User talk:MartinPoulter/Tales of Evaluation

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Agree. Here's how I would frame it:

We have an intuition that wiki*edia is not fully exploited - that's why we're members of WMUK - but historically we haven't understood our customers very well. We thought that what we were trying to do was encourage new people to become editors, so we ran editor training events, which weren't particularly successful at creating editors. However, because many interactions happen at events, they can perform many functions at once; we saw (but perhaps did not organisationally acknowledge) that they also allow us to do community development and market discovery, which have allowed us to find new types of customers.

We've found out that one significant type of customer is partner organisations; there's consensus within the charity that these are regarded as valuable, they seem to want to buy what we're selling, and significantly the charity can easily measure what partners it has. To me, it seems like one clear and uncontroversial way forward for the charity would be to see how we can scale our Wikimedian in Residence program. EdSaperia (talk) 14:03, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for the response, Ed. Not much to say to this except "+1" to all of it. MartinPoulter (talk) 14:25, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

I agree that Editathons as outreach events to create new editors rarely work, and it's time to focus more on the traditional classic editathon, getting a group of wikipedians to work for a few hours with an expert or experts. But with the classic editathon there are metrics one can use, in the short term measuring how many existing editors learned new editing techniques, and in the long term measuring the effect of editathons on retention of the editors who take part in them. They may not be the most important things to come out of an event, but they are measurable, and having metrics clearly matters to some people. As for outreach editathons, ones deliberately targeted at recruitment of new editors rather than retention of existing ones; I still think there is a place for them, but we need to get their marketing right. Editing an encyclopaedia is not everyone's idea of a hobby, and as HJ Mitchell once said we are selling a new hobby. I think that an outreach editathon could work if it is marketed to a large group of people in such a way that only those who are interested in learning to edit Wikipedia sign up - if that audience is skewed towards our core demographic of clever altruists with time on their hands all the better. WereSpielChequers (talk) 13:20, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for the comment User:WereSpielChequers. Again, I agree with all of this. I spend a lot more time on the "why" and the big picture than I used to, and in my outreach I try to get librarians taking a professional interest but also stress the reward of being a wiki contributor as a hobby. (librarians are pretty much the ideal audience in a number of respects). When a new volunteer came forward I sent her some links and documentation about editing, then realised my mistake and told her to start with some of the videos and links that convinced me that Wikipedia is a positive force in the world. You've reminded me that when we approach researchers or doctors we often get other people coming along - communications professionals, technical writers, web site editors - who aren't the core audience we've targeted but are actually more likely to take a long-term interest. MartinPoulter (talk) 11:45, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
Getting the right response for the right person is very important, that's why I think that at outreach editathons the most important trainer is sometimes the classroom assistant not the main instructor. It's the classroom assistant who will get to do a one to one session with the angry person who comes along to complain that their article was deleted, and that person is the most likely in the room to become an active wikipedian. WereSpielChequers (talk) 11:56, 7 August 2015 (UTC)