Saturday, August 01, 2009

Strategy and Wikisource

In a reply on the foundation list, John Vandenberg argued for Wikisource, he asks for a bigger Wikisource community. When Wikisource is to have a bigger community, it needs to have a strategy to gain attention, it has to market itself. Wikisource has a monthly featured text. I did not know about it until I commented on "A specimen of the botany of New Holland" on my blog. In a reply John commented that I had the audacity of critiquing a featured text.

I did not even know that it was a featured text, I did not know there is a monthly schedule for featured texts and I did not know that months go by without a featured text. John commented "perhaps I should be thankful that you even know Wikisource exists, which is more than can be said for most of the other people who wish to represent the Wikimedia community".. I do not deserve such praise, it was just that this botany piece featured on the main page of the Australian chapter and I had a look.
We have embarked on a strategy project. Wiktionary, Wikispecies, Wikiquote are not mentioned, Wikisource is mentioned together with of all things OmegaWiki. Apparently there is no strategy being considered for these projects. Generally each community is to fight for attention and has to make its case heard. It would make sense for projects like Wikisource to make its case heard. This can start with something as simple as blogging each month about the new featured text. Wikisource could grow in relevance as a consequence of our current interest in GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums).

There are things that a project can and should do autonomously and there are things where the WMF organisation can help. This is very much about strategy and as such Wikinews is much better at getting attention.

In many ways the WMF has not expressed its strategy about the other projects and as there is a clear and long list of things that need to be urgently addressed and are addressed they have an excuse. Commons for instance is effectively useless to everyone who does not speak English and there is a lot of argument about quality, the demise, the issues, the future of Wikipedia and it is understood that we talk about only one.

In a strategy brainstorm you do want all the ideas aired. In the end, there will be a selection of priorities based on what is feasible once we have ensured that our primary technology supports all our projects. This gives priority to basic language support and to the basic usability of our software. Then we have to consider enabling technology; what will help our community most in working towards what our commitment is. Then we need to support our communities and our projects to do what is best for them.

Wikisource can promote itself by blogging about their featured text. They can aim to make featured articles, featured pictures, did you knows about this text on the other projects. When they do, I am sure they will gain attention and relevance to their project. The reward should also be increased appreciation from the Wikimedia Foundation. Practical proposals for the next five years are already welcome on the strategy wiki.

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