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Title of your proposal


Redefining outreach "failure"

Name(s) and/or username(s)

Rachel Helps; User:Rachel Helps (BYU)
Wikipedian-in-residence, Brigham Young University library


  • Productive failures

Type of submission


Presentation (15 minutes)

Keywords and hashtags


Keywords:Productive failure, outreach, information literacy



The edit-a-thon is not a good way to create new Wikipedia editors. Organizers have been noticing this for a while, and Alex Stinson recently wrote an article about how editing events fail in this sense. I'll talk about at least five of my own outreach "failures" that we can reframe as successes if we think of them as promoting Wikipedia information literacy instead of creating new editors. These outreach attempts include an edit-a-thon on Mormon women, outreach to campus clubs, an editing contest with our Science Fiction and Fantasy club, and a #1lib1ref training for library employees.

I'll analyze some of my "successful" outreach attempts, like creating a Discord for the Association for Mormon Letters and having a juvenile literature class attend our Coretta Scott King award edit-a-thon. I'll close with my currently in-progress attempts at outreach, which includes asking subject matter experts for peer review on our past Wikipedia editing work.

Duration (without Q&A)


15 minutes

Specific requirements


Presentation technology (computer, projector, etc.). I have submitted a lightning talk, "Why Wikimedians-in-residence should edit Wikipedia"; if both are accepted they should occur at different times.

Interested attendees (Please add yourself, and you may indicate your questions to the presenter).

  1. Rachel Helps, User:Rachel Helps (BYU)
  2. Laurie Bridges, User:Bridges2Information. Comments: YES!! Yes! I was surprised to learn that the main objective of edit-a-thons, for many Wikipedians, is creating new editors! This is not my objective (or my library’s). Our objective to improve information literacy skills, provide educational opportunities that foster community interaction in the library, and create articles about regional history (even if only for a few hours).
  3. Ngozi Osuchukwu, User:Ngostary2k.
    Comments:I am curious to know how new editors can be created without Edit-a-thon. I really want to know the good practices of growing interested members for Wikipedia.
  4. --Anntinomy (talk) 17:47, 20 June 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  5. KellyDoyle (talk) 23:08, 21 June 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  6. EriedgenArc (talk) 12:12, 23 June 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Kclibrarian (talk)