David Goodman has this exactly right — new volunteers (as opposed to casual
contributors) aren't made with templates of cookies or beer, they are
generally made one at a time, with personal attention and personal
assistance. Teahouse is one of the best ideas of the last five years, being
a place where newcomers can go to ask specific questions. Mentoring
programs is another very correct step.
I'm currently working with a buddy who is getting into it. Wiki markup gunk
isn't a big problem for him; he's about 40 years old and has been around
html enough that it doesn't put him off. Footnoting he initially found
difficult, but I taught him how to do it long form rather than using layout
clogging templates, so that might have added an hour or two to the learning
curve. Still: not that difficult and he already has the knack of it — and
once you learn that, it's all very simple.
I'm going to write him a couple thousand word email on linking today.
That's all pretty self-evident.
We had lunch yesterday and I explained to him the way that some topics
which interest him (alternative medicine) are going to be battleground
areas in which he really must be a master of NPOV; while other interests,
relating to popular culture and sports, are less intense, with rawer and
worse articles standing that need Tender Loving Care.
He's enthusiastic about WP, and there is absolutely no substitute for that.
That is the thing that is missing in college students doing class projects.
My experience thus far with them is that they dive in at the 11th hour, do
minimally decent work necessary to complete the assignment, ask zero
questions, and then vanish.
Serious, longterm editors are made one at a time, I think. It starts with
personal attention. It requires someone to explain editing techniques and
(just as importantly) WP culture and policies and tour-guiding them through
all the policy pages and various backstage aspects of WP.
It also involves something we have totally ignored so far: making sure they
have something to do: assigning projects."You like this band? Dig up more
sources, flesh it out. Oh, your grandpa was a pro athlete and already has a
page? Dig up some news stories on his career... Write about his
teammates... Hey, this article on the NFL championship game he played in is
pretty terrible, why not see if you can make it better?
Another unspoken problem is photo rights, which is (1) confusing to start
with; (2) subject to one of the worst decisions ever, the choice to use
free files rather than to make use of American fair use legal doctrine; (3)
populated by anal retentive volunteers who delete first and ask questions
never, engage only with templates, work too fast, and who in many cases I
suspect take malicious joy in their work. I know that that was the aspect
of WP that alienated me the worst as a newcomer. It still does.
So, WMF sorts: remember that this is a slow process and that there are no
magical software solutions. Creating new Very Active Editors takes
motivated candidates and volunteers willing to take newcomers under their
"Carrite" on WP /// "Randy from Boise" on WPO
DAVID GOOMAN WROTE:
>>Perhaps the best way of doing this is the admittedly laborious method
of personally communicating with new editors who seem promising
and encouraging them and offering to help them continue. The key word in
this is "personally". It cannot be effectively done with wikilove
messages, and certainly not with anything that looks like a template.
Template welcomes are essentially in the same class as mail or
web "personalized"advertisements. What works is to show that you actually
read and appreciated what they are doing, to the extent you wanted to
write something specific.
sorry for cross-posting
We are very glad to inform you that Wikimedia CH has just hired Gabrielle Marie as French Community Liaison (FCL), a 50% position and Sabine Ray as Administrative Assistant (AA), a 20% position, both of them will join the team on 1st of September.
When Wikimedia CH started its professionalization process in 2012, we hired two community liaisons for the German and Italian communities in 2013. Since our first Chief Administrative Officer was French-speaking, there was little need at that time for a specific french community liaison. However, with plenty of new and exciting projects coming up in Romandie, in particular the new Wikivillage contest, it recently became clear that a dedicated person was required.
Gabrielle Marie, our new FCL, originally studied commodity trading and worked for 4 years in the derivative industry in London and in Singapore. She then opted for a career change with an interest in social entrepreneurship and co-founded the project “The Tree Shirt House” in Asia. Since she moved to Switzerland in 2013, she signed up for some distance learning courses in Psychology and got involved in the TEDxLausanne organization. Passionate about people and community engagement she is thrilled to begin working for Wikimedia CH starting from next week onwards.
