Learning patterns/The pre-jury as a tool for community engagement
What problem does this solve?Edit
Photography contests such as WLM constitute an effective, low-threshold strategy to gain new contributors for Wikimedia projects. But winning a new contributor is always just the first step – it is equally important to give them an incentive to come back and stay involved. But also experienced long-term contributors might grow tired after contributing pictures for several years and might appreciate a new challenge. How can you keep them onboard?
What is the solution?Edit
To reduce the workload and complexity for the main jury in a photography contest with thousands of contributions to assess, a pre-jury can be appointed to filter the submission in regard of general quality and/or relevance. Opening up the pre-jury to everyone who wants to participate can have a positive impact on community engagement and identification with the project. Newbies and old hands equally feel appreciated and valued as volunteers when being asked to serve on the pre-jury. For newbies it is helpful to show them practical ways to become more involved in an easy way that enables them to keep control over their level of commitment. So it should be up to the members of the pre-jury to decide how many pictures they are able to review, but there should be an overall goal that the team should achieve as a whole, e.g. every picture should have at least two reviews.
- Keep it simple: a good way is a simple online rating tool for the pictures, so that everybody can review when and where it suits them best. In addition you can create a greater geographical coverage of volunteers.
- Make sure the creators of the pictures are not known during the assessment, to avoid conflict based on perceived nepotism.
- Make sure every person is only able to review each picture just once.
- Actively invite new and experienced volunteers to participate.
- Give easy step-by-step introduction to the process.
- Cherish their work (face-to-face feedback, mentioning them at the award ceremony, little gifts for the most active pre-jury members).
When to useEdit
WMAT has been quite successful in gaining new volunteers in the wake of the several WLM editions over the past few years. An important question is, how to ensure that these newbies will continue their engagement in our projects. We created a pre-jury tool in order to enable a broad engagement of our community in the process of assessing WLM contributions and invited newbies as well as old hands to participate. During the last years we could see that this proved to be a successful way to support volunteer retention: three of our five most active members of the 2013 pre-jury were only participants in 2012's WLM-contest. Overall, 18 users participated as members of our pre-jury. Each of them reviewed and rated several hundred or in case of the most active users thousands of pictures. All in all 57 users participated in two out of three years since 2011, 31 of them in each of the three contests. 53 users from 2012 participated again in the 2013 contest, additionally there are nine users who participated in 2011 but not in 2012, leading to a total editor retention of 62 in the 2013 contest.