Talk:India Program/Outreach Programs

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Improving outreach efforts in India[edit]

We have conducted over 13 outreach sessions in the past one month and have many more events scheduled to participate in over the coming weeks. (Please see: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program/Outreach_Programs/Outreach_Sessions) It's amazing that we're doing so many outreach events all over the country to create awareness about Wikipedia, motivate attendees to learn about editing and training newbies to contribute to Wikipedia in their own special way.

The single biggest challenge is that we don't know the actual outcome of these efforts in most cases, and the results are weak when we have the data. I think most of us agree that outreach can be made to work better. (For example, 2 outreach sessions conducted recently by the Assamese community had about 80 participants, and 8 active editors emerged - which is a hit rate of 10% - which is FANTASTIC!) For most other sessions, the results have been closer to 1-2% or even lower - which is depressing. What makes outreach work? How can outreach work better? Is there anything you need from me?

Over the past 3 months, I have been working on building a handbook for Outreach (Please see: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program/Outreach_Programs/Handbook) where you can get presentation material and tips. Please do go through it and help me build it.

My post consists of 5 (deliberately) provocative statements on the day of and the days after an outreach session. These are framed with the objective of generating debate and suggestions.

THE DAY OF

Hypthesis 1: Don't Shoot the Puppy: Outreach is not being done effectively and we aren't adequately introspecting on what we can do better; instead choosing to lose faith in attendees

  • Should we discontinue general introduction sessions completely and just convert everything into Wiki workshops? Every second of volunteer time is precious and we need to make sure that every second is made to count. The good sessions appear to be those where people are actually shown how to edit - rather than just doing a song-and-dance about Wikipedia.
  • The best sessions are those where people have actual hands-on editing opportunity. Shall we limit the intro session on Wikipedia to just 15 minutes and then spend 45 minute on basic editing, 30 minutes on hand-on editing and leave 30 minutes for Q&A?
  • Not everyone is a natural presenter and might need help on basic outreach skills. Is there value and interest in a capacity building roadshow where we help existing editors who want to improve their outreach and presentation skills? Is it useful to pair up a good presenter with a not-so-confident presenter when we are doing outreach?

THE DAY AFTER

Hypothesis #2: Staying in Touch: We assume the job is complete after the outreach session when in fact the journey has only just begun

  • Can we gather (basic) information about attendees (e.g., names, usernames & email IDs?) so that we can stay in touch with them after sessions?
  • Can we get feedback on sessions (duration, level of detail, quality of presenters, etc.?) so that we can all improve? Do we need some sort of CRM solution for this or will something like Google Docs suffice?
  • How do we get more folks to actually provide their contact details and feedback? Which of the following will get higher response rates: asking for these just before the end, immediately after the end or the day after a session?

Hypothesis #3: Nudge-Nudge: Newbies struggle with the most basic things - including which article to select

  • Should we send links to useful wiki pages and tutorial videos where they can read up more about how Wikipedia works and how to edit Wikipedia? Can we leave handouts on basic editing after all sessions? Can we send them links to the actual presentations made at the session.
  • Can we suggest / elicit potential articles that individual newbies will work on after the workshop? Can we give them individual pointers on what they can do with each article by reviewing them there-and-then during the session?
  • Can we schedule a follow-up session (even if virtually using google+ hangout) to clarify any doubts about Wikipedia editing or otherwise - maybe 2 weeks after a session?

Hypothesis #4: Loneliness - Newbies feel alone and the only time they sense the community is when their edits get reverted

  • Should we not encourage them to join project pages (such as the WP:INDIA) and/or the India mailing list and/or their city/language mailing list to get involved with the community?
  • Can we involve them in COTM or conduct specific editathons for them?
  • Can we celebrate their successes and get newbies to talk to other newbies about how they learnt stuff?

Hyptothesis #5: Black Hole: No one has a clue about the actual results of outreach

  • Can we regularly monitor number & % of active editors after 1 and 3 months of conducting all events? Can we figure out % of mainspace edits from these newbies after 1 and 3 months? Can this be analysed to provide recommendations on how we can do things better?
  • Can we actively reach out to those who look like they are struggling? Do we need a CRM tool for something like this?
  • Is it useful to track and attempt to co-relate age / profession / subject (if student) / sex of participants to figure out what is likely to give greatest results?

I have been working to see how can we overcome these challenges and make our outreach efforts far more effective. I'd love to hear from on the above. Some of you have been actively involved in outreach sessions (attending or conducting or planning) an I'd like to know your thoughts and suggestions which might serve as solutions for this set of very real challenges.

Thanks
Nitika.t 11:21, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Some lessons learned that might be helpful, re followup[edit]

These lessons learned include:

Have a roadmap. An intro workshop is a great first step, but what’s next? We end the workshop with explicit suggestions for next steps and reiterate them on our wiki and in a follow-up e-mail. We also specifically invite workshop attendees to a pre-scheduled follow-up Project Night, and since attendees joined the (local Meetup group) to register for the workshop, they’ll get information about all future Meetup events.

