics... :-)



Kind regards

Ziko



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[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]>
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l

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Re: Readers of Wikipedia

WereSpielChequers-2
I am more active in categorisation on Commons than on Wikipedia, and there is a difference there as images in a very fine grained category may be the specific images that one sees if they click on the commons category link in a Wikipedia article.

But on both I see allocating more specific categories as part of the workflow of many of our editors. Checking through entries in a high level category, sifting out hoaxes and the like and moving the rest into more appropriate categories.

I suspect what we really need is a better watchlisting system, one that doesn't just give you options to ignore bot and minor edits but also to ignore category edits and edits that are just reversions of IP and newbie edits.

Get Outlook for iOS<https://aka.ms/o0ukef>

________________________________
From: Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, December 16, 2018 11:43 pm
To: 'WereSpielChequers'; 'Research into Wikimedia content and communities'
Subject: RE: [Wiki-research-l] Readers of Wikipedia

I’m not suggesting categories are bad. I certainly don’t want uncategorised articles. I also make use of hidden tracking categories to manage groups of articles associated with various projects. But we do have to recognise that it is editors that appear to make the most use of them. Eye-tracking studies on desktop and I believe some instrumentation in mobile viewing shows that readers don’t look at them (although I acknowledge that they may indirectly benefit the reader through improved search). I do outreach work (general talks about Wikipedia and edit training) and I know from those interactions that our readers have mostly never seen or used our categories, even many librarians (folks for whom categorisation is part of their fundamental way of working) appear not to have noticed our categories.

What I am objecting to is what I see on my watchlist every day, many recategorisations into increasingly fine-grained categories. Also Categories for Discussion Speedy seems to be a way to constantly fiddle with the category tree (mostly just renaming) which then result in huge numbers of edits to rename the categories in all the affected articles. If you look at some of our top contributors, that’s what they do all day, yet goodness knows how much time is spent by the rest of us reviewing these very-low value edits on our watchlists. I would be very interested if anyone had any studies on the cost/benefit of various types of edit (maybe a job for ORES) against the benefit to the article (and hence the reader) and the consumed time (by all parties) of that edit. For example, vandalism would score strongly negative (damage to article content) but corresponding removal of that vandalism would not score as strongly positive, because it’s not a zero-sum game due to risk of exposure of the vandalism to the reader before the revert and due to the reviewer cost (I review many changed articles that have had an edit-revert sequence) and the window in which the vandalism may have been ex, so even though the impact on the content is net zero, the impact on everyone who reviews it needlessly is a net negative for the project). All edits (good or bad) have a reviewer cost. Do we know anything about reviewer costs of edits?

A couple of people have asked me about my mention of studies showing people don’t look below the references. I was referring to a presentation at Wikimania this year (URL to slides below). While the slides do not explicitly mention categories, it shows readers rarely get to the bottom of an article, where the categories lurk.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e1/Which_parts_of_a_%28Wikipedia%29_article_are_actually_being_read_%28Wikimania_2018%29.pdf

I don’t know if there is more information available on the topic, but hopefully as it was WMF Research, someone on this list may be able to point us to more info.

Kerry

From: WereSpielChequers [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Monday, 17 December 2018 1:26 AM
To: Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>; Research into Wikimedia content and communities <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] Readers of Wikipedia

I've long seen categorisation on wikipedia as a way to bring articles to the attention of those who follow certain categories. During the cleanup of unreferenced biographies a few year ago this was a useful adjunct, with several wikiprojects cleaning up all the articles legitimately categorised for them. Some of the other Wikiprojects did at least go through and prod or speedy the non-notables and hoaxes in their areas.

I'm pretty sure it still operates that way, categorisation of an uncategorised article sometimes brings it to the attention of people who know the topic.

And of course where the article doesn't contain the words in the category, categorisation then improves search.

If like me you are a glass third full person categories make a useful contribution.


On Sat, 15 Dec 2018 at 22:21, Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
Pointy? I think you may misunderstand  my use of the term “hostage”. I don’t use it with the meaning of abducting people for ransom, but in the sense of “subject to things beyond our control”.



I agree entirely that Wikipedia should serve its readers and to that end “To do” lists are compiled with the intention of giving adequate coverage of topics perceived to be needed. Yet, many of those “To do” lists are full of redlinks years later because we have volunteer contributors whose interests / expertise may not align with the perceived needs. Whereas if Wikipedia employed its writers, it could direct them to write articles about required topics. It would be a wonderful thing if we could harness the volunteer energy that goes into largely unproductive activities like endless category reorganisation (given studies show readers rarely look below the reference section and don’t see or use the categories) into writing content that is actually needed. But alas it is not so.