Among other tasks, Gabrielle will be in charge of supporting the volunteers action. For her start she will especially support the organisation of the editing contest targeting the schools in the French-speaking part of Switzerland and will report directly to the Chief Science Officer. She will start working for Wikimedia CH just in time for the launch of the Wikivillage contest promotion.
Sabine Ray, our new administrative assistant, started as an Export Logistics Assistant followed by a successful career in the purchasing and procurement department of an international company for more than 16 years in both, Germany and Switzerland. She is perfectly fluent in German, her mother tongue, English and French. For the last 6 years Sabine dedicated her time to her family life in raising her daughter. She is now resuming her professional life in taking this opportunity for a career change and is glad to join the Wikimedia CH team.
Sabine will work closely with our Chief Administrative Officer regarding all aspects of administration in human resources, accounting and fundraising. She will also assist in elaborating communication material as well as memberships management.
Gabrielle and Sabine will be both based in Lausanne, you can reach them at gabrielle.marie(a)wikimedia.ch and sabine.ray(a)wikimedia.ch
Please give a warm welcome to the new members of our team and do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!
Anh and Charles
Directors of Wikimedia CH, in the name of the core of the recruiting committee: Anh Chung, Muriel Staub, Stéphane Coillet-Matillon, Yann Heurtaux and Charles Andrès
final part of three - I think after all this gloom I do have to
propose some solutions too:
#1 EASY but hard on the ego
Only activate the pretty viewer on mobile devices per default. See
- easy. And those german wikipedians, who are "in Europe but
certainly in the global south (GerardM)" can live happily ever
after as well as those tablet driven southern rascals who are the
future. Give the chapters some clearly defined discretion
concerning feature-activation. Define the difference and rights
(!) of the community concerning tech decisions, management stuff and
#2 HARDER but easier on the ego
Just set it active but don't hinder admins to deactivate it after
local RfCs. Get rid of the - now - poisonous superprotect.
#3 DESTRUCTIVE but great for the ego
Have fun showing those volunteers who got the power. We got the
money, we got the last say, we have superpowers! I mean - really?
to show that this is something cyclic, that is happening all over
the place and in all types of organisations, here some examples of
other community vs hq processes. Some helped get a more robust system
in place, others just lead to a fork.
#1 EVE ONLINE
Situation: Space Sim, you fly spaceships. Management wanted to
implement an avatar to make it "more attractive" to new players.
LOW: Subscriber numbers went down, CCP had to downsize.
HIGH: Establishment of a player council, which takes part in decision
making processes and also has a say in new tech features (hear hear).
#2 OPEN/LIBRE OFFICE
Situation: Business interest and top down management decision angered
community - noone wanted to step down.
LOW: Fork, Sun lost.
HIGH: Man, libre office has all the nicest features and the apache
foundation keeps open office up too.
I just post this to show you the chances and dangers of this situation
- if handled right it can be an asset - or not.
here are some impressions that could be useful for further discussion
## MISCONCEPTIONS - SITUATION AFTER ESCALATING TO A GENERAL
DISCUSSION ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHAPTERS AND HQ
The Situation (this is feedback - think about it and find out if you
think it applies to you or not - no sense in dis/agreeing):
Misconceptions from WMF-side:
1. Editors: Those "volunteers" making a lot of edits and helping
out in the community are - even when they sometimes act like your
14-year old son or daughter - not children, customers or interns,
they are your BUSINESS-PARTNERS.
2. Users: Those using the information stored need other tools than
those editing, as there IS a discrepancy between those two groups.
Still, they are Users and not CUSTOMERS (the difference being that
users do have the possibility to participate).
