[Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

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[Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Rui Correia-2
[Chaging subject line as (1) topic has moved on (2) need to ensure
visibility by rising above the Lila/ Wil never ending story frenzy.]

Hi James

Do we have any figures on retention of new editors? How long does the
average new editor stay? What percentage of new editors stays on for 6
months; one year; two years? Do we have these figures for all languages?

New editors should be allowed space to grow. Wikipedia is so rich in
developing all kinds of scripts, templates etc, that it would be easy to
create something to inform others that someone is a new editor. Pages by
new editors should be left alone for a day or two. There is nothing more
disheartening than getting all excited about contributing only to find that
someone comes along and either deletes your first attempt or nominates it
for deletion. I've have seen this happen WITHIN MINUTES of the seminal
version being posted, followed up by 'warnings' on the editor's talk page.
I've seen edits reverted because the formatting of the source was wrong. It
should be a basic pillar that before reverting, we see if we can improve/
fix the problem. Undoing a newcomer's work and leaving something like
WP:MOS as an edit summary is not helpful - if you are going to cite a WP
policy, then do so by pointing directly to the specific page where the new
editor can read about it. I know it is time-consuming to fill in edit
summaries, especially if one is doing a series of identical edits to a
whole lot of pages. But we can use technology to speed this up - on a blank
edit summary, a prompt will suggest earlier text and you can select an
applicable one. On an edit summary with a reference to the section of the
page this does not work - so we need to find a way around this, like
splitting the field.

No amount of ink about how welcoming WP is to new editors, IT IS NOT. For
reference, this section has some interesting facts,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia#Contributors.

We are also losing established editors, mostly because of edit warring.
There are blocks coalescing around all kinds of themes and issues and these
defend their turf.

Pages that contain controversial details should display a specific notice -
not difficult to do, given the array of templates already in use. Some
pages are the result of a compromise reached after acrimonious debate. An
editor - old or new - who was not involved in discussions will not know
this and might make an edit that detonates the powder keg and starts the
war all over again. It would be so easy to display a notice on the EDIT
PAGE saying something like "Hi, if you were planning to edit .....[ x
detail] ... please read (link) the discussion and resolution on this. I am
pretty convinced it would work far better than having thousands of pages
locked ([semi-]protected). Some pages just require a simple message on the
EDIT PAGE such as (example) "In the English Wikipedia we use the spelling
*Braganza* and not *Bragança* when referring to the House of Braganza.
Please do not change this.".  There are 1,300 pages where Braganza is
mentioned, imagine how many headaches we could spare ourselves.

Some editors seem to derive pleasure from the constant reverting/
protecting - you soon get to know who the 'group' is and can read on their
talk pages comments and jokes about a "here we go again" scenario. It is as
if they actually lie in wait for the next unwary editor to come along and
make a change.

At the same time, there are hundreds of thousands of pages that do not meet
20% of the quality criteria and nobody does anything to remedy them. Yet,
do something like move the page, change the infobox and immediately the
'owners' come out of the woodwork to revert.

Someone cited Ukranian in this thread and I would like to pick up on that.
There is a tendency at the higher levels to equate Wikipedia with the
English Wikipedia and all else are something else. This includes the level
of involvement by the Foundation etc in the non-English Wikipedias, often
with the justification (excuse?) that each is independent. And of course
each language WP will use this independence to its advantage when
convenient, as a reason why this or that is being done differently. In the
same breath, content that is specifically marked as referring to the En-WP
is then regurgitated as if it reflects the whole WP, as here, in the
Portuguese WP:
https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confiabilidade_da_Wikip%C3%A9dia#Avalia.C3.A7.C3.B5es

Independence is well and good, but not when for example the Portuguese WP
votes/ debates/ discusses/ relaxing sourcing policies. If WP is to be
judged on its reliability then on a number of key elements it must be held
to one standard with criteria that apply across the board. We can't have
different standards on reliability of sources, notibality, etc.

To shrug it off as an issue of the Portuguese WP is to bury our heads in
the sand, to shirk responsibility, because such issues are symptomatic of
the problems facing the WP as a whole and contributing to the reasons that
make editors pack up and go.

