[Wikimedia-l] Unsolicieted email from "wikimedia research"

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[Wikimedia-l] Unsolicieted email from "wikimedia research"

Brian Wolff
So as part of https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Increasing_article_coverage
, it appears that unsolicited emails have been sent out encouraging
people to translated articles into needed languages.

I am all for improving article coverage, etc, but I'm concerned about
the use of user account emails to send unsolicited mail that the user
has not opted into. I think use of user email addresses for purposes
other than the user has agreed to, is not ok.

--
bawolff

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Unsolicieted email from "wikimedia research"

Filip Maljković
On Sat, Jun 27, 2015 at 11:07 AM, Brian Wolff <[hidden email]> wrote:

> So as part of
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Increasing_article_coverage
> , it appears that unsolicited emails have been sent out encouraging
> people to translated articles into needed languages.
>
> I am all for improving article coverage, etc, but I'm concerned about
> the use of user account emails to send unsolicited mail that the user
> has not opted into. I think use of user email addresses for purposes
> other than the user has agreed to, is not ok.
>
I'm not really fazed by the fact that emails were unsolicited, but by the
fact that I got it in French. I don't know whether that was a glitch or a
conscious decision, but my knowledge of French is somewhere around fr-0.1,
and it made no sense to me why I got it in a language other than English. :)

Cheers,
Filip Maljković
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Unsolicieted email from "wikimedia research"

MZMcBride-2
Filip Maljković wrote:

>On Sat, Jun 27, 2015 at 11:07 AM, Brian Wolff <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> So as part of
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Increasing_article_coverage
>> , it appears that unsolicited emails have been sent out encouraging
>> people to translated articles into needed languages.
>>
>> I am all for improving article coverage, etc, but I'm concerned about
>> the use of user account emails to send unsolicited mail that the user
>> has not opted into. I think use of user email addresses for purposes
>> other than the user has agreed to, is not ok.
>>
>I'm not really fazed by the fact that emails were unsolicited, but by the
>fact that I got it in French. I don't know whether that was a glitch or a
>conscious decision, but my knowledge of French is somewhere around fr-0.1,
>and it made no sense to me why I got it in a language other than English.
>:)

I tend to agree with Brian. I'm not sure spamming people to create
articles is a reasonable approach. I'm also not sure how it's appropriate
to opt users in to an experiment without their consent.

Like Filip, I was confused why I received an e-mail in French. I actually
figured it had something to do with imported edits, but I hadn't
investigated what the e-mail was about.

The text of the e-mail I received is pasted below.

MZMcBride


----

Bonjour MZMcBride,

L’équipe Recherche de la Fondation Wikimédia (Wikimedia Research)
travaille actuellement sur l’identification d’articles populaires et
importants[1] dans certaines langues du projet Wikipédia qui n’existent
pas encore sur le Wikipédia francophone. Les cinq articles suivants
existent dans la version anglophone de Wikipédia et sont considérés comme
étant importants pour les autres langues du projet. Au vu de votre
historique de contribution à Wikipédia, nous pensons que vous êtes un(e)
excellent candidat(e) pour contribuer à ces articles. Démarrer la création
de l'un de ces articles serait un premier pas considérable en vue
d'élargir les connaissances disponibles en français.[2]

Domain privacy
<https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:ContentTranslation?campaign=frwiki-r
ecommender&to=fr&from=en&page=Domain_privacy>

Zango (company)
<https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:ContentTranslation?campaign=frwiki-r
ecommender&to=fr&from=en&page=Zango_(company)>

Closed platform
<https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:ContentTranslation?campaign=frwiki-r
ecommender&to=fr&from=en&page=Closed_platform>

Criticism of Second Life
<https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:ContentTranslation?campaign=frwiki-r
ecommender&to=fr&from=en&page=Criticism_of_Second_Life>

Online producer
<https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:ContentTranslation?campaign=frwiki-r
ecommender&to=fr&from=en&page=Online_producer>

Nous vous remercions d'avance pour votre aide.[3][4]

