The incredible work of the Wikimedia Volunteer Response Team

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The English Wikipedia and its other language and sister projects are some of the most popular websites in the world, created, edited and sustained by volunteers. So you might not be surprised to learn that volunteers handle all the emails and inquiries about the sites, what is called Wikimedia’s Open-source Ticket Request System (OTRS), powered by the Volunteer Response Team. We’re very proud of the work the teams handle. This past July, Wikipedia was ranked first in the American Consumer Satisfaction Index for the third straight year.

The tireless contributor barnstar, awarded for the amazing work of the OTRS volunteers
The tireless contributor barnstar, awarded for the amazing work of the OTRS volunteers

For the first time we have compiled a statistical report of general activity of emails sent to our OTRS system for 2012. Emails sent to OTRS are assigned “queues” based upon the nature of the request, the language of the request, and the Wikimedia project it might represent. This report reflects queues that are not related to the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Chapters, GLAM, or any other project that may share space on OTRS. It also does not reflect spam and irrelevant email processing.
Emails are processed as “successful,” meaning that the response was satisfactory to the email; “unsuccessful,” meaning that there was no resolution to the email; or “no response needed,” meaning that the email did not merit a reply as part of processing. In total the information queues received 39,729 emails that were relevant to subject, and 34,799 of those were closed as successful, with 4,357 closed unsuccessful and 573 as no response needed.
This report provides an interesting look at only a fraction of what processing emails to Wikimedia involves. Before being answered, the mail has to be in the right place, in the right language, and relevant to Wikimedia projects. Volunteers come from all background on Wikimedia projects and like with editing, volunteers are free to choose their assignments.
While we take pride in our accomplishments so far, we look forward future statistical reports to help us learn and develop our customer service further. For more information or to get involved, please see this link:
Keegan Peterzell, Volunteer Response Team

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

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