Also from Portuguese WP, it is embarassing that since 2009 there have been
all kinds of processes to arrive at a solution for what to call pages on
animals and plants - eg: cattle/ bull/ ox/ cow/ bos ... By the looks of it,
[[Cattle]] in the English WP has been locked for years for the same reason.
This kind of thing snowballs and then other aspects come into play,
overflow and contaminate other areas of the WP as if by contagion.

James, from the link you provided, I see a reference to bias. We all have
our 'usual beats' but we all also edit anywhere where we might happen to
find something wrong. In doing that, you soon find out that just about each
page has 'owners', usually 3 or 4 and these work as a team to preserve
their way of seeing it. Very worrying is that a lot of this happens on
pages on big corporations, which raises the spectre of the possibility
(already proven) of 'editors' working for money. Equally nefarious, I have
noted a group of editos (5 or 6, plus socks [some exposed, others
suspected] and countless IP accounts) who are active on a few hundred pages
deleting/ sanitising negative references to CIA/ US (and 'allies')
involvement in right-wing coups all over the world and generally anything
unsavoury about the US in all pages on conflicts in which the US has taken
part.

In my experience, resolution mechanims for situations such as any that fit
any of the cases above tend to favour the status quo. I have investigates
some of these cases and it is quite apparent that in many cases the 'admin'
taking a decision is also part of group that is trying to defend a certain
point of view.

Finally, I think it is time to think seriously and hard about anonymous
(IP) editing. We can all be anonymous, so with a username you are not less
so. I do believe that IPs who make a few edits here and there, often
unconstructive, would stop if they were not serious and do not want to
bother registering. Conversely, one you register, it is as if you become
officially a member. It is unlikely that one would bother registering and
then engage in vandalism and unconstructive editing.

Best regards,

Rui



2014-05-29 10:06 GMT+02:00 James Salsman <[hidden email]>:

>
> Lila Tretikov wrote:
>> >...
>> > Allocation should follow strategic priorities and it
>> > is the strategy that helps answer this question.
>>
>> On this point, it should be enormously helpful to point out that the
>> only strategic goal which the Foundation has ever failed to achieve,
>> and has consistently failed to achieve, is this one:
>>
>>
>> http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Plan/Movement_Priorities#Increase_participation
>>
>> That specific strategic priority of increasing participation is the
>> focus of the sixteen proposed additional strategic goals below. Some
>> people have substantial objections to some of them, but I'm not clear
>> on the details. Nobody has suggested any reason that Foundation goals
>> would not benefit from at least an attempt at alignment to volunteer
>> contributing editor preferences on these issues.
>>
>> But what have I forgotten? What have I left out? If I could only get
>> one suggestion for every two people who take issue with specific
>> things already on the list, I would feel a lot more comfortable and
>> confident that there isn't anything being forgotten.
>>
>> >... On a more operational scale, resources tend go
>> > to where the users are or where the opportunity is.
>> > When they go to opportunity, it is towards verifying
>> > hypothesis that it would yield results.
>>
>> I agree with measuring what is likely to work best, but for some of
>> these proposals, including some of the lowest hanging fruit, that is
>> very hard. So again, I recommend depending on the wisdom of
>> contributing editors. To that end, an editor survey is something which
>> really needs to be done to prep for this. I trust the Board and Staff
>> to be able to veto things which are unworkable and reach through to
>> the opportunities in an agile fashion. What I don't understand are the
>> few who suggest that the Foundation should not be more active on
>> trying to improve the lot in life of potential volunteer editors. How
>> can that possibly be part of a strategy to increase participation?
>>
>> 1. Labor rights, e.g., linking to fixmyjob.com
>>
>> 2. Support the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the
>> Child and its protocols without reservation
>>
>> 3. Increase infrastructure spending
>>
>> 4. Increase education spending
>>
>> 5. Public school class size reduction
>>
>> 6. College subsidy with income-based repayment terms
>>
>> 7. More steeply progressive taxation
>>
>> 8. Negative interest on excess reserves
>>
>> 9. Telecommuting
>>
>> 10. Workweek length reduction
>>
>> 11. Single-payer health care
>>
>> 12. Renewable power purchase
>>
>> 13. Increased data center hardware power efficiency
>>
>> 14. Increased security against eavesdropping
>>
>> 15. Metropolitan broadband
>>
>> 16. Oppose monopolization of software, communications, publishing, and
>> finance industries
>>
>> _______________________________________________
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>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
>> [hidden email]
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>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>>
>
>
>
>



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Bridge to Angola - Angola Liaison Consultant

Mobile Number in South Africa +27 74 425 4186
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Federico Leva (Nemo)
Rui Correia, 29/05/2014 15:01:
> Do we have any figures on retention of new editors?

https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ASearch&profile=advanced&search=retention&fulltext=Search&ns202=1&profile=advanced

> How long does the
> average new editor stay? What percentage of new editors stays on for 6
> months; one year; two years? Do we have these figures for all languages?