Equipe de Recherche
Fondation Wikimédia
149 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA, 94105
415.839.6885 (Office)
________________________________________
1. Nous identifions les articles importants et populaires grâce à un
algorithme. Cette sélection d'articles peut être un résultat personnalisé
ou aléatoire. Vous pouvez en apprendre davantage sur la personnalisation
et les méthodes utilisées pour trouver les articles importants à cette
adresse
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Increasing_article_coverage#Metho
dology>.
2. Les liens pointent vers l’outil de traduction de Wikipédia
(ContentTranslation Tool). Cet outil est en cours de développement par
l’équipe Language Engineering de la fondation (pour l’instant en version
beta dans certaines langues). En savoir plus:
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Content_translation.
3. Si vous désirez plus d’informations sur ce projet de recherche, vous
pouvez lire cette page
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Increasing_article_coverage> (en
anglais), et nous en parler sur sa page de discussion
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research_talk:Increasing_article_coverage>
 (en anglais de préférence, même si nous trouverons certainement un
traducteur si vous nous écrivez en français :).
4. Votre avis est important pour nous. Faites nous part de vos impressions
par courriel à l’adresse [hidden email].



Si vous ne souhaitez plus recevoir de courriel de Wikimedia Research,
merci d’envoyer un courriel ayant pour sujet "unsubscribe" à l’adresse
[hidden email]>.



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Unsolicieted email from "wikimedia research"

Pine W
This issue is also being discussed on the Research mailing list.

I have three questions:

1. Was this outreach method approved by RCom?

2. Email addresses are nonpublic information on-wiki unless they are
proactively and publicly disclosed by users. Does the bulk collection of
nonpublic email addresses in this manner and the bulk provision of those
addresses to researchers for their use in this campaign violate the
Wikimedia privacy policy? The policy states regarding email, "We use your
email address to let you know about things that are happening with the
Foundation, the Wikimedia Sites, or the Wikimedia movement, such as telling
you important information about your account, letting you know if something
is changing about the Wikimedia Sites or policies, and alerting you when
there has been a change to an article that you have decided to follow." The
bulk scraping of email addresses from account registrations for research
and outreach purposes doesn't appear to be contemplated or authorized under
the privacy policy.

3. Wouldn't talk pages be a more appropriate outreach method than bulk
email?

Thanks,

Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Unsolicieted email from "wikimedia research"

Peter Southwood
In reply to this post by Brian Wolff
So that’s what that e-mail was about.  
I got an e-mail in French, a language which I don’t read, write, or speak. All I could make out was that it was suggesting that I translate four articles on subjects I know nothing about. It was sufficiently incomprehensible that I couldn’t even make out who to query about it.
Somewhat off the mark, at best.
Cheers,
Peter

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Brian Wolff
Sent: 27 June 2015 11:08 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Unsolicieted email from "wikimedia research"

So as part of https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Increasing_article_coverage
, it appears that unsolicited emails have been sent out encouraging people to translated articles into needed languages.

I am all for improving article coverage, etc, but I'm concerned about the use of user account emails to send unsolicited mail that the user has not opted into. I think use of user email addresses for purposes other than the user has agreed to, is not ok.

--
bawolff

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Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>

-----
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Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Unsolicieted email from "wikimedia research"

Andy Mabbett-2
On 27 June 2015 at 17:28, Peter Southwood <[hidden email]> wrote:

> So that’s what that e-mail was about.
> I got an e-mail in French, a language which I don’t read, write, or speak.

I assumed a technical or human error. Pine's questions are certainly
deserving of prompt and frank answers.

--
Andy Mabbett
@pigsonthewing
http://pigsonthewing.org.uk

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Unsolicieted email from "wikimedia research"

Michelle Paulson
In reply to this post by Pine W
Hi All,

Please see in-line below.

