Learning patterns/Mass messaging
What problem does this solve?
As part of the Medical Translation Project we've translated over 700 articles into different languages, and often we are met by incredible enthusiasm for the project, but some resistance towards the way we implement content on some Wikis. That's why we need editors who are comfortable and see the local language Wikipedia as their turn and know the norms and culture that pervade. There is no simple way to inform users about this type of project, and many Village pumps are simply dead areas where there is no discussion. We want to engage with the community.
What is the solution?
We started by getting a list of all editors that made significant contributions to medical articles across all Wikipedias. We did this by running through the editors behind any article that was cross-linked through Wikidata with the English language articles found under WikiProject Medicine's banner.
The result was a list of over 50000 accounts across many different Wikipedias. We applied a host of different methods to decrease the size of this list to just 5000 accounts and sent out a specialized talk-page message to each and every one of these accounts, while at the same actively monitoring any messages or e-mails we got.
While the list could have been better constructed to make sure we only reached each Wikipedian once, and made sure that it was on their main or at least one of their major Wikipedias this was out of our technical scope at the time. Despite this, the effect was a major rise in sign-ups and engagement with the project.
Things to consider
- Make sure the list is properly designed. Mass-messaging is risky when you're working with very large lists. We didn't omit accounts that were active on very many Wikipedias, which lead one user to be messaged on 27 different Wikipedias. While for many getting an extra message on a Wikipedia you're not very active on isn't a major problem – most of the editors that do work on 20+ Wikipedias have systems that monitor their talk-pages, resulting in for example 20+ e-mails all at once.
When to use
When your project is met by enthusiasm but you have a hard time sending individual messages to each editor that might be interested.