Last week I created a diagram that shows links between some Wikipedia and MediaWiki support sites. I focused on sites that users would likely look to for help on errors in the MediaWiki software that runs wikis like Wikipedia. I expected these sites to link to Bugzilla, Wikimedia’s bug tracker, somehow. Starting from a random Wikipedia article, I looked at what sites a user might follow if she was looking to identify or solve a technical issue. In the following diagram, each node is a page and each directional line represents a link from the originating page to the connecting page. Dashed links represent links that are in the sidebar of a page, and from a Wikipedia article, support sites are linked in the sidebar under ‘Interaction’.
When creating the diagram, I didn’t think the Wikipedia: About page would be helpful, so I didn’t even look at it in my initial diagram (Older version seen here).
Wikipedia has any support sites that focus on different topics. “Are You in the Right Place?” has an excellent brake down of what pages address certain topics, e.g. refer to the FAQ for editing help or a content dispute can be solved at dispute resolution. As I mentioned above, I didn’t think Wikipedia’s About Us page would be all that helpful, but I was wrong. It has a dedicated section for Feedback and Questions, which links to many support pages. It also links to Wikipedia: Bug reports and feature requests, which has info on reporting a bug, Bugzilla etiquette, linking bug reports in Wikipedia, and more.
So what does this mean? Well, one thing I’d note is how I didn’t think to look at the WIkipedia: About page. I think most users would look toward the Help page, first. That would likely lead them to ‘Help Desk’, then ‘Are You in the Right Place?’
Another thing to think about is what sort of words or phrases users would search in Wikipedia if they were looking for how to solve a problem. I actually looked at what pages redirect to a specific page. See below:
Pages that redirect to Bugzilla: http://toolserver.org/~dispenser/cgi-bin/rdcheck.py?page=Bugzilla
Pages that redirect to Bug_tracking_system: http://toolserver.org/~dispenser/cgi-bin/rdcheck.py?page=Bug_tracking_system
Pages that redirect to Software_bug: https://toolserver.org/~dispenser/cgi-bin/rdcheck.py?page=Software_bug
Pages that redirect to Bug_reports_and_feature_requests: https://toolserver.org/~dispenser/cgi-bin/rdcheck.py?page=Wikipedia:Bug_reports_and_feature_requests
More general phrases like “bug tracker” and “bug report” lead to the ‘Bug tracking system’ page, and I would say the same holds for pages that redirect to ‘Bugzilla’ and ‘Software_bug.’ However if users search within the Wikipedia namespace, they’ll likely end up at the ‘Bug reports and feature requests page.’
All of this was really interesting to look into.