-Michelle

On Saturday, June 27, 2015, Leila Zia <[hidden email]> wrote:

> + Michelle Paulson
>
> On Sat, Jun 27, 2015 at 7:37 AM, Pine W <[hidden email]
> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','[hidden email]');>> wrote:
>
>> This issue is also being discussed on the Research mailing list.
>>
>> I have three questions:
>>
>> 1. Was this outreach method approved by RCom?
>>
>  No, and RCom, as far as I know has not been active in the past year or
> more (last meeting was on Dec. 22, 2011). This is a research from the
> Research team in the WMF.
>
>> 2. Email addresses are nonpublic information on-wiki unless they are
>> proactively and publicly disclosed by users. Does the bulk collection of
>> nonpublic email addresses in this manner and the bulk provision of those
>> addresses to researchers for their use in this campaign violate the
>> Wikimedia privacy policy? The policy states regarding email, "We use your
>> email address to let you know about things that are happening with the
>> Foundation, the Wikimedia Sites, or the Wikimedia movement, such as telling
>> you important information about your account, letting you know if something
>> is changing about the Wikimedia Sites or policies, and alerting you when
>> there has been a change to an article that you have decided to follow." The
>> bulk scraping of email addresses from account registrations for research
>> and outreach purposes doesn't appear to be contemplated or authorized under
>> the privacy policy.
>>
> Michelle can help with this one as this is related to Legal. Note that
> it's weekend here and this may have to wait until Monday.
>

The research team did speak to me prior to beginning this project to ensure
that they complied with the WMF privacy policy. It is my view that this
type of use falls within the permissible potential uses for email addresses
under the policy. The examples listed in the policy are meant to be
illustrative, not exclusive -- the absence of this situation as an
enumerated example shouldn't be taken as a prohibition.

That said, it is a new use and therefore, will and should be the subject of
discussion and debate. It is such feedback and testing that will help us
refine email practices to be both effective and reflective of community
values.

> 3. Wouldn't talk pages be a more appropriate outreach method than bulk
>> email?
>>
> The reason we chose email over talk pages (or Echo notifications) is
> explained here
> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research_talk:Increasing_article_coverage#.C2.AB_recommander_par_courriel_des_articles_.C3.A0_cr.C3.A9er.E2.80.A6_.C2.BB>.
>
>
> Hope this helps.
>
> Best,
> Leila
>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> Pine
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wiki-research-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','[hidden email]');>
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
>>
>>
>

--
==
Michelle Paulson
Senior Legal Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation
149 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
[hidden email]
415.839.6885 ext. 6608 (Office)
415.882.0495 (Fax)

*NOTICE: This message may be confidential or legally privileged. If you
have received it by accident, please delete it and let us know about the
mistake. As an attorney for the Wikimedia Foundation and for legal/ethical
reasons, I cannot give legal advice to, or serve as a lawyer for, community
members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal capacity. For more
on what this means, please see our legal disclaimer
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Legal_Disclaimer>.*
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Unsolicieted email from "wikimedia research"

Aaron Halfaker-3
>
>  RCom, as far as I know has not been active in the past year or more (last
> meeting was on Dec. 22, 2011).


*RCom is not dead.   It changed into something less formal and less
hierarchical.  You can still email me and Dario to get support for your
research plans.  We'd still reconvene the committee if it looks like
that'll help. *

While RCom hasn't met in a long time, the process for subject recruitment
hasn't slowed.  We don't have a technical requirement that all recruitment
studies must follow The Process, but I have been helping researchers
document their studies and obtain feedback and sometimes consensus for more
than five years now.

Really, RCom has morphed slowly into the Research Team at the WMF + a few
interested volunteers that we can manage to pull in to help us with review
work (shout out to Daniel Mietchen, Nemo, Yaroslav & BluRasberry).  Within
the research team, we *do* have structured processed for supporting
researchers access to data and engineering support, but subject recruitment
has been mostly left in my (volunteer time) hands.

Regretfully, I wasn't involved in the planning of this project or I would
have directed it towards best practices for minimizing disruption
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research_recruitment> -- e.g. an
RFC.  I would have also pushed Leila to find a way to make posts on talk
pages work (since they are known to be generally preferable, police-able,
etc.), but I can understand why concerns around privacy might be worth
discussion.  I regret that this discussion only happened after-the-fact as
it could have informed the study design for the better.  FWIW, SuggestBot
posts recommendations on user talk pages and also does not filter for
offensive content (to my knowledge).

