Talk:Learning patterns/Project/Diversity learning patterns campaign

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Discussion[edit]

Please state questions and comments below! --Bgibbs (WMF) (talk) 03:39, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

Nice project frame. Have you poked the Countering Systemic Bias wikiproject?
Thanks for the tip, User:Sj - we shall reach out --EGalvez (WMF) (talk) 05:47, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Moved discussion[edit]

Dear users Kerry Raymond, Djembayz, and John Broughton, First -- thank you so much for the lively conversation on our Campaign page - we really appreciate the enthusiasm and specific stories you have shared! I wanted to let you know that I have moved your conversation into the talk page of the campaign page and I have also reformatted some of the text into "learning pattern style" below. I've done this because the Campaign aims to have shorter descriptions of problems/solutions (and links) - we hope to later expand these short descriptions into full learning patterns.


Please find below a list of problems/solutions that I've been able to pull from your conversations - mainly copy/pasted from your text. Let me know if you agree with how these are put together and I can go ahead and move them to the main page of the diversity learning pattern campaign (or you are free to, of course!). If you have more problems/solutions, please share! When we move to building full learning patterns, we will definitely return to the details you've shared to fill in the learning patterns. Please let me know if you have any questions! --EGalvez (WMF) (talk) 06:14, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

-- Problem: Teaching how to edit to less experienced internet/computer users --
Some tasks they might struggle with:
  • copy and paste
  • having two tabs/windows open in a web browser at the same time
  • multiple scroll bars
  • adding citations
-- Kerry Raymond

This is not accurate characterisation of the problem. These people are quite experienced internet/computer users. They use computers every day and have often done so for years. But the nature of the things they do, email, web browsing, using Word and Excel doesn't generally require them to do these things (the ones who use Word will know copy/paste but usually via the menu rather than control-C and control-V and for use within that application, copy-paste between applications may be less understood). The problem is that our source editor has been designed by "power users" to suit their skill level. This needs to be reframed as "Problem: the source editor assumes a power user" because the problem is the tool rather than the people.

Solution: Working with editors one-on-one in training sessions
Hi User:Kerry Raymond - I am thinking we might add some of your comments/stories about teaching "older" participants how to edit in this learning pattern: Training Senior Citizens. What do you think?

I think it affects people of all ages (I mostly teach older people but I have seen it in younger people too). Also I don't like "labelling" people like that. Age discrimination is a real problem that older people face and I don't think we should be compounding it with such labels (indeed most guidelines would recommend you don't). I would suggest being clear about what are the actual problem are and using those terms rather than disciminatory language.

-- Problem: How to teach about the importance of citations -- Kerry Raymond --
Solution: Many of people struggle to understand why citations are needed. They "just know" information or are repeating what an expert has told them. Those who have a university degree mostly got it a long time ago before inline citations were commonplace (noting that different disciplines moved to inline citations as the norm at different times -- humanities being one of the slowest). At most they are comfortable with creating a list of references. The notion of the encyclopedia "that anyone can edit" as it says on the Wikipedia Main Page is violently at odds with the expectation of inline citation. -- Kerry Raymond

Below does not appear to be a solution to the problem above.

Solution: An edit that removes material that includes a citation is suspicious in itself - and that turns the tables, with the editor removing the information (and cite) having to justify him/herself to those monitoring for vandalism; without such justification, the monitors are likely to act in favor of inclusion rather than deletion. Having a citation also makes it far easier to justify reversing a deletion, because typically the deletion lacks a compelling explanation (or has none at all) in the edit summary: revert with an edit summary like "Reverting unexplained deletion of correctly sourced information." -- John Broughton
--Problem: Effectively teaching editing skills --
Solution: The most effective thing to do at editing events is to have a bunch of experienced Wikipedians who can sit with attendees one-on-one, and respond to the attendee's interest-- either adding specific content, or demonstrating one Wikignoming technique. Unless you have set up your event specifically as "today we learn to add images," etc. you will find that the attendees are all going to be willing to do only their specific task of interest, whether it's copyediting, adding images, learning to deorphan, etc. ... The only Wikignoming task I've found that is of general interest is adding a wikilink to another article, possibly because it is easy, and obviously useful. -- Djembayz


