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Volunteer Archetypes: Design Research exploration toward v1
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The Archetypes research project intends to support Wikimedia Foundation teams' movement away from granular, hyper-specific personas for product design, and toward the elaboration of Archetypes, which are framed primarily in terms of users' beliefs and motivations. This project is being undertaken as a collaboration between the WMF Product Design and Design Research teams.

As described in the project brief [1], this project will draw on several sources of information:

  • qualitative exploration of internal and external research, including previously elaborated personas;
  • the ongoing "contributors survey" managed by the Movement Insights team, which will collect (in part) motivational information from participating Wikimedians;
  • internal consultations with WMF teams and individuals to determine their needs and use cases regarding archetypes; and
  • an external survey effort targeting non-Wikimedians who 'contribute,' 'participate', and 'volunteer' in a variety of online spaces.

The external survey effort will be supported by research vendors such as Prolific and Userlytics, with the exact source of participants to be determined as the draft survey continues development.


In the next Annual plan for FY24-25, multiple teams will start work focused on the multi-year strategic cornerstone #1 Nurture multiple generations of volunteers.
To help with answering the question “Why should I volunteer?” for cornerstone #1, we need to articulate a clear value proposition for different kinds of volunteers, and also implied is why should existing people continue to volunteer.
Creating Volunteer Archetypes will help us to figure out what the value prop for volunteers is in general and start catering to them more in our plans.

“Volunteers” scope
Volunteers on Wikimedia projects can mean content editors, admins, stewards, bot writers, dev contributors, event organisers, etc – anyone spending free time participating in growing or shaping the content on our projects.
In the context of this work, we want to be aspirational and seek to include volunteers beyond those who are already on our projects – people who participate in creating and shaping content of any online space. For example, this may include Google Maps reviewers, iNaturalists, Reddit moderators, etc.

[1] Project planning brief (Google doc, WMF staff access only)

Event Timeline

RHo moved this task from Incoming to Tracking on the Wikimedia-Design board.
RHo added a subscriber: Sneha.
GEscalante-WMF triaged this task as High priority.
GEscalante-WMF moved this task from Backlog to FY2023-24-Research-April-June on the Research board.

My understanding from Mike's weekly reporting is that this project is now at risk due to the budget for Prolific not being approved, yet. I'm following up on this.

Thank you, yes that's correct. We (@Bethany and I) are in communication with both Prolific and our approval people at this point, it seems like some wheels are starting to turn.