Microgrants/Core Contest (prizes)

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Overview[edit | edit source]

  • An amount of money for vouchers as prizes for a three week contest in early January outlined here. The idea is that there would be (say) a £75 voucher for first prize, £50 for second, and £25 for a number of "honorable mentions". Vouchers could be for some worldwide digital organisation, such as Amazon, I-tunes or something similar. Amazon is probably the easiest.

Budget[edit | edit source]

  • See above - I guess it depends - £250 would give me a first, second and five "honourable mentions" as outlined above. The rationale for using vouchers is to distance the idea from paid editing.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

  • Three weeks in January. All done by early february.

Expected outcomes[edit | edit source]

  • Hopefully some improvement in core/broad/vital articles on the English wikipedia, much of which needs a good buffing.

Who I am[edit | edit source]

  • I am Casliber on english wiki, and admin, arb and content editor, and very familiar with content in mainspace, which is why I am thinking this is a good idea.

Discussion[edit | edit source]

I think this is an excellent idea myself, but I will wait for the board's opinions on whether or not we should fund this. If people are concerned about the 'monetary' aspect, bear in mind that this in in the form of book vouchers, and that the money spent is in line with our objectives. We could potentially give donations in kind instead, for example, tickets to exhibitions, or other incentives. Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry 02:25, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

I feel that users should not be incentive's with money that can be spent for anything, instead we should help support education. I feel that maybe some sort of small scholarship should be given instead or some sort of grant for books (maybe a gift card to a book store?) Thoughts, questions, concerns? Peter.C 03:22, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
This sounds like a great idea to me; going for book vouchers sounds like the best option (Amazon, or possibly National Book Tokens); iTunes doesn't really sound appropriate. We haven't funded something like this through microgrants before, and I know that other people have useful viewpoints about this, so I'm not going to approve it just yet - we can decide in a few days time.
BTW - from what I've heard about the last core topics competition, the stumbling-block was judging at the end of the competition, since it's rather complex (and a bit subjective). That's just something to think about, rather than a blocker here, though. Mike Peel 08:20, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
I would like to hear a bit more about how this can be structured to recognize good collaboration rather than just the person who made the most edits. I am also cautious about prizes that are only available for :en rather than recognizing other languages such as Welsh or Scots. A form of prize more neutral than Amazon or iTunes vouchers might be a good idea. -- Fae

I think we need to be relatively cautious about providing competition prizes. There is a risk that if we start doing so, we set a precedent that could scale badly and end up with lots and lots of different Wikimedia UK-supported competitions going on on-wiki, some of which attract virtually no entries and basically result in giving editors cash for articles they might have written anyway. We have used competitions with prizes as incentives before though generally as part of a wider collaboration, and I think that well-designed competitions are a good use of our funds and meet our objectives very well. However, prizes in themselves are only part of what appears to make a successful competition. Wikipedians love recognition, not just Amazon vouchers. So before we agree to this microgrant (or other microgrants of a similar nature) I would prefer to see the competition fleshed out rather more. In particular;

  • The criteria by which the prizes will be awarded
  • Defined circumstances under which no prizes will be awarded (e.g. if the competition attracts less than 10 entries)
  • The (wiki) names of the judges
  • A plan to publicise the competition

Regards, The Land 14:42, 3 December 2011 (UTC) (Wikimedia UK trustee)

