The Longest Now

Inviting readers to mercilessly edit Wikipedia
Friday December 21st 2012, 12:50 pm
Filed under: Glory, glory, glory,Not so popular,popular demand,wikipedia

Wikipedia reader are being asked to edit as part of a banner campaign — for the first time since perhaps 2003.
This is being done as part of the Thank You message we send out at the end of a campaign – something we can do quite early this year thanks to a successful fundraiser.

I’ve been pushing for something like this for a couple of years – I think it’s the most important thing we can do to refresh our communities of editors and change the sense readers have of what is and isn’t welcome. I want to see us do this on every project, all throughout the year (eventually combined with the new visual editor, of course; which is truly beautiful).

What do you think?

Here’s what the draft message looks like; suggestions for better wording or other variations are welcome.

Dear Wikipedia Readers: Thank You! Overwhelming support from Wikipedia users let us end our annual fund drive early. Your donations pay for the tools, infrastructure and programs that empower thousands of editors. We would like to introduce you to some of the dedicated volunteers who you empower when you donate. It is our hope that after you read or hear a few of their stories, you’ll want to join them in sharing your knowledge with the world by editing Wikipedia.

You can edit Wikipedia!

  • Create articles. After signing up, you’ll be able to help Wikipedia grow by starting new encyclopedia articles.
  • Add photos and video. Register an account and you can upload your freely licensed images
  • and other media.
  • Become a part of the Wikipedia community. Logging in means all your contributions are attributed to your username, helping you connect with other Wikipedia contributors.

Get started

5 Comments so far
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If it’s about editing, why only Wikipedia?

Comment by Nemo 12.21.12 @ 4:42 pm

This is a banner shown on Wikipedia; presumably on each project it would mention that project. Though you’re right, some note about sister projects could be artfully inserted.

Comment by metasj 12.21.12 @ 5:04 pm

Mercilessly is a little strong, 😉 but I’m glad you’re excited.

It is important to have realistic expectations about the conversion rate (conversion to editing) when throwing banners at random readers. You can see this effect when looking at the data from during the fundraiser: shows that there was a huge increase in registrations during the big banner days this year, but there was a corresponding drop in the % of accounts which edited (or even attempted an edit). Hopefully providing the Special:GettingStarted interface will increase the likelihood of getting these folks to edit.

Comment by Steven 12.21.12 @ 5:49 pm

Good point. My idea along these lines is to run a WikiProject-themed campaign that directs people to wikiprojects based on how many newbies each project wants to adopt and channel into good work. That way the projects get an influx of energy, and each can welcome newbies as they see fit. It encourages each small project to think about what sorts of editors they want and even to craft their own recuriting messages.

And this would allow us to segment who sees what banner based on the page or page-category they are viewing, not just what geography they are in.

Comment by metasj 12.22.12 @ 8:05 pm

Do we have more data on this now? Any updates since the thank you messages were posted?

Comment by metasj 01.06.13 @ 9:46 pm

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