Create the “electricity encyclopaedia” on Wikipedia
#Wikipedia and Social Media
In 2014, Terna asked us to devise a project to help the company leverage its unique expertise in order to spread and improve knowledge on electricity. In this way, Terna would also communicate its role in the national energy system.
Based on our 10-years of experience in supporting companies in engaging with the free encyclopaedia, we proposed that Terna use its expertise to improve electricity-related content on Wikipedia. It is the 5th most visited website in the world, and a fundamental resource that collects on average hundreds of millions of pageviews each month in Italy alone.
We called this endeavour the “electricity encyclopaedia,” the first collaborative project of its kind in Italy to our knowledge.
We started by bringing to the table Wikimedia Italy (the Italian chapter of the foundation which supports Wikipedia) that acknowledged the usefulness of the project. Then we trained Terna’s representative as well as its team in how to approach Wikipedia as a company and identified the main gaps existing in target sector-related entries on Wikipedia.
This allowed us to prioritise our tasks (edits to be done within entries, images to be added, members of the Wikipedia community to involve in the process) and plan their implementation.
At the same time, we helped Terna improve the Wikipedia entry dedicated to the company in a transparent manner so that it meets the encyclopaedia’s requirements.
The importance of the project for Wikipedia was acknowledged by Wikimedia Italy, the Italian chapter of the foundation that supports Wikipedia. It was Wikimedia Italy which initially helped us to present it to the project to the community (see left – The profile of Terna’s representative was bestowed a badge saying: Andrea Valant, who is Terna’s representative, is editing entries on Wikipedia in the context of a collaboration with Terna).
Above: Account page with Andrea Valant's brief biography and the badge indicating his collaboration in the project
Under our guidance, Terna selected about twenty electric energy-related Wikipedia entries out of more than eighty mapped, based on the consistency of the entries with the company’s expertise. Then, with the explicit support of the community, Terna contributed to sixteen of them, in two cases writing more than half of their content. All edits made on Wikipedia (most of them were made directly in the entries) have been accepted.
This is unique for Wikipedia. As far as we know, Terna is the first Italian a company that has contributed to sector-related entries and made its engineers’ skills available and at the service of the free encyclopaedia.
Currently, the project has a dedicated page on Wikipedia (here, in Italian) where every single step taken is explained and all content contributed to by Terna is listed. The page was welcomed by the Wikipedia community. An editor wrote: “My compliments to this great project, which is perhaps one of the first (if not the only) in which the company gets involved and does so seriously and professionally, demonstrating its respect for the guidelines and modus operandi of Wikipedia”
[the original version in Italian: Aggiungo i miei complimenti per l’ottimo progetto, forse uno dei primi (se non l’unico) in cui un’azienda “ci mette la faccia” e lo fa con professionalità e serietà, dimostrando di rispettare le linee guida e il modus operandi di Wikipedia]”
Above: The Wikipedia page dedicated to the project
Wikimedia wrote a blog post (here, in Italian) dedicated to the project titled: Companies and Wikipedia, instructions for use: Terna’s experience (“Aziende e Wikipedia, istruzioni per l’uso: l’esperienza di Terna”). In the post, it highlighted that the relationship between Wikipedia and companies has never been easy. In fact, companies often try to manipulate content on the encyclopaedia to fit their corporate narrative, making their entries promotional and biased, not neutral as Wikipedia demands. Despite this tendency, they wrote that Terna represents a good example of how companies should behave on the free encyclopaedia.
Above: Wikimedia's article featuring Terna's contribution to the free encyclopedia