In the end what retention matters for is
http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediansEditsGt5.htm

Nemo

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Fæ
On 29/05/2014, Federico Leva (Nemo) <[hidden email]> wrote:
...
> In the end what retention matters for is
> http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediansEditsGt5.htm

That is an incredibly useful report.

If like me, most people find this a hard table to remember how to
locate, a link to a project-specific version can be found at the
bottom of the Special:Statistics page, for example:
* English Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Statistics
* Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:Statistics

You can navigate around the statistics report to find report cards and
graphs of many handy types, for example
<http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ReportCardTopWikis.htm>

Perhaps we should have some more memorable on-wiki short-cuts to link
and find these reports?

Fae
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Federico Leva (Nemo)
Fæ, 29/05/2014 16:07:
> Perhaps we should have some more memorable on-wiki short-cuts to link
> and find these reports?

I suggested Erik Zachte that we could override the default
[[MediaWiki:statistics-footer]] (which is empty) on all Wikimedia wikis
to link relevant WikiStats reports, but he's too humble. ;)

Nemo

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Rui Correia-2
In reply to this post by Federico Leva (Nemo)
Hi Frederico

Neither of those answers my question. I doesn't tell me whether we are
bleeding new or old members. The reason for an editor of either group to
leave are different. All that that graph shows is that there has been a
frightful drop since 2007.

Rui


2014-05-29 15:28 GMT+02:00 Federico Leva (Nemo) <[hidden email]>:

> Rui Correia, 29/05/2014 15:01:
>
>  Do we have any figures on retention of new editors?
>>
>
> <a href="https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%">https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%
> 3ASearch&profile=advanced&search=retention&fulltext=
> Search&ns202=1&profile=advanced
>
>
>  How long does the
>> average new editor stay? What percentage of new editors stays on for 6
>> months; one year; two years? Do we have these figures for all languages?
>>
>
> In the end what retention matters for is http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/
> TablesWikipediansEditsGt5.htm
>
> Nemo
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>



--
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Rui Correia
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Bridge to Angola - Angola Liaison Consultant

Mobile Number in South Africa +27 74 425 4186
Número de Telemóvel na África do Sul +27 74 425 4186
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

rupert THURNER-2
In reply to this post by Federico Leva (Nemo)
On Thu, May 29, 2014 at 4:28 PM, Federico Leva (Nemo)
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Fæ, 29/05/2014 16:07:
>
>> Perhaps we should have some more memorable on-wiki short-cuts to link
>> and find these reports?
>
>
> I suggested Erik Zachte that we could override the default
> [[MediaWiki:statistics-footer]] (which is empty) on all Wikimedia wikis to
> link relevant WikiStats reports, but he's too humble. ;)

yes please!

rupert

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Lila Tretikov
In reply to this post by Rui Correia-2
We have deeper graphs. I want to be sensitive to our product team's time,
but I am sure they will share when they can.

The short answer -- I believe -- the the community tends to gravitate
towards its current state and loose new editors at a higher rate. This is
not unusual in general of course -- what is concerning is the delta in
those rates. So we also need to understand the differences in the loss
between now and say 5 years ago when rules of engagement, dynamics and
overall state of the internet where different, and how that influenced
retention.

