A point I often make is that both Commons and Wikidata provide activities
for new people to get their feet wet in our projects. With Wiki loves
monuments we gain an entry in the Guiness book of records. With the latest
Wikidata games we gain a LOT of new statements in Wikidata in a really
short period of time. There may be a similarity to the spelling errors that
were easily found in the English Wikipedia and they may gain us more
Are these the kind of subjects you study or is it truly Wikipedia only.
On 30 May 2014 01:52, Aaron Halfaker <ahalfaker(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
You raised a lot of questions that I think I might be able to help address.
I'm a research scientist working for the WMF. My research focuses on the
nature of newcomer participation, editor motivation and value production in
Wikipedia. See  and  (if you have the time) for my most seminal work
on the subject.
As you'll see in the study I referenced, my work directly addresses a
substantial portion of the questions you've raised. See also my team's
work with standardizing metrics including survival measures and my
work exploring retention trends in ptwiki. See  for an example of a
recent, cross-language study of newcomer article creation patterns. Also,
you might be interested in  since it confirms your general concerns
about the speed of speedy deletions.
A lot of the work of /really understanding Wikipedia/ is only half-way done
since it takes a long time build understanding about previously
undocumented phenomena. The academic community, other researchers at the
WMF and myself are in the middle of developing a whole field around how
open collaboration systems like Wikipedia work, common problems they have
and how they can be best supported.
While we're developing this general knowledge about engagement, production
and retention in our communities, we (the research & data team) are also
working directly with product teams at the WMF to measure their impact on
key metrics (e.g. participation) with scientific rigor and to
challenge/develop/refine theory on which product strategies lead us toward
our goals and which ones do not. See  and  for examples of such
I welcome anyone who'd like to continue the conversation about what we do
and don't know about Wikipedia(s) to raise discussions at
wiki-research-l. There are a lot more researchers on that list than
wikimedia-l. FWIW, I tend to follow that list more closely.
2. Full paper:
> From: Rui Correia <correia.rui(a)gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] The first three weeks.
> Date: May 29, 2014 at 5:07:45 AM PDT
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
> Reply-To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
> 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
> 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
> create something to inform others that
someone is a new editor. Pages
> new editors should be left alone for a day
or two. There is nothing
disheartening than getting all excited about contributing only to find
> someone comes along and either deletes your first attempt or nominates
deletion. I've have seen this happen WITHIN MINUTES of the seminal
version being posted, followed up by 'warnings' on the editor's talk
> I've seen edits reverted because the formatting of the source was
> should be a basic pillar that before reverting, we see if we can
> 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
then do so by pointing directly to the specific page where the
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
> 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
> 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.
reference, this section has some interesting facts,
We are also losing established editors, mostly because of edit warring.
There are blocks coalescing around all kinds of themes and issues and
defend their turf.
Pages that contain controversial details should display a specific
> not difficult to do, given the array of templates already in use. Some
> pages are the result of a compromise reached after acrimonious debate.
> 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
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
> pretty convinced it would work far better than having thousands of
([semi-]protected). Some pages just require a simple message on
> EDIT PAGE such as (example) "In the English Wikipedia we use the
*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
> talk pages comments and jokes about a "here we go again" scenario. It
> if they actually lie in wait for the next unwary editor to come along
At the same time, there are hundreds of thousands of pages that do not
> 20% of the quality criteria and nobody does anything to remedy them.
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
There is a tendency at the higher levels to
equate Wikipedia with the
English Wikipedia and all else are something else. This includes the
> of involvement by the Foundation etc in the non-English Wikipedias,
> with the justification (excuse?) that each
is independent. And of
language WP will use this independence to its advantage when
convenient, as a reason why this or that is being done differently. In
same breath, content that is specifically marked
as referring to the
is then regurgitated as if it reflects the whole
WP, as here, in the
> Independence is well and good, but not when for example the Portuguese
debates/ discusses/ relaxing sourcing policies. If WP is to be
judged on its reliability then on a number of key elements it must be
> to one standard with criteria that apply across the board. We can't
> different standards on reliability of
sources, notibality, etc.
> To shrug it off as an issue of the Portuguese WP is to bury our heads
> the sand, to shirk responsibility, because
such issues are symptomatic
problems facing the WP as a whole and contributing to the reasons
make editors pack up and go.
Also from Portuguese WP, it is embarassing that since 2009 there have
> all kinds of processes to arrive at a solution for what to call pages
and plants - eg: cattle/ bull/ ox/ cow/ bos ... By the looks of
[[Cattle]] in the English WP has been locked for
years for the same
> 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
> our 'usual beats' but we all also
edit anywhere where we might happen
something wrong. In doing that, you soon find out that just about
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
noted a group of editos (5 or 6, plus socks [some
suspected] and countless IP accounts) who are active on a few hundred
> deleting/ sanitising negative references to CIA/ US (and 'allies')
> involvement in right-wing coups all over the world and generally
about the US in all pages on conflicts in which the US has
In my experience, resolution mechanims for situations such as any that
> any of the cases above tend to favour the status quo. I have
these cases and it is quite apparent that in many cases the
taking a decision is also part of group that is
trying to defend a
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
> 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
> officially a member. It is unlikely that one
would bother registering
engage in vandalism and unconstructive editing.
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