Kerry





From: Ziko van Dijk [mailto:[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>]
Sent: Sunday, 16 December 2018 3:32 AM
To: Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>>; Research into Wikimedia content and communities <[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>>
Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] Readers of Wikipedia



Hello,

Thanks for the link and the comments, Leila!



Am Fr., 14. Dez. 2018 um 00:44 Uhr schrieb Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]> <mailto:[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>> >:

hostage to the interests of their contributors (unless they actively remove the material). That is, you get the topics that the contributors are willing and able to write, no matter what the intention might be.



That's a very pointy expression: "Hostage to the interests of their contributors"! In fact, WP should serve recipients, but the reality is often different. We alreday saw that Article Feedback Tool as a means to find out what recipients think. I would be happy with a new, less ambitious approach, where we don't expect recipients to contribute to the improvement of content but just want to know their opinion.



By the way, the distincion of large and short articles I have found in Collison's "Encyclopedias through the ages" (or similar) from 1966. It is not very prominent in there, but I have elaborated on the idea in 2015, with a distinction of definition articles, exposition articles, longer articles and dissertations.



An encyclopedia with "short" articles - or a meaningful combination of the four types above - would fit well to the original concept of hypertext not being an actual set of texts (or nodes), but being an individual's specific learning strategy or reading path.



Federico: remember, most of the oldest German texts (Old High German) deal with Biblical topics... :-)



Kind regards

Ziko



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Wiki-research-l mailing list
[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
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[hidden email]
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Re: Readers of Wikipedia

David Goodman-2
WP should serve the readers, but it has to be written by the available
writers. We're dependent on volunteers from the   people interested in
working on an encyclopedia like ours'.  They'll have not just certain
interests, but certain abilities. This will vary with the different
encyclopedias , but at the enWP, there are very few people in most fields
who have the ability to write long comprehensive well--organized articles.
No matter how desirable it might be to have them, they arenotthee, and the
many education programs have brought in rather few regular partcipants.