I think there is a special case here in that the articles are 'core/broad/vital', which are the articles that people don't tend to be interested in getting to a high quality (it's much easier to get a FA on a small topic than a very broad one), but they are very important and accessed by a huge number of people each month. If we were providing prizes for articles on a specific topic, then I would be a lot more worried about this. Mike Peel 15:34, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Good points all - so yes I agree that the prizes have to be vouchers or something (to distance from cash/paid editing). Amazon came to mind as it is (a) literary (one can by a huge range of books, hence the reader can get something they really want...as long as it is a book - it trumps i-tunes here for appropriateness) and (b) world wide. I think collaboration is good and I was tossing up with the idea of sharing prizes for a two- or more-editor collaboration. Regarding recognition, the wikilove templates makes that an easy task, and I've been creative in giving awards out in the past. For instance, see here
Regarding judges, I am musing on the pool of editors that I know and there are several who are intimately familiar with the development of articles from stub to FA and are canny at gauging where an article is on the development treadmill. I can get a group of three or four together (me included) and we'll be pretty good at figuring out which article has made the biggest improvement. Publicity will take place in the signpost and centralised discussion template over three weeks or so, followed by the competition itself. This is a trial really to see what improvement in core material develops. It is short enough and the reward small enough to be taken in a spirit of fun and hopefully no-one will get too serious about it. I'll post some more competition criteria at the contest page itself presently Casliber 13:06, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm certainly in favour of trying to improve core articles, however I share the concerns already mentioned regarding collaboration. I fear a competition like this will not only fail to recognise collaboration but will actually discourage it. At the moment, one of the great things about Wikipedia is that you don't need to worry about making your edits perfect because you know someone else will come along and fix your formatting, or re-word your sentence to make it flow better, or whatever. I wonder if people might be less willing to do that if the person whose edits they are fixing up is making those edits to win a prize. They might feel that the competitor should fix their own problems if they're the one that's going to get the prize. Collaboration is particularly important for core articles because they aren't the kind of article one individual can write well. Unless your competition structure is designed with collaboration in mind, then I don't see it being particularly successful. The problem with any prize structure is that you can't really recognise small contributions, but the cumulative impact of small contributions is vital to the success of Wikipedia. If you can find some way to address that, then I think this is something WMUK should get behind, but it does need to be addressed first. --Tango 16:47, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Seems to me that this is a good idea and I see some suggestions above which I think I agree with. I heard that one of the European chapters ran a competition with a large cash prize (with 3rd prize being a glass wikipedia trinket). The winner wanted the Wikipedia trinket. So suggest spend the money on a trophy engraved with "Wiki core winner" or something. HOWEVER - I do not want to stop this happening. Casliber is an experienced Wikipedian, I agree with his objectives, the cost is not high. I suggest we mutter some words of advice (e.g. the sensible contributions above) and let him and his guest judges/ organisers (people above?) to get on with it. One suggestion for a prize. We pay for top three to have rail tickets to come to Wiki AGM in May where we reveal who has won and give one a small token and a big clap..... Victuallers 17:29, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Rail tickets from where? This isn't a UK-specific competition, is it? Paying for people to come over from the US, say, for a prize-giving ceremony would massively increase the cost of the competition. My concern is that unless the issue of collaboration is well addressed, this competition could end up doing more harm than good. I expect the issue can be addressed, but WMUK should hold off on agreeing any funding until it is. --Tango 17:59, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Tango, I am thinking on achieveable gains - to make collaboration more of a possibility might mean longer competition period (who knows, two months?) and bigger prizes maybe. My concern with this is extra seriousness and any squabbling which might impact on the lighthearted nature of the event. I am open to the idea but pausing as am wondering whether the risks outweigh the benefits. Also, the concrete areas of collaboration are DYK, GAN and FAC, as well as wikiprojects. I have observed the wikicup's impact on the first three and although I consider the wikicup a net positive, there have been issues at times. Also, incorporating these processes into a competition involves a much longer time period - 3 month segments at least to get some sort of fairness (some articles languish unreviewed for a long time). I have tried kick-starting inactive wikiprojects with little success and I can't see how these can be activated in a competition yet but will give it some thought. Anyway, that is what I see the tradeoff is. Casliber 20:17, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't see collaboration as something you can take or leave. It's at the very heart of the way we work. By giving a prize to one person you are discouraging collaboration, which I see as a very bad thing. I don't understand what you're saying about DYK, GAN and FAC. Those aren't where we collaborate. Writing articles is where is collaborate, those are just peer review processes. --Tango 20:42, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
@Tango, in over 90% of the GA and FA nomination processes I have been involved in (and that has been alot), reviewers will rework or improve text as well as point out errors, often resulting in a collaborative attempt by two or more editors to work an article. It is one of the few places left on wikipedia where collaboration is occurring to any systematized degree. DYK as well sees a significant degree but not nearly as much. However that is beside the point really. Casliber 20:17, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Back to the topic at hand, we judges can offer feedback on material proffered, functioning as a de facto Peer Review (given as we've had to look at the stuff to judge it!), including what's needed to bring to GA or FA status. I am still musing on who to ask to be a co-judge, but there are many who can give very detailed thorough systematic appraisals. Many are good at being able to map out exactly what an article needs to do to get to FA, so if we do that and it whets the appetite of folks to continue on, it is a good result. Casliber 20:17, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Tom - we have run competitions with substantive prizes before, most notably the British Museum Featured Article prize. The results from that were pretty positive. So while I agree with the idea that we need to keep a watchful eye on WP:OWN as this kind of competition progresses, I don't see that we can rule out supporting competition prizes per se. The Land 21:19, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
I didn't say we should rule out supporting competition prizes. I said we should make sure that the structure of the competition is in keeping with our ideals and the methods that have made us as successful as we are, which includes collaboration. --Tango 21:57, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

