Wikipedia:Autoconfirmed article creation trial

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On April 3, 2011, a proposal was put forth to require autoconfirmed status in order to create articles. On May 27, the proposal was closed with a consensus that a trial should be implemented to test out this new idea. A day later, another proposal was put forth regarding the duration of the interventional phase of the trial, and it was decided that the interventional phase should run for 6 months, and then the changes should be reversed for a period of one month while their effects are discussed.

The discussion on the duration and terms of the assessment of the interventional phase was announced at the Village Pump and at Central Discussions, and was officially closed by independent admin summary 18 August 2011, in favour of the proposal with a: "...clear consensus for a six-month trial, followed by a one-month period of discussion to determine the trial's effects. Given the wide support and uncontroversial nature..."

Before the trial is implemented, some planning work needs to be done to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible. The overall goal is to minimize any frustration caused to our new users by this trial. Below are just a few ideas for making the experience as pleasant as possible for new users during this trial. Please feel free to participate in the discussions below, and create new discussions if you have a new idea.

Basics[edit]

A trial is a study.

An intervention is what you do to change something for the purpose of your study. In this case, the intervention is requiring autoconfirmed status for page creation. In this case, the trial consists of the interventional phase plus the non-interventional phase. During the non-interventional phase(s), autoconfirmed status will not be required for page creation.

The trial length is the length of the whole study. This is calculated by adding the length of the interventional phase (in this case, six months) to the length of the non-interventional phase(s) (the time periods being used for comparison data).

Technical changes required[edit]

Requiring developer action[edit]

For implementation[edit]

Currently MediaWiki's settings would only allow us to prevent non-autoconfirmed users from creating pages in any namespace, including their own userspace. (This is the createpage userright - see m:Manual:User rights - which in MediaWiki all user groups have by default. On en.wp's MediaWiki configuration this is currently removed from anonymous users, with the result that everyone but anonymous users can create pages.) Possibly the desired result can be better achieved another way, but the most obvious solution is:

  1. A support for namespaces to user rights. That needs a modification to MediaWiki.
  2. For en.wikipedia.org the createpage right would be set to false for the content namespace(s) – for the anonymous ('*') and non-autoconfirmed ('user') user groups. That needs a modification to wikipedia's MediaWiki config, once 1. is done.
  3. Create MediaWiki:Noautocreatetext as a variant of MediaWiki:Nocreatetext shown to non-autoconfirmed users. See #User interface messages below.

For trial data[edit]

User interface messages[edit]

Various new user interface messages need to be created to inform non-autoconfirmed editors that they are unable to immediately create an article. The messages should be gentle, clear, and positive; and they should provide several clear options for creating a new article before the user becomes autoconfirmed. Ideas for such options currently include proposing the article at Articles for creation (with the help of the new article wizard), or creating a userspace draft and attracting an experienced editor to review it. Additionally, existing user interface messages for anonymous IP editors should be updated with a warning that new article creation requires autoconfirmed status, to minimize the surprise an editor might experience when they register an account with the intent to create a new article. IP editors should be encouraged to register an account and become autoconfirmed well in advance of any plans they might have to create a new article.

Discussion[edit]

I have created some rough drafts for user interface messages, based on existing messages. I'll clean them up and post them below in a bit. —SW— verbalize 23:56, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

One thought: It might be more positive to phrase things, where possible, as "to create an article, you'll have to use the Article Wizard, or submit it to Articles for Creation" (or whatever options we provide), rather than "you can't create an article." A truly new editor won't necessarily know our "normal" article creation processes, and might not at first realize that they're taking a longer path than anyone else. --joe deckertalk to me 00:37, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
I think that's a good idea. However, keep in mind that these editors will likely eventually become autoconfirmed, and if we don't tell them how articles are normally created they might be trying to submit articles at AFC for a long time... ;) I think this is a usable idea though, we can phrase it positively at the top and then explain the details lower down in the fine print. —SW— talk 15:50, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Absolutely in agreement. --joe deckertalk to me 18:37, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

Basically, I think we can move MediaWiki:Nocreatetext to MediaWiki:Nocreatetext-anonymous and change "Log in or create an account to start the MediaWiki:Nocreatetext page" to "Log in or create an account to start the MediaWiki:Nocreatetext page; non-autoconfirmed editors will be directed to articles for creation." The message as is now seems to be just fine, and nothing's changing with anonymous users, we just need to point out that they can't just log in and create text. This is just spur-of-the-moment thinking, so wording tweaks and/or total overhauls are welcome. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 14:06, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

