Submissions/Forget the tutorials, be bold! How one feature has attracted thousands of new editors

From Wikimania 2013 • Hong Kong

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2013.

Presentation Media

Submission no.
Subject no.
Title of the submission
Forget the tutorials, be bold! How one feature has attracted thousands of new editors
Type of submission
Author of the submission
Steven Walling and co. from Editor Engagement Experiments
Country of origin
Wikimedia Foundation
E-mail address
Steven (WMF)
Without complicated tutorials or any mention of Wikipedia policies, one simple feature has shown thousands of new editors how to make a helpful first contribution to the encyclopedia. In this presentation, hear how one project is trying to bring Wikipedia back to its roots, make "Be bold!" and "Ignore all rules" real again, and bring new contributors to the project.
Detailed proposal
Presentation slides

The core insight of a wiki is this: ask people (even complete strangers) to help, and most people will actually be helpful. But over the years, Wikipedia and our other projects have lost their way. People who've just clicked edit or signed up for an account are bombarded with warnings and invitations to read rules and regulations before contributing. Every avenue for contribution, from simple editing, to article creation and uploading files, involves running a gauntlet of instructions if you're new.

In 2013, the Foundation's editor engagement experiments team launched a bold new initiative: let's give every single newly-registered Wikipedian a suggestion for something useful to do right after they register, and show them how. No more waiting around for people to find their own way. No more lists of policies and guidelines to read. No more invitations to try the Wikipedia:Sandbox. Just an easy way to help the encyclopedia for the first time, and a few pointers along the way.

This "Getting Started" page and the features associated with it have shown real promise for reversing the decline of English Wikipedia and our other projects. We'll show you how we built this feature, how and why it works, and how you can help bring it to your wiki if you want.

Technology and Infrastructure
Length of presentation/talk
25 minutes
Language of presentation/talk
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  1. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 09:46, 30 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  2. As a skeptic... Trizek (talk) 10:05, 30 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Ocaasi (talk) 14:35, 30 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 15:44, 30 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Graham87 (talk) 11:45, 5 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  6. The question of "how to find something interesting yet easy enough to work on" comes up frequently at outreach events, and I haven't had a good answer. May well be the reason why some folks are very enthusiastic but don't continue editing after the event. A high-quality short video (3 min. or less) on this topic for training at our editathons would be useful! Djembayz (talk) 13:59, 7 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Waldir (talk) 18:47, 21 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Ovedc (talk) 09:19, 28 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Teemeah (talk) 10:16, 20 July 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Denis Barthel (WMDE) (talk)
  11. Vera (talk) 20:27, 4 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]