I mean, Tango, I reviewed one of your articles for GAN, and tweaked as I went, remember? Casliber 07:19, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Exactly, and the article is better as a result. If that article had been written as part of a competition, presumably I would have received the prize. Does that seem right given how important several other people were in getting it to the standard it is now? It doesn't seem right to me. --Tango 17:56, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
Tango, no system is perfect. What i was hoping for was to see 'runs' of article improvement which we could judge and offer input as to how to get to GA/FA (at least 2 of 3 judges are experienced in this), hence the benefits of trying to engage editors with FA/GA reviewers to see if we can encourage and upskill more editors as well as improve content. I have seen many large articles stay pretty static for years (apart from vandal reversion and wikignoming here and there. A three week segment hopefully gives a short enough period for chunks of article addition or improvement attributable to a contestant, with review thereafter. Anyway, sorry re delayed reply as I have been trying to get a fourth judge. Casliber 02:37, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

PS: Now have three judges, but am musing on whether four or five is better. Casliber 11:41, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm editting here to make sure this doesnt just languish. This is a good idea ... Victuallers 21:50, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks - I was wondering how this works. How do we go from here? I was hoping to get this rolling in the second part of January and this is a key underpinning....I can run with three (am happy if someone from WM UK wants to get involved too) judgesCasliber 22:48, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this. I think this is a go, with the prizes being book tokens (which can be split between multiple winners for the individual prizes as judged appropriate). Tango has some good concerns that should be kept in mind throughout the process, but fundamentally this is a good thing to do and it's better to do something rather than nothing. So let's give this a go, see whether it works out, and learn the lessons from the outcomes. This is assuming that the application/initiative is still going? Thanks. Mike Peel 15:58, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
Terrific! I had chosen late Jan off the top of my head (which has clearly passed), but no problem. When I get a bit of time later today, I'll set a date in early or mid March, thinking to give two or three weeks to promote it. Gotta run but thanks ++++. Cheers, Casliber 21:12, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
Great. This microgrant is formally approved then. :-) Thanks. Mike Peel 22:27, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Update[edit | edit source]

Okay, we've run the contest and figured out prize-winners etc. I've emailed Mike and not heard back yet. Can someone give me a heads up how to proceed (i.e. how we get Amazon vouchers or equivalent to contest winners? Cheers, Casliber (talk) 14:02, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Try emailing Richard (contact details on that page). He's probably the one that will handle the administration side of things. Congratulations on completing the contest, I look forward to reading your report. --Tango (talk) 14:59, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't think your email reached me - I can't find it in my inbox. :-( Try emailing me at michael.peelatwikimedia.org.uk, or as Tango says get in touch with Richard (email and phone numbers are on his user page). Congratulations on having run the competition. :-) Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 07:02, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks guys - Richard it is then....Casliber (talk) 10:04, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

