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Submissions/Encouraging early stage editors

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

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. 7006
Title of the submission
Encouraging early stage editors
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Nigel Ogilvie
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)
There are many knowledgeable people who find Wikipedia daunting to edit. Some are robust and continue, but many find the "community" hostile or at best unhelpful, and many of these give up and their contribution is lost for ever.

Wikipedia is not a universal democracy (thankfully); and careful and hardworking editors are entitled to feel good about the work they have done.

The areas of principal difficulty are:

1) There is no "Start here" guide. There are many many "how to guides" edited by very knowledgeable enthusiasts, but they are impenetrable and often contradictory. Wikipedia should establish a centrally managed set of basic guides, that cannot be altered by just anyone.

2) Copy edit bots. These are a licence to run a bull through a china shop with no accountability.

3) "Citation required" and similar negative remarks in the articles. No proper encyclopaedia would put spoiling comments in the customer-facing pages of its articles. They should be in the talk pages. Allowing them to be in the face of the article encourages spoiling tactics by the negatively minded and discourages the beneficial editors.

4) Consistently pedantic and hair-splitting "corrections". There needs to be a mechanism for editors to request an anonymous "please lay off" hint to these people.

5) Clever-dick remarks in the summary of changes on completing an edit. Same solution as previous.

6) Edit conflicts. During adding 4000 characters to an article, if someone alters a single space during that time, the work is irretrievably lost. There needs to be the means to retrieve the work.

7) Good article status. This seems to concentrate the mind on whether all the dashes are m-dashes, irrespective of whether the topic is well covered; moreover it encourages possessiveness: once it is achieved the "owners" will resist any subsequent edit. Ban it.

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

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  1. Panyd (talk) 14:52, 22 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  2. B25es (talk) 16:19, 26 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:35, 28 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  4. --Netha Hussain (talk) 09:43, 4 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Gnom (talk) 19:00, 20 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Slashme (talk) 08:57, 22 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  7. There are some provocative ideas here: some I agree with and some I emphatically don't, but we need to have this discussion and address these problems in-person as well as on-wiki. MartinPoulter (talk) 16:03, 29 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Edwardx (talk) 22:57, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Sjgknight (talk) 08:50, 1 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]