The Diff editorial guidelines provide a framework to develop draft posts and submit them for review. Submissions to Diff are guided by these guidelines.
How to get started
- Authenticate with your Wikimedia account (use the “Login with MediaWiki” button).
- Once you are logged in, create a new draft.
Now you can start writing a draft and submit news for publication. Don’t forget to read over the #Scope section to understand what the goals are for Diff. See #Getting your news published for more details on the publication process.
All blog users start with the Contributor user right. This role gives you the following permissions:
- Create a new draft
- Submit articles you have authored for review
- Upload media
- Edit other articles that have not yet been published
- View other articles in review by status, category, and calendar views
- Modify settings for your user profile
If you would like to help manage the editorial process, elevated rights are available. Please contact the Diff team to discuss access. You can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The scope of the Diff Blog is news about the Wikimedia movement, for the Wikimedia movement. Some examples:
- News produced by committees, affiliates, and other community groups
- Interesting Wikimedia stories and discussions
- Links to relevant Wikimedia content published on other channels
- News about Wikimedia partners, the ecosystem of free knowledge and other current events that are connected with the Wikimedia movement and targeted to Wikimedia contributors
- Announcements, requests for feedback, reports, newsletters, and other movement-relevant content produced by the Wikimedia Foundation or community groups for community audiences
Posts with an unclear impact on the Wikimedia movement are out of scope. Posts that do not constructively and sensitively handle contentious issues may be considered out of scope.
Our goals for Diff:
- To support and expand the work Wikimedia communities are doing all over the world, by sharing their stories for others to learn from, and facilitating access and discoverability for newcomers
- To promote a culture of learning by sharing stories about successes and challenges in Wikimedia programs and events
- To inform newcomers and established contributors about movement activities and possibilities for engagement related to their interests and background
- To promote the Wikimedia vision that everyone can freely share in the sum of all knowledge
Anyone can submit a Diff post, provided it is in line with Diff’s scope. Most news posts are expected to be authored by people involved in the activity described. News about a project, a committee or an affiliate should be submitted by identified members of the project, the committee or the affiliate organization.
Volunteers covering news about new and growing projects are welcome to contribute.
Roles and responsibilities
Diff has the following roles:
Contributor: This is the default role for new users. This role is able to write and manage posts, but not publish them. This role is accessible to anyone who wants to contribute a story to Diff.
Editor: People in this role have the power to edit and publish anyone’s news posts. This role is open to any Wikimedia contributor in good standing and includes Foundation staff. Please reach out (email@example.com) for information on applying and onboarding.
Administrator: People in this role will have the power to manage the software settings and add features, among other things. This role will be fulfilled by Wikimedia Foundation employees.
Getting your post published
Every Diff post goes through a few stages before it is published.
Posts are reviewed by the editorial team for relevance, accessibility, neutrality and sensitivity, copyright attribution, and use of references and links. The editorial team often provides feedback on how to improve submitted articles to keep in line with Diff’s editorial standards.
Anyone who wants to submit a post to be published in Diff will have the contributor role in WordPress. You can create an account via integration with your Wikimedia account. We use three stages to manage each news post. A news post can be in one of the following stages.
- Draft: After the pitch is approved, a contributor starts working on an article
- Pending Review: A contributor submits the draft for review by the editors
- Awaiting Feedback: An editor is reviewing the draft and leaving editorial comments for the author
- Published: The post has been published and is now publicly accessible on Diff
- Scheduled (optional): The editor and author have agreed that the news post is prepared for publication and a date and time have been scheduled.
In this section, we’ll walk you through each of these steps.
Step 1: Write a blog draft
What does a good post look like? Posts are typically between 500–700 words. They have a clear audience and goal, a connection to the Wikimedia movement’s mission, and a complete outline with a beginning, middle, and end—with a call to action, if possible. They can be a Q&A, a numbered list, a series of short paragraphs, or something else entirely.
Write your post! If necessary, see past posts for inspiration or specific ways to structure your post. See also the advice on outlines for topics and how to write a great blog post from the Wikimedia Foundation News Blog.
