Milos, this is really interesting -- thanks for posting it.
I'm sorry as usual to top-post and not snip (BB), but I did want to make a tiny point about TED. My understanding is they've been super-successful with translations -- a very large and active transcribing-and-translating-of-talks community has developed for them quite spontaneously, and the TED organization has been trying to figure out how best to support them. (I don't mean to suggest the TED organization has been having difficulties in that regard: my impression is they're thrilled.)
I've asked Philippe to take a look at TED's translation community and see if there's anything we can learn from it -- others might want to do the same.
From: Milos Rancic <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2010 22:21:03
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List<email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] encouraging women's participation
Here are my two cents...
I am organizing now TEDx event in Belgrade. (Unlike others, our
speakers will sign contract for CC-BY-SA, too.) And I am carefully
watching gender and age involvement at the Facebook page.
Our predispositions were again dominantly male: 5 males and one female
in organization. Gender ratio is not better now in organization, while
we are trying to make it better.
We had disbalance at the beginning, while not so strong as we have in
Wikimedia (something like 55:40, with ~5% of users who are not
expressing their gender). It is now 48:46 for males.
So, by age and gender, dominant groups are:
* male 25-34: 25%
* female 25-34: 23%
* female 18-24: 11%
* male 18-24: 9%
* male 35-44: 9%
* female 35-44: 8%
(There are ~400 fans now.)
It is interesting that the only constant is 18-24 age group with
stable ration 11%:9% for females for months. In all other age groups
we have constant raising of female ratio.
It should be mentioned that a number of females are willing to
participate in organization (but the process of adopting someone is
not so fast), which means that it is not just a relation between
active and passive involvement.
Let's try to compare TEDx event with Wikipedia/Wikimedia:
* Both are fancy.
* Both are about top achievements of humankind.
* Both are about community. Yes, TED treats audience and speakers both
* Wikipedia is more famous than TED.
* Age groups are similar.
* I don't have any doubt that there is ~50:50 ratio for using
Wikipedia, as it is for TED.
* TED has much less content, but it has much higher ratio of
interesting content per time spent on site.
* I am carefully choosing TED talks for Facebook page and we generally
have good feedback. However, sometimes I am wrong 
* TED's rule "no political and religious agenda", as well as well
defined TED's scope (science, technology, art etc.) saves us from the
topics which could potentially produce endless arguing.
* Whenever someone has some constructive idea, I am applying it and
saying thanks to that person. This makes atmosphere better.
* TEDx is not about everyday editing, but about periodical events.
However, participation could be treated similarly. Nobody needs to
edit Wikipedia every day.
* Technical skills needed for participation in TEDx event are much
less than those needed for editing Wikimedia projects.
* TEDx events are more social. BUT, it is not TED's per se advantage,
it is about our leading of Wikimedia communities. We will have regular
meetings, probably on weekly basis, out of the main events.
* TEDx events and everything around them are much less stressful than
editing Wikipedia and trying to find your place inside of one enormous
bureaucracy of Wikimedia communities.
* TEDx events and communities around them are not mature. We shell see
* <for sure something more, it would be good to give a deeper
analysis; feel free to give your comparisons>
Some conclusions may be:
* Creating featured AND interesting content and gather that content on
some separate project. "The Best of Wikimedia" or so. But, not,
featured encyclopedic article is not *that* interesting, usually. It
is not so interesting to read about Belgrade as the feature article on
English Wikipedia. Having a featured article on English Wikipedia
raises proud of inhabitants of particular area, but it is not
interesting. Contrary, I think that we have a lot of interesting
materials at Wikimedia projects, which should be just presented
* One ordinary Wikimedian meetup is usually not so fascinating event.
Talking about templates, MediaWiki skins, ideas for getting more
content at the best (WWII tanks, airplanes and tactics, ass well as
about various disputes on projects at the worst) -- is not so
interesting for an outsider. We need to find a better way for present
ourselves to the world.
* I am thinking intensively about the possibility of splitting
communities to those which main interests are in politics, religion
and being fans of whatever -- and everybody else. Probably, building
community would be much easier without partisans.
* WP:BITE is something about we are talking a lot, but I don't see any
advancement. Just a couple of months ago, I had on my back a classical
example of bureaucratic asshole at en.wp. He thought that he knows
Wikipedia bureaucracy better than me ha ha ha :D But, I can just
imagine the first impression of any newcomer. BTW, I am rarely editing
en.wp. Probably, in two major edits I am getting one bureaucratic
asshole on my back.
* Lower technical knowledge requirements. If WYSIWYG editor is science
fiction, maybe a kind of help for structural writing could be helpful:
Write in this box title, write in this box introduction, write in that
box section title etc. I don't know...
* Make social events. They don't need to be connected with Wikimedia
projects by idiot-friendly semantics. They could be about much more
interesting things. Promotion of science via talks, events, parties
should be perfectly fine for our goals. Finding some pop-star to sing
for ~50 or ~500 Wikimedians and their friends would be also fine.
* Make some auxiliary ways to involve people who don't want to waste
time with many Wikipedia jerks. Wikimedia should actively promote
license-compatible sites which content can be used on Wikimedia
 - My assumption was that females would like Jamie Oliver's talk.
But, it turned out that it is not the case. After I posted one of his
talks, I was talking with a couple of females, who ranked his talk as
less interesting than tech-related talks.
 - In a post-modern society, it is not so welcomed to talk against
various pseudosciences. Astrology, homeopathy and similar cults are
highly ranked at the fanciness scale. Fortunately, TED is pro-science,
which makes to me a field to be a little bit arrogant: If you really
care about those things, then TEDx event is not for you.
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