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Wikimedia Conference 2018/Program/45

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45: How will you define a successful workshop?


Michal Lester (WMIL)

Length (min)


Audience / Targetgroup

Program leaders, staff members, those who run programs for new editors

Session Format

Presentation and discussion


How will you define a successful workshop? We run hundreds of editing workshops, edit-a-thons and courses, all over the world, every year. What's in common? And what are the differences? We’ll discuss three main parameters for a productive workshop: audience, trainer and training materials.

Desired Outcome

Sharing and discussing ideas about productive editing workshops


Michal pointed at the vital thing for a successful workshop: Expectation Alignment, with yourself/the organizer/the participants

Aligning expectations, with:

  • Ourselves - why are we there? What do we expect to achieve? “What’s in it for me”?
  • If organizer is a local organization - What does the organization want to achieve? Organizers sometimes believe that “we’ll have a workshop and change our articles”. If expectations are not managed, people can get discouraged and not continue to edit
  • as for participants, it's important to understand backgrounds and proficiency: can you skip the “intro to Wikipedia”? are they experts in a specific subject matter? can we give them “homework”?

More recommendations:

  • Use the visual editor! Even if you’ve been a Wikipedian 25 years :D
  • Try and learn from participants at the end of the session, get feedback (oral is also good)
  • Very important to wrap up nicely and make sure that people that might want additional opportunities to contribute, get that opportunity

Thoughts from participants:

  • Very important to give background and facts to participants
  • “Prepare as you can, but expect that your plans will change”
  • Not to make the workshop “end”, nominate the articles to “did you know?…”, send statistics about pageviews, send gifts - - this is how you make people continue editing
  • Personal e-mail has a better chance of engaging
  • “Homework” --> People writing drafts in word - highly effective if people can find the time
  • Having a theme to the edit-a-thon or workshop is highly effective, as people will come if the theme is interesting to them, and will stay because they enjoy editing and contributing
  • Change the name of an event from “edit-a-thon” to a workshop to make it more appealing -> editations → “write-int”s :)
  • etc.