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Remove "Trending" section from Android and IOS app for dewiki
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Description

According to a survey on the German Wikipedia over 85 % editors mean that the "Trending" ("Beliebt") -section should be removed for the German Wikipedia in the apps. Background is the manipulation of pageview statistics. The editors also criticized that the Wikipedia should not waste the space on the start page with such functions.

A few translated opinions in favour to remove the whole function (66):

  • Statistical nonsense is not appropriate for an encyclopedia (Holmium, 17th November)
  • like the previous speakers, and unlike platforms like Amazon, readers on Wikipedia have completely different intentions than to search for articles that others find popular ("Others also searched for ...") (Toni, 17th November)
  • This function actively supports a "All read what all read, because it all read". And every week a new pig is chased through the digital village. I don't find this particularly encyclopaedic. (KaiMartin, 21th November)
  • The meaning of this function has never been revealed to me anyway: Why should we point out articles that are clicked the most anyway? (Icodensee99, 22th November)
  • does not harm Wikipedia's mission to deactivate this technical gimmick, it will otherwise always result in a cat and mouse game, which binds forces we can use for more meaningful tasks (Neozoon, 24th November)

A few translated opinions in favour to give Admins the possibility to manually intervene (8):

  • This list has a pulling effect that attracts readers who open the Wikipedia app "just like that". It is also a mirror of current events. You can find current deaths, scandals, crime scene topics or news in it. The click fraud makes this function unusable. The fact that Wikipedia authors are not interested in this function is easy to understand. I would be interested to know if they [he maybe means WMF] measure how much this function is used. (Sebastian Wallroth, 18th November)
  • I think statistics are good and "popular" articles are interesting for readers. It's a problem if someone uses bots to falsify the retrieval statistics, but I think it's the wrong way to remove the ad completely from the app. (MarcelBuehner, 20th November)

No comments for opinions in favour to status quo (2)

One suggestion I read was the idea to replace the "Beliebt"-section with the Did you know? function which is editorially supervised by the community.

I request to grant to the will of the community and remove the "Beliebt"-section from the german versions of the Wikipedia App on all Platforms (I just know IOS and Android)

Event Timeline

Der_Keks created this task.Nov 24 2019, 9:58 AM
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Der_Keks updated the task description. (Show Details)Nov 24 2019, 10:11 AM
Sewepb added a subscriber: Sewepb.Nov 29 2019, 7:27 AM
Man77 added a subscriber: Man77.Dec 4 2019, 8:50 PM
Der_Keks added a comment.EditedDec 5 2019, 6:40 PM

I refer to T238942#5715768, another article seems affected. The discussion is on the admin noticeboard.

JMinor added a subscriber: JMinor.Dec 10 2019, 12:58 AM

Yes, this is an issue we take seriously. There’s a filter in place which has worked reasonably well – we haven't had many reports in the four years this feature has existed – but obviously not well enough in this case. We’ve addressed the immediate issue, as well as a subsequent concern about another article, and are looking into a long-term solution to make sure this kind of obvious fraud doesn’t happen again. Take a look at https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T236121 if you're interested in improving our Most Read filters. As elsewhere noted, these filters are a shared piece of infrastructure across web, gadgets and apps, and is used across languages, so we need to be deliberate about these changes; but it is our responsibility to make them. Should a similar problem, in the meantime, appear again, we're setting up a process to be able to act more immediately on reports of spam: please reach out to us in this this ticket (https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T238942) for the time being. We're also creating a pre-filled form where you can answer a couple of questions about problematic articles, which will be routed to us directly, so you don't have to try to navigate the whole ticket system or get ahold of someone to get items added to the exclusion list.

With regards to the feature as a whole: We’re aware a number of editors have argued this should be removed from German Wikipedia enitirely. However, it is actually the most frequently used element of the feed and something the readers find useful and relevant – see[1][2] and [3] for a few of the many examples of both quantitative and qualitative assessments of this feature.

Most importantly, however, there is no German Wikipedia app. While Wikipedias on the web are a connected number of separate wikis with varying installations of extensions and so on, that is not the case with the apps. So the web experience of German Wikipedia might be different than say, Swedish Wikipedia, but the app experience is the same. And, in fact, a user may choose to combine content and even search results across language wikis and even projects (Commons Picture of the Day, for example). But there’s only one app per operating system, for all wikis, without separate features.

[1] - In this very detailed quantitative analysis of usage of the Android multi-lingual feed, the most used feed element (apart from the initial set-up items) is the Top Read card https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Wikipedia_Android_app_multilingual_update_post-release_report.pdf&page=10
[2] - In multiple Design studies of app users, users across languages reported “ browse and explore” as a frequent purpose of their app usage; Wikipedia is not used exclusively to search for a specific topic, and the Top Read report gives these browsers another entry into content that is relevant, see for example https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Wikipedia_iOS_and_Android_In-app_Survey_Responses.pdf&page=6
[3] In this study of the relevance of Top Read and Top Edited articles, users again affirmed that the Top Read items were highly relevant to their own reading interests https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Comparing_most_read_and_trending_edits_for_Top_Articles_feature

Gestumblindi added a comment.EditedDec 17 2019, 10:21 PM

@JMinor From the popularity of a feature doesn't automatically follow that it is a desirable feature. For example, if we had sensational, tabloid-style headlines in the app, these surely would generate many clicks - but Wikipedia isn't about clickbaiting. Of course users who wish to "browse and explore" should be able to do so, but we have many better starting points for this than raw popularity of articles IMHO. For example the manually curated "did you know?" section which has the advantage of bringing lesser known topics into the spotlight, which maybe broadens the knowledge of readers more than reading about topics that are already popular and often searched for. As I see it, if a topic is already in the news or popular for another reason, we don't need to point readers additionally to it, "hey, this topic is popular!"-style.

And the survey in German-language Wikipedia very clearly shows that I'm not alone with this opinion. It shows that, in fact, the overwhelming majority of participants thinks that this is a feature that we don't need or want. It is rather rare that survey results on de-Wiki are that clear and near-unanimous.

Volker_E moved this task from Unsorted to iOS on the Accessibility board.Feb 6 2020, 4:25 AM