Building Wikipedia membership

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Let's talk about how to increase traffic to Wikipedia, of both readers and writers--that is now going to become one of the main focuses of my Wikipedia work. So I want your help! How can we increase "membership" in Wikipedia--both readers and new writers?

Let's brainstorm. Please, add an idea below, or help develop ideas. (Sometimes, a really great new idea is a slight variation on a just-OK old idea.)

Also, if you do any work that you think someone else might inadvertantly replicate, can you please write it down here somehow (as on the /Encyclopedia links solicited page)? Thanks! --Larry Sanger



  • Approach websites that might want free content, and help them to get their hands on Wikipedia's; this is something Bomis programmers and volunteers could work on. Maybe after we're running Magnus' PHP code?
  • Post announcements on mailing lists. But of what sort? Obviously, we want to avoid spam.
    • Start and continue discussions about Wikipedia articles (for this, the help of Wikipedians will be necessary)
    • Simply announce the existence of Wikipedia, soliciting help. I think this is actually plausible.
    • Recruit fans for specific areas of Wikipedia. For example, someone could drop by a Star Trek newsgroup and mention that our pages need work. I bet we'd have a huge Star Trek section in no time...
  • Post announcements on newsgroups. But try to be careful to go slowly through them--make sure the post is specially-tailored to whatever group you post to. A good strategy is to pick a Wikipedia article, point out a few problems with it, and post a link to the article, inviting people to make changes. If you have posted an announcement to a newsgroup, will you please list it here: /Newsgroups. If yu don't know much about newsgroups, go to http://groups.google.com.
  • Create a Friends of Wikipedia page: an external link back can be added if we spot a link by them to us. (Done. Please add your own webpages to that page!) Similarly, create a "Friend of Wikipedia" logo that webmasters can proudly display on their sites.
  • Contact webmasters who have content-rich sites. Get them excited about Wikipedia, and invite them to make their content part of something great.
  • Increase production of pages that are of interest to the search engines. Look at the Lycos 50 and make sure there are articles on all those topics. I would say that writing some simple short biographies of famous people would help. It will help when we have reliable and regularly updated stats on what is popular. One interesting thing about this is that other people may follow suit so that there is a "trend" on the site.
  • Increase the standing of Wikipedia with Bomis. (There is a bug in the system which means that Wikipedia articles are not returned as often as they could be. We're working on this.)
  • Write a scholarly article about "Empirical studies in social epistemology" and get it published.

(The above is just a start! Please add to the list!)


  • Schools. Speak to any teachers you know and have them set an exercise where their student write on various topics that are untouched. Students get school credit for their work, obviously and also get excited about participating. I've told my mother (who teaches grade 4), and her students are planning to do articles about australian mammals, some as-yet-untouched countries, etc.

I just showed up today because the latest issue of Netsurfers Digest had a mention of it. -- corvus13