--Problem: How to promote a Wikimedia editing event -- Djembayz--
Solution: You pitch the event as a way to add your sponsoring organization's curated information to Wikipedia. A GLAM provides their donated content, a library has photos of local history, or selects significant newspaper articles, etc. You describe the need for quality improvement on Wikipedia as a need to add more public domain reliable sources, and links to the copyrighted reliable sources, and you encourage people to write their own websites/dissertations/novels that can be cited in Wikipedia. -- Djembayz--
--Problem: How to effectively teach others about Wikimedia--
Solution: It can be helpful to offer an explanation along these lines: "Wikipedia is like the index to the Internet, and the article is there to give you just enough information so you can understand what you're looking at in the reliable sources. If what you want is an encyclopedia article, you probably want to go to an encyclopedia that's written by professionals. If what you want is a quick way to get started out on researching a topic, and a quick way to find more links to information, that's when you go to Wikipedia."

Problem: Experienced editors are reverting newbie contributions -- Djembayz

--Problem: Experienced editors are reverting valid contributions from newbies
I would also note that during edit training or shortly after, some other editors revert the newbie's contributions or make nasty comments on the user talk pages. Sometimes I understand why they don't like the edit, perhaps the contribution was a bit borderline in some way. There is no consideration given to the WP:NOBITE policy or trying to improve the edit by toning it down a little. Also things are deleted because there is no citation, which the newbie may have been intending to add in their next edit

--Kerry Raymond

Solution: I try to make sure that our newbies don't edit on "very popular" pages for this reason but even in quiet backwater topics, watchlists allow a sleeping dragon to be awoken.
Other solutions/ideas?
--Problem: Source editor workflow creates problems. EDIT PREVIEW* SAVE is not understood. Using BACK in the browser seems to work for them but later bites them with self-created edit conflicts. After so many PREVIEWs they often forget about SAVE.

(moved from main page) Problem: Experiences from Wikipedia edit training[edit]

I have conducted a number of Wikipedia edit training sessions and an edit-a-thon. This is what I have learned from those events. Firstly, based on doing somewhat informal follow-ups on the contributions by the user accounts and the articles worked on (which I generally put on my watchlist), I believe that very few people continue to edit after the event themselves and the few that do peeter out pretty quickly. But, the feedback at the event itself is generally very positive. People appear to enjoy the workshops and leave in an apparently positive frame of mind towards contributing to Wikipedia. The edit training is mostly organised through local libraries mostly held during the working week, many of those recruited are regular library users and often local historians (as local history groups often meet at local libraries). The edit training groups tend to be both male and female but usually majority female. The groups are predominantly middle-aged or older people. The edit-a-thon was about female scientists and the participants were themselves female scientists; the age group was slightly younger on average as most were recruited through universities and hence still of working age plus there were younger PhD students etc.

Various approaches have been used in training. Initially Article for Creation was used, later live editing of existing articles became more of the focus (having observed creating new articles wasn't successful).

The people at the workshops being mostly middle-aged and older (noting I am retired myself so this is not a "generation gap" comment) generally regard describe themselves as "not an expert with computers" but generally they are all seem to be regular users of email, web browsing, Facebook, Skype (to keep in touch with family) and (often) wordprocessing to produce newsletters and brochures (usually Microsoft Word). They certainly have "basic IT literacy" and use computers as part of everyday life. But it becomes apparent in workshops that to edit Wikipedia, you need a higher standard of IT skills. Things some of them do not know about or at least get them very confused:

  • copy and paste
  • having two tabs/windows open in a web browser at the same time
  • multiple scroll bars

Why does this matter? Well, when you try to show someone how to create a citation to a web page, you generally need them to to have one browser tab/window open in EDIT mode of Wikipedia (which means two vertical scroll bars) and another one open on the web page to be used as the citation and you want them to copy the URL and title from that second tab/window into the citation template form in the first window. Something I do many times each day, but it involves understanding all three of those things above, which are often new to people.

  • using a workflow in a browser

The Wikipedia source editor model of EDIT->PREVIEW->...->SAVE is quite unfamiliar to them (they would probably do better with NEXT ... NEXT ... NEXT. They create their own edit conflicts all the time using BACK in this workflow and many of them do so many PREVIEWS, they never get around to SAVE (oh dear - all their work is lost!)

