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Research:New editor curation tools experience interviews September 2015

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Tracked in Phabricator:
Task T112027
19:17, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
Duration:  2015-September – 2015-September
This page documents a completed research project.

This project will investigate how new editors use and understand five basic interface features in MediaWiki -- history, contributions, diffs, watchlists, and recent changes. Understanding how those tools work is necessary if you are going to help to maintain the articles that you're most interested in. For this reason these interface features are referred to as 'curation tools' hereafter.



The goal is this project is to understand new editors' mental models of these curation tools in order to inform a redesign of existing tools, and/or the development of new tools. This work is part of the Collaboration team's 2015/16 annual plan and their ongoing work on workflow support.

We want to know what motivated, good-faith newcomers understand about how the wiki works. Do they know that every revision is saved, and they can see other people's edits? What are the pain points that might discourage them from getting more involved?

If we encourage tons of new people to contribute content to Wikipedia, then we need some of those people to help curate, and make sure that the wiki stays accurate and high-quality. Our general hypothesis is that if a motivated, good faith newcomer with an interest in a particular topic (for example, soccer) or set of articles understands how to use diff, history and watchlist pages, then they could be a valuable person helping to keep the pages on active soccer players accurate and up to date.

For example if a new editor clicked on the watchlist star on an article they are interested in, and s/he gets a watchlist email, does s/he understand that email? If s/he clicks on the diff link in the email, is that a lightbulb moment where it all makes sense, or is it alienating?



Semi-structured interviews with 4-6 new English Wikipedia editors identified via Snuggle, recruited by email.

We're looking for new editors who fit the following profile: have joined in the past few days and have made at least 5 edits to at least 2 articles, preferably in more than one session. Genuinely motivated by an interest in the subject, and not doing COI puffery edits about a company, vandalising, etc.


  • September 2015: run interviews, begin data analysis
  • October 2015: complete data analysis, publish findings



Study has been put on indefinite hold Jmorgan (WMF) (talk) 22:18, 10 December 2015 (UTC)