I've already done a similar thing at User:Snottywong/MediaWiki:Noautocreatetext, but I'm not satisfied with how it looks at the moment. Keep in mind that those Mediawiki pages have a lot of extra logic built in to them which allows them to look different depending on the namespace that the page is in. Also, the weird thing is that if I log out and try to create a new page as an anonymous user, I get a page that looks a lot different than Mediawiki:Nocreatetext. Does anyone know where the real anonymous no-create error page is located? —SW— communicate 15:36, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I would add the possibility to add the AFC-code {{subst:AFC submission/submit}} as another possibility to the list, explaining that a reviewer will first review the content and the decline (with a new chance to resubmit the draft) or accepted it (and if move the page to the correct space). mabdul 00:42, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

On a different note, might I suggest that a brief explanatory note about the trial is incorporated into the user interface messages? It could explain that there have been problems with people creating articles without understanding what Wikipedia is and what it stands for, which causes disharmony and a poor experience, and that the need to become autoconfirmed is in the best interests of the new user. This would make them aware that the trial isn't just bureaucracy. Brammers (talk/c) 14:12, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Shouldn't we be focusing on encouraging editors to become autoconfirmed, instead of showing them how to create articles before being autoconfirmed? "Welcome to Wikipedia! It's recommended that you learn the basics before you create an article. Upon completing X edits, you will have demonstrate that you understand enough to create a valid article. If you absolutely must create an article now..." Dzlife (talk) 13:58, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
With all due respect, please see the note at the top of this page. Consensus has decided that the creation of new pages will require autoconfirmed status, and a further consensus was overwhwelmingly in favour of the proposed conditons for a trial. We are here at the request of the WMF simply to review the proposed metrics for the trial to ensure that the trial provides the most accurate data possible.
That said, three methods to fast-track the publication of reasonable articles will be installed during the trial in order to offer an alternative to waiting 4 days/10 edits, and to provide a basis for additional analysis of the creation of new pages, and new user retention and/or users blocked for the persistent creation of nonsense, spam, hoax, and attack pages that constitute around 80% of all new pages created by non-autoconfirmed users. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 21:58, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Dzlife, that kind of verbage might be more appropriate if and when this change becomes permanent. For now, I think it's more important that we let them know that this is only a trial, let them know that autoconfirmed status is required, and define what autoconfirmed status is. —SW— converse 13:56, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
I see your point. But keep in mind that one of the most important metrics of success for this trial is the impact on new editor retention. If it discourages too many editors, it will be regarded as a failure. Shouldn't we do everything we can to encourage editors to learn how to edit? "Autoconfirmed status" should be the carrot that motivates new editors to learn the basics. Dzlife (talk) 19:53, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Draft messages for non-autoconfirmed users[edit]

This section is for proposed messages which will be displayed to non-autoconfirmed users when they try to create a new articles.

This is the type of message that non-autoconfirmed users will see if they try to create an article outside of the article namespace (i.e. Wikipedia:, Template:, Portal:, etc.), although the top part of the message will be more personalized depending on the actual namespace.

Transcluded from User:Snottywong/MediaWiki:Noautocreatetext:

The bottom part of the message will change when a non-autoconfirmed user tries to create an article in mainspace, to give them more options to create the article:

Draft messages for anonymous users[edit]

This section is for proposed messages which will be displayed to anonymous users, warning them that autoconfirmed status is required to create new articles.

Transcluded from User:Snottywong/MediaWiki:Nocreatetext:

Updates to Wikipedia help pages and guidelines[edit]

When the change is made, a lot of Wikipedia's help pages and guidelines will be outdated. We should make a list of the ones that will need to be changed (at both ends of the trial). WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:56, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

  1. Wikipedia:Your first article—point #2, "You can create a new article once you have registered an account..."
  2. Wikipedia:Starting an article—in the lead, "Articles may only be created by registered users..."
  3. Wikipedia:User access levels#New_users—"may immediately create pages in any namespace..."
  4. Wikipedia:User access levels#Autoconfirmed_users—add creating pages to the list of restricted activities
  5. Wikipedia:FAQ#How_do_I_create_a_new_page.3F
  6. Get an article written on the Signpost as the interventional phase goes live.
  7. Post a notice on MediaWiki:Watchlist-details.