I have not yet done edit training using the Visual Editor as it is not yet a default option on en.WP. That might resolve a couple of these problems (multiple scroll bars and the workflow).

Citations. Being older, many of the people have not been educated to a level where the use of citations is required at all. They struggle to understand why they are needed. They "just know" information or are repeating what an expert has told them. Those who have a university degree mostly got it a long time ago before inline citations were commonplace (noting that different disciplines moved to inline citations as the norm at different times -- humanities being one of the slowest). At most they are comfortable with creating a list of references. The notion of the encyclopedia "that anyone can edit" as it says on the Wikipedia Main Page is violently at odds with the expectation of inline citation.

Photos and copyright. The participants are routinely disappointed when I tell them Wikipedia cannot accept most of the photos they have brought with them as they are not their own work and are probably still in copyright, being scanned from books, copied from websites, or orphan works (meaning we don't know who took the photos so we can't even seek permission). The copyright issue also extends to copy-and-paste of text from websites (often from their local history or local town council website where they feel they have a communal ownership over the content - "they won't mind" they say, probably quite truthfully).

Competition for their contributions. Compared with the barriers I have outlined above with contributing to Wikipedia, many of these participants have other avenues to share their knowledge. They can write an article for their local history newsletter or do a poster for their local library or tourist information centre. Often there is a Facebook group called "Local History of Smallville" (or similar) where photos are shared and people comment on them "Oh, that's the old shop on the corner of ...". None of those ways of sharing knowledge involve the complexities of Wikipedia editing and Wikipedia copyright concerns. In a world that routinely disregards copyright concerns on most online platforms, Wikipedia's "do the right thing" is a barrier to contribution, while other outlets have much lower barriers to entry.

Finally, I would also note that during edit training or shortly after, some other editors revert the newbie's contributions or make nasty comments on the user talk pages. Sometimes I understand why they don't like the edit, perhaps the contribution was a bit borderline in some way (a bit too chatty or a bit too enthuasiastic is common) "The old Smallville Homestead is full of fascinating relicts from the pioneer daysand is open Wednesday to Sunday (admission only $2)" but there is no consideration given to the WP:NOBITE policy or trying to improve the edit by toning it down a little. Also things are deleted because there is no citation, which the newbie may have been intending to add in their next edit (as citations are so much harder for them, they rarely do the citation with the added content) but the added content is reverted before they can add the citation. Sometimes I don't understand the revert at all; I can only conclude it must be "I don't like it" as I cannot see any policy problem. Obviously while this might affect only 1 or 2 people in the room, the rest of the room become aware of it and quickly learn that there are "hostile" editors out there on Wikipedia unwilling to give newcomers a chance. Again, the other ways for sharing knowledge mentioned above are rarely hostile; the Facebook post will score lots of LIKEs; everyone will say "well done" for creating the poster or newsletter article. I try to make sure that our newbies don't edit on "very popular" pages for this reason but even in quiet backwater topics, watchlists allow a sleeping dragon to be awoken. I have occasionally attempt to educate these hostile editors about being kinder to newbies, and almost always get a vitriolic response (usually abusing me for having failed to prevent the edit being made in the first place). I have given up trying to educate hostile editors; it doesn't work.

I'm sorry I don't have a solution to most of these problems. Visual editor may help a little with some of the technology barriers, but in the name of "quality" and "not get sued for copyright", we have created an encyclopedia that most ordinary citizens cannot make contributions to (maybe they can fix spelling, but not a lot more). It might be possible to do something about the aggressive behaviour if there was some way to report it without fear of retaliation and that would result in some kind of censure and ultimately bans if needed.

Yes, I am discouraged by my experience with outreach. While having more sessions of training might allow people to get beyond some of the technological barriers and the citation barriers (which appears to be the current thinking), it won't solve the copyright barriers or the hostile community barrier. Meanwhile there are other places online and offline with lower barriers to entry and more positive cultures offering alternative ways for people to contribute their knowledge.

