Research talk:New editor support strategies

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A lot of this is wrong. Also the Foundation should not be claiming recognition for what originally were volunteer initiatives.

Many editors who are actively involved in edit and/or article review processes think of their work as being about quality control or fighting vandals, not about supporting and teaching new editors.

Correct. The two tasks are fundamentally different, requiring different skill sets.

... encourage the people who currently perform these activities to adapt their workflows. To change the way they work, they need to change how they think about their work: re-framing it in a more proactive, prosocial way.

This would never be possible. THe WMF forgets that this is not a car factory - they are trying to managing several thousand volunteers who will do their tasks the way they want to, and in their own time, and will not be managed. The volunteers are aware that they are under no obligation to be bossed around by a group of salaried employees for whom their volunteer work brings in the donations that pays them. The WMF should understand that the volunteers are the foundation's capital, and the volunteers will not be told what to do by the Foundation; there is however a slight possibility that they might let themselves be encouraged by their volunteer peers.

The triage of new articles is about as social as the dispassionate work of medics in the triage of badly wounded soldiers in the front line, or with the thousands of injured following a huge natural catastrophe such as our 2004 Tsunami here in Thailand - some will die and will be left to die, some will need very urgent treatment to survive, others will have to languish in great pain but do not have life threatening injuries. New page reviewers need to have a near admin understanding of article policies and guidelines, and apply them to an influx of around 1,000 articles a day. but they cannot be forcibly expected to have the social or pedagogic skills to mentor and train new users. That is the work of the AfC reviewers who have only a hundred or so new articles to address every day.

The 'treatment' comes further back from the front in the field hospital. This is the great difference between AfC and NPP about which the Foundation is still unclear of the different roles of these tasks.

NPP is a critical, vital, core operation. It is the only firewall against unwanted content, some of which has to be deleted very quickly. It is also the front line 'triage'. New Page Reviewers will not stop to hand-hold users with their new articles - it's not part of the NPP mandate and never will be. There is some collateral damage where the articles of good faith new users get mass-tagged or tagged for deletion and the creatos leave again, discouraged. That, however is the fault of the Foundation for refusing to carry through with the Landing Page project 5 years ago when they were told it was needed. There is currently no mechanism that tells new users what they can and cannot do and it is not up to the volunteers to develop software solutions for it. The help comes after the act, and is often then too late. We can educate our New Page Reviewers under the threat of blocking, to be nice to newbies and send their good faith creations to the field hospital. That help station is is AfC, a purely non-essential, local Wikipedia project that is also fraught with work from inexperienced or inconsiderate users.

At the end of the day, new users are met with a confusion of help stations: The Tea House, WP:EAR, dozens of links on the standard, non official welcome templates that they might get on heir talk page, again when it's too late.

The Foundation needs to understand that it must collaborate with the volunteers to find solutions. Lecturing at them and making palliative promises at Wikimania year after year is as empty as the speeches and promises of politicians' election campaigns and lengthy annual plan statements. Gathering comments through surveys and interviews is not the answer because as we have seen here, that information gets misinterpreted.

The Wikimedia Foundation has tried a range of software features to teach new editors, get them help, and support them in common tasks

Instead of forcing top down gadgets on the community, the Foundation must listen to the volunteer communities and create the software solutions the volunteers want and need, not what the WMF thinks the editors need. The Foundation needs to learn that it must work not with aggrieved newbies but with a select group of experienced users who have already worked for years on ways to improve these issues. It worked once five yeas ago when the senior Foundation executives and engineers worked closely with a group of volunteers to develop an excellent piece of sofware: Page Curation/New Pages Feed, perhaps with a bit of good will from the Foundation it could happen again. --Kudpung (talk) 08:06, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

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