On Mon, Dec 17, 2018 at 6:58 AM Jonathan Cardy <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> I am more active in categorisation on Commons than on Wikipedia, and there
> is a difference there as images in a very fine grained category may be the
> specific images that one sees if they click on the commons category link in
> a Wikipedia article.
>
> But on both I see allocating more specific categories as part of the
> workflow of many of our editors. Checking through entries in a high level
> category, sifting out hoaxes and the like and moving the rest into more
> appropriate categories.
>
> I suspect what we really need is a better watchlisting system, one that
> doesn't just give you options to ignore bot and minor edits but also to
> ignore category edits and edits that are just reversions of IP and newbie
> edits.
>
> Get Outlook for iOS<https://aka.ms/o0ukef>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>
> Sent: Sunday, December 16, 2018 11:43 pm
> To: 'WereSpielChequers'; 'Research into Wikimedia content and communities'
> Subject: RE: [Wiki-research-l] Readers of Wikipedia
>
> I’m not suggesting categories are bad. I certainly don’t want
> uncategorised articles. I also make use of hidden tracking categories to
> manage groups of articles associated with various projects. But we do have
> to recognise that it is editors that appear to make the most use of them.
> Eye-tracking studies on desktop and I believe some instrumentation in
> mobile viewing shows that readers don’t look at them (although I
> acknowledge that they may indirectly benefit the reader through improved
> search). I do outreach work (general talks about Wikipedia and edit
> training) and I know from those interactions that our readers have mostly
> never seen or used our categories, even many librarians (folks for whom
> categorisation is part of their fundamental way of working) appear not to
> have noticed our categories.
>
> What I am objecting to is what I see on my watchlist every day, many
> recategorisations into increasingly fine-grained categories. Also
> Categories for Discussion Speedy seems to be a way to constantly fiddle
> with the category tree (mostly just renaming) which then result in huge
> numbers of edits to rename the categories in all the affected articles. If
> you look at some of our top contributors, that’s what they do all day, yet
> goodness knows how much time is spent by the rest of us reviewing these
> very-low value edits on our watchlists. I would be very interested if
> anyone had any studies on the cost/benefit of various types of edit (maybe
> a job for ORES) against the benefit to the article (and hence the reader)
> and the consumed time (by all parties) of that edit. For example, vandalism
> would score strongly negative (damage to article content) but corresponding
> removal of that vandalism would not score as strongly positive, because
> it’s not a zero-sum game due to risk of exposure of the vandalism to the
> reader before the revert and due to the reviewer cost (I review many
> changed articles that have had an edit-revert sequence) and the window in
> which the vandalism may have been ex, so even though the impact on the
> content is net zero, the impact on everyone who reviews it needlessly is a
> net negative for the project). All edits (good or bad) have a reviewer
> cost. Do we know anything about reviewer costs of edits?
>
> A couple of people have asked me about my mention of studies showing
> people don’t look below the references. I was referring to a presentation
> at Wikimania this year (URL to slides below). While the slides do not
> explicitly mention categories, it shows readers rarely get to the bottom of
> an article, where the categories lurk.
>
>
> https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e1/Which_parts_of_a_%28Wikipedia%29_article_are_actually_being_read_%28Wikimania_2018%29.pdf
>
> I don’t know if there is more information available on the topic, but
> hopefully as it was WMF Research, someone on this list may be able to point
> us to more info.
>
> Kerry
>
> From: WereSpielChequers [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Monday, 17 December 2018 1:26 AM
> To: Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>; Research into Wikimedia
> content and communities <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] Readers of Wikipedia
>
> I've long seen categorisation on wikipedia as a way to bring articles to
> the attention of those who follow certain categories. During the cleanup of
> unreferenced biographies a few year ago this was a useful adjunct, with
> several wikiprojects cleaning up all the articles legitimately categorised
> for them. Some of the other Wikiprojects did at least go through and prod
> or speedy the non-notables and hoaxes in their areas.
>
> I'm pretty sure it still operates that way, categorisation of an
> uncategorised article sometimes brings it to the attention of people who
> know the topic.
>
> And of course where the article doesn't contain the words in the category,
> categorisation then improves search.
>
> If like me you are a glass third full person categories make a useful
> contribution.
>
>
> On Sat, 15 Dec 2018 at 22:21, Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]
> <mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
> Pointy? I think you may misunderstand  my use of the term “hostage”. I
> don’t use it with the meaning of abducting people for ransom, but in the
> sense of “subject to things beyond our control”.
>
>
>
> I agree entirely that Wikipedia should serve its readers and to that end
> “To do” lists are compiled with the intention of giving adequate coverage
> of topics perceived to be needed. Yet, many of those “To do” lists are full
> of redlinks years later because we have volunteer contributors whose
> interests / expertise may not align with the perceived needs. Whereas if
> Wikipedia employed its writers, it could direct them to write articles
> about required topics. It would be a wonderful thing if we could harness
> the volunteer energy that goes into largely unproductive activities like
> endless category reorganisation (given studies show readers rarely look
> below the reference section and don’t see or use the categories) into
> writing content that is actually needed. But alas it is not so.
>
>
>
> Kerry
>
>
>
>
>
> From: Ziko van Dijk [mailto:[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>]
> Sent: Sunday, 16 December 2018 3:32 AM
> To: Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>>;
> Research into Wikimedia content and communities <
> [hidden email]<mailto:
> [hidden email]>>
> Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] Readers of Wikipedia
>
>
>
> Hello,
>
> Thanks for the link and the comments, Leila!
>
>
>
> Am Fr., 14. Dez. 2018 um 00:44 Uhr schrieb Kerry Raymond <
> [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]> <mailto:
> [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>> >:
>
> hostage to the interests of their contributors (unless they actively
> remove the material). That is, you get the topics that the contributors are
> willing and able to write, no matter what the intention might be.
>
>
>
> That's a very pointy expression: "Hostage to the interests of their
> contributors"! In fact, WP should serve recipients, but the reality is
> often different. We alreday saw that Article Feedback Tool as a means to
> find out what recipients think. I would be happy with a new, less ambitious
> approach, where we don't expect recipients to contribute to the improvement
> of content but just want to know their opinion.
>
>
>
> By the way, the distincion of large and short articles I have found in
> Collison's "Encyclopedias through the ages" (or similar) from 1966. It is
> not very prominent in there, but I have elaborated on the idea in 2015,
> with a distinction of definition articles, exposition articles, longer
> articles and dissertations.
>
>
>
> An encyclopedia with "short" articles - or a meaningful combination of the
> four types above - would fit well to the original concept of hypertext not
> being an actual set of texts (or nodes), but being an individual's specific
> learning strategy or reading path.
>
>
>
> Federico: remember, most of the oldest German texts (Old High German) deal
> with Biblical topics... :-)
>
>
>
> Kind regards
>
> Ziko
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
> [hidden email]<mailto:
> [hidden email]>
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
> _______________________________________________
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
>


--
David Goodman

DGG at the enWP
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:DGG
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:DGG
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