Finally, I would encourage reframing our diversity discussions away from seeing the women (or whichever group) as a "problem to be fixed" (which tends to lead to outreach/training "solutions" aimed at "fixing them") instead into "why isn't Wikipedia attractive to women (or other groups)?" and focus our efforts on finding solutions that "fix Wikipedia" so diverse people will come to Wikipedia willingly because it's simply a great thing to be part of! Kerry Raymond (talk) 02:01, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

Solution - Valuable input above-- and very much in accord with what I've observed at editing events!
Two general fixes that help:
First, you pitch the event as a way to add your sponsoring organization's curated information to Wikipedia. A GLAM provides their donated content, a library has photos of local history, or selects significant newspaper articles, etc. You describe the need for quality improvement on Wikipedia as a need to add more public domain reliable sources, and links to the copyrighted reliable sources, and you encourage people to write their own websites/dissertations/novels that can be cited in Wikipedia. It can be helpful to offer an explanation along these lines: "Wikipedia is like the index to the Internet, and the article is there to give you just enough information so you can understand what you're looking at in the reliable sources. If what you want is an encyclopedia article, you probably want to go to an encyclopedia that's written by professionals. If what you want is a quick way to get started out on researching a topic, and a quick way to find more links to information, that's when you go to Wikipedia." This sort of explanation helps get people past the idea of "I am writing a definitive article about this topic" and move them towards "I will add some useful facts to this page, and help organize the way these facts are presented." Although it's valuable to do general education for the public about "how to research and identify reliable information," if you want to get your attendees to actually learn to add the information to Wikipedia in the short amount of time available, you'll get much better results by selecting a batch of reliable information for them ahead of time.
Second, unless you have a batch of current grad students, historians, or coders, the inline citation business is typically way too hard. If you have an attendee who likes to write content, either stick with a reference list at the bottom, or have them to use the <ref> ... <ref> with a bare url, and tell them someone will straighten it out later (probably you :). If you have an attendee who says they want to learn how to add inline cites, that's probably all they will do at their first event. You'll need to have someone sit with them and show them how to add a specific cite to an existing article. If the attendee manages to add one citation themselves, you can consider it a success. Again, it helps to have a list of curated material on the event page all ready to go. If you have grad students or academics, bring a Mac and show them how easy it is to drag and drop from Zotero, and how the ISBN fill in works for books. Another thing that can work is making a list of all the citations, nicely formatted on the event page, and showing people how to cut and paste. Some-- the ones who aren't intimidated by looking at a bunch of code-- will use your formatting, some will prefer to add their own.
The most effective thing to do at editing events is to have a bunch of experienced Wikipedians who can sit with attendees one-on-one, and respond to the attendee's interest-- either adding specific content, or demonstrating one Wikignoming technique. Unless you have set up your event specifically as "today we learn to add images," etc. you will find that the attendees are all going to be willing to do only their specific task of interest, whether it's copyediting, adding images, learning to deorphan, etc. ... The only Wikignoming task I've found that is of general interest is adding a wikilink to another article, possibly because it is easy, and obviously useful.
Your final point bears repeating-- we need to be appreciative that people are willing to step forward and volunteer their time, and work on finding a useful task that is actually fun and interesting to them! Also, we need to stop viewing women as simply "information-bearing devices", as a recent Gender Gap Task Force comment says. Some quality improvement simply takes time, discussion, and well-informed people with access to unique information resources. If editors prefer adding content by joining together at a GLAM social event, maybe that's what they like doing, and attempting to "get them hooked on obsessive editing" is not really appropriate. Also, I'm finding that people really like it that we are sincere about the fact that we need more editors even more than we need money, and we don't ask them to donate money at these events. Once in a while, they'll even say that since they don't have time to edit, they think they'll start giving money in the future to support the people who are editing-- so I take this to mean that they think our training events and our encyclopedia are a worthwhile investment. --Djembayz (talk) 14:21, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree with much of what you say. I find that most of my training groups are recruited in a way that means there are existing "topics of interest" (usually local history) on which they want to contribute (either creating new article or expanding existing articles -- I encourage the latter). I have had little experience with groups who simply want to contribute to Wikipedia in a general way who can be guided to particular topics and tasks