Thank you for asking these questions and helping form best practices, Nitika! Sumanah 17:19, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Thanks Sumana! Will look deeper into it. Thanks Nitika.t 09:57, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Answers[edit]

Hypthesis 1: Don't Shoot the Puppy: Outreach is not being done effectively and we aren't adequately introspecting on what we can do better; instead choosing to lose faith in attendees

Should we discontinue general introduction sessions completely and just convert everything into Wiki workshops? Every second of volunteer time is precious and we need to make sure that every second is made to count. The good sessions appear to be those where people are actually shown how to edit - rather than just doing a song-and-dance about Wikipedia.

The best sessions are those where people have actual hands-on editing opportunity. Shall we limit the intro session on Wikipedia to just 15 minutes and then spend 45 minute on basic editing, 30 minutes on hand-on editing and leave 30 minutes for Q&A?

Asking people to click edit just telling how(technically) without philosophy(& rules / guidelines / policies) behind editing might not be good idea. This also can change based on audience. Best thing would probably ask the audience which way they are comfortable and interested. Logicwiki 10:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, it is essential to brief the participants about the philosophy of Wikipedia. In the introductory presentation that I'm working on I'd like to include at least one slide on each of the following topics: 5 pillars, NPOV, Referencing, Notability. I'd like us to have a complete presentation deck from which the presenter can choose the slide he wants to talk about during the outreach. And as you rightly pointed out, presenter will have to alter the session depending upon the audience and what they'd like us to cover. Nitika.t 09:29, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Not everyone is a natural presenter and might need help on basic outreach skills. Is there value and interest in a capacity building roadshow where we help existing editors who want to improve their outreach and presentation skills? Is it useful to pair up a good presenter with a not-so-confident presenter when we are doing outreach?

While this is one thing that could help, the other problem is, people without deeper understanding of Wikipedia(and/or local language) doing outreach, the same can be applied there as well. Logicwiki 10:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Absolutely. It is essential for us to club a a presenter who has deep knowledge about Wikipedia with a person who is relatively new. This would not only make sure that the outreach event has been conducted successfully but would also give an opportunity to the new presenter learn the tricks. Nitika.t 09:33, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

THE DAY AFTER

Hypothesis #2: Staying in Touch: We assume the job is complete after the outreach session when in fact the journey has only just begun

Can we gather (basic) information about attendees (e.g., names, usernames & email IDs?) so that we can stay in touch with them after sessions?

Username, at the maximum email should do. One can see which usernames make edits, put them with welcome template / other comments on their edits. Effort must be made to keep conversations on wiki as much as possible, since it would make the newbie not dependent on 1 single person. Logicwiki 10:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. Nitika.t 09:51, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Can we get feedback on sessions (duration, level of detail, quality of presenters, etc.?) so that we can all improve? Do we need some sort of CRM solution for this or will something like Google Docs suffice?

Feedback is important, google docs should suffice IMO. Logicwiki 10:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Will try and evaluate other options. Nitika.t 09:51, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

How do we get more folks to actually provide their contact details and feedback? Which of the following will get higher response rates: asking for these just before the end, immediately after the end or the day after a session?

Just before the end should be fine. Logicwiki 10:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

I think so too. Nitika.t 09:51, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Hypothesis #3: Nudge-Nudge: Newbies struggle with the most basic things - including which article to select

Should we send links to useful wiki pages and tutorial videos where they can read up more about how Wikipedia works and how to edit Wikipedia? Can we leave handouts on basic editing after all sessions? Can we send them links to the actual presentations made at the session.

Ideally the welcome template should help. May be tell them for a minute to read all those links on the welcome template?. Logicwiki 10:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. Nitika.t 09:51, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Can we suggest / elicit potential articles that individual newbies will work on after the workshop? Can we give them individual pointers on what they can do with each article by reviewing them there-and-then during the session?

This can be tried though it might be tough, usually wikipedians discover it themselves, since its about one's interest and confidence about having something to give. Logicwiki 10:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. Nitika.t 09:51, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Can we schedule a follow-up session (even if virtually using google+ hangout) to clarify any doubts about Wikipedia editing or otherwise - maybe 2 weeks after a session?

Can be tried. Logicwiki 10:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Hypothesis #4: Loneliness - Newbies feel alone and the only time they sense the community is when their edits get reverted

Should we not encourage them to join project pages (such as the WP:INDIA) and/or the India mailing list and/or their city/language mailing list to get involved with the community?

WP:INDIA - yes, en:WT:INB also, India list NO (Introducing India list is akin to introducing meta after a first workshop). Language / city lists yes, village pumps for Indic wikis. Logicwiki 10:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Totally with you on this one. :) Nitika.t 09:51, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Can we involve them in COTM or conduct specific editathons for them?

