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Grants:IdeaLab/Make it more intuitive

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Make it more intuitive
Writing articles may seem like a daunting task for those unfamiliar with wikicode and the WMF infrastructure.
idea creator
this project needs...
created on23:58, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

Writing, editing, and engaging on Wikipedia can be boring and laboursome. For the project to attract new editors and retain the great ones, we need to develop schemes that make editing more accessible. When a potential new editor clicks the "edit" link, they are often bombarded with templates and other pieces of wikicode that can be overwhelming. In some cases, they wade through the quasi-foreign language text to make an edit, only to find that their contribution has been reverted for a lack of citation because formatting almost requires a college diploma. Clear, concise results are key, not formality and bureaucracy. For example, many ideas originate when developing the Dab solver tool used in the DPL contest but are stopped in their tracks due to all the red tape in the WMF.

What is your solution?[edit]

The tasks performed by Wikipedians can be broken-down, standardized, and quickly taught to people. Coupled with automated and community feedback to encourage people (similar to video games), Wikipedia can gain and retain the editors it so desperately needs right now.


Get Involved[edit]


  • Volunteer I have helped in brainstorming, expanding upon ideas, and editing the grant. I would like to continue thoughtfulness towards this idea, which relates to gender issues in that it will disproportionately benefit women, because women have less free time. This is not a matter of "are women as capable," it's a matter of "do women have the time to learn Wikipedia?" We need to continue developing ease-of-use and improving accessibility if Wikipedia wants to close the gender gap and see growth rather than decay. SweetNightmares (talk) 15:32, 10 March 2015 (UTC)


  • I like all of these ideas! Wikipedia absolutely needs to be easier to participate in. I particularly like the idea for fixing WikiProject watchlists. harej (talk) 01:32, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Not "dumbing down" properly, but maybe enhancing/advertising the Wikipedia-native VisualEditor.--Ernestogon (talk) 21:23, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
    Wikitext was alright until we started doing inline references. Now only WikEd offers a readable experience after WMF abandoned their solution. Dispenser (talk) 21:44, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • There are lots of useful insights here, especially the various roles users play. Editathons attract many "writers", who have little interest in citation. We seem to lose the interest of one or two writers every event, who think this is just way too much work. A way to pair writers with citation experts would help. Automating recognition for Wikiprojects, and having a way to talk without random passers-by derailing the conversation also sound useful. --Djembayz (talk) 13:57, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
  • The idea is OK but I am puzzled as to how this is now supposed to address some gender imbalance. I am being deliberately provocative and sarcastic now but consider if making it easier allows more women to contribute perhaps it will allow less capable men also to take part. The gender balance might remain the same. [Unlike some sexists here I consider women just as (in)capable as men.] Psb777 (talk) 23:57, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I like most of the ideas here but would like to see them broken out as separate Ideas pages. Eg. "Gamification" would be a good idea in its own right. I think grouping them under "Make it more intuitive" is hiding what are decent ideas worth further discussion. Skud (WMF) (talk) 23:21, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
  • like it - just automated tools would be helpful. Perhaps an icon based visual editor. Supaiku (talk) 20:37, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

Expand your idea[edit]

Change notability[edit]

If we intend to attract women and non-nerds, we need to interest them in things they care about. Often those things don't meet our standards of notability. We need to address that.

Consider using Wikinews as an interview repository. I am also impress with Reference library WikiProject Video Games (Example) has created. Useful in establishing sources for notability. Dispenser (talk) 01:22, 5 March 2015 (UTC)


We need to simplify the editing process. Break down the process down. This allows those without the full stack of skills to still participate. I tentatively suggest for English Wikipedia:

  • Researchers and collectors
    People who can't write well, but can organize structure and facts
  • Writers
    People who only want to write about a topic, but are uninterested in citing
  • Analysis and fact checkers
    People who review for correctness and citation formatting
  • Editor and Proofreader
    People who don't care for accuracy, just as long as it reads well

Dispenser (talk) 01:22, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

We also need more: Quality photographers, data analyst, illustrators, and videographers. Dispenser (talk) 02:57, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

Improve communication[edit]

Private real-time communication is desired by Wikimedians. It allows people speak frankly behind backs which allows better discussion. It also gives a good source of drama attracting media attention. We can use IRC masked with pretty web interface, but ultimately a Jabber server should be setup up. Additionally, email offline messages to make the communication reliable is necessary. Dispenser (talk) 01:22, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Remind them[edit]

Looking at Free-to-Play games, there are many good concepts reel them back in. For starters, email inactive users suggest work for them to perform. Possibly Facebook/Twitter/Reddit integration. Dispenser (talk) 01:22, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Fix WikiProjects watchlists[edit]

  • Talk pages in projects are unwatched, leading to unanswered questions.
  • Changes are hard to track, a single person can flood the watchlist and reverts aren't collapsed
  • A (better) auto summary should be added, preferably inline with the watchlist
  • Make it possible to flag diffs so work is not duplicate

Dispenser (talk) 01:22, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

The EN wikipedia has a tool that I like for watchlists, that groups changes. It is currently in a non-obvious place, under Preferences -> Recent Changes ->Advanced Options -> "Group changes by page in recent changes and watchlist (de-activate for the "Show Wikidata" option below to work)". Along with the watchlist options "Hide bot edits from the watchlist" and "Hide my edits from the watchlist", it helps to make the watchlist more manageable. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 03:37, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-rc Used that since 2006, bolding new items has helped as well. To expand, it would be nice to moderate edits (like Slashdot) and get it to hide all the edits I find irrelevant. Dispenser (talk) 05:09, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Gamify the editing process[edit]

Barnstars are typically biased towards veterans. Add automated achievements so that users can feel a sense of progress when they contribute. Some examples:

  • 1st edit, 10th edit, 25th edit, 50th edit, 100th edit, and so on
  • Creating your first page, creating nth page
  • Contributing > n bytes/letters
  • Patrolling (first revert or something)
  • Joining a WikiProject
  • Participating in edit-a-thons and other events

There is a lot of potential to incentivize on Wikipedia on which we need to capitalize. SweetNightmares (talk) 22:33, 6 March 2015 (UTC)