CIS-A2K/Outreach Programs/Handbook

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Rationale[edit]

Importance
  • Spread awareness about Wikimedia projects.
  • Recruit and support newbies from a variety of ages to contribute towards Wikipedia and other Wiki projects.
  • Build strong relationships with cultural and educational institutions.
Challenges
  • Availability of inadequate information about how to conduct an outreach session.
  • Volunteer time is of prime importance and is limited.
  • Existing outreach tends to be designed on an individual basis – with duplication of effort and resources.
  • Outreach takes skill and effort. It's not an easy task to convince volunteers to contribute to Wikipedia in their free time.
  • Staying in touch with newbies, and hand-holding them after an outreach session.
Opportunities
  • Find collaborative opportunities with groups and organizations that can enhance Wikipedia content:
  • Writing groups/clubs
  • Photography Clubs
  • Interest Groups (group of people interested in a common topic like butterflies, cookery, airplanes)
  • Students
  • Group of people writing content in an encyclopedic manner
  • Stronger mentorship from existing community members
  • Conduct training workshops for interested community members. This can be done in form of imparting knowledge about whats the best way of conducting wiki presentations for newbies, members giving mock presentation and incorporating suggestions/feedback they get from others.
  • Develop standardized documents that can be used by any for conducting outreach sessions.
Summary of my conversations with community members
  • There were no laptops for the participants or the internet connection was weak - so I could only give a lecture on wikipedia but could not give hands-on training
  • I conducted sessions but I really don't know if anything productive came out of it since I'm not confident that anyone of the participants will actually start editing. My time is limited and I really want to figure out how to make the best use of it.
  • I keep reading that outreach sessions should be done in a fun manner - but I just don't know how to handle such a serious topic like Wikipedia in a fun manner.
  • I could not get more than 7 people to create user accounts because of the 7 per day limit for creating user logins from an single IP address - so the rest of the participants were not able to be more actively involved in the session.
  • I want to help out on outreach because I love doing it - but I'm relatively new to Wikipedia and not sure if I can convey the right messages.
  • I prepared standard presentations introducing Wikipedia and the basics of editing - but I wish I had structured material available on the difference between paraphrasing, close paraphrasing and plagiarism/copyvio.
  • I asked the participants to write down their names and email IDs so that I could stay in touch with them after the session - but could not read the handwriting of a couple of them.
  • I really want to do outreach - but I am not confident of my public speaking skills. I really wish I could help out but not sure how.
  • I got irritated preparing the presentations because I am sure many others would have already prepared these and it seem like a waste of time.
  • It would have been really good if I have left handouts for each participants so they could read and refer to them at leisure.

Outreach Sessions[edit]

Section 1: Planning Stage

Planning an Outreach requires a number of tasks that should be implemented. These tasks could include:

  1. Find an organization/school/club where you would want to conduct an outreach.
  2. Draft a mail/presentation/ pitch that you can send to them welcoming the opportunity to conduct a Wiki workshop. Here are few drafts that one could use or modify and use:
  3. Receive approval.
  4. Decide on a date, time, venue, maximum no. of participants, total time allocated to conduct the outreach.
Section 2: Communication Stage
  1. You could obtain support from Wiki community members by mailing on India mailing list/ specific language mailing list/ city mailing list/talking to community members on their wiki talk pages etc.
  2. The next step is to determine different ways to get your message out to attract more participants. You can deploy the following ways:
  • Advertise the program in local media.
  • Post a mail on the mailing list of that particular institute/organisation.
  • Post a message on the Facebook page of that particular institute/organisation.
  • If possible, put banners/posters in the campus.
  • Use of digital outreach / PR / media / on-ground visibility to maximize participation. To illustrate, if an event is happening on a college campus, can the most popular social network pages for that college announce the event, and provide news after it's over. The digital outreach / PR initiatives will also serve to reinforce and motivate attendees of outreach sessions to edit.
  • Get one of the journalists to sit through your session so that he/she can get the feel of how we conduct an outreach. This experience will also enable journalists to write a detailed report on our outreach sessions.
Stage 3: Preparation Stage
  1. Delivery methods that will be used in the program. This could include: presentation, talk by community members etc.
  2. Organize reference materials - FAQs, brochures, editing handbook that can be given away to the participants.
  3. Make sure that every participant in the outreach session has a computer/laptop with internet access.
  4. Make sure that you have a projector in the room.
  5. If more than 7 users try to create username from the same IP that particular IP automatically gets blocked. This problem usually occurs during an outreach session where you have large number of participants trying to create a user account. To avoid blocking of IP, you can let the Wikimedia Foundation know about the IP address of the institute and they can help you release the IP from this rule for couple of hours.
Stage 4(a): Conducting Stage I
(A) Introduction to the audience
  1. If you have enough time & limited number of participants ask them to introduce themselves or else ask them some basic questions.
  2. Some of the basic questions you can ask are:
    • How many of you've heard of Wikipedia?
    • How many of you use Wikipedia?
    • What do you use Wikipedia for?
    • How many of you know who writes content on Wikipedia?
  3. Interactive questions like these provide an opportunity to the audience to get involved in the discussion and help them become more comfortable amongst the participants and the environment.

