Editor engagement/Participant Lifecycle
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This document describes various participant types within the -1 to 100 project. It goes into detail about expected risks posed to each type as well as describing some common traits.
These individuals have -1 contributions. They have not yet made the decision to participate.
These individuals have, by nature, a confidence of zero. They can be grouped into broad categories:
- Those who do not know they can participate
- Those who do not wish to participate
These individuals have participated in some fashion, yet have not completed an edit. This definition includes:
- Users who have created an account, but have not edited.
- Users who have rated an article, but have not edited.
- Users who have attempted to edit a page (loaded the editor) but did not successfully save the edit (e.g., were scared off by wikisyntax).
These individuals have between 1 and 10 contributions.
These are our highest risk participants. They have a very low level of confidence and can easily be dissuaded from continued participation by warning templates, hostile and rude reversions, and over-aggressive "help" (e.g., 5000 word "welcome" templates).
The biggest risk to freshman participants, however, is "newbie bite". In this case - especially in the case of freshmen - "bite" need not be seen as "hostile" by the "biter". Well meaning instruction can often be just as difficult as hostile responses, especially if said instruction is overly peppered with jargon.
Freshmen are often unaware that they have talk pages.
These individuals have between 11 and 30 contributions. They, too, are high-risk participants.
Sophomores have moved to feeling moderately comfortable with simple edits. They may begin experimenting with more esoteric functionality (such as infobox templates). They are most likely autoconfirmed.
Sophomores are aware that they have talk pages, though they likely find them confusing.
Sophomores are likely to be deterred by complex policies. Rules lawyering will be an especially high barrier to overcome.
These individuals have between 31 and 60 contributions. Junior participants have a greater degree of confidence. Some will edit templates though they may not find them comfortable.
Junior participants will definitely be aware of discussion pages. They are aware of a handful of policies but will still be deterred by jargon.
Junior participants have a great risk at being deterred by what can be called "gatekeeper hegemony". That is, a systemic bias will prevent under-represented demographics from successfully proceeding further (e.g., women, non-native speakers, senior citizens, those from economically distressed areas).
These individuals have between 61 and 100 contributions. They are significantly more confident than less-experienced contributors but are still "at risk".
Senior participants are well-aware of discussion pages and how to use them. They are confident enough to make sweeping changes to articles where needed and/or successfully create new articles. They understand watchlists, though they may not necessarily utilize them.
The highest risk for senior participants involve politics, trolling, and being "stalked". They are most likely deterred by bullies, rules-lawyers, and general fighting.
These individuals are now experienced contributors and possess a high degree of confidence in working with their chosen project(s). They have over 100 contributions.
- Attrition pipeline (PDF) -- also available as a publicly-viewable (but not editable) Google spreadsheet. This is a spreadsheet that attempts to define impediments to editing at various stages of the editor life-cycle. The editor life-cycle framework used in this document is an earlier version of the one used on this page.
- Decline Theories and Support (PDF) -- also available as a publicly-viewable (but not editable) Google spreadsheet publicly-viewable (but not editable) Google spreadsheet] This is a spreadsheet that documents various theories purporting to explain Wikimedia's decline in editor retention and tests them against the available research.