COTM is slightly complex, prepare a list of low hanging fruits? like categorizing, referencing, adding images? Logicwiki 10:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Great idea. Can explore these options too. Nitika.t 09:51, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Can we celebrate their successes and get newbies to talk to other newbies about how they learnt stuff?

User pages / vanity walls with barnstars which are actually earned (no not the ones got through abuse of WikiLove) will talk for their successes, can we get here later, after we see success? Logicwiki 10:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)


Hyptothesis #5: Black Hole: No one has a clue about the actual results of outreach

Can we actively reach out to those who look like they are struggling? Do we need a CRM tool for something like this?

Ideally we should do this on wiki, irrespective of people who come through academies / just edit the pages we watch. Some of us already do, probably need more hands and eyes. Logicwiki 10:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Can we regularly monitor number & % of active editors after 1 and 3 months of conducting all events? Can we figure out % of mainspace edits from these newbies after 1 and 3 months? Can this be analysed to provide recommendations on how we can do things better?

Yes, But am not sure if this can help, just because one academy might have had more editors coming out of it probably doesn't mean that it was conducted in optimal way or can be repeatable on a different day/place/audience. Logicwiki 10:05, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

The primary idea behind conducting the analysis is to test if outreach is an effective way of recruiting new editors or not. We'll have to figure out % of participants who have turned out to be active editors post 1 and 3 months of conducting the session. This analysis might also help identify trends and reasons for a higher percentage turn around in one outreach session over the others. Nitika.t 09:51, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Is it useful to track and attempt to co-relate age / profession / subject (if student) / sex of participants to figure out what is likely to give greatest results?

The same answer above applies here as well. Logicwiki 02:54, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for all your comments User:Logicwiki. Sincerely appreciate all your suggestions. Nitika.t 09:56, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

10 Questions[edit]

  1. Do we know what is the right profile of audience for an outreach session? (tech or non-tech / students or professionals / age group / language group?) We must avoid shooting in the dark and that's the only way that the current conversion rate of <0.1% (my guesstimate) can be come more reasonable.
  2. How do we draw the right balance between giving them enough information during and outreach session that the feel adequate to successfully edit but not too much that they get intimidated and run off?
  3. Can we make sure that ALL workshops are not theory sessions but that everyone has a computer in front of them and can actually do very basic editing - like creating a user name and making 5 edits, even if they are not particularly complex. Theory will get us nowhere. This also has implications on the maximum number of attendees as well as our not doing sessions where all we have a box to stand on and give random gyan.
  4. What can we do to make sure we stay in touch with newbies post the session. We have to figure out an efficient way of reaching out after the workshop because their heads will be full of doubts once they actually start editing. Also, once they have been "warmed-up" by the workshop, we must gently nudge them read up more and click on edit.
  5. How can we anticipate the inevitably teething up issues for newbies and proactively address them - in the outreach and in the post-outreach contact. I'm wildly generalising but I fear I might be right that we already know the typical problems newbies. .First of all, they want to create brand new articles - instead of looking at incremental improvements to existing articles. Secondly, especially on en-wp, they find it difficult to figure out what topic to work on because "everything is covered fully" - which we know is not the case. Thirdly, they stumble on notability, NPOV and MoS. Fourthly, they find referencing tedious. Fifthly, some mess around and find vandalism fun. Sixthly, something like notability isn't immediately clear to them because one often approaches things with a insular frame of reference. Can we address clinically address these in workshops?
  6. How do use social networks effectively - but not get drowned in them. fb is a great way of attracting users to workshops or photothons - but is a terrible place to discuss policies. How do we get the right balance?
  7. Specifically for Indic languages, how do we make sure that we have relatively less rigid and comprehensive policies (which work for en-wp with tens of thousands of editors - but is totally impractical when we have <50 editors which is the case for all but 3 Indic communities.)
  8. Specifically for en-wp, how do we provide some kind of additional support on encyclopedic writing in English - especially given that English is not a native language. Would having newbie English editors from India as part of some kind of a group with experienced English editors from India (who would therefore be intimately familiar with the linguistic challenges) to support them make sense and is it practical? (While I write this, I am also acutely aware that we can't right a lifetime's education of a newbie - but can we make useful baby steps?)
  9. Is there a way we can get existing editors who might not be confident of their public speaking skills - but are great 1-on-1 - to adopt newbies and have mini workshops on an individual basis? (I know this is inefficient - but it affords them a chance to contribute in outreach as well and over time, I am confident that many will gain the self-assurance to handle larger audiences.)
  10. Lastly, and most certainly not the least, how do we measure the impact of every single outreach session, analyse the reasons for success or otherwise? How do we disseminate these learnings to the community? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Hisham (talk) 10:42, 23 Febraury 2012