(B) Introduction to Wikipedia
  1. Here is the presentation that can be used for this part.
  2. Focus on the following aspects:
  • What is Wikipedia? (Online encyclopedia, 5th largest website, real time, give stats about no. of readers/articles, no. of languages etc.)
  • What are the other Wiki projects? (Brief them about Wikimedia Commons, Wikinews, Wiki species, Wikibooks, Wiktionary etc.)
  • Who edits Wikipedia?

(C) Video

Show them this sweet short 1mn 23sec video: http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nice_People_MEDIUM.ogv. They will get to see community members from different parts of the world contributing to Wikipedia. Newbies need that human touch.


(D) Question & Answer round

Encourage them to ask questions and clear any doubts they may have. In this session do not take questions on wiki editing. Inform the participants wiki editing will be handled in session II after the break.

10 minutes break

It would be a good idea to give a 10 min break between the 2 parts mainly because of the following reasons:

  • We don't want the workshop to be a long and boring event.
  • In long sessions participants usually get tired and loose interest.
  • Some of the quieter folks might want to ask you questions personally in the small break.
Stage 4 (b): Conducting Stage II

There is no PPT for this session. Entire session is online and hands on.


(A) Approach Wiki as a reader
  1. Show the participants how to approach wiki as a reader by way of:
  • Teaching them how to search for articles on Wikipedia.
  • Introduce them to very briefly to different tabs on a wiki page like:
  • Article tab
  • Discussion tab
  • Edit tab
  • View history tab

(B) Approach Wiki as an editor - Creating Username
  1. Tell them the advantages of having a username.
  2. Request one of the participants to come on stage and help that participant to create an account while demonstrating it to rest of the audience.
  3. The first time you create it show them where the 'create account' link is and brief them about the information that needs to be filled in. Don't take too long to create a new account the first time. We want to demonstrate that its really really easy to create a new account and takes less than 30 seconds.
  4. Encourage them to ask questions pertaining to creation of new account. If needed be, ask one more participant to volunteer and create an account in front of everyone.
  5. It's very essential for us to keep repeating and restating that creating an account is extremely easy and just takes few seconds.

(C) Basic Editing
  1. Start by showing this video: http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edit_Button.ogv.
  2. Ask them if they'd like to edit Wikipedia in the session. Most probably the answer will be 'Yes' :)
  3. Ask the participants to suggest an article of their interest that they would like to edit during the course of the session.
  4. Use login of one of the participants to make the edits. (may be use the account already created)
  5. Pretty much like creating new account we want to tell the audience that editing is really simple and doesn't take too much time. Figure out a minor mistake in the article - spelling, grammar, missing comma/full stop and correct it. Once again, the first edit should not take too long. Show them that their first edit has gone live as soon as you hit the Save button.
  6. For the first edit try and avoid adding long sentences, references etc. Just show them the easiest edit!

(D) Introduction to Syntaxes
  1. Introduce them to different Wiki syntaxes. Make sure you introduce it in the following order:
  • Heading levels (here you can show section editing)
  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Bullet list
  • Numbered list
  • Adding link to other wiki articles
  • Adding external links
  • Adding references
Follow up stage

It's important that we're able to follow up with the participants and provide them all the support they need to know more about Wikipedia and Wikipedia editing. And it's equally important for the participant to be able to get in touch with us if they need any assistance.

