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Learning patterns/Matching newcomers to Wikimedia projects and activities: nurturing happy, passionate editors:)

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A learning pattern foronline engagement
Matching newcomers to Wikimedia projects and activities: nurturing happy, passionate editors:)
problemYou've attracted newbies to your program or event but you don't know how to motivate them to stay as editors.
solutionAct as a good detective: discover their hobbies, interests and pastimes and show them how much more rewarding they can be when they share their passion with the world!
created on23:23, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

What problem does this solve?


You're passionate about open knowledge and the Wikimedia movement and you want to convey this passion to others. Chances are you're an educator looking for ways to engage your students, or a program leader looking to recruit new editors. Your presentation has kindled their interest and it's now time to move on to editing. You know that this is the critical moment to spark their imagination and inspire them, but they all have different interests and they're all looking at you with a blank expression on their faces.

What is the solution?


Now is the time to reach out to them as individuals and discover what makes their clock tick. Here are some ideas to help you bring out the best in them as they add value to the Wikimedia projects and their own lives as well.

Things to consider

  • Use social media: connect with them on Facebook, Twitter etc. and look at what they're posting and tweeting. It may take some time before you make the right connection but when you do, the results can be amazing!
  • Write up a questionnaire, or ask about their hobbies and interests: if a person is driven enough to devote free time to a specific activity, chances are she will be ecstatic to learn that her passion and knowledge can be appreciated by others all over the world.
  • Smile, encourage, be humorous, be considerate to their individual needs. Keep stressing that this is a volunteer community and they should not feel pressured in any way. Once you gain their confidence and establish a meaningful connection, even the shiest will open up and unlock tremendous potential!
  • Use the monthly Photo Challenge on Commons: Colin's challenge can be used as an excellent tool to "break the ice" at a presentation. Most potential editors have smartphones and a contest is a great way to get them interested in contributing in no time!

When to use


This pattern was devised during the Wikitherapy pilot at the Argostoli Mental Health Day Center in Kefalonia, Greece.

User Ekosmatou at Argostoli Day Center
  • Social media - Facebook in particular - was the key to unlocking Evangelia's potential in editing Greek Wikiquote: she would often upload images with quotes to her timeline, so Wikiquote was a natural fit! Evangelia has contributed over 100 quotes and was the most active new editor on the site for all of 2016.
User Jim Vallianos at Argostoli Day Center
  • User:Dimitris likes to read books and write out lists of random words translated into different languages with his dictionaries. It didn't take long to get him excited about Wiktionary! Each Wiktionary entry has wiki markup for translations in 30 languages; After learning how to add and remove markup, Dimitris started adding his translated words. He now has 12 dictionaries and has made over 1000 edits in languages ranging from English to German, Spanish, Portuguese (his favorite!), Swedish, Hungarian, Serbian and more!



See also