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Submissions/It's Alive! The Joy of Real-Time Collaboration

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2014.

Submission no. 5026
Title of the submission
It's Alive! The Joy of Real-Time Collaboration
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Erik Moeller
E-mail address
Country of origin
Germany (US resident)
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Wikimedia Foundation
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)
The English Wikipedia article about the 2014 Ukrainian revolution was started on 18 February 2014. Through February, it was edited more than 1600 times - in many cases, edit followed by edit within seconds to illuminate events that culminated in the ousting of Ukraine's then-president. This is not an unusual picture for Wikipedia. Articles about current events have long been known to be rapidly updated as new facts emerge. Indeed, the fundamental idea of wiki technology is to make it easy and possible for anyone to quickly update pages ("wiki" means "quick" in Hawaiian).
But viewing or editing a page in Wikipedia still feels very much like it did in 1995, when the wiki was invented. We have good examples today of real-time document collaboration in tools like Google Docs and Etherpad. But in the Wikimedia universe, it is bound to look very different. What if we put the wiki on steroids - and pushed real-time collaboration to its limits?
This presentation will explore, with designs and sketches, how real-time collaboration not only could make quickly developing articles more pleasurable to edit, but could also lead to completely new user experiences - for example:
  • a "spectator mode" that lets you watch edits to an article as they unfold;
  • a "find collaborators" feature that helps new users find mentors and people who want to help expand drafts;
  • a list of "editing parties", open sessions where important topics are fleshed out.
These and other features will also attract new types of bad faith contributions -- vandals and spammers will not wait for us to be ready for them. And we will need to question fundamental assumptions about our architecture, from wikitext as a content format to MediaWiki as a platform, in order to implement functionality such as chat and presence and integrate it deeply with the editing experience. But the end result will be worth it: a wiki experience which brings to life the second-to-second interactions of thousands of Wikimedians collecting the sum of all knowledge.
Technology, Interface & Infrastructure
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
to come
Special requests

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  1. Jaredzimmerman (WMF) (talk) 06:34, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Hannibal (talk) 06:59, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Oona Castro (talk) 07:28, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Polimerek (talk) 09:35, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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  6. Tpt (talk) 14:26, 4 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Quiddity (talk) 20:00, 12 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  8. the wub "?!" 23:38, 13 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  9. --Elitre (talk) 15:52, 20 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Susannaanas (talk) 12:37, 17 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Suntzusuntzu (talk) 21:08, 24 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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