Here are some points that you might want to consider in writing your post:
- Write for your audience. What can other Wikimedians learn from your experience? What went well, what did you find thoughtful and interesting, what challenges did you discover and how might we overcome them? Sharing to encourage others is a great way to build interest for other folks. Some topic ideas, if applicable:
- Summary of an event, including what the event is about, who it is for, and its significance
- Important takeaways from an event, program, research, etc.
- Talk about your experience related to successes and challenges
- Capture stakeholders’ experiences or conversations with an interesting perspective
- Any social media mentions. Did folks have an interesting conversation or experience they shared on social media? Write about it!
- Any unexpected or serendipitous moments
- Anything that you would like to tell people considering becoming involved in the project
- Keep it accessible. Not everyone is as smart as you! Try and write for a general audience to include the most amount of people. Explaining abbreviations or jargon can go a long way to increase awareness and interest of what your community is up to. Keep your writing simple (not everyone is a native speaker!) and try for a total length of the post to about 600 words. Your post can be a little shorter or longer, there’s no hard limit. If longer, consider breaking the post up into a series of posts so folks can digest it easier.
- Use a creative headline. “Notes from the Hackathon” is not nearly as useful and engaging as, “Five Lessons for Developers from the Wikimedia Hackathon 2023” or “What I’m going to do after the 2023 Wikimedia Hackathon”, “How the Wikimedia Hackathon made me a better mentor”, or something even better!
- Choose a nice “featured” image. This can be of you or a group working together, a photo of the space for an event, or some other picture related to your experience. But please do not use a screenshot or chart. If that’s not easy to do, find something colorful or abstract on Commons related to your work – a rainbow, folks working together, a fun animal. These images will anchor your post on the blog homepage and when shared on social media.
Please be sure to include licensing information for your media files, and that they are uploaded to Diff rather than linked from another site. As Diff text is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0, for images and media we use Wikimedia Commons’ licensing policy.
Step 2: Submit your blog for review
The editorial team will check for new submissions daily. This review process can take some time, depending on how much is in our backlog.
Often, the editorial team will provide feedback on next steps for improving your article, prior to publishing. You will receive an email notification if this happens, and can respond either by email or on your draft in Diff.
You can also contact the editorial team directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 3: Your post is published
Once a post is published it is made public for all to see. Authors will be sent an email notification from WordPress.
Periodically, posts may be scheduled for times in the near future rather than immediate publishing. Please let us know if you have any deadlines we should know about.
Content categories and tags
In order to reflect the kind of stories we hope to publish, we’ve established categories and tags in advance. These categories and tags make it easier to find resources and stories.
- Equity & Inclusion – Articles related to gender equity, knowledge equity, racial and social justice, translations, and engaging new people with Wikimedia projects and the movement.
- Education & Open Access – Articles related to work within the movement and with partner organizations to expand the access of free knowledge and promote Wikimedia projects as tools for learning.
- Technology – Articles related to the people and technology that make free knowledge accessible to the world, including software developments, infrastructure improvements, and useful tools that contribute to the movement.
- Partnerships & Events – Articles related to collaborations, initiatives, and activities to accomplish great things, whether that is a larger partnership with an outside organization or a small get-together with like-minded editors.
- Policy & Advocacy – Articles related to group and individual efforts across the movement to influence and educate on free knowledge policy topics such as privacy, censorship, access to knowledge, and more.
- Movement Strategy – Articles related to the long term strategic direction of the Wikimedia movement.
Tags can be expanded at will by contributors. For general writing, here are some recommended tags:
- Shared learning – Stories that share reports, lessons learned, best practices, and reflections on successes and shortcomings.
- Wikimedia affiliates and governance – Stories about new affiliates, governance, and anything connected to the institutional growth of the movement.
- Editor experience – Stories from content contributors that share why they contribute in the way they do.
- Wikimedia projects – Stories from different language version Wikipedias, submitted by correspondents.
- Wikimedia Foundation Grants – Stories about calls for proposals, projects funded, and proactive grantmaking campaigns.
Code of conduct
All the users of Diff are subject to the Diff code of conduct. Submissions infringing this code of conduct will be moderated.