WikiLove: An experiment in appreciation

We all like to feel valued. According to the 2011 survey of Wikipedia editors (see top-line data), among 17 variables, “being looked down on by more experienced editors” is the most likely to cause people to say they will edit less frequently (69% agreement), while “having others compliment you on your edits/articles” is the most likely to cause people to say they will edit more frequently (78% agreement).

On the other hand, editing Wikipedia has tended to become harder over time, and the likelihood that new users will receive correction/criticism has increased. This is reflected by various efforts to code and analyze the experience of new users, such as the recent Newbie teaching strategy research sprint undertaken within the scope of our Summer of Research.

Warnings, teaching and criticism tend to dominate the experience of new users

This chart shows the relative increase and decrease in warning messages, praise/thank you messages, criticism and teaching messages over time.

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 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.
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.

wikilove screenshot
WikiLove is invoked from a user page by clicking the “Heart” icon.

How you can help
Currently, the Wikilove extension is only deployed on our prototype site.  While it’s a simple feature, we would still appreciate your help in testing and evaluating it.  To do so, create a test account on prototype (please remember to check the “remember me for 30-days” box — sorry, there is a known bug on prototype that requires the box to be checked).  Once your test account created and you are logged in, visit any userpage or user talk page.  You will notice a red heart icon to the left of the search box.  Click on the icon, send WikiLove, and let us know what you think by providing feedback on the WikiLove talk page.
wikilove screenshot 2

What’s next
Our plan is to enable WikiLove on the English Wikipedia on June 29 (we may push the date depending on any issues surfaced). Users will be able to disable the WikiLove feature by going to My Preferences → Editing → Labs Features and unchecking the box that is labeled “Enable showing appreciation for other users with the WikiLove tab (experimental)”.
The tool has built-in tables that will help us measure how frequently WikiLove is used, and allow us to understand whether its usage actually affects (new) editor activity. Irrespective of that, we’re also interested in exploring tools specifically built for welcoming new users and inviting them to edit articles related to their expressed interests.
We’re not presupposing that we know how appreciation can best be expressed in the many different languages and cultures that make up the Wikimedia community. The selection of barnstars and other forms of appreciation that we’re starting with is just that — a selection. Wiki administrators will be able to modify the user interface by following the instructions for customization — so that whether you want to award gifts of chocolate or stroopwafels or baklava, you can do so!
Howie Fung
Senior Product Manager, Wikimedia Foundation
Erik Moeller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Archive notice: This is an archived post from, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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[…] its debut on the English version of Wikipedia on June 29. The goal of the product, according to a blog post by the Wikimedia Foundation, is to encourage more users to edit and engage with more articles by […]

Very Good idea. I will surely show my love on wikipedia. All the best

[…] wird der laut offizieller Ankündigung bereits am kommenden Mittwoch (29. Juni), zunächst auf der englischsprachigen Website des […]

really good idea to enable WikiLove, best of luck wiki..

Love you WikiLove!!

«we’re also interested in exploring tools specifically built for welcoming new users»: I don’t understand why can’t just use welcoming bots or NewUserMessage extension like all wikis.

Showing appreciation by declaring “Love”? I suppose it will have to be, since “Like” has already been taken.

A week ago I watched “Designing Online Communities from Theory”. In a long video a Stanford University professor shows research findings of interactions in online communities. He shows how positive feedback help retain newcomers. The wiki love button is clearly one step in the right direction.

[…] ontwikkelaars van Wikimedia hadden dit ook in de gaten: eergisteren werd op het officiële weblog aangekondigd dat de stichting een experiment is gestart met een zogenaamde ‘liefdesknop’, waarmee […]

[…] dni temu na oficjalnym blogu Fundacji Wikimedia pojawił się wpis informujący o planach testowego wprowadzenia na angielskiej Wikipedii rozszerzenia o nazwie […]

I hope, that every version will have a chance to vote for or against the introduction of this gimmick. I feel there are still other priorities to be solved.

[…] Wikipedia is the latest web property to introduce a button, this time, it’s a “WikiLove button”. […]

[…] WikiLove будет запущена в «Википедии» на этой неделе», — сообщает технический блог Wikimedia Foundation. Предполагается, что это […]

[…] Button op Wikipedia: laat je liefde zien 06.27.2011 · Posted in Geen categorie Wikipedia schrijft over de stap op haar blog. De komende maanden wordt de tool verder uitgerold. Vooralsnog is deze […]

[…] قدردانی را آسان نماید. ویکی‌مدیا این موضوع را روز جمعه اعلام کرد. قرار است دو روز دیگر، دکمه، در صفحات ویکی‌پدیای […]

[…] waardering richting andere gebruikers is echter nog steeds een handmatige aangelegenheid”, zegt Howie Fung, productmanager bij de Wikimedia […]

[…] را آسان نماید. ویکی‌مدیا این موضوع را روز جمعه اعلام کرد. قرار است دو روز دیگر، دکمه، در صفحات ویکی‌پدیای […]

[…] Denn Wikimedia, die Organisation hinter Wikipedia, will Autoren des Weblexikons künftig mit virtuellen Geschenken belohnen: Wer einen Text besonders gelungen findet, kann auf ein Herzchen-Symbol klicken und dem Autor eine […]

[…] Wikimedia Foundation, Mashable […]

[…] Wikimedia Foundation‘ın blogunda yer alan bilgiye göre Wikilove adı verilen yenilik Wikipedia’nın İngilizce versiyonunda 29 Temmuz’dan itibaren start alacak. Böylece Wikipedia’da yazı yazan ya da düzelten kişilerin emeklerinden dolayı takdir ve tatmin edilmesi ve gelecekte de katkılarını devam ettirmeleri hedefleniyor. […]

