On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 10:59 AM, Charles Matthews
James Forrester wrote:
On 29 June 2010 10:05, Charles Matthews
Where is our cheatsheet for Wikipedia editing? Is
it any good?
wiki at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:CHEATSHEET
) but it
doesn't cover tables, templates or citations - it's just a basic
hand-out, good for people on new wikis but sadly not enough for wikis
with crazy levels of code, like enwiki. Hopefully the UX work will be
useful in this regard!
I thought about this in 2008, and again just recently as a result of a
conversation on usability. Of various approaches to user-friendliness,
most attention seems to be given to changing the interface, and then to
the existence of wizards (I'm simplifying, of course). I hear little
about documentation, and I don't remember hearing anything about working
on a minimal page or sheet that could be the resource to give to a
competent person who just wants to do some spot-editing. When in 2008 I
looked, there wasn't an adequate resource.
WP:CHEATSHEET ducks discussing references by linking to detailed pages.
I think this could be improved.
I spoke to two people recently about how they use Wikipedia, both
saying they found it very useful, but I was surprised (though I
shouldn't have been) at how diverse the readership is and what the
attitudes are towards editing.
The first person I asked seemed ideal to edit Wikipedia, and I asked
them if they edited Wikipedia. The response left me rather taken
aback, as he said "oh no, I wouldn't dream of editing Wikipedia as I
don't know enough about the topics". The presumption being that
everyone else takes that sort of respectful attitude. I didn't ask
exactly what topics he was referring to, but I did try and make the
point that nearly everyone can find something they are comfortable
editing to start off with.
The second person I asked said Wikipedia was "excellent on popular
culture" (the specific topic was Dr Who). Which again left me a bit
taken aback as I've seen some popular culture areas change and
contract a lot as standards have risen, but I suppose some areas rise
to the challenge and find reliable sources to really produce good
articles. Though seeing as the best part of the articles (according to
the person I was talking to) was the plot summaries of recent TV
broadcasts, it would be interesting to come back in a year or two and
see whether those plot summaries survived or not, and what replaced
them (if anything).
I would hazard a guess that you could talk to readers all day and get
a different reader each time and a different opinion on different
areas each time. It is something that I would recommend to everyone
(talking to readers, that is). And I think people would be surprised
how many readers wouldn't dream of trying to edit, despite the
messages encouraging that.