of my choosing. But it does have a lot to do with the method of recruitment I suspect. Also, given distances in Australia, I am usually in a "one-shot one-day" workshop situation, where my travel time/costs makes it infeasible to do a series of shorter sessions. For the record, my travel costs when I am out of my home town are generally paid by Wikimedia Australia, I donate my time, and the local partner organisation --usually a library-- supplies the venue/computers/wifi and generally some food/drink; there is no cost to the participants for the training. This is the general training model in Australia; we try meet all requests for training no matter where they are and whether or not we have a local person available to conduct the training (rarely the case outside capital cities). This lack of ongoing local support may be an issue, but I always provide the participants with my contact details on- and off-wiki for any post-event need (only a few ever contact me and they usually do so via direct email -- Talk pages and email-via-wiki are not yet in their comfort zone). Kerry Raymond (talk) 01:38, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
@Djembayz: VisualEditor is in fact available to new editors on the English Wikipedia, but, like much of Wikipedia's editing features, it's not obvious. Here's how to use it: Once an editor is registered and logged in, he/she should click "Preferences" (upper right), then the seventh tab, "Beta features", then check the VisualEditor checkbox. (I also recommend checking Hovercards, but no other options on the page.) Finally, click the (somewhat not prominent) "Save" button at the bottom left of the screen.
VisualEditor is actually invoked (once enabled, as described above), on an article page, by clicking "Edit beta", via either a tab near the top of the page or a link to the right of a section heading. Both open the entire article for editing. [The tab and link "Edit" is renamed "Edit source"; I'm not sure that's even worth mentioning, if you take the approach that new editors should be taught only VisualEditor.]
VisualEditor has its own idiosyncrasies, and some bugs; given the latter, I do recommend saving one's editing work every ten to fifteen minutes. But it is much easier to use for basic editing (among other things, as you note, only one scroll bar), it doesn't require previewing to see changes, and - addressing another of the problems you point out - under its "Cite" menu, it has a "Cite from URL" item, where all you have to do is to paste a URL into a dialog box in order to have a citation generated. The citation normally isn't perfect, but I suggest that beginning editors be told that it's good enough [given the number of naked URLs in existing citations, this is true], and that part of Wikipedia's charm is that all editors are expected to, and can easily build on what other editors have started. (Coming soon, hopefully: Cite from ISBN.)
As for the issue of getting new editors to use citations, I've concluded - after much thought - that the solution is threefold. First, new editors should be told that the right way to edit Wikipedia is to start with a source and use that for posting information, rather than start with (known) information and then look for a source. In this approach, Wikipedia is seen as an accumulation of reliably sourced information, not as an accumulation of knowledge. (A evidence, I'll point to the core policy of Verification and the core policy of No Original Research. And working from a reliable source also tends to make edits more consistent with the core policy of Neutral Point of View.) Second, beginning editors should be told up front that, as you mention, good edits do get removed because of incorrect suspicions of vandalism; the absolutely best way to minimize such inappropriate removals is to always, always include a citation when adding information. And third, beginning editors should be told that Wikipedia articles, no matter how good, should be seen as starting points - that Wikipedia articles are intended to be overviews, not complete in and of themselves. Citations are what makes this possible - and so, arguably, for article text accompanied by a citation, the citation may in fact be the more important of the two.
Probably not worth saying to beginning editors, but perhaps still worth noting: An edit that removes material that includes a citation is suspicious in itself - and that turns the tables, with the editor removing the information (and cite) having to justify him/herself to those monitoring for vandalism; without such justification, the monitors are likely to act in favor of inclusion rather than deletion. Having a citation also makes it far easier to justify reversing a deletion, because typically the deletion lacks a compelling explanation (or has none at all) in the edit summary: revert with an edit summary like "Reverting unexplained deletion of correctly sourced information." John Broughton (talk) 17:19, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

Barnstars[edit]

Hi, re "March 16 to 22: Delivering barn stars to those who contributed to Diversity learning patterns campaign!", Barnstars are a great way to say thanks to people for going "above and beyond". But there is a pretty longstanding consensus not to cheapen them by awarding them to "everyone who does x", there are other non-barnstar awards that people have created for things like the Wiki Cup. I often give barnstars to trainers at events I organise, but running a successful training session is a big commitment. If you want to give an award to everyone who contributed may I suggest a participants award such as issued by the Wikicup or the summer of research? WereSpielChequers (talk) 18:44, 24 March 2015 (UTC)