Grants:IdeaLab/Wikipedia Article Incubator
What is the problem you're trying to solve?
Wikipedia is a source of knowledge that is open for all. Anybody can benefit from this information. Speaking conversely, those who wish to make themselves known often try to (mis)utilize Wikipedia by creating articles for themselves or their company without having a fair idea about what Wikipedia is really about. Needless to say that they have no idea about notability issues and guidelines. Worse still, there are some who try to use Wikipedia for advertisement and do not understand the neutrality principles of Wikipedia. As a result of such attempts, such articles eventually get deleted by the admins and bureaucrats on Wikipedia. But does that really solve the problem? The ignorant users (who create such articles) remain ignorant and reattempt creating such articles although without any success. My proposal is that rather than deleting such articles, they be moved to Wikipedia Article Incubator wherein the users contributing to such articles are intimidated about the exact parameters that need to be fulfilled in order to get the article(s) live.
- Non-notable individuals and organizations try to create articles for themselves or try to hire content writers for editing such articles.
- These individuals are unaware of Wikipedia editing styles and guidelines.
- Such articles get deleted but that does not solve the problem. The ignorance remains. Repeat attempts are made to re-create such articles.
- Advertising, self-promotional, spammy, non-notable, unreferenced articles bearing unsubstantiated claims reduce the reliability of Wikipedia.
Special situations calling for attention
There are two possible scenarios.
- A naive ignorant new editor comes, creates a dumb article on a dumb non-notable topic and very soon the article gets speedily deleted. The user gets disheartened, angered and leaves Wikipedia forever. Wikipedia thus loses a prospective contributor.
- An organization appoints somebody to create an article for their company. They are desperate to get a Wikipedia presence. They are unaware of Wikipedia standards and want to use Wikipedia to gain attention and to achieve notability (ideally it should be the other way round but the difference in the actual situation should make us rethink the policies). They want to have full control over their article and want to use it as a blatant promotional tool and get it written in a pure advertising tone. As a result, the article gets deleted. They do not stop there and go ahead to try and try again, possibly using unscrupulous means. Since Wikipedia can be edited anonymously or pseudonymously, the creation of accounts can be manipulated and sock accounts can be hard to distinguish. Needless to say, they can try bias Wikipedia community discussions to finally achieve Wikipedia presence. This discussion could be an effect of such an improper influence of the company which possibly should not be actually eligible to have encyclopedic presence.
In either of the above cases, mere deletion of the articles does not solve the problem. In fact it makes the scenario worse, whether we acknowledge it or not.
What is your solution?
Wikipedia has a draft space which is patrolled and not many articles actually make it out to the mainspace from there. An alternative draft space called 'Article Incubator' was earlier set up but was later merged back to the existing draft space and the Article Incubator was finally closed following this discussion. But with a number of non-notable individuals and companies trying to achieve Wikipedia presence, the situation perhaps needs to be reconsidered.
My proposal is a variant of the earlier idea of the earlier concept. My proposal is as follows:
- A category would be marked wherein such spammy articles or other articles that do not meet Wikipedia standards would be tagged.
- When an user reattempts to create a previously deleted article, he/she is given the previously deleted article to edit upon. This article is already tagged with the a to-do list and criteria which needs to be fulfilled if the article is to be released to mainspace.
- A to-do list sort of thing with the requisite criteria to be fulfilled be mentioned on the top of the article. Essentially this to-do list would be put up before 'soft-deleting' the article and mere note like A7 speedy deletion due to lack of notability would not suffice. This will also involve development interventions.
- The target destination as well as alternative destinations for such articles should be linked and protected such that they would essentially require admin intervention to get those articles live.
- Till this level, no direct and active intervention from the admins would be essential.
- It should follow an intensified Afc process and list it under purview of WikiProject Articles for creation.
- Such articles may be placed with additional tag/templates which call upon the contributors to attend a brief automated tutoring (course contents need to be designed) to enable them to understand the criteria that need to be fulfilled before an article can be published in Wikipedia. The next level of mentoring and adoption can also be subsequently set.
- Guidelines about tutoring those ignorant users should be formed and adhered to. Care and personal touch should be essential even though sometimes we might be actually be dealing with possible rogues.
- The scope of the project can be kept restricted to biographical articles and articles relating to websites or companies.
Curation of previously deleted article
When a new editor comes, he/she would not start from zero. Unless the previous mess is to be cleaned up. Until then, the page cannot be brought into mainspace. Therefore out of their own urge to create a page, those users could be channelized to a guided learning experience which will enhance the Wikipedia editing standards and will reduce the disruptive editing by those users.
At present a draft space already exists and it is already a monitored area and most of the articles (>90%) never make it out to the mainspace. The draft space that I am proposing is more like a limbo for deleted (dead) articles wherein they are more likely never to make it to the mainspace. They do not need to make it to the article mainspace. My proposal is to make the contributors of those articles to evolve to be good Wikipedians. Notability cannot be grown in a day and if those articles are on non-notable subjects, they are going to be in this limbo for a while. But in the meantime, those contributors can still be encouraged to learn and to develop those articles as well as other articles. This will minimize the disruptive effect that the same contributors could otherwise have had if they were left unguided. Hopefully enough, as an additional output, with the right grooming, many of those dead articles will eventually come to life and that is no less a bonus in addition to the induction of well groomed Wikipedians who could otherwise have gone rogue.
New editor retention
Who will you be doing outreach with?
Admin users and volunteer Wikipedia editors.
The goal of this project is to effectively and caringly deal with the growing menace of blatant self promotional contents on Wikipedia on one hand as well as other naive articles that do not meet Wikipedia standards due to lack of proper guidance and care.
For more, please check: WP:INCUBATOR
About the idea creator
I am a Wikipedian from India. My earlier involvement was infrequent but gradually my interest is growing. I inadvertently took up an article on which the earlier editors had tried to post spammy advertising contents. I did not know that the company had desperately tried to get its page up in the past. I feel that such companies or emerging individuals who want to 'feature' themselves on Wikipedia need to know the criteria they need to fulfill and the criteria the relevant articles need to fulfill. My proposal is to create an avenue to make these people aware. I think that such an endeavor can and will reduce the disruptive editing of Wikipedia.
Expand your idea
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No funding needed?
Does your idea not require funding, but you're not sure about what to do next? Not sure how to start a proposal on your local project that needs consensus? Contact Chris Schilling on-wiki at I JethroBT (WMF) (talk · contribs) or via e-mail at cschillingwikimedia.org for help!
- No funding needed.