PS: Got in touch with Richard and all good - preliminary summary/outcome is at this spot with some discussion on what to do next afterwards. Casliber (talk) 22:25, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Results/Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Despite missing an opportunity for exposure in the Signpost, ten broad articles were improved and Core Contest/Entries/2012 archive submitted, and all were worthy of entry. These included two food articles (sugar and lettuce) (these are underrepresented in Featured Content), as well as a few broad biology ones (horse, ecosystem and amphibian) as well as some core history material (ages middle ages and romanticism). Feedback was given by judges along the way, and at this stage, two (lettuce and middle ages) have achieved Good Article status since the competition. Both look on course for a crack at Featured Article candidacy. horse was already a Good Article but some input before FAC is advisable. Hence there was collaboration and discussion about article, which resulted in article improvement and development. There were two standout entries (middle ages and ecosystem) which judges discussed over first and second prize, with ecosystem adjudged marginally in front due to the poorer initial state of the article, other aspects being more or less equal.

The £250 in Amazon vouchers, made up of a first (£75), second (£55) and four third prizes (£30), has been divided among the prizewinners. Feedback has been very positive. The idea here also is (hopefully) morale-boosting for the section of the editorial community that drives the top-end of content as we move towards consolidating, formatting and rounding out core content of wikipedia as a whole. Discussion suggests that a re-running of the contest would result in a larger field of articles being improved and submitted. A Signpost editor has flagged publicizing it this time.

Thus, I would be grateful if Wikimedia UK would consider sponsoring a re-run of the contest. I am thinking tentatively in August 2012, which is soon enough to continue the momentum and far enough to away to organise and publicise for. Casliber (talk) 20:57, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Many thanks for this report, and congratulations on the success of the competition. :-) I'm happy to approve sponsorship for a re-run of the competition in August 2012, up to a maximum of £250 again. We'd encourage you to plan out the publicity for the competition some more, though. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:39, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Hmm! Next time please consult me first, and/or at least settle whether there will be a conflict of interest if I enter as a WMUK trustee (as the only person to have won prizes in both contests so far). Johnbod (talk) 21:50, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Sorry John, I forgot your interest in this topic when approving this grant. :-( We should talk generally about the grant approval process at this weekend's board meeting, if we have the time. On the COI - I note that this exists, and sadly I think that it means you can't enter the competition this time round. However I don't think that it's an issue that should be taken into consideration when deciding on grant applications... Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:52, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Posting for the record, the second running of the contest in 2012 produced greater activity, with 22 articles submitted, all of which were in keeping with the spirit of broad encyclopedic-ness. This was a diverse assortment which also include a couple of meta-article overhauls (a redefining of shrimp and massive overhaul of Sculpture both of which involved reviewing the scope of related articles). Feedback was given by judges along the way and since, and two articles (Franz Kafka and Amphibian) have gone on to achieve Good and then Featured status, and another two (Marie Curie and Cabbage) are Good Articles. Furthermore, Lettuce (from the first running) is now a Featured Article as well. As predicted, more people entered, which bodes well for future runnings. As far as I know, the £250 in Amazon vouchers has been allocated as last time, which I hope Chase me Ladies can confirm. Casliber (talk) 07:23, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

There were a few troubles with one user withdrawing from the project, and one other user unsure as to whether or not they wanted the prize. Other than that, the tokens have gone through! Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 10:42, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, was aware of the first issue. Anyway...onwards...Casliber (talk) 21:09, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Proposal to run the competition a third time[edit | edit source]

I had meant to update here before now but have had a hectic summer to put it mildly. I would love to run the competition again in February, which would need the approval of another microgrant. In which case I am humbly asking for a repeat microgrant like the first two. Humbly, Casliber (talk) 21:09, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Hi Casliber. I'm happy to approve a repeat microgrant here. Note that the COI issue from the previous microgrant is no longer present, as Johnbod is no longer a WMUK trustee. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:04, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
For clarity's sake, please note that none of our current Board and Staff would be eligible for any prizes here, as per our Conflict of Interest policy. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:11, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

