Submissions/What is wrong with Wikipedia lessons?

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.

This submission is on the wait list for Wikimania 2014.

Submission no. 3038
Title of the submission

What is wrong with Wikipedia lessons?

Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)

Presentation and discussion

Author of the submission


E-mail address




Country of origin

DE, living in NL

Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Wikipedia started as an online activity, and recruited its collaborators online. After some years, Wikipedians met outside Wikipedia and also offered meetings for new people: lessons, lectures, and social meetings. 'Teaching Wikipedia' is actually very popular among Wikipedians, they support Wikimedia organisations who organise, and often like to teach themselves.

Alas, this often does not work. For example Wikimedia Deutschland in 2013 abolished its programmes that tought Wikipedia to pupils, students and senior citizens; in the same year Wikimedia Nederland found out that less than five percent of 'edit-a-ton' participants remain editing. The Wikimedia Foundation outsourced its education programme for Canada and the US to another organisation.

Is it enough to 'tell about Wikipedia', have people make some edits, make them write one single article? Isn't that a kind of outreach, as many other movements and organisations do? That's another discussion; if your goal is to create new editors to help the existing Wikipedians with their efforts - the programmes have failed.

Anyhow, it is not the goal of the Wikimedia movement to have museum collaborators experience a nice distraction from their usual work or teach senior citizens basic computer and Internet skills. The Wikimedia movement has the right to pursuit its own interests when it invests in such programmes, not (only) the (legitimate) interests of our partners. One important step to better results might be a better 'filtering' of the participants.

The last four years I belonged to the WMDE education programme and later joined the, a group of Wikipedians and media experts who 'explain' Wikipedia. Based on reports and my own experiences, I will present a short overview of the earlier attempts of 'editor recruitment' and offer a proposal for a new approach, the Roomberg Education Programme (REP). The REP defines 'roles' or 'positions' in the movement to be filled in, and then asks what is necessary to teach for these roles.


Education Outreach

Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
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Slides or further information (optional)

will be

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  1. -- Tim Moritz 16:16, 1 April 2014 (UTC) very interesting discussion[reply]
  2. B25es (talk) 18:46, 1 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  3. LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 22:03, 1 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Ocaasi (talk) 23:15, 6 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Quiddity (talk) 22:48, 12 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Add your username here.