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The Grand Unified Wiki Strategy

September 21, 2010

The Wikimedia Foundation has just completed a huge strategy project.  What I find interesting about the whole thing is not just the final results of the project, but the way it has been put together.  This is not a top-down diktat, but a bottom-up mission.   You can read it – and take part yourself!  The core mission emerging from it is:

  • Achieve continued growth in readership.
  • Focus on quality content.
  • Increase participation.
  • Stabilize the infrastructure.
  • Encourage innovation.

But also how they are going to achieved this – and there is a ever-moving list of possible ideas and suggestions…

Java applet support
Expert review
Allow image rating for Commons
Common watchlists
Distributed Wikipedia
A central wiki for interlanguage links
A “be bold” campaign
Real-time chat
Run an annual prize for best featured content

Which will eventually form the action plan.  I’m a big fan of Wikipedia.  Yes, I know there are people who gripe about it and I know it is going to have issues – any project involving the human factor will.  But beyond all that it’s an amazing achievement and is continuing to set new ground for innovative participation.

Here’s Jeff Jarvis on the process:

Gardner says they started the project with the knowledge that there would be “a high likelihood of failure.” It was possible, though unlikely, that no one would have come to the party. It was more likely, I’d say, that it would be taken over by fringe interests and nutty ideas. The foundation had to invest in success, hiring a facilitator who understood the dangers and a consultant who gave the project “a bedrock of information.”

There’s a lesson there — a lesson in all of this — for companies and government agencies learning how to do their business in public. It’s possible to collaborate at scale even on strategy. It’s risky. It needs care and feeding. But it can and should be done if you want to work in public, collaboratively, with your constituents, as they will expect.

A few other Wikipedia links!

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