Express path to autoconfirmed status[edit]

Alternate proposal[edit]

Alright, I'm not sure whether to write this here but I might as well, considering WP:VPP isn't responding and there is no general discussion page for the trial. I propose a new bot: once a new user makes at least one edit, the bot will drop off a short welcome message, something like:

The tutorial will be greatly updated, and will now end with a quiz. If the user passes the quiz, a bot with the userrights permission will confirm them, and then leave a message on their talk. This should only require edits to the tutorial and creation of a new bot. Please leave your comments. --Nathan2055talk - review 19:18, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

The appropriate place to request this would be WP:BOTREQ, however welcome bots are usually not approved. See the first section of WP:FDB. —SW— chatter 14:00, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Being pro-active at AFC[edit]

If we are directing many non-autoconfirmed users to WP:AFC as an alternative way to create their article, then we should anticipate that the volume of requests at AFC is going to increase, possibly in a significant way. We need to approach editors who regularly work at AFC and get their thoughts on how to best prepare for a potential increase in volume.

Discussion[edit]

I haven't yet approached any AFC regulars. If you know any, or know of the best place to post a message (probably WT:AFC), please feel free to do so. —SW— talk 00:23, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

I've pinged Chzz; he's the big user at AfC, and hopefully he'll have some ideas and/or can notify other AfC regulars. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 22:00, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. —SW— chat 22:12, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
I think most of the 'regulars' see Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Articles for creation, so you might want to put a note there.
I don't know if there is much further preparation we can do, in terms of this increased load. I hope people will help out at AFC. I think some users avoid it, because the process is seen as too complicated, with the complex header-templates and so on.  Chzz  ►  18:42, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Dropped a note there. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 21:40, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure if anything can realistically be done to prepare for the increased load either. Perhaps if we get a signpost article written to coincide with the trial start, we can include a plea for additional helpers at AfC. —SW— converse 20:14, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
    • That idea (signpost message) would be great. At the moment we have ~5-10 people more or less regular helping at AFC and tus getting a backlog regular... mabdul 01:20, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
      • I took some time to work there today; I enjoyed it. I'd love to focus on that more once this is implemented. The interface is simple enough for experienced editors to work with, but I actually like that it's not completely intuitive; that will help keep brand new editors from trying to do it (which is one of the major problems with NPP now), since they won't know how to properly use the templates. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 01:35, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
        • I'm also happy to help out there if there is a backlog. I've not really delved too deep at AFC, but I'll try to find some time to get into it. It sounds like a patrollish task I would enjoy every once in awhile. —SW— soliloquize 05:21, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
          • One thing to warn you about, though; the UAA admins tend not to outright block users with obvious role account names who use AfC. They want people to communicate with them instead (see WT:UAA for the reasoning, it does actually make some sense); the exception to this is if the AfC submission is an outright attack, particularly blatant spam, and/or a copyvio. Apart from that, though, it is a lot like NPP, except you don't have to move so quickly; if we do a Signpost blurb on it, that's what we should be advertising. NPP without the associated stigma (though of course we'd need to word it better). The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:42, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

There's not going to be a stampede at AfC. There will be a slight increase of course, but let's not forget that AfC is only one of three options we are offering to fast track new articles to live mainspace.
From my own point of view, I would willingly prefer to devote some of my admin time more effectively at reviewing any increase of new articles that turn up at AfC, than declining wrong CSD tags and using my tools to delete, like a robot, dozens of genuinely, uncontroversially unwanted 'articles' every day , and trying to react at the speed of light to prevent really vicious attack pages from being referenced by Google, and that have been simply tagged by the patrollers for mild attention. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 18:00, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Wow. I just found a great script for reviewing articles at AfC, which makes it really quick and easy. Try this: User:Timotheus Canens/afchelper4.js. If you're on an AfC page, it adds a "review" tab to the top of the page, and automates the process of accepting/declining a submission. You can get instructions on installing scripts at WP:JS. —SW— converse 18:21, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, and the AfC people have been discussing how to better advertise that. It works in both monobook and vector, too. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:33, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Statistics[edit]

In order to measure the effect the intervention has had, various statistics should be collected before, during, and after the trial. This section is a place to request the collection of well-defined statistics which you think will be useful in determining whether the intervention affects Wikipedia. Metrics to be measured should include: new users registered and retained, quality of new articles created, new page patrol workload, deletion process workload, etc.

Questions we could ask[edit]

Effects on users
Question Predictions
Does the number of users registering during the intervention change? Might go down, if users know that registering does not permit instant page creation and instant page creation is the sole goal.
Does the number (proportion?) of new accounts making their first edit each day change? 25% of new accounts start by creating a new page. Therefore, this might go down by as much as 25% (especially if the number of account creations remains steady).
Does the number (proportion?) of accounts reaching autoconfirmed status change? Needs a time limit: number reaching status within a week, a month, a quarter?