A report/summary - the running of the contest in April 2013 saw first, second and third prizes for the improvement of Sea, Metamorphoses and Nazi Germany respectively, while other articles such as Crusades were expanded. As a point of interest, former entry Franz Kafka got a whopping [1] 768,586 hits as Main Page Featured Article this year. Sea has also been promoted to Featured Article status and recently run on the main page. Casliber (talk) 01:46, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

Proposal to run the competition a fourth time[edit | edit source]

There has been some interest in running this again. I'd love to run this sometime over the summer (December to February), depending on the approval of a microgrant and allowing for four weeks of advertising. Humbly. Casliber (talk) 01:46, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

Personally, I would support this (but note that it now needs to be decided upon by the grants committee rather than me). Now that the competition has run three times, I am curious about the aggregate results, e.g. in terms of the fraction of core articles that the contest has affected, and the overall change in ratings for the articles (e.g. increase of N GA, M FA, etc.). Is there a good way of calculating these? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 08:19, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
Err, percentages don't look too great - i.e. 30 articles entered with variable improvement, out of a pool of (which has 999 articles), and another 330 at, so the improvement fraction is pretty paltry I must admit (~2%). Still this is our Core Content and (presumably) part of our Core Portfolio. I am open to other ideas - a longer run (6 weeks? 8 weeks?) or promote teams? Not sure...am open to ideas here. Since this has run, the large article and multiple language weighting of article entries at the Wikicup has really gained pace I am glad to say, and this has led to improvement in core content as well. Casliber (talk) 11:32, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
I seem to be reviewing this and would support it :-) I've just had a look at last year's entries (the link above is broken by our wiki move, try this one, and am convinced that it remains a good idea based on that. I think there is probably more opportunity to promote the contest and maybe we can offer some advice on that. The Land (talk) 18:58, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
I am all ears - I am still coming across people who haven't heard of it....Casliber (talk) 13:55, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
The application to run this has been reviewed and approved. Please do contact me and Stevie at stevie.bentonatwikimedia.org.uk to discuss ways we can help promote this to a wider audience. In the meantime, could you please produce a report into the previous contest base on this short form. If you could, a short piece for the Members Newsletter and or the blog about the last competition would also be great. It could be used as a mean to promote the next one. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 14:08, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
Yeah -will get to this - I intend running this in January I think. Just want to focus on the Stub Contest first. Will fill out template soon. Casliber (talk) 13:31, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

Proposal to run the competition a fifth time[edit | edit source]

Hi folks, will try to ping folks as well. I'd like to run this again in March or April coming up. How do folks here feel about it (i.e. another 250 quid worth of Amazon vouchers (or equivalent).....cheers, Casliber (talk) 08:40, 5 February 2015 (GMT)

Hello there Casliber. I think this is a good idea. If you and the grants committee can keep me in the loop then we can try and generate some wider attention to this if it goes ahead. Thank you. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 09:51, 5 February 2015 (GMT)
I don't see why not, but I presume this is separate from Project grants/GAN Treasure Hunt. CT Cooper · talk 11:26, 5 February 2015 (GMT)
yes, completely separate to that. I have placed that idea on hold as there is another GA elimination drive/contest running for part of this year. Ummm...so is that a green light yet or do we need some more comments for a consensus? cheers, Casliber (talk) 08:28, 6 February 2015 (GMT)
Please wait and I will get back to you soon. Thanks -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 11:58, 6 February 2015 (GMT)
Ok. Casliber (talk) 14:06, 7 February 2015 (GMT)
Noting that this is now formally approved. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 12:23, 11 March 2015 (GMT)
Thanks +++ Casliber (talk) 05:08, 13 March 2015 (GMT)

Reports[edit | edit source]