[Wikimedia-l] Editor retention (was Re: "Big data" benefits and limitations (relevance: WMF editor engagement, fundraising, and HR practices))

James Heilman jmh649 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 4 07:38:23 UTC 2013

I see some of the issues with long term retention of editors being that we
have not figured out a method to effectively deal with sockpuppets. We ban
people but they just simply come back under a new user name and continue
more or less where the left off. Would it be possible to flag new user
names from well known sock puppet IPs for further investigation? In other
words dealing with the problem up front rather than waiting for another
editor to notice that a sockpuppet has returned (which might take a year or
two and lots of disruption to the community).

Another issue I see is the blocking of long term content contributors in
good standing without warning. If someone losses their cool (in other words
insults another editor) and the first action is to block them this is bad
for the long term stability of the community. If someone has donated
thousands of hours of time they deserve a warning and at least a chance to
change their behavior before the "ban hammer" is dropped. I have proposed
this sort of change here

More oligarchy is not the solution. We have some oligarchy (arbcom) and it
is of questionable effectiveness ( often unable to pick up sock puppets and
therefore unable to enforce bans, does not take content issues into
consideration and thus IMO comes to often to questionable conclusions ).
What we need to do is reach out to those who write content to see what they
need. While some of them are involved in these sorts of discussion may of
them are too busy, will writing content.

James Heilman
MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian

The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine

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