Finally, I think it is important to consider the source of this research
work.  Leila is not some random academic or industry researcher who is
planning to take advantage of Wikipedians for a study, but not give back.
Leila is working with a team at the WMF tasked with building better
translation tools.  She helped them design an experiment that would explore
the effectiveness of these tools so that when something is deployed, it's
actually better and we know it scientifically.  A lot of the work I do with
external researchers is to help make sure that their work has the potential
to benefit Wikipedia/Wikipedians/Wikimedia/Open knowledge.  In this case,
the Leila's team is just helping the product teams engage in best practices
around empirical software change practice.   After all, every software
deployment is an experiment that is inflicted upon you without consent.  In
this case, Leila's job is making sure that we know the effect before we
deploy.

So, what I really mean to say is:

   1. You're right.  We should do this better.  We have a process and
   everyone should go through it.  It might have caught some of the issues
   that have been raised.
   2. Leila is WMF staff.  She's trying to help the WMF build better
   software for the purpose of benefiting Wikipedians.  Her team deserves some
   slack.  The alternative of not running the study is less desirable.

-Aaron

On Sat, Jun 27, 2015 at 12:56 PM, Michelle Paulson <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Hi All,
>
> Please see in-line below.
>
> -Michelle
>
> On Saturday, June 27, 2015, Leila Zia <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > + Michelle Paulson
> >
> > On Sat, Jun 27, 2015 at 7:37 AM, Pine W <[hidden email]
> > <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','[hidden email]');>> wrote:
> >
> >> This issue is also being discussed on the Research mailing list.
> >>
> >> I have three questions:
> >>
> >> 1. Was this outreach method approved by RCom?
> >>
> >  No, and RCom, as far as I know has not been active in the past year or
> > more (last meeting was on Dec. 22, 2011). This is a research from the
> > Research team in the WMF.
> >
> >> 2. Email addresses are nonpublic information on-wiki unless they are
> >> proactively and publicly disclosed by users. Does the bulk collection of
> >> nonpublic email addresses in this manner and the bulk provision of those
> >> addresses to researchers for their use in this campaign violate the
> >> Wikimedia privacy policy? The policy states regarding email, "We use
> your
> >> email address to let you know about things that are happening with the
> >> Foundation, the Wikimedia Sites, or the Wikimedia movement, such as
> telling
> >> you important information about your account, letting you know if
> something
> >> is changing about the Wikimedia Sites or policies, and alerting you when
> >> there has been a change to an article that you have decided to follow."
> The
> >> bulk scraping of email addresses from account registrations for research
> >> and outreach purposes doesn't appear to be contemplated or authorized
> under
> >> the privacy policy.
> >>
> > Michelle can help with this one as this is related to Legal. Note that
> > it's weekend here and this may have to wait until Monday.
> >
>
> The research team did speak to me prior to beginning this project to ensure
> that they complied with the WMF privacy policy. It is my view that this
> type of use falls within the permissible potential uses for email addresses
> under the policy. The examples listed in the policy are meant to be
> illustrative, not exclusive -- the absence of this situation as an
> enumerated example shouldn't be taken as a prohibition.
>
> That said, it is a new use and therefore, will and should be the subject of
> discussion and debate. It is such feedback and testing that will help us
> refine email practices to be both effective and reflective of community
> values.
>
> > 3. Wouldn't talk pages be a more appropriate outreach method than bulk
> >> email?
> >>
> > The reason we chose email over talk pages (or Echo notifications) is
> > explained here
> > <
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research_talk:Increasing_article_coverage#.C2.AB_recommander_par_courriel_des_articles_.C3.A0_cr.C3.A9er.E2.80.A6_.C2.BB
> >.
> >
> >
> > Hope this helps.
> >
> > Best,
> > Leila
> >
> >> Thanks,
> >>
> >> Pine
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> Wiki-research-l mailing list
> >> [hidden email]
> >> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','[hidden email]');>
> >> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
> >>
> >>
> >
>
> --
> ==
> Michelle Paulson
> Senior Legal Counsel
> Wikimedia Foundation
> 149 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor
> San Francisco, CA 94105
> [hidden email]
> 415.839.6885 ext. 6608 (Office)
> 415.882.0495 (Fax)
>
> *NOTICE: This message may be confidential or legally privileged. If you
> have received it by accident, please delete it and let us know about the
> mistake. As an attorney for the Wikimedia Foundation and for legal/ethical
> reasons, I cannot give legal advice to, or serve as a lawyer for, community
> members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal capacity. For more
> on what this means, please see our legal disclaimer
> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Legal_Disclaimer>.*
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wiki-research-l] Unsolicieted email from "wikimedia research"

Pine W
Hi,

I appreciate people answering questions on weekends.

