Wikipedia is all about collaboration. But not all collaboration is created equally. Very few Wikipedia users actually write articles, or edit existing ones. But that doesn't mean they can't contribute. In fact, Wikipedia is making it easier to do so with a new version of the Article Feedback tool, which is now in testing.
Currently, the Article Feedback tool uses a five-star system that asks readers to rate the article based on several criteria, trustworthiness, objectiveness and so on.
This tool was introduced not so long ago and it provided much more granular feedback about articles. But it still only allowed readers and editors to get a glimpse of what is good or bad about an article without getting anything specific.
The new version
of the tool changes that. It's a much simpler tool as well, all it does is ask readers whether they found the article helpful or not.
Confusingly, clicking either "yes" or "no" leads to the same result, an input box allowing you to write your comment on what you liked or didn't like about the article and what you think could be done to make it better.
The only difference is that you can post a "positive" feedback without actually writing any message, but you can't do that with "negative" feedback, i.e. clicking "no."
Functionally, this makes sense, you want people that aren't satisfied to say what they didn't like, otherwise it's not much of a feedback tool. But the UI could be improved.
Thankfully, this is just an experiment, visible on just three percent
of articles on the English Wikipedia, so there is still time to improve it. It will be gradually rolled out to about 10 percent by the end of the month and then to all articles in early fall.
The great thing about the new tool is that encourages people to get involved by actually saying what they liked or didn't like about the article. This way, editors can find out exactly what's wrong and fix obvious mistakes, or change some of the details to make them clearer.