Learning patterns/Creating a prelist of relevant articles before a training session
What problem does this solve?
Engaging participants during a training and contribution event can be difficult. Practicing is a good way to learn, but sometimes, too much is not enough. Overloading participants with too many or unprepared tasks during an event is counterproductive and frustrating for both organizers and participants.
What is the solution?
During a training event, beginners who know little or nothing about Wikipedia have a lot to assimilate, especially when time is a limiting factor. For instance, they have to learn about the 5 pillars of Wikipedia, the important rules and do's and don'ts or the technical aspects to modify or create an article. It can represent a lot of information to assimilate in a short period of time. Before the training event, creating a list of relevant articles to improve helps the organizers to be fully prepared. Moreover, it reassures participants and guides them through a process that you know well. The pattern is especially relevant when you focus on a specific theme during an event. Furthermore, it doesn't require a huge amount of work, rather a rigorous work of research.
Things to consider
- Take time to think about the theme you want to focus on, it will help you establish your list of articles.
- Once you know your theme, establish clear objectives in accordance with your grant or the level of knowledge of your future participants. During a training session dedicated to beginners you can't ask participants to upgrade a B-Class article to a GA-Class article!
- If it's not already the case, try to understand how categories and class ranking work. This will allow you to be sure to have found as many articles as possible.
- Create a list in your sandbox in which you will list the relevant articles with specific criteria like : "class status", "last edit", "sections to improve", "media to upload" and so on.
- In the French version of Wikipedia, you can add a list of tasks to complete in the discussion tab of each article (examples : Discussion:Michel_Chartrand - Discussion:Fernand_Daoust - Discussion:Gustave_Francq - Discussion:Madeleine_Parent). In the English version we suggest to insert Template:Tasks either in the discussion page of your articles or create a to do list in your sandbox, and share the link during the event. The list of suggested tasks will guide participants. If your event is intended for beginners, be careful not to propose too difficult tasks, without giving in too easily, because the purpose of these events is to train Wikipedians.
- The day of the event, share your list of relevant articles (via the URL of the list in your sandbox) with your participants and explain its goal, your approach and the criterias which allowed you to create it.
When to use
You can use this pattern when you organize a training event, especially with begginers and when you want them to practice in Wikipedia. For instance, the Fondation Lionel-Groulx used this method during 2 training events with great success. Here is a link to a sandbox with an example of sorted articles on the "History of Quebec City neighbourhoods". It's in French, but you will easily be able to understand the method.
Another important aspect : it helped us convince and motivate our major partners to collaborate to our project. In fact, they were better able to understand the shortcomings of the majority of articles related to the history of Quebec and French-speaking North America.