Contributors to the largest community-edited encyclopedia on the Web will soon have a button similar to Facebook's “Like” button to show support to one another.
Who does not enjoy some appreciation? If you asked the volunteer editors of Wikipedia, they would certainly tell you that it would help make their hard work much more enjoyable — especially in the light of the recent increase in warnings and criticism from more experienced editors. With that idea in mind, and to encourage new members to join its ranks, Wikipedia has come up with the WikiLove Button. This new feature allows users to show their appreciation of other users’ contributions on the website.
The news was announced yesterday on the Wikimedia blog. Dubbed “a simple experiment in appreciation,” the WikiLove Button “makes it easy and fun to send barnstars or whimsical messages of appreciation to other users,” the company explained.
The WikiLove Button is currently live on Wikipedia’s prototype site; its implementation on the entire English Wikipedia is expected to take place on June 29, 2011. In the meantime, any user can try it out.
After logging into their account, a user will be able to locate the WikiLove Button (a red heart) in the right corner of their page. Once they come across edits or other on-site activity that they think deserve commendation, they can click on the heart. This action will prompt the WikiLove Interface. From there, they can choose which image (barnstar, beer, kitten or customized image) they want to include with the personalized note they will send to the deserving contributor. An update will then appear on the recipient’s account discussion page with a message such as, “A beer for you!” or “A kitten for you!”
“The drive for quality and reliability has led to the development of sophisticated automation mechanisms that aid in socializing new users to Wikipedia’s norms, policies and conventions,” the company explained in the Wikimedia blog. “The act of expressing appreciation for other users, by contrast, is a largely manual effort. Whether it’s welcoming new users, inviting users to participate in specific topics or discussions, recognizing effort using barnstars and trophies, or just sending a whimsical note, expressing appreciation is not an activity that is facilitated by the software — in spite of its known importance for people’s likelihood to want to edit.”