Video tutorial "Referencing with VisualEditor" – newsletter issue 2
Introduction and highlights
This newsletter has a lot of information! However, you can decide which portions you would like to read.
The most important points to know are that draft 2 is finished, that the single long script has been divided into many smaller scripts, and that portions of the script have been prioritized for production.
Due to budget constraints, not all scripts can be produced within the scope of the current pilot grant, but the other scripts will remain available for potential future production. (This project feels somewhat like doing a vehicle repair when the mechanic starts to work on the engine, and once the mechanic gets under the engine and starts to work, they discover that accomplishing their objective requires twice as much time as they first had estimated.) However, nothing is lost, so do not fear. Overall, my assessment is that this project is producing a lot of good output and is generally a valuable pilot project.
Details regarding how the project is going
The good news is that draft 2 of the script is complete, and I made changes to account for feedback that I received regarding script draft 1. The feedback regarding draft 1 was very helpful and I appreciate the input. I also added a few pieces of information.
Here are some highlights of changes:
- The script has been separated into smaller sections. There are several benefits to having multiple shorter and more narrowly scoped videos. Shortening the videos should make the information be easier for viewers to find and to understand, and make the videos be easier to integrate into written documentation and other sources of help. Also, the benefits for production include that shorter videos will be less risky, less time consuming, and less expensive on a per-video basis.
- For multiple scenes: the narrator will do less speaking of the exact text that appears on the screen.
- For multiple scenes: some simplification of language for improved translatability
- For multiple sceces: updates to plans for opening and closing titles
- For Scene 1: significant revision of the explanations of sources, references, and citations. (Thanks very much to User:Nick Moyes for the feedback that was the basis for the revision.)
- For Scene 3: added explanations of primary, secondary, and tertiary sources
- For Scene 6: this scene was divided into Scene 6A, Scene 6M, Scene 6R, and Scene 6Z
- For Scene 6A: added a new way to create a citation: string search in the automatic citation tool. (Thanks to John Erling Blad for highlighting this feature.)
- For Scene 6Z: enhanced an example to discuss secondary and tertiary sources, original research, controversial information, and Wikipedia's neutrality policy.
- For Scene 7: new section regarding how to edit an existing citation
- For Scene 8: changed the example for the citation needed tag, and added an example of a statement that can be deleted.
An important short term problem
Although it is good to explain the topic of referencing at a mid-range level of detail, and although I am generally happy with the script, there is an important short term problem. I underestimated the effort required to adequately explain referencing with a mid-range level of detail and in a way that a new user can probably understand. Topics that are easy for me to understand as an experienced Wikimedian require some careful explanations for new users so that they are not overwhelmed.
There is a lot of text in this report and in the draft scripts, but I think that the finished videos will be easier for users to understand than the "walls of text" of English Wikipedia documentation and policies.
However, the full Draft 2 script at revision Alpha 1.21 has 31 pages, which is far too long to produce fully in the scope of this small pilot project. An important next step is to prioritize sections the script for production into finished videos.
Details regarding changes to opening and closing scenes, and project planning
The short scenes that I previously planned for the introduction, summary, and closing credits probably will not be produced as individual scenes. Instead, each of the other scenes, which have scene numbers 2 through 10, will probably have an individual introductions and closing credits.
Scripts for scenes which are not produced due to the budget constraints of this pilot project remain available for future use. The scripts will not be lost when the money for this pilot project is exhausted. If the feedback regarding this pilot project is generally positive, and especially if there is evidence that the finished videos are being used successfully in the community, then I might request a new grant to fund the production of additional scenes and/or for adaptations of scenes for additional language editions of Wikipedia such as French or Portuguese.
Flow of scenes and prioritization for production
The scene priorities that I assigned are indicated by color in the chart that you see at the right of this section. You can click the image to see a larger size version of the chart. As you can see on the chart, I currently plan to have the highest priority be for Scene 3 and Scene 6A. Scene 3 covers the topic "What are good sources to use?" I selected this topic because I frequently see people have difficulty understanding which types of sources are permitted. Scene 6A covers two ways to create a citation with VisualEditor using the automatic citation tab.
It is very likely that the money for this current pilot project will be exhausted after producing Scene 3 and Scene 6A. Additional priorities on the chart are shown in the order that I would recommend them for production if more funding becomes available in the future.
Regarding project planning, I have asked myself if I could have done a better job at more narrowly defining the scope of this pilot project from the beginning. Hindsight is easier than foresight. I would like to have more narrowly defined the scope, but referencing has so many closely related topics that I think that "getting my hands dirty" by working on this project in a methodical way, and forcing myself to step through referencing from a beginner's perspective, has probably produced the best results. So while I would like to have had better foresight, I also think that the project overall has produced good outcomes that I would have been unlikely to produce at this level of quality without "getting my hands dirty".
Request for constructive criticism and comments
I would appreciate comments in the Google docs regarding draft 2 of Scenes 3 and 6A especially.
- I am not asking anyone to review these scenes at this time, but please feel free to make comments if you would like:
I would be appreciative if you would comment within the next few days. I would like to start production of Scene 3 and Scene 6A on March 26. You can continue to leave comments after March 26, although revising the scripts and videos will become progressively more difficult as the videos become nearer to publication. You can comment directly in the Google docs, or on the project talk page.
Thank you for your interest in this project. I continue to believe that the finished videos will be useful for new Wikipedians and for the people who guide them.
Yours in service,
--Pine✉ 01:11, 22 March 2019 (UTC)