Wikimedia Developer Summit/2017/Online Reader Engagement

Session recording

Session overview Edit

  • Title: Online Reader Engagement & Proto-Editor Onboarding
  • Day & Time: January 9, 13:30–14:40
  • Room: Prince
  • Facilitator(s): Seddon
  • Note-Taker(s): Neil Patel Quinn 
  • Remote Moderator: Trizek

Session summary Edit

Style Edit

Problem-solving: surveying many possible solutions

Notes Edit

  • Every editor was initially a reader
  • Barriers to active outreach for new editors
  • Risk of disrupting communities
  • Need a better understanding of the reader-editor continuum
  • First step: better education of readers that they can edit, that Wikipedia is a non-profit
  • People have to learn that changes can be made and are reflected in the real world (currently usually happens via unsanctioned experimentation)
  • NEIL: Is this just a restatement of the issue of gaining new editor?
  • SEDDON: yes, I'd say so.
  • NEIL: Then I have to say I'm pessimistic. There's already a lot of awareness of the problem, have been a lot of attempts to research it and think of solutions. We would have to narrow down the problem, or find a major new player to own it, to make progress.
  • SEDDON: We need subtle and useful interventions to make the current process of readers becoming editor better. This is not about reversing the editor decline or about changing the social environment of the projects; this is just about technical streamlining that currently existing process.
  • BENOÎT: Many different reasons why people don't edit: they feel unqualified (lack of subject and technical expertise), they're not used to writing collaboratively, they don't know what they can do, they feel they don't have time.
  • ANDERS: How do we deal with social expectations that give certain people the sense that their voices will not be welcome?
  • CAROLYN: Edit-a-thons have good results, but after they're done, how can the support system continue online?
  • JOSEPH: What are the concrete opportunities for people to start contributing? Fundraisers, edit-a-thons, but what else? Maybe MOOCs, more formalized mentorship?
  • CAROLYN: example of the Digital Public Library of America. Got a lot of trust from librarians.
  • SARAH: research exists, but is incomplete.
  • MELODY KRAMER: Do we have a sense of what the existing workflows are? When do people drop off, become confused? Hard to research, particularly for readers.
  • BENOÎT: A lot of research is done in English, but that general research doesn't give us insight into people with specific cultural backgrounds.
  • SEDDON: No point in getting large numbers of new people when you don't have the reasources to support them. Community is currently self-selected for being highly willing and able to figure things out on their own.
  • ANDERS: Has anyone done specific research on peoples' individual journeys from readers to editors?
  • SEDDON: We don't currently have the research to know where people are stopping.
  • SEDDON: I'm not going to be leading this myself; I'm throwing the topic out there.
  • JOHAN: So it sounds like you're looking for someone to own that; who would it be?
  • SEDDON: WMF Research, WMF Analytics. I've had a lot of conversations about this, I'd like to move it forward.
  • SEDDON: Teahouse—doesn't scale. Maybe 10–20 actually doing it.
  • ANDERS: Is the main focus things that can be done on Wikipedia itself, or is there also direct outreach to organizations?
  • SEDDON: There's already direct outreach; the question is how to better support that online.
  • BENOÎT: There's also a lot of processes on projects other that Wikipedia that we don't know about. And a lot of potential on those projects.
  • SEDDON: Once you move past the technical systems, you have to deal with the social systems.
  • SEDDON: Having an onboarding/mentoring process online would be the really scalable thing.
  • SHERAH: If I'm a reader interested in editing, I'm not going to go to a library. But if there are tutorials, resources seamlessly integrated that I can use on my phone, I'd be more likely to do that.
  • SEDDON: Have been efforts to do that, e.g. article creation wizard. But they've been basic, and the end result is always all of text. Trying to provide a learning experience is a huge challenge.
  • MELODY: Onboarding is a problem that's been solved by many orgs + processes. It might be interesting to think about what makes good onboarding. Is it trickling out information to people as
  • JOHAN: WMF supports around 800 wikis. The number who have enough editors to handle even a small group of new users is much smaller.
  • SEDDON: Reading team is looking at microcontributions. It's great. Lot of potential.
  • IRC question: are editors the right people to train new editors?
  • SEDDON: We have a community self-selected for being able to deal with high barriers to entry. That means they're probably not be great teachers. If people think this is important enough, we can bring experts into the WMF.
  • RITA: Reading team did a community consultation about different types of microcontributions we could work on. Would love more discussion of that.
  • ANDERS: If we're looking at technical solutions, have we thought about giving editing prompts to specific groups of people (e.g. high school students, students at a specific college) on specific articles, and if they click yes, redirect them to a very simple wizard?
  • SEDDON: Maybe if we could detect what they user was trying to do, and provide targeted, relevant feedback?
  • MELODY: I suggest looking at, which is a similar community-driven project and has really, really good onboarding and support.

Action items Edit

none identified