After reading this thread, it sounds like this is a well-intentioned
research project but there are opportunities for improvement. If someone
(maybe Leila and Michelle?) could compile a timeline, a list of the issues
raised in these email threads, a list of open questions about policies and
processes, and a list of opportunities for process improvement based on
discussion in these threads, then I think we can use this series of events
to make improvements and clarifications that will benefit future outreach
and research.

Thanks,

Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Unsolicieted email from "wikimedia research"

Mike Peel
In reply to this post by Filip Maljković

>> So as part of
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Increasing_article_coverage
>> , it appears that unsolicited emails have been sent out encouraging
>> people to translated articles into needed languages.
>>
>> I am all for improving article coverage, etc, but I'm concerned about
>> the use of user account emails to send unsolicited mail that the user
>> has not opted into. I think use of user email addresses for purposes
>> other than the user has agreed to, is not ok.
>>
> I'm not really fazed by the fact that emails were unsolicited, but by the
> fact that I got it in French. I don't know whether that was a glitch or a
> conscious decision, but my knowledge of French is somewhere around fr-0.1,
> and it made no sense to me why I got it in a language other than English. :)

I also received an email in French about this. I presume that this is because I have made some edits to the French Wikipedia (mostly just adding photos to articles): hopefully it didn't get sent to everyone who's edited Wikipedia!

It's good to see an email appeal sent to editors to translate articles, although a direct email appeal to generally add information to the relevant Wikipedia might be better (we don't just want translators, we also want new content!).

> Really, RCom has morphed slowly into the Research Team at the WMF + a few
> interested volunteers that we can manage to pull in to help us with review
> work (shout out to Daniel Mietchen, Nemo, Yaroslav & BluRasberry).

I'm sad to hear this. I thought it used to be a volunteer committee (but perhaps I'm remembering this wrong?), and turning a volunteer committee into a staff team really isn't scalable. I'm sure that there are many knowledgeable academic researchers out there that this structure will exclude. Defining it as WMF staff members and some pre-existing volunteers sounds like it's become more, rather than less, hierarchical.

Thanks,
Mike
P.S. I like the idea of "random academic"s. The world could do with more of these. :-)


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Unsolicieted email from "wikimedia research"

Quim Gil-2
On Sun, Jun 28, 2015 at 10:04 PM, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:

> It's good to see an email appeal sent to editors to translate articles,
> although a direct email appeal to generally add information to the relevant
> Wikipedia might be better (we don't just want translators, we also want new
> content!).
>

I'm just talking here as someone that volunteered in a first test of this
feature. In that case I was asked whether I had edited Spanish Wikipedia
(which I had) and then got a few recommendations for articles that could be
translated from English to Spanish using the Content Translator. My edits
to es.wiki are quite thematic, and the recommendations I got were very
interesting to me, as an editor and as a reader.

I guess a problem with this mailing (among others) is that the threshold
should be more restrictive, for instances filtering out editors that never
added whole sentences or paragraphs of text, avoiding the occasional
editors of wrong data, images, etc, that might not know the language itself.

About why focusing on translations (or, to be more precise, Content
Translator), I think it is a campaign that makes sense. Most registered
editors don't know about Content Translator and/or wouldn't have a clear
idea of what articles to translate. In this sense, the email (that could be
a message in Talk pages indeed) is very useful, even for someone like me
who was well aware of Content Translator and had tried in some articles.

Of course, this shouldn't stop other types of recommendations to edit away.

--
Quim Gil
Engineering Community Manager @ Wikimedia Foundation
http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Qgil
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