This is likely to go up, if the ability to create pages is motivating.

Does the typical length of time that it takes accounts to reach autoconfirmed status change? New users might reach autoconfirmed status sooner, if the ability to create pages is motivating.
Does the number (proportion?) of accounts making 100 edits in the first month (three months?) change? If new users have a better initial experience, they might be more active than previously.
Do new editors work on a greater number of articles (main namespace only?) in the first month (three months?)? To make the initial ten edits, new users might be more likely to work on a greater number of articles than previously.
Effects on articles
Question Predictions
Does the number of articles being created on an average day change? Does our stats process treat page creation at AFC (with the WT:Articles for creation/ prefix) the same as page creation in the main namespace or in a user subpage?

Might go down, because it's harder to create articles.

Does the number (proportion?) of articles being listed and/or deleted through CAT:CSD, CAT:PROD, CAT:BLPPROD, or WP:AFD change? Both listings and deletions might go down absolutely, especially if fewer articles are created. The proportion of tagged articles being deleted might go down, if greater experience means that higher quality articles are being created.
Does the proportion of articles surviving the first (third?) month after their creation change? The proportion surviving might go up, if greater experience means that higher quality articles are being created.
Does the overall rate of growth of (non-deleted) articles change? The overall rate of growth might decline. (Whether this would be a bad thing is disputed.)
Are fewer unsourced-but-undeleted BLPs created by new editors? With more focus on AFC, we might see fewer unsourced BLPs created.
Does pent-up demand during the intervention result in a spike in article creation immediately after the end of the intervention phase? It might, especially at the end of the intervention phase. New editors might choose between doing "all that work" to get autoconfirmed status and waiting until the intervention phase is over.


Effects on the community
Question Predictions
Does the trial change the number and activity of (new-ish?) editors in future months? It might decrease activity, if making article creation harder means fewer people ever edit. It might increase activity, if greater breadth of experience and fewer BITEy deletions mean fewer newbies are offended.
Does the change affect DYK? If fewer articles are created, it might decrease the number of noms at DYK. However, since most DYKs are not newbies, it might have no effect.

(Major changes proposed for DYK, if implemented, might make comparisons impossible.)

Does the number of requests made at WP:AFC increase? If AFC is used as a significant alternative to editing other articles and waiting four days, then AFC requests might increase significantly.
Does the number of requests made at WP:FEED increase? If new editors are more confident, then fewer requests might appear at FEED.
Are more requests for confirmed status made at Wikipedia:Requests for permissions/Confirmed? This might go up, if users want to bypass the four-day/ten-edit waiting period.
Does the intervention affect the length of the backlog at Special:NewPages? Fewer pages being created by newbies might decrease the number of pages requiring review.

Discussion[edit]

FYI - Some pre-trial statistics have been gathered at User:Snottywong/Article creation stats. —SW— communicate 21:39, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Not much action here, I'll try to get us started with some obvious ones. Each of these should be collected both before the trial and during the trial, to provide a comparison:
  • Number of articles created per day
  • Percentage of these new articles which are deleted per day
  • Number of requests made at WP:AFC per day
  • Number of new accounts registered per day
  • Number of new accounts making their first edit per day
  • How does this trial affect the overall growth of the number of (non-deleted) WP articles?
  • How does this trial affect the relevant maintenance backlogs (i.e. Special:NewPages, WP:AFD, CAT:CSD, CAT:PROD)?

—SW— communicate 17:26, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

I've used this and some of my old notes to organize a list above. Anyone should feel free to add "Questions", "Predictions" (whose primary purpose is to make sure the stats we collect are related to the question) and items for attention (please mark with {{red}}). WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:37, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Who is new?[edit]

How do we identify "new" users for the purpose of this trial? Age (in days) of the account? Number of edits? In the control (non-interventional) group, I don't think we want to limit it solely to "users whose first edit was to create a page". Perhaps all accounts are new for the first 30 days after their creation (not after their first edit)? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:07, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

