Wikipedia:WikiProject Editor Retention

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"WP:RETENTION" redirects here. For the page about retaining subject-matter experts in particular, see WP:Expert retention.
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WP:RETENTION: These editors are willing to lend a helping hand. Just ask!


This WikiProject exists to coordinate efforts to improve editor retention at Wikipedia. We address existing difficulties, the ever-changing needs of the general community, and provide a positive environment to discuss new ideas towards that goal. Policies are not decided here, but discussed, hoping to find solutions that are specifically geared toward retaining editors. Some of the topics are controversial and contentious. Participants should strive to remain civil at all times.

We all share the same goal of keeping good editors here.

Please join the project. Click here to add your name to the member list!

Editors are as important as content. Without them there is no contribution. Editor retention is the concern and proactive effort of retaining contributors, many who leave for various reasons. WER is a collaboration of users willing to help out when needed. Here you can find other editors with interests in areas that could benefit your work and make your time on Wikipedia more enjoyable. Part of retaining editors is to demonstrate/illustrate best practices and the editors that use them, guide editors with questions to the best venues and connect users for their specific needs with those best able to assist as much as possible.

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Project editor retention.svg
Editor of the week.svg
Ichthus symbol
Editor of the Week
for the week beginning December 21, 2014
A hard-working dedicated editor focused on developing content as shown by 85% of his edits being to article space. Does not get mixed up in Drama.
Recognized for
Being a Role Model
Nomination page

Editing goals

  1. Stay calm and maintain a professional demeanor. Be patient and remain courteous and civil.
  2. Avoid conflict, even if you feel know you are right. Give other editors the benefit of the doubt.
  3. Assume good faith toward your collaborating editors, if not their edits. Assuming good faith is not intended to be self-destructive, but to avoid conflict. Bear in mind the other editors' potential for aggression and possible retaliation of some kind, AGF but with a caveat.
  4. Ignore attacks. Not easily done, but a real timesaver. Attacks and counter-attacks are hazardous to your mental health. The best and most frequently offered administrative advice is to move on, and, if absolutely necessary, return the next day. Do not retaliate or in any way engage the other editor by YELLING. Avoid the written equivalent of "hand gestures". The best and most frequently offered advice is to go fishing.
  5. Don't take it personally. Editors make honest mistakes. Communicating our thoughts is not easily done on the Internet.
  6. Don't isolate your interpretation. There are most likely many other interpretations. What you read might NOT be what was meant.
  7. Don't think of editing as a competition. Don't retaliate. Don't resort to an editing form of road rage.
  8. Don't edit when angry or upset. Stay off the article and talk page in question. Never let your anger or frustration be the deciding factor in your behavior.
  9. Don't forget the Human Dimension of Wikipedia editing. Keep things in perspective. There is a real, living and breathing, sensitive human on the other side of the discussion.

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Project overview

  • You are not required to join the project to help.
  • Editors can display one of these userboxes to promote the project and let editors know your interest.
  • Spread some Wikilove. Try to acknowledge and thank someone different every day for their contributions. Give a barnstar, "cookies" or bacon as appreciation.
  • Keep an eye out for Nominees to be the WER Editor of the Week...and then nominate them.
  • Welcome new users from the Special:Log/newusers list with our welcome template: {{subst:WikiProject Editor Retention/Welcome}} or one of the standardised templates found at Wikipedia:Welcoming committee/Welcome templates. Another available option for finding new editors is "Recent changes" in the drop-down menu (under the WikiGlobe to our left) under "Interaction". Scan for red linked talk pages of new editors that have already started their Wikipedia career.
  • Sign up as a Teahouse host, and participate in one or more of the following activities:
  • answer questions on the Teahouse Q&A board
  • send templated invitations to new editors listed on the Teahouse invitee report (it's refreshed daily!) Don't be shy about emailing people too; email + talk page invite works better than a template alone. And personalizing the invitation with an introduction or a "good job with your edits to FOO" is likely to have an even more positive impact. Currently, most of these editors are not being invited to the Teahouse.
  • post a welcoming message on the talk pages of editors who have recently introduced themselves on the Teahouse guests page. Currently, most of these folks are not being welcomed, even after they introduce themselves.
Snuggle logo.png


Please help with our current collaboration on Snuggle

Snuggle is a browser-based newcomer observation and support system currently being developed by EpochFail as part of his dissertation research. While the functionality is still limited, a working prototype is currently available for testing. Snuggle is designed to allow Wikipedian mentors to observe the activities of newly registered editors and separate desirable newcomers (good-faith & productive) from the undesirables (bad-faith & vandals).

This tool was designed in reaction to recent research that shows that the decline in newcomer retention in Wikipedia[1][2] is the result of an increasingly negative environment for desirable newcomers[3][4] and that Wikipedia's current socialization systems don't work because mentors don't find newcomers when they most need help[5][6]. Snuggle is designed to help experienced Wikipedians quickly and efficiently identify desirable newcomers who are editing in good faith, and help them dodge Wikipedia's sharper corners.

This project and its author needs your feedback and ideas to make sure that Snuggle ends up being a useful tool. If you'd like to be notified of development updates, please add your username.

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What this project is

Editor retention is a Wikipedia-wide problem. The focus of this wikiproject is NOT to point fingers or make accusations. Our focus is to build a stronger Wikipedia for the future, a Wikipedia in which editors want to work and participate. Pointing out the positive actions of administrators and others is encouraged, as we believe the best way to lead is by example. We want to point out what is RIGHT about Wikipedia, encourage others to use those methods, and establish new methods and ideas that make editing Wikipedia fun, fulfilling and rewarding for everyone.

  • Be involved with the Dispute resolution process. Early mediation of problems prevents blocks and protracted edit wars which disrupt Wikipedia and helps keep things civil. Volunteer on Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard, a place where small content disputes can be resolved, and a gateway to other venues.
  • Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle is a good practice to respect in most Wikipedia disputes. Our edits can and will be changed by others ...even this one. Interact with editors in a manner that encourages editing and improving the encyclopedia while using your experience and knowledge to teach and lead by example.
  • Nip aggressive conversation in the bud if it begins in your presence. Be an advocate of collaboration by pointing out adversarial tendencies. Of course, the challenge is not to become adversarial yourself. If a situation occurs and you feel administrative intervention is required, you can post on a number of noticeboards such as Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents. You can discuss issues that affect administrators at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard.

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Project Goals

A part of increasing retention of editors at Wikipedia, is to encourage new editors to continue editing in a positive and constructive manner.

  • Greet and help new editors. Stop and help them when you know they may be stuck, misguided, incorrect or just stumbling. But, continue to encourage interaction when you get a less than thankful response.
  • Advise and encourage new editors to learn how to be a Wikipedia editor before they are discouraged by some early pitfall.

Even experienced editors can get discouraged. We must always consider ways to retain those who have been here a while. Many editors become semi-retired or just stop editing without declaring so.

  • Establish methods for use to prevent editor loss, such as promotion of the project and its suggestions
  • Encourage departed editors to return. Many retired editors will watch their user talkpage for passing comments. Leave an encouraging, personally written comment and suggest an edit they might be interested in making.
  • Promote a more positive environment that editors want to participate in
  • Document ways in which all editors can achieve these goals and organize them within the project subpages
  • Sