Monday, October 26, 2009

Choosing a measure for success

The Wikimedia Foundation is defining its strategy. In order to define a strategy, you have to aim at achieving something. Obviously, our goal is a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.

The question is, how do you measure that you are achieving your goal.. What numbers help you understand this. Sue Gardner approached it by wishing for Wikipedia to be in the top 5 reach of every country. This is nice, measurable and really ambitious. According to Alexa we do not have that reach yet in any country. It also indicates room for growth; the reach of Wikipedia in the Netherlands for instance is currently at number nine.

I proposed in the strategy wiki, that our aim should be that our top 10 Wikipedias should have only 85% of our Wikipedia traffic. This would be a target to achieve in five years time and, it does not mean that the top 10 projects should stop growing, far from it. The idea is to seek to grow the other projects even more.

There are several reasons why this would benefit us.
  • When the language versions improve in quantity and quality they will help us reach the number 5 spot in the rankings
  • For many Wikipedias we need a bigger community badly in order to grow coverage and the quality of our articles for their country and the relevant languages
  • Many of the most spoken languages have not passed the threshold where they really take off.. Russian is one that has, many others are promising.
  • It brings us the cultural diversities that will help us reduce our current bias, it would make us more inclusive.
Another thing that I really appreciate in Sue's vision is her wish for more fun. What I am grappling with is how to realise this and then measure it.
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