3. Content: The information provided is not a product, it's a work of
love - this includes the form it is presented in. Accepting that
others mess with it, is hard enough, if the "procedures" are followed,
that are cumbersome for a reason - sidesteping controversy with
"super"powers is not a good idea - especially because it is tempting
(for me to... think of all the time saved by it) and will be used
more, if available (don't think you are better than the rest - if a
tool is established and works, you will use it more often - look it
4. Global Perception: You are not seen as the "leaders" or
"managers" - you are seen as the Tech-/Community-Support. If you
compare these two perceptions, a lot of criticism will get clearer. So
please once and for all state what you really are and what you are
not, which rights you reserve, where autonomy ends and so on (this
might hurt the movement short-term and lead to forks...).
5. Money: Donations are not for shiny new tools, they are - at least
under continental european law - bound to a purpose - which is to keep
the site up long term and only then - develop and hire. Don't
Misconceptions from Community:
1. WMF: No, the WMF is not a business - not really (this
from an Europe-centric perspective, where this attribute is not a
2. Money: No, the WMF is not misusing the money - they have just
grown to a certain number where there is some overhead. If we really
want to support this "business-model" might be open for discussion.
But they keep up the servers and even have enough left to pay over 100
3. Ownership: The WMF does not own the content nor the code. The only
thing they "own" under US law is a trademark. The validity of this
trademark in Europe is still undecided as there have not been any
cases clarifying this peculiar situation.
just to play around, here some thoughts on the validity of a fork from
the german-speaking content-sites. To clarify - I don't want that and
would not advise anyone to go that way but it's importat to know:
Central Europe still has some of those large Universities which are
larger than PenState (e.g. Uni Wien - University of Vienna). To play
it through with Uni Wien as an Example: they sit directly at the
backbone, have a large and open server infrastructure and could (at
least that's what they told me) easily take the additional
The "Vereinsrecht" (NGO-Laws) and the Lax Laws offer a lot of
options. Donations given to the local "Verein" for a purpose might not
be allowed to easily be transferrd to a third-party (see the
LIONS/ROTARY controversies between the US HQ and EUROPE as legal
Further, and in the context of our University-hosting example, a lot
of indirect funding through grants and content that is prepared by
official state archives/unis for wikipedia could be redirected through
such actions (actually that would be the main purpose).
Lastly, through the publicity generated, Users would be more aware and
able to choose.
As seen by download-jurisdiction, it is important to generate public
awareness for the alternative while at the same time disabling access
to the content on the main site... If one side would start legal
proceedings, access to the site in question could now - after we
idiots allowed blocking to be enacted in Europe - be frozen for the
duration - great for alternative sites - a horror vision for the
Hola la todos.
I'm being curios how the blind or just people with quite poor eyesight
are supposed to join Wiki(m|p)edia.
Fortunately though my own eyesight isn't what you call perfect, low
myopia gives me no obstacles to use computer without spectacles. But
unfortunately not every human being can boast not having such problems.
And I'm sure some of them could be potential wikimedians.
But when I e.g. want to proceed with registration I've got to fill a
field with what CAPTCHA says (and except for registration there are also
other cases when it's shown for nonautoconfirmed guys). But assume you
don't see it well — how on Earth are you to pass it then? It's not
uncommon to see audio version on many sites. But we have it not.
On Wikidata there is a link to
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Special:Captcha which actually
acknowledges the problem, there is similar page on Meta, I believe there
are some more like this but the solution to contact siteadmins doesn't
seem too good for me - user at least needs to reveal his email publicly
or contact a sysop using some external to wikipages way. Not all
people'd like to do it. Enwiki provides with a link to a tool
https://accounts.wmflabs.org/ but still you need to give your email to
But on the other hand even such a solution is better than nothing. But
it's local ones in perhaps dozen or two wikis while there are over 700
So what's the current status of dealing with the problem? Is someone
working on audio CAPTCHAs? Or perhaps there are some ideas how to make
other passages for such cases?