  1. Ways in which participants can follow up with you or with the larger Wiki community:
    • Give them your email id, username, phone number, Facebook account details where the interested participants can get in touch with you.
    • Give them details of Wikimedia India Facebook page that they can join.
    • Ask them to join India mailing list and/or respective Indic mailing list.
    • Provide them details of the IRC channel for newbies to ask and receive online help.
  2. Ways in which you can follow up with the participants:
    • Circulate a form in the room and request the participants to add their email ids and usernames (if they already had or were able to create one during the session).
    • Follow up with the participants by sending them mails/writing on their talk pages.
    • Use a CRM package to capture details of all the attendees to make the follow up process more efficient and effective.
  3. Request the participants to spread a word about Wikipedia amongst their friend circle, family members, on Facebook, twitter etc.
  4. Towards the end of the session ask the participants to select an article that they all would like to collaboratively edit during the next one week. Tell them that you've created a Google group for them where they could post messages, queries, comments etc. Keep a close watch on this newly created Google group and help them by answering their queries promptly.
  5. Towards the end of the session ask the participant if any of them would like to become representatives of this group. You should maintain direct contact with these volunteers and if possible ask them to organize follow up academy session where participants could get their doubts cleared or ask them to invite all the participants to wiki meet ups etc. Basically, these volunteers could serve as your single point of contact for the entire group.
Some more tips
  1. It should be a fun workshop! The session should be not be long and boring. We should try and make it fun for the participants or else they might loose interest. We could start by playing an ice breaker game to engage the participants. For example, ask them to open the article on Manmohan Sigh. Then ask them to reach the article on Belly Dancing by way of clicking on internal links from one article to another. One who reaches Belly Dancing in minimum number of hits will be announced as the winner and can be awarded by giving away a t-shirt/badge/sticker. This kind of exercise will help the participants become more comfortable with the environment and become more engaged in the proceedings and will contribute more effectively towards a successful outcome.
  2. Engage the participants as much possible and make sure that there is a two way communication happening during the session. Don't make the session feel like a discourse. If they don't get the opportunity to be a part of the discussion they might feel disinterested. Some ideas to engage the participants would be:
    • When teaching how to create a new account, instead of creating any random account ask one of the participants to come on stage and create a live account for themselves - using their own username and password.
    • Instead of selecting an article to edit in the session yourself ask the participants to suggest an article of their interest that they would like to edit during the course of the session.
    • When editing an article use login of one of the participants and not your own. This will give ownership to the participants for editing that particular article.
  3. Keep it simple!
    • Introduce them only to the above syntaxes. Do not introduce tables/templates or other complex syntaxes. Just tell them there are some more syntaxes and they can learn it when they start editing in wiki.
    • As far as possible teach them syntaxes using the automated tools (eg tab for Bold, Italics, Heading etc.) and not by the codes that needs to be added. In general people are used to using these automated tools in various productivity softwares. And they'll find it easier to use these tools rather than inserting codes. For example, when teaching how to insert bullets - tell them to click on the "Bulleted list item" tab. Do not confuse the participants by telling them to add a code like (*) to insert bullets.
    • Do not mention about any complex wiki policies, wiki acronyms, disputed articles, DYK, GA, FA, Categories etc. Keep the session as simple as possible.
  4. Be Patient! It will take roughly 2-3 hours to complete this. But remember people will ask lot of questions during this session. So please be patient and receptive to their questions.
  5. It is particularly useful to discipline the number of messages during outreach sessions. Anyone attending outreach sessions will have limited capacity to absorb lot of information shared in a small period of time (2-3hrs) and, therefore, it is important that the number of messages are restricted, and repeated during a session.

Measuring Results[edit]

Measuring Results
  • Record videos of your outreach sessions and share with all. There is a high possibility of others learning from the way you conducted the session or for that matter even from your mistakes during the session.
  • Here is a sample Feedback Form that can be circulated towards the end of the session. It is necessary that we incorporate this feedback in our following sessions.
  • Stay in touch with the participants for at least a period of 3 months after the session and prepare a report which includes:
    • No. of participants
    • No. of participants who created usernames
    • No. of participants who started editing
    • No. of participants who continued editing over a period of 3 months.

Repository of Documents in English[edit]

Standardized Presentation,
Documents and Videos
  • Presentations
  • Other Documents

Repository of Documents in Indic languages[edit]

Indic Language FAQ Outreach letter Presentation
Hindi Documents Documents Documents
Bengali Documents Documents
Marathi Documents Outreach letter for Educational Institutes Documents
Telugu Documents Documents Presentation
Tamil Documents Documents Documents
Kannada Documents Documents Kannada Outreach Document
Gujarati Documents Documents Presentation
Malayalam Documents Documents Documents
Nepali Documents Documents Documents
Odia FAQ Booklet FAQ in PDF format Outreach letter for Educational Institutes presentation in Odia  · Presentation in PDF  · Source files
Punjabi Documents Documents Pdf icon.png
Assamese Documents Documents Documents

Processes[edit]

