Learning patterns/Edit-a-thon worklists

A learning pattern forevents
Edit-a-thon worklists
problemYou host an edit-a-thon and no one knows what to work on.
solutionPut together a list of articles to work on and corresponding resources
created on31 October, 2014

What problem does this solve?


If you host an edit-a-thon, especially one geared toward people new to Wikipedia, they may not know how to get started with editing.

What is the solution?


If you are organizing an edit-a-thon around a subject area, work on putting together a list of articles for attendees to work on. If your event focuses on the English Wikipedia, peruse the Requested Articles page. Match up this list with reliable sources, such as reference books or authoritative websites, that can be used during the editing process.

General considerations

  • Having a worklist helps lower the barrier to entry by creating list of articles they could work on
  • You as the edit-a-thon organizer have the responsibility to find resources; not everyone knows how to do research
  • Also come up with a list of databases, reliable sources, etc.
  • Find information that is of interest to your audience
  • You're going to have to help people find resources that are useful to them—trying to explain Wikipedia's policies on reliable sources can be difficult, as is trying to help them search databases. Coming up with these resources ahead of time makes it easier for people to participate.
  • Tell people they have to pick somebody from this list! Include a one word description of the person so people can find something they're interested in.
  • Biographies: Easy place to start - they are very formulaic and easy to write. they follow the same format and are easy to organize (chronologically). Give people a template and they can fill in the blanks.
  • Making new articles can be less intimidating for people than modifying other people's work.

Worklist generation edit-a-thon


As a concept for an edit-a-thon, instead of working on creating new articles, spend the time to come up with a list of articles to work on. You can tap into the experiences and expertise of your attendees to review the existing coverage of a subject on Wikipedia and develop a list of articles to work on. A subsequent event could be dedicated to working on those articles. The list you produce could also be of benefit to contributors online; consider partnering with a WikiProject on developing a shared list.

  • The idea was generated as part of the Editing Facilitator Training in Seattle, funded by a Travel and Participation Support Grant. The Cascadia Wikimedians User Group is considering events based on this concept.
  • Coincidentally, this ended up happening in practice at the Black History Edit-a-Thon at Howard University in Washington, DC. Attendees found significant coverage gaps on English Wikipedia and generated a list of articles to work on here.



Other tools:

When to use


See also


Creating new articles