Again, I am still learning, and our PMs may correct me on this :)

L


On Thu, May 29, 2014 at 7:31 AM, Rui Correia <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Frederico
>
> Neither of those answers my question. I doesn't tell me whether we are
> bleeding new or old members. The reason for an editor of either group to
> leave are different. All that that graph shows is that there has been a
> frightful drop since 2007.
>
> Rui
>
>
> 2014-05-29 15:28 GMT+02:00 Federico Leva (Nemo) <[hidden email]>:
>
> > Rui Correia, 29/05/2014 15:01:
> >
> >  Do we have any figures on retention of new editors?
> >>
> >
> > <a href="https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%">https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%
> > 3ASearch&profile=advanced&search=retention&fulltext=
> > Search&ns202=1&profile=advanced
> >
> >
> >  How long does the
> >> average new editor stay? What percentage of new editors stays on for 6
> >> months; one year; two years? Do we have these figures for all languages?
> >>
> >
> > In the end what retention matters for is http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/
> > TablesWikipediansEditsGt5.htm
> >
> > Nemo
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> > wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
>
>
>
> --
> _________________________
> Rui Correia
> Advocacy, Human Rights, Media and Language Work Consultant
> Bridge to Angola - Angola Liaison Consultant
>
> Mobile Number in South Africa +27 74 425 4186
> Número de Telemóvel na África do Sul +27 74 425 4186
> _______________
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Fæ
In reply to this post by Rui Correia-2
On 29 May 2014 15:31, Rui Correia <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Neither of those answers my question. I doesn't tell me whether we are
> bleeding new or old members. The reason for an editor of either group to
> leave are different. All that that graph shows is that there has been a
> frightful drop since 2007.

The reports do include things like "recently absent wikipedians".
Perhaps you would like to write down a few criteria for the ideal
report you would like to see, and then those more aware of what
statistics are available could then either point to something
equivalent, or knock out a quick report for it?

My assumption is that you would like to see something like a monthly
snapshot of stats for all accounts that (a) have ceased making
contributions in the last {1 to 6} months (b) tabulated by whether
they were 'newbies' or not. I am unsure if there is an agreed way of
measuring newbies, but something like "with fewer than {10, 100, 1000}
total contributions" might be meaningful.

A more general question - Is there an on-wiki page for folks to
suggest and discuss additional reports like this, email being a
non-good way of discussing this sort of thing? I can see
<https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Talk:Analytics> might be an
appropriate place, but it seems a very quiet page and the majority of
Wikimedians would probably be happier talking on meta or similar.

Fae
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Fæ
In reply to this post by Lila Tretikov
n 29 May 2014 15:43, Lila Tretikov <[hidden email]> wrote:
> We have deeper graphs. I want to be sensitive to our product team's time,
> but I am sure they will share when they can.

Hi Lila,

As well as WMF teams, there are quite a few volunteers about who pull
reports from the database or through the API and generate interesting
reports, tables and charts to support projects they are interested in.
For a bit of fun I manually generate this report of active Commons
contributors with more than 10,000 edits
<https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:F%C3%A6/Userlist>.

It might be an idea to think of how you can encourage unpaid
volunteers to try playing around with generating reports and creating
bots to maintain them so that, as a community, more volunteers can do
it themselves and produce test examples in an agile fashion, and
reduce the burden on WMF teams to respond to requests.

I find the labs, API and database user guides okay, but not easy, for
a non-technical person to work out what they need to do to get
started. Noting that the the API sandbox was a *great* well designed
feature to add to the wikis. In practice, as an older guy with a
technical but non-internet background, it took me nearly a year to
become not-too-terrible at doing bot-stuff (and I still have not got
around to working out how to run SQL queries via Python to the
Wikimedia database), for the very few contributors that are interested
in what happens behind the scenes, this is a tough barrier to
overcome. I have been asked to help with a workshop on GLAM related
automated uploading at Wikimania. I'm dreading it, as having tried
several times, I find it really hard to explain to another Wikimedia
how to go about this stuff in an understandable step by step fashion,
without listening to myself and realising how it awkwardly sounds like
explaining how to do a DNA analysis using kitchen tools from someone
who watches CSI but cannot remember the periodic table.

