Wikipedia Improves Social Layer With WikiLove

Love what a user is doing on Wikipedia?

As early as tomorrow, you’ll be able to spread that love much more easily.

The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, announced in a blog post last week that it was testing WikiLove, a new button that simplifies the process sending of “barnstars” and other accolades. Previously, sending praise on Wikipedia required knowing some basic code — something that is not obvious to new users.

As the blog post explains:

WikiLove is a simple experiment in appreciation. It makes it easy and fun to send barnstars or whimsical messages of appreciation to other users. The tool was first built by Wikimedia Foundation developer and Wikimedian Ryan Kaldari as a small gadget, and the new editor engagement team at the Wikimedia Foundation has developed it into a full feature over the last few weeks.

A “heart” button will appear when you visit a Wikipedia user page:




On clicking that button, a menu will appear with the numerous accolades you can send:








You can test WikiLove now by heading over to Wikipedia’s prototype site and creating an account. If all goes well, the new feature will be pushed tomorrow to the live site. Those not wanting “love” will be able to opt out of this feature.

Wikipedia’s longstanding award system is an early example of social gamification, a topic my colleague Jessica Roy wrote about back in March. A number of news websites — a major example — have begun to reward their users for good comments. This WikiLove feature will make it easier for users to do the same, and will likely increase social engagement on the popular, user-generated encyclopedia.