On Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 10:57 AM, Milos Rancic <mill...@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 7:51 PM, Luis Villa <lvi...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> > On Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 9:26 AM, Andrew Lih <andrew....@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >> 3. Participation in the mailing list may be a misleading indicator of
> >> activity or interest, as other regional or specialized forums (eg.
> >> Facebook, GLAM-oriented lists, etc) have emerged in recent years.
> >>
> >
> > Let me second this. My department is thinking about community health
> > metrics (constructive suggestions welcome!), but I would not personally
> > propose mailing list participation (especially this list) as a good
> metric
> > - decreased participation here may reflect many, many things, only some
> of
> > which are actually negative.
> This is not the only one indicator, but it's pretty consistent since
> 2011 (take a look into [1]). In other words, something happened in
> May. Maybe it's actually about the elections because people used other
> means of communication for that.

Looking briefly at some of the highest-traffic months, it could simply be
that people got tired of discussing high-controversy topics here.
(Flamewars are good for traffic volume; not so great for community health.)
I'm sure Facebook's increased acceptance also has a role. I suspect also
that some announcements that used to come here now go to other, more
specialized mailing lists.

That last one points to a key thing: as MZ says, many people are subscribed
to this list, but many don't read and don't participate, because this
mailing list has an *awful* reputation, and people who want to get things
done are going elsewhere. So "the decline of wikimedia-l" may be a sign of
bad health of the overall community, or it may simply mean that the healthy
and constructive parts of the community has moved elsewhere.

To re-iterate what I said in the last email, I'm all ears for suggestions
on creative community metrics. I'll add here that I'm also very open to
suggestions on what a new wikimedia-l might look like. (I know some FOSS
communities are having good experiences with discourse.org, for example.)
No commitment that WMF can act on either immediately, of course, but I
think it is worth starting both of those discussions.


Luis Villa
Sr. Director of Community Engagement
Wikimedia Foundation
*Working towards a world in which every single human being can freely share
in the sum of all knowledge.*
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