Fae
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

James Salsman-2
In reply to this post by Rui Correia-2
Rui Correia wrote:
>...
> tell me whether we are bleeding new or old members.

http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Editor_Trends_Study/Results

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Editor_lifecycle

and

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Editor_classes

agree: we lose experienced editors at about the same rate we always
have, but what plummeted after 2007 is the rate at which we attract
new editors. That's why there was so much enthusiasm for the Visual
Editor, but it was misplaced because being able to figure out wikitext
is an excellent attribute in new editors (analogously, being able to
figure out that wikitext has ambiguities equivalent to the halting
problem would have been an excellent attribute in VE architects....)
None of the other technical solutions (Huggle, Wikilove, two click
thanking, etc.) have made a dent in the numbers, so it is time to
consider this the social problem that it is, and not just some
technical problem that can be coded around with a fancy new feature,
fewer bots, or addressed with nicer template warnings. Since the
typical editing tasks continue to transition from creating new
articles to maintaining the accuracy of old articles, that is even
more reason to want to attract highly educated editors who will be
able to overcome technical learning curves and social hurdles with
their own minds, not a Mediawiki extension.

Consider the supply and demand of both editors and their leisure time
by educational attainment:

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/cognitive-surplus-visualized/

There is no shortage of new editors to attract. But how much free time
do those potential new editors have? For the typical highly educated
potential male editor, or the potential female editor of any
educational attainment level in the vast majority of the
English-speaking world, things have been getting a lot worse:

http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/business/Screen%20Shot%202013-05-31%20at%204.40.28%20PM.png

http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/business/Screen%20Shot%202013-05-31%20at%201.43.10%20PM.png

(from http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/06/how-did-work-life-balance-in-the-us-get-so-awful/276336/
in case those URLs expire)

These are all pertinent to whether strategic priorities should include
direct action to improve the extent of leisure time among highly
educated people in the developed world. Do that, and there will be
plenty of new Mediawiki and Wikidata extensions to choose from as
potential symbiotic solutions to both editor recruitment and the
transition from creation to maintenance. If I had more free time, I
would do this one:

http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Proposal:Develop_systems_for_accuracy_review

That is on topic, because if we had that feature, maintaining accuracy
would be a lot easier in that it would take less volunteer time. But I
don't think for a minute that any of the external strategic priorities
I've listed would do less if they came to fruition.

Best regards,
James Salsman

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Marc-Andre
On 05/29/2014 08:57 PM, James Salsman wrote:
> but it was misplaced because being able to figure out wikitext
> is an excellent attribute in new editors

I think that statement fails on two aspects: for one, saying that the
enthusiasm 'was misplaced' is rather premature as VE itself is rather
incomplete - we do not yet know its potential.

Secondly, and more importantly in my mind, "being able to figure out
wikitext" might be a good attribute, but making it a requirement pretty
much sacrifices any hope we have of getting rid of our systemic bias.
The vast majority of the planet cannot - or will not - have the time and
resources to learn an arcane and overcomplicated mishmash of markup
languages; yet many of those have knowledge and skill to share.

In 2004, when articles were mostly unformatted, that argument made
sense.  Most anyone with minimal computer skills (and that's already a
very restricted slice of the population) could edit a page to fix a typo
or add a statement or two without much difficulty.

Nowadays?  Not so much.  For the untrained eye, even finding the glaring
typo you saw in a reference is nearly impossible after you hit the edit
button.

-- Marc


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Rui Correia-2
"even finding the glaring typo you saw in a reference is nearly impossible
after you hit the edit button." -- Marc

Yes, it was, as references were getting longer and longer (almost to the
point of including the author's likesa and deslikes and what he or she had
for breakfast. That was 'solved' by the new <ref=.....>, that is really not
the easiest to figure out. And oddly enough, I don't ever see anywhere any
form of a tutorial on changes - such as the new ref method, hoveing
footnotes, etc.

Other then clicking edit on another page to see how it is done, there is no
gjuidance whatsoever.

Rui

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Rui Correia
Advocacy, Human Rights, Media and Language Work Consultant
Bridge to Angola - Angola Liaison Consultant

Mobile Number in South Africa +27 74 425 4186
Número de Telemóvel na África do Sul +27 74 425 4186
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

James Salsman-2
In reply to this post by James Salsman-2
> "being able to figure out wikitext" might be a good attribute,
> but making it a requirement pretty much sacrifices any hope
> we have of getting rid of our systemic bias....

Individual editors' skill with wikitext should be independent of
almost all of the systemic biases from which we suffer except perhaps
math articles with sections ordered by utility to the typical reader.
The effect, if it exists, should be stronger on the Simple English
Wikipedia.

