Powered by People

Understanding the needs, motivations and challenges of the people who power the free knowledge movement

people power movement


Unlike many for-profit products, the twelve wikiprojects managed by the Wikimedia Foundation are as much about the people who read, write, support and monitor the creation of content as they are about the technologies that enable these activities. Our contributors work on over 800 projects worldwide, nearly 300 of which are different language versions of Wikipedia. This means our product teams need to understand how our readers access and utilize wiki content, what motivates and challenges the people who edit and moderate content, and how that varies across different languages, geographies and social contexts.


  1. Contributors Who Don't Sign In

    This research focuses on understanding the motivations and impact of Wiki editors who make contributions without signing in or creating accounts.
  2. How Do News Organizations Use Wikipedia?

    This project seeks to understand more about how and why media and news organizations use Wikipedia.
  3. Free Knowledge Movement Personas

    This is a collection of all personas developed to date for desktop and mobile readers, new and veteran contributors, institutional curators and Movement organizers.
  4. Content Moderation Explained

    An overview of how a global community of volunteer moderators determine which contributions to Wikipedia are accepted and rejected.
  5. CheckUser Workflow & Tools

    CheckUser is a critical tool for moderators in anti-vandalism efforts on Wikipedia. This research surfaces the pain points in the CheckUser workflow and opportunities to improve the tool.
  6. Why Do People Edit Wikipedia?

    This literature review examines the drivers of engagement and the motivators of sustained involvement in Wikipedia. It provides an overview of academic research on Wikipedia production and editor motivations, highlighting the themes and queries of scholarship in this area.
  7. Wikimedia Foundation Remote Worker Experience

    This is a lean, inward-facing research project that surfaced the challenges and highlights of working remotely for the Foundation and offered opportunities for the Foundation and non-remote staff to improve the work lives and for its globally distributed staff.
  8. New Page Patrol

    Content integrity on Wikipedia relies on editors who patrol articles and respond to vandalism. This research brings to light the workflows of editors who patrol on Wikipedia(s) and the tools used in the course of their work.
  9. Movement Organizers

    The Movement Organizer Study sought to understand the life cycle of contributors by documenting paths, practices, challenges, and risks faced by successful organizers throughout the Free Knowledge Movement.
  10. Contribution Workflow Taxonomy

    This project details the workflow of contributors and assesses the level of difficulty they encounter with each step in the workflow in order to understand what contributes to editors' retention or burn-out.
  11. New Editor Experiences

    This study sought to understand the experiences, needs and challenges of new editors on midsize Wikipedias with the goal of learning how best to support and retain them.
  12. New Readers

    This study sought to understand potential Wikimedia readers in countries where access to the internet is quickly growing.
  13. Contribution Taxonomy Project

    This project creates a taxonomy of the contributions made by Wikimedia communities, measure the contributions in that taxonomy, and elicit trends in volunteer contributions to the projects.