This page is a translation of an ongoing, collaborative work started on French Wiktionary in February 2016. It aims to shed light on what is going on at Wiktionary, and to delimit the project through contributors' actions.
Does contributing make people skillful?
Wiktionarians come from a variety of background and have very different wills and motivations. Often, this information is not expressed and does not lead to the organization of collective tasks. The focus here is not about motivations but about the abilities people use and develop through contribution. These skills are not mandatory but tend to be developed progressively by contributors, no matter whether they have a prior training or not. It is not a list of the basics to know but an inventory of knowledge or skills that may be acquired and grow in Wiktionarians. This page does not pretend to be exhaustive and we do not claim every skill can appear in an individual person. Contributors mainly focus on one specific aspect of the project.
This page is open to comments and contributions, and aims to encourage ideas and questioning for contributors about their own capacities. So, feel free to add your own skills on the Talk page. You can also ask questions about some of those that might seem opaque for you or that you want to learn.
Attempt at an inventory
The following paragraphs are merely organized in a progressive order of implication in the contribution to Wiktionary. This order does not involve hierarchy.
- Writing a concise and neat definition.
- Investigating different meanings and how they are articulated.
- Understanding grammatical categories, and derivation and affixation processes.
- Investigating translations and complementary information from other languages.
- Learning policies and rules about quotation rights, copyright and trademark policy.
- Deciding "what is the word and what is not".
- Thoughts about semantic values of words into the linguistic system, including the use of thematic categories.
- Development of semantic domains with synonyms, antonyms and a lexicographic thesaurus to gather words connected to a concept.
- Understanding complexity of declination and conjugation paradigms in many languages.
- Understanding the variety of divisions into affixes.
- Learning the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
- Understanding the diversity of pronunciation and the diversity of descriptions.
- Synthesis of phonological analysis proposed for a language.
- Audio recording for words and inclusion of sounds into Wiktionary.
- Readings and exploration into books, Wikisource and Google Books to find quotation to illustrate uses of words.
- Knowledge of Wikimedia Commons to find visual and audio illustrations.
- Knowledge of other collaborative projects to offer interesting links (Wikipedia, Wikisource, categories in Commons, etc.).
- Investigation of idiomatic expressions, anagrams, rhymes.
- Photography and use of illustrative figures in entries and the thesaurus.
- Knowledge of specialized literature.
- Knowledge of ancient languages and languages in contact.
- Synthetic writing from old or rare sources, often contradictory and inconsistent.
- Knowledge of the history of languages.
- Creation of templates, content that can be used on multiple pages.
- SQL query on the database or with a XML dump to exploit them externally (Wikitech).
- Creation of bots to modify or add content quickly (via API or with other methodology).
- Improvement of the software with PHP extension (installed via Phabricator).
- Improvement of the website with CSS and JavsScript.
- Module programming with Lua.
- Script writing to offer statistics on the project.
- Respecting other people and the diversity of opinions.
- Respecting others people's work (e.g. by sourcing every point of view).
- Managing conflicts.
- Analytic and critic point of view on scientific publications.
- Critical reading of other people work, including beginners.
- Understanding of when to do something on one's own and when there is a need for a consensus first.
- Accompanying new contributors
- Writing of instructive and organized Help pages.
- Design of complex pages (portals, appendices, the thesaurus).
- Self-critic and critics on Wiktionary workflow.
- Writing structural change proposals or new conventions to structure the project.
- Writing clear votes and precise reading of the results (like Condorcet methods).