Spambots do exist anyway but it's sad if some potential users are being
stopped from joining us this way.
Hola la todos.
I think I do not say nothing new:
Most files are under a free license or FUR either of which requires
I'm omitting existing of Media Viewer - it's not important in the case.
When we use file like [[File:Example.jpeg]] (with size, position, alt
and so on perhaps) the attribution requirement is fulfilled by the fact
that the file is being a link to it's description page where all credits
are to be seen.
But we can use it like [[File:Example.jpeg|link=]] or
[[File:Example.jpeg|link=Some page]] which would suppress or substitute
the link with another link. We can also use images via css or scripts
for some backgrounds and so on which is not about the link-parameter but
has the same issue in core.
The question is how attribution requirement is being fulfilled in the
What is general community consensus and WMF position upon it?
I'm sure that I'm not the first wikimedian who notices that thing so the
answer should lie on some surface just I don't know where to look for it
so I'm asking it in here. This is also not so uncommon and too rare
usage to be ignored, I'm sure of it.
I'm looking forward for any answers/comments.
Thanks Niklas for the reply.
Notwithstanding the subject line's snark, and despite the fact that
components of the problem have been solved for a long time, from a user's
perspective there hasn't been progress on the handicap (not being able to
translate from languages other than English on Meta) as a whole for years
now, which does run counter to our ethos of being multilingual and
encouraging contributions in all languages.
If Kunal succeeds, that would be great, but if he doesn't or it takes too
long to integrate his work, I would recommend prioritising this issue
somewhat higher and giving it the necessary resources at the WMF.
On Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 5:50 PM, Philippe Verdy <verdy_p(a)wanadoo.fr> wrote:
> This is good development, but I don't see why we need a special page to
> define what is metadata of the page itself. May be it will be accessible
> from the VisualEditor; like we edit categories, but such metadata is a
> general need for lots of other applications. The general need would be to
> be able to associate metadata with a symbolic type to any page: just a few
> metadata is currently handled in MediaWiki: categories, default
> sortkeys, interwiki links, plus a few other flags inserted by using magic
> words (like __NOINDEX__).
> There are also external metadata stored in Wikidata for some wiki
> projects. More are needed (e.g. for different typing sort keys).
> Any way I expect to see soon a reliable way to detect the page language
> including for translated pages; but more importantly for sources of
> translations without having to assume they are in English, or create thme
> in another language and creating a pseudo-translation to the original
> language by copying keys, then modifying the English source again but
> keeping the original text.
> At least, when we mark a new page for translation, we should immediately
> have an option asking in which language is the source; if it's not specifid
> by the new experimental Special:PageLanguage page (which is not necessarily
> And once a source page has been marked for translation, the Translate tool
> should have a simple API to query its language or the language used in the
> generated translations, And ideally, we should be able to swithc from one
> source language to another (for example some projects start in English, but
> are later managed in German or Chinese, or a local Chapter initially
> creates documents in its own local language such as French, Hindi or
> Spanish, and will not use English as the reference (this is important for
> pages reporting local projects mostly done in other languages, outside
> countries or regions with a majority of native English-speakers, i.e: most
> countries of the world, including Europe (and even North America where
> French and Spanish are very present too ; Spanish and Chinese are also
> growing fast in US, and here there are aslo local communities that would
> like to promote their own local projects in their native non-English tongue
> : do you remember that US does not have any "official" language ?).
> 2014-08-14 16:52 GMT+02:00 Niklas Laxström <niklas.laxstrom(a)gmail.com>:
> Translate extension has supported for a long time having any language
>> as the source language. There just has not been an interface in
>> MediaWiki to set the source language of a page.
>> The good news is that Kunal Grover, a GSoC student has created
>> Special:PageLanguage to do just that.  I expect it will be
>> available quite soon.
>> In the future, please use a subject line which does not sound like an
>>  https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Kunalgrover05/Progress_Report
>> Translators-l mailing list
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