Submissions/Administrator's responsibilities towards new users

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After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2014 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this August.

Submission no. 1008
Title of the submission
Administrator's responsibilities towards new users
Type of submission (presentation, followed by discussion)
Author of the submission
Panyd
E-mail address
wikipanyd@gmail.com
Username
Panyd
Country of origin
UK
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Closely tied to WMUK
Personal homepage or blog
N/a
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

As the rate of new editors declines, as well as the retention level of new editors, it is key to look at the responsibilities of administrators with regards to new users.

There has been, and continues to be, much discussion regarding templates which are automatically added to new user's talk pages. Templates from 'The Welcoming Committee' are well used, but fail to engage new editors on a personal basis, and offer no immediate means of one-on-one communication. Similarly, spaces where new editors are invited to participate in discussions can fall short of their goals, as new users are expected to navigate large pages with unknown mark-up and no immediate, personal welcome into ongoing discussions. Given the unusual, but well used, code of conduct in the Wikipedia community, new users may find that they overstep boundaries they are unable to navigate successfully.

This becomes especially important when new users create articles that end up being nominated for speedy deletion. Though an automatic template is inserted on to a user's talk page, it points the editor towards complex rules they may not be able to navigate. As above, it offers no concrete source of one-on-one communication in order to smooth out and grow their contributions to the project.

It is my proposal that administrators carry a greater responsibility to new users who have found their articles nominated for deletion. Not only should there be checks and balances in place to ensure articles are not immediately deleted (i.e. within the first ~5 minutes of their creation), but also to allow those with a genuine desire to write articles to communicate one-on-one with a user who can assist them.

This can be done through a message on the talk page, with clear instructions on how to communicate with the administrator on their talk page, as well as links explaining and guiding new users towards tools such as the Article Creation Wizard, which is one of the most helpful tools available for new users to come 'into the fold' and learn the basics of good article protocol and writing. Greater effort should also be taken to assess the potential of articles which could be moved into a user's sandbox, and worked on in a low-pressure environment.

Though none of these actions need be taken by an administrator, as editors with tools which directly have such a dramatic impact on a new user's first experiences, a higher standard of conduct should be implemented.

Track
  • WikiCulture & Community
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
20 minutes presentation, 10 minutes discussion
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Yes
Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests


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