Learning patterns/Storytelling over demonstration in a Wikipedia outreach
What problem does this solve?
Outreach for Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects is a different ball game in itself. When some program leaders not just keep the outreach engaging but sustain a long term relation with the participants, some fail miserably. People lying in the second category, however, at times puts much more effort telling about the talk page and the edit toolbar. And I myself have been a victim being in the second category.
What is the solution?
Outreach participants are real people. And what they would really need know is where in there life, the Wikipedia editing fit in rather than a whole bunch of instructions. "Instructions are for robots", Asaf Bartov, a long time Wikimedian, puts it very rightly.
Things to consider
- Know your audience little more; their interests, their backgrounds and their challenges.
- Frame your stories in advance if you're not a born storyteller. And tell those stories to yourself and imagine listening to them by keeping yourself in the audience's shoes.
|“||I tried it today and it happened to work really well. I was given a task to tell what I would do if I am given six hours to spend ten new people and I have to educate them about Wikipedia editing. I gave an example of a six hours slot; taking it easy and watching a not_so_known movie for two hours, spending an hour in the library searching for known published resources, and two hours in developing articles related to the movie like the cast, crew and more.
I could see the acceptance in people's eyes after this. It was certainly not the power of my 2-minutes speech rather the power of storytelling. Since ages, stories have been part of people's lives only because they love to imagine them playing a part in those stories.
- Your audience demands a respectable place in your story, give them that by empathizing more with them.
- Rome is not built in a day and your audience won't end up writing FAs and GAs in a day. 80% of a general outreach don't even edit Wikipedia after they go home from an outreach. Will you stop conducting more outreach just because of that? Maybe not. But if you can bring them to your side by letting them decide to play different characters in your stories, they will feel the urge of contributing to Wikipedia.
When to use
- Outreach for a select set of people, people of a special interest group, students of the same discipline. But homogeneity might be just for the dummies (not in an offensive way though!) and you could write a better story with different scenes. It's just that important to start from a simple story for a beginner.
- Repetitive followup sessions. Followups are easy and difficult at the same time. When there will be known faces but they would have new expectation. Your stories have to have continuation of told stories and not repetition of the same stories that are already told.