Create the Attendance Roll Create a notebook or few sheets of pages with columns for names, phone numbers, email ids, organisation/address. This will form raw material for a Contact List which can be managed by a contact manager. Will help in transition to the planned CRM. Please ensure that everyone's details are in it. Often, this means going around yourself asking people whether their details have been entered and asking others to check. Do a quick head-count & check the number of people whose details you have. Position someone by the door to ask whether persons leaving early whether they have given their data. Be sure to send suitable emails to all who attended the meets. This is often an aspect most communities neglect or do inefficiently.
Create a Wiki Page This Wiki page is created to maintain all details of the session that you're organising including the date, venue, facilitator, presenter, photopgrahs/videos made during the session, to maintain log of no. of participants that attended the session along with their usernames if possible.
Create a Facebook page/Google mailing list Towards the end of the session you'll have to request the participants to join this Facebook page/mailing where they could post messages, queries, comments etc. Keep a close watch on this newly created Google group/ Facebook page and help them by answering their queries promptly.
Mail on mailing lists It will be a good idea to send a mail informing your local community about the outreach session you are organising. Through the list you might get volunteers who could help you on ground or virtually. You could mail on combination of following mailing lists:
Outreach Follow up
  • Sending follow up mails to attendees[1]

Sending follow up mails[edit]

  1. Outreach mailer to be used for follow up mails
    • This is a mail body which a mentor needs to send to the attendees of an outreach he/she has conducted. It is intended to remind the attendees to "Edit Wikipedia".
    • Copy and paste the lines below in your mail body and change the <LANGUAGE CODE> and <LANGUAGE NAME> as per the respective languages, write your name, email in the place of SENDER'S NAME and abc@xyz.com, give the correct date instead of DD MONTH 2012 and send them to attendees.}}

    Dear ATTENDEE'S NAME,

    Thanks for attending the <LANGUAGE NAME> Wiki Workshop at <COLLEGE/VENUE NAME>, on
    . I hope you have liked the session and it helped you learn more about Editing Wikipedia. I am sending this mail to share few important information which will help you to contribute to Wikipedia: - You can access the <LANGUAGE NAME> Wikipedia at http://<LANGUAGE CODE>.wikipedia.org - Please go to this page (http://<LANGUAGE CODE>.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:UserLogin&returnto=Main+Page) to create your new user account. It will help you to keep track of all of your contributions. - If you have some questions here is a FAQ booklet (http://<LANGUAGE CODE>.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FAQ) which will answer most of your basic queries. <LINK FOR RESPECTIVE LANGUAGE FAQ BOOKLETS IF AVAILABLE> - There is a tutorial which might help you to learn how you can edit Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Tutorial (GIVE THE LINK OF THE RESPECTIVE LANGUAGE TUTORIAL LINK IF AVAILABLE) - If you want to learn about the basics of Wikipedia please go through: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f0/Welcome2WP_English_082310.pdf - A mailing list is available for interaction between <LANGUAGE NAME> wikipedians. It is available here (https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo) Please subscribe to it and get in touch with <LANGUAGE NAME> Wikipedians. Please feel free to contact me at abc@xyz.com if you require any help regarding starting contributing to <LANGUAGE NAME> wikipedia. Thanks SENDER'S NAME

    This is how your mail will look like (Assamese used as an example)
    Dear ATTENDEE'S NAME,

    Thanks for attending the Assamese Wiki Workshop at Tejpur University, on 02 February 2012. I hope you have liked the session and it helped you learn more about Editing Wikipedia.

    I am sending this mail to share few important information which will help you to contribute to Wikipedia:

    - You can access the Assamese Wikipedia at http://as.wikipedia.org
    - Please go to this page (http://as.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:UserLogin&returnto=Main+Page) to create your new user account. It will help you to keep track of all of your contributions.
    - If you have some questions here is a FAQ booklet (http://as.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FAQ) which will answer most of your basic queries. <LINK FOR RESPECTIVE LANGUAGE FAQ BOOKLETS IF AVAILABLE>
    - There is a tutorial which might help you to learn how you can edit Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Tutorial (GIVE THE LINK OF THE RESPECTIVE LANGUAGE TUTORIAL LINK IF AVAILABLE)
    - If you want to learn about the basics of Wikipedia please go through: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f0/Welcome2WP_English_082310.pdf
    - A mailing list is available for interaction between Assamese wikipedians. It is available here (https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikipedia-as). Please subscribe to it and get in touch with Assamese Wikipedians.

    Please feel free to contact me at abc@xyz.com if you require any help regarding starting contributing to Assamese wikipedia.

    Thanks

    SENDER'S NAME