I'm not opposed to further improvements and measurements of the Visual
Editor, but I am opposed to the absence of honest cost-benefit
evaluations of supplemental opportunities for increasing
participation.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Marc-Andre
On 05/31/2014 08:27 PM, James Salsman wrote:
> Individual editors' skill with wikitext should be independent of
> almost all of the systemic biases from which we suffer [...]

Seriously?

I have (non-CS) engineer friends that, upon hitting that edit button,
basically went "Gak!  No way!"

Wikitext resitricts editing to pretty much only "computer science
professionals, highly computer-literate professionals (which excludes
most of Academia -- have you ever done IT support for a university?),
and westerners with enough leisure time to learn it the hard way".

This is, optimistically, 1-2% of the world, only a small fraction of
which are women.

There's no way to *not* have a catastrophic systemic bias with those
demographics that pretty much excludes the vast majority of academia,
most cultures, and selects strongly against women.

-- Marc


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

James Salsman-2
In reply to this post by Rui Correia-2
> (non-CS) engineer friends ... upon hitting that edit button,
> basically went "Gak!  No way!"

Wikitext is simpler than what phototypesetter operators in the
1960s-1990s had to deal with, and they had a much better gender
balance.

> Wikitext resitricts editing to pretty much only "computer science
> professionals, highly computer-literate professionals (which excludes
> most of Academia -- have you ever done IT support for a university?),
> and westerners with enough leisure time to learn it the hard way".

There are abundant counter-examples.

>... selects strongly against women.

Where is the evidence that women have more difficulty understanding
wikitext than men?

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Fæ
On 1 June 2014 04:26, James Salsman <[hidden email]> wrote:
...
>>... selects strongly against women.
>
> Where is the evidence that women have more difficulty understanding
> wikitext than men?

(Probably drifting to "Increase participation by women")

As someone who has run editathons on women focused topics, I found
this an odd comment that does not match anecdotal experience. New
women users seem little different to men in the issues that arise, and
though I have found myself apologising for the slightly odd syntax,
given the standard crib-sheet most users get on with basic article
creation quite happily.

There are far more commonly raised issues such as the complex issues
associated with image upload (copyright!), or the conceptual
difficulty of "namespaces" which mean that some webpages behave
differently to others. None is something that appears to "select
strongly against women", though the encyclopedia's way of defining
notability can make it harder to create articles about pre-1970s
professional women, purely because sources from earlier periods tend
to be biased towards men.

If there are surveys that wiki-syntax is more of a barrier for women
than men (after discounting out other factors), perhaps someone could
provide a link?

Fae
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[hidden email] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Risker
On 1 June 2014 01:39, Fæ <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 1 June 2014 04:26, James Salsman <[hidden email]> wrote:
> ...
> >>... selects strongly against women.
> >
> > Where is the evidence that women have more difficulty understanding
> > wikitext than men?
>
> (Probably drifting to "Increase participation by women")
>
> As someone who has run editathons on women focused topics, I found
> this an odd comment that does not match anecdotal experience. New
> women users seem little different to men in the issues that arise, and
> though I have found myself apologising for the slightly odd syntax,
> given the standard crib-sheet most users get on with basic article
> creation quite happily.
>
> There are far more commonly raised issues such as the complex issues
> associated with image upload (copyright!), or the conceptual
> difficulty of "namespaces" which mean that some webpages behave
> differently to others. None is something that appears to "select
> strongly against women", though the encyclopedia's way of defining
> notability can make it harder to create articles about pre-1970s
> professional women, purely because sources from earlier periods tend
> to be biased towards men.
>
> If there are surveys that wiki-syntax is more of a barrier for women
> than men (after discounting out other factors), perhaps someone could
> provide a link?
>
>

Fae, I don't know if wiki-syntax in and of itself is more of a barrier for
women than men.  What I do know is that wiki-syntax is a lot harder today
than it was when I started editing 8 years ago, and that today I would
consider it more akin to computer programming than content creation.  That
is where the barrier comes in.

The statistics for percentage of women employed in computer-related
technology is abysmal; we all know that. Even organizations that actively
seek out qualified women (including Wikimedia, I'll point out) can't come
close to filling all the slots they'd willingly open, because there simply
aren't that many qualified women.  They're not filling the seats in college
and university programs, either.

