Learning patterns/First edit
What problem does this solve?
When a person shows up to an event having just created a user account the next tough question is: where to start editing? This can feel daunting after having looked around at featured articles or if starting an edit in wikitext editor mode. It is also quite possible that a new user believes that their task is to create new articles and starts working on something that is not notable. Getting a revert or delete on your first edit can feel devastating for a new editor and might make them to stop right there. Even if they overcome this, which luckily is a bit easier in a physical event where you can talk to the person, the 'track record' of a not-so-good first edit can be heavy, especially in the beginning of wiki editing.
What is the solution?
Prepare a list of articles which have simple things that can be done with them and that are totally uncontroversial. A very good example is typos, and if you can find enough of the same one to go around for all participants, even better. During the editathon, just after creating the accounts, assign one article to each participant. Have them find the typo, correct it, and save (with an edit summary). This will have several benefits.
- They will see how easy the interface can be and feel empowered to have completed this first task.
- They see that they get published immediately and enjoy the rush of contributing to the world's largest collaboration project.
- They will be on a good way to making a productive edit and have already become a new editor. Do tell them that they are officially part of the statistics; everybody likes to get recognized.
- This in turn will probably give them more faith in their next edit, if they try something harder.
Things to consider
- Try to find as obvious errors as you can so that they are easy to spot and easy to see the value of. If needed, point out the errors in the list. They do not need to be typos, but make sure they are a) obvious and b) uncontroversial.
When to use
- On editathons or workshops with a lot of new users. Here is one example of it being used.
- It can also be used in one-on-one training as an example of an edit to do. Just search for a commonly misspelled word and if you find an article containing it, fix it.