I think it's quite clear that 'new' users refers to users who are not autoconfirmed, which is what this trial is all about. In which case, the actual date when they registered and the number of edits (less than 10) at the time they created any number of new pages in mainspace are irrelevant. Autoconfirmed status is achieved very easily - in fact in only four days after registration and ten edits. Autoconfirmed status is implemented automatically by the site software as soon as both of these criteria are met. Technically, extending this software defined user group to allowing the creation of pages in mainspace is not complicated, or in this case more accurately described: disallowing the user group non autoconfirmed users from creating pages in mainspace. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 06:28, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Some of the stats work done split users according to their very first edit: "Did you, on your first edit, start a new page?" We found that one quarter did and three quarters didn't.
If we make it impossible to start a new page on your very first edit, then comparing these two groups will be silly. "Did you, on your first edit, start a new page, now that we've made doing that impossible?" We'll be looking at apples and oranges.
I'm not asking "Who will be affected by the restriction?"; I know the answer to that question. I'm asking whose user experiences we're going to track in this trial. Just the people who start articles? Just the ones who start articles before reaching autoconfirmed? Anyone who creates a new account during the trial? What if they created the account in "January", the trial starts in "February", and they reach autoconfirmed in "April"? Is that user in or out of the stats? And will the pre-intervention group be comparably defined, or do you actually intend to compare apples and oranges? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:34, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Some of the stats are possibly silly, and we agree on this, but they have been requested by the salaried staff at the WMF. Please see this page's edit notice. Then read the original trial proposal again. This new measure is about new pages, not new editors. It will affect attempts to create pages by all user accounts that are not autoconfirmed, irrespective of the length of membership. The only statistic of interest in this respect is if this new rule causes a significant drop in the number of registrations of mature, serious, editors whose articles do not get rejected. It is reminded again that this new measure is to prevent the hundreds of totally worthless corporate spam attempts, attack pages, vanity pages, and vandalism by school children, that account for 80% or more of the daily intake of around 1,000 - 5,000 pages per day that the totally inexperiened NPPers can neither cope with nor understand the CSD criteria. These issues are not up for re-discussion here. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 20:02, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Okay, let's start at the beginning: I support this change. I have always supported this change, from the very beginning of the original discussion at the Village Pump. I happen to hope that this trial proves that the change results in better articles, more editors, and a happy community. Got that? I am not trying to "re-discuss" the concept of requiring autoconfirmed status.
But I don't support stupidity. (Neither do you, in my experience.) And it's IMO stupid to pretend that "long-term retention prospects for new editors with fewer than 10 edits, every single one of which was on a page the editor created himself" is comparable "long-term retention prospects of new editors with more than 10 edits, including on three pages not created by the editor as well as on one page created by the new editor."
These are not comparable populations. Comparing those two groups would amount to deliberately defining non-comparable populations, and then pretending that you got meaningful results.
It is possible to study comparable populations. We could, for example, compare all users who created an account in "January 2011" to all users who create an account in "January 2012". Those are comparable populations.
And if you've got evidence that the WMF, rather than the community, has requested this trial, I'd very much like to see it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:56, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

SW, a lot of your article creation stats split auto-confirmed vs non-auto-confirmed. Is it possible to collect stats based on the date of account creation instead? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:00, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes, that's essentially what I had to do to get these stats anyway, since there's no way to query the database for whether a user is autoconfirmed or not. I basically made a query to the database which asked:
  • Is the difference between the account creation timestamp and the article creation timestamp greater than or equal to 4 days?
  • At the time this article was created, did the user have an edit count of 10 or more?
If the answer to both of those was yes, then the article was created by an autoconfirmed user. So anyway, what particular stats are you looking for? —SW— soliloquize 22:04, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Are we getting stats on all accounts created, or just on all accounts that make an edit?
I'd like to know, for example, if an account was created in January 2011—even if the account made no edits during January—what's the likelihood that the account made any edit at all in (an arbitrary time period; say, 90–180 days after account creation). Is that feasible? Or do we need to restrict it to accounts making a first edit in January? WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:42, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
I think it should be possible to find out how many users created an account and didn't make an edit for some period of time afterwards. I'm still not really understanding why this is a useful statistic in the first place though. —SW— chat 22:51, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it's a useful stat either. We already have more enough stats of our own plus ones that have been arbitrarily requested by various members of the WMF, to provide intelligent metrics for assessing this trial professionally. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:53, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Where is the list of stats requests by the WMF? I've never seen any such request. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:58, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
SW, I think 'percentage of people who (1) registered an account and (2) were active within <arbitrary time span after account creation>' might be a more reliable metric for activity than 'percentage of people who (1) were active in the first place and (2) were active within <arbitrary time span after first edit>'. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:58, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, the WMF requests for stats are spread around various project and user talk pages, and some requests were made off-Wiki, all you need to do is catch up on the discussions and you'll find the list of stats we have prepared. Please don't hesitate to let us know which ones you feel are not necessary. It would help us enormously, especially as it is possible that some stats have been thought up purely to put sand in the gearbox of progress. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 08:03, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia Policies and Guidelines - Substantive Changes[edit]


The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.