Eight years ago, only about a quarter of English Wikipedia articles had an
infobox - that huge pile of wiki-syntax that is at the top of the
overwhelming majority of articles today.  There were not a lot of
templates; certainly the monstrous templates at the bottom of most articles
today didn't exist then.  The syntax for creating references was
essentially <ref> insert url </ref>; today there is a plethora of complex
referencing templates, some of which are so complex and non-intuitive that
only a small minority of *wikipedians* can use them effectively.  I know
wiki-syntax, and I have found it increasingly more difficult to edit as
time has gone on.  I don't think it's because I'm a woman, I think it's
because I'm not a programmer - and women who *are* programmers are only a
small minority of all programmers, so it follows that women are less likely
to have the skills that will help them sort through what they see when they
click "Edit".

It's exactly why I've been following and keeping up with the development of
VisualEditor - because I believe it will make it easier for those who
aren't particularly technically inclined to contribute to the project.  I
believe it's the route to attracting a more diverse editing population,
including but not limited to women.  And I think that it's pretty close to
being ready for hands-on use by those who are new to our projects, now that
it can handle pretty well most of the essential editing tasks.  It's not
perfect, but it's getting there.

Risker/Anne
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Marc-Andre
On 1 June 2014 03:40, Marc A. Pelletier <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 05/31/2014 08:27 PM, James Salsman wrote:

>> Individual editors' skill with wikitext should be independent of
>> almost all of the systemic biases from which we suffer [...]

> Seriously?
> I have (non-CS) engineer friends that, upon hitting that edit button,
> basically went "Gak!  No way!"


I'm a Unix sysadmin and I frequently hit it and go "Gak! No way!"
Wikitext is not humanly usable.

The question is not whether we need a better interface, it's the implementation.


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Ting Chen-2
In reply to this post by Risker
Hello Risker,

you have my sympathy, and let me tell you this: I am man and programmer,
and when I edit articles nowaday I tend to ignore the info boxes and the
templates at the end of each article. If I create a new article and I
happen don't have a similar article with the templates and infobox
already at hand, I simply create an article without both.

And I think it is essential to tell the beginner to do the same: Don't
bother with things that are too complicated, it is the content that counts.

What I also do is help newcomers to wikify articles. I think it is an
utterly bad habitate just to put a wikify template in a not nicely
structured article instead of to do something by one self. It is usually
just a few edits, two '''s, a few [[ and ]]s, and maybe a
[[cateogry:...]] that can make the difference.

Personally, there are two reasons that I don't really care about info
boxes and templates: First it is my own habitate as a user. For me the
summary at the begin of an article tells me more than the info boxes.
Info boxes are great for machines, for semantic web or things like that,
but as a human I am more content with the summary. Second, I am sure
that there will be at some time some nice and capable people who will
put the necessary info boxes and templates in the articles I created. I
never try to start a perfect article (I even never start an article in
my own sandbox, people can always see my progress in the articles), I
just do something and then leave it as I am able to.

In all the discussions about editor retention and new comer barriers
there is one thing that astonishes me again and again, and that is the
whole discussion seems to be highly biased on the technical aspect,
while the social aspect mostly tend to be neglected. People put a HUGE
TON of hope in the visual editor as if it can resolve everything. But
actually I think what VE can do is very limited, as far as our rules and
our scope don't change.

Nowaday Wikipedia articles (across all major languages) are highly
biased in style and in content to academic thesis. How references are
used and put, the criteria for references as valid, are almost
one-by-one copied by the standards from academic thesis. Content without
references are by itself considered as delete candidates. Both of these
strongly put up constraints on who can put new content in Wikipedia and
what content is considered as viable. I always feel sorrow, that both
the Foundation and the community neglected the Oral Citation Project
lead by Achal ( http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Oral_citations ). I
believe it has the potential to revolutionary how anthropology (and
maybe a lot of other sciences where field study is necessary) is done
just like Wikipedia revolutionized how Encyclopedia can be done. And it
can really give a lot of people, who did not enjoyed the academic
training, the possibility to contribute their knowledge.

The other major topic that I see neglected in this whole complex of
discussion is how our rules are set up. They don't really put on a price
or punishment against rude behavior. There are a lot of initiative to be
welcoming and helpful, they are all great, but in the end, one rude
comment can destroy efforts of two or three welcoming volunteers. Our
rules only set in if the rude behavior is obvious, but not if they are
acid and suttle. And people tend to ignore rude behavior if they come
from a high performer editor.