[…] protagonista: Wikipedia. Dopo il Mi Piace, il Follow Button e il +1, ecco che arriva il WikiLove: sul blog della Wikimedia Foundation è stato presentato il nuovo progetto degli editori di Wikipedia per […]

[…] – Wikipedia Foundation […]

[…] Aun en Wikipedia podrás mostrar tu amor por algo: un artículo, una edición, un editor, etc. Se hace mas social. […]

[…] kako bi se poslala poruka zahvale drugim korisnicima.” — istaknuto je na službenom Wikipedia blogu.WikiLove se pojavljuje u obliku crvenog srca na desnoj strani stranice. Kada se korisniku svidi […]

[…] waardering richting andere gebruikers is echter nog steeds een handmatige aangelegenheid”, zegt Howie Fung, productmanager bij de Wikimedia […]

[…] order to allow users to express appreciation to editors, Wikipedia is going to launch its “Wiki Love” button that has similar function as Facebook’s “like” button and Google’s […]

I think this feature is great. But why beer? If the writer doesn’t drink, how is the beer a compliment? Why not a stinking cigar? If it’s for sharing an addiction. For some reason beer is still a socially accepted drug. Not to every writer, contributing to wikipedia.
So: excellent idea but it should only use a globally equal symbol. Stars, hearts, whatever.

[…] ‘Love-knop’ Maar ook een bier knop. En dat vind ik vreemd. Daarom heb ik commentaar gepost: I think this feature is great. But why beer? If the writer doesn’t drink, how is the beer a […]

[…] se comenta en el Blog Wikimedia se anuncia la llegada del botón WikiLove a la nube por parte de Wikipedia, este miércoles 29 de […]

[…] Wikimedia blog / Le bouton "WikiLove" sur Wikipédia ou quand la contribution est dopée p… Dans la lignée des fonctionnalités du "like" sur Facebook ou du "+1" de Google, l'encyclopédie Wikipédia propose en test jusqu'au lancement prévu le 29 juin, de pouvoir faire apprécier les articles par les lecteurs grâce à un bouton dit "wikilove". L'annonce de cette fonctionnalité est justifiée par un sondage auprès des contributeurs de Wikipédia qui montre que 78% d'entre eux sont plus enclins à poursuivre leur bénévolat rédactionnel quand ils peuvent recevoir des appréciations positives. A noter que ces pratiques d"appréciation constituent, du point… Read more »

[…] WikiLove: An experiment in appreciation Arriving on the English Wikipedia on (or sometime around) June 29th, WikiLove, a “simple experiment in appreciation,” is a new feature that makes it easier to give good Wikipedia contributors your virtual thumbs up. [Wikimedia Blog] […]

[…] قدردانی را آسان نماید. ویکی‌مدیا این موضوع را روز جمعه اعلام کرد. قرار است دو روز دیگر، دکمه، در صفحات ویکی‌پدیای […]

Instead of features like this, why not just make it easier to edit and discuss things in Wikipedia. Warm fuzzies may be nice, but I have a friend who won’t even look at Talk pages because of the goofy way that it works (with the indents and such). He’s an unbelievably experienced Web developer, been doing this since 1994, and he won’t mess with Wikipedia editing because it is so behind the times. But hey at least people will feel better about things while they’re trying to figure out the Wikicode.

[…] Wikipedia英語版では、他のユーザーの作業に対する感謝を示す「WikiLove」機能を6月29日から試験的に導入する(Wikimedia blogの記事、 The Huffington Postの記事、 本家/. )。 […]

@Avanu: We actually are working on making pages easier to edit and discuss, but this is a long process. In the meantime, this is a relatively easy and quick feature that we can just try out and see if it works.

[…] send barnstars or whimsical messages of appreciation to other users,” the site wrote in the blog announcing the […]

[…] de los artículos allí. Podéis enviaros gatitos y cerveza entre otros, con el fin de “dar un refuerzo positivo” y así lograr que más personas se unan a la comunidad. -Se lanzará el 29 de Junio en su […]

Anerkennung für Wikipedia Autoren…
Wer neu bei Wikipedia einsteigt, wird mit zahlreichen Vorschriften konfrontiert. Es gibt auch sehr viel anleitende Hilfe. Ein wichtiges Element jeder Arbeit ist jedoch ins Hintertreffen geraten. Die Anerkennung für Autoren. Neue Autoren haben bei Wikip…

[…] [via Wikilove page] […]

[…] 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 […]

I really, really hoped that this was a joke when I read about it on ANI. I am horrified to learn that it is not.

[…] di adottare la strategia social del mi piace è stata annunciata dalla Wikimedia Foundation la scorsa settimana, e il bottone dovrebbe apparire nella versione […]

[…] brzmi jak żart, ale jej źródło – blog Fundacji Wikimedia – jest poważne, poważna jest wersja testowa i całkiem serio brzmi też uzasadnienie utworzenia […]

Wikipedia understands Web 2.0+ concept very well. Social Medium “avant la lettre” Ansolutely Lovely Experiment. “Complimenti”

[…] Wikipedia запустить власну кнопку під назвою WikiLove для заохочення авторів, […]

[…] WikiLove […]

Hopefully this will work, with both users and administrators. I know in the past Administrators tended to side with one user over another without seeing the full story, such as when an administrator actually took the side of a user that was harassing another user by calling them down to dirt. Hopefully this will improve the situation with that.

[…] قدردانی را آسان نماید. ویکی‌مدیا این موضوع را روز جمعه اعلام کرد. قرار است دو روز دیگر، دکمه، در صفحات ویکی‌پدیای […]

I’d prefer if you could “love” a particular edit… but that would require a lot of design work to be effective