Next week users of information site Wikipedia will be able to click on a “Love” button and send messages to other users in the form of beer, cats, other cute and cuddly animals and more.
Called “WikiLove” and debuting on the sites English based channels on June 29 the goal of the project is to encourage more users to edit posts and engage with articles through positive reinforcement.
According to the Wikimedia Foundation blog:
“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 its announcement. “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.”
To use the program users just click on the heart which will appear next to the star button at which point they can search for a virtual gift and send that gift with a short message. The sent message will appear on a users talk page which means popular site editors could have a lot of “spam” coming their way.
Here’s a closer look at a screenshot from the program:
The program from an editorial point of view makes sense as Wikipedia currently operates thanks in large part to a very small set of editors, by encouraging positively reinforced social chatter they could attract more dedicated editors and therefore better their wikipedia information pages.