Change our attitude to non-academic-content and change our play rule on
rude behavior is harder than change in technology, this is why people do
so as if the VE is the holy grale. But it is not. By the start of the
last strategic period, in the years 2009 and 2010, the Foundation
conducted a lot of studies about why people leave our community, and
Wiki-syntax is only one of at least three other reasons. VE is just a
tool, tools can be used for good or for bad, it is the mind, that
decides for which the tools are used.

Greetings
Ting


Am 01.06.2014 08:55, schrieb Risker:

> On 1 June 2014 01:39, Fæ <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> On 1 June 2014 04:26, James Salsman <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> ...
>>>> ... selects strongly against women.
>>> Where is the evidence that women have more difficulty understanding
>>> wikitext than men?
>> (Probably drifting to "Increase participation by women")
>>
>> As someone who has run editathons on women focused topics, I found
>> this an odd comment that does not match anecdotal experience. New
>> women users seem little different to men in the issues that arise, and
>> though I have found myself apologising for the slightly odd syntax,
>> given the standard crib-sheet most users get on with basic article
>> creation quite happily.
>>
>> There are far more commonly raised issues such as the complex issues
>> associated with image upload (copyright!), or the conceptual
>> difficulty of "namespaces" which mean that some webpages behave
>> differently to others. None is something that appears to "select
>> strongly against women", though the encyclopedia's way of defining
>> notability can make it harder to create articles about pre-1970s
>> professional women, purely because sources from earlier periods tend
>> to be biased towards men.
>>
>> If there are surveys that wiki-syntax is more of a barrier for women
>> than men (after discounting out other factors), perhaps someone could
>> provide a link?
>>
>>
> Fae, I don't know if wiki-syntax in and of itself is more of a barrier for
> women than men.  What I do know is that wiki-syntax is a lot harder today
> than it was when I started editing 8 years ago, and that today I would
> consider it more akin to computer programming than content creation.  That
> is where the barrier comes in.
>
> The statistics for percentage of women employed in computer-related
> technology is abysmal; we all know that. Even organizations that actively
> seek out qualified women (including Wikimedia, I'll point out) can't come
> close to filling all the slots they'd willingly open, because there simply
> aren't that many qualified women.  They're not filling the seats in college
> and university programs, either.
>
> Eight years ago, only about a quarter of English Wikipedia articles had an
> infobox - that huge pile of wiki-syntax that is at the top of the
> overwhelming majority of articles today.  There were not a lot of
> templates; certainly the monstrous templates at the bottom of most articles
> today didn't exist then.  The syntax for creating references was
> essentially <ref> insert url </ref>; today there is a plethora of complex
> referencing templates, some of which are so complex and non-intuitive that
> only a small minority of *wikipedians* can use them effectively.  I know
> wiki-syntax, and I have found it increasingly more difficult to edit as
> time has gone on.  I don't think it's because I'm a woman, I think it's
> because I'm not a programmer - and women who *are* programmers are only a
> small minority of all programmers, so it follows that women are less likely
> to have the skills that will help them sort through what they see when they
> click "Edit".
>
> It's exactly why I've been following and keeping up with the development of
> VisualEditor - because I believe it will make it easier for those who
> aren't particularly technically inclined to contribute to the project.  I
> believe it's the route to attracting a more diverse editing population,
> including but not limited to women.  And I think that it's pretty close to
> being ready for hands-on use by those who are new to our projects, now that
> it can handle pretty well most of the essential editing tasks.  It's not
> perfect, but it's getting there.
>
> Risker/Anne
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Increase participation [WAS: The first three weeks]

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by Fæ
Fæ, 01/06/2014 07:39:
> As someone who has run editathons on women focused topics, I found
> this an odd comment that does not match anecdotal experience. New
> women users seem little different to men

I, too, failed to see any difference in dozens (mainly female)
librarians editing, when watching them for several hours multiplied by
several days. Of course said librarians are not representative of the
general population, as pointed out by others in this thread.

Anyway, it would be nice to see a conclusion to
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Gender_micro-survey , data was
collected almost a year ago. Personally I was and am disturbed by the
assumption that women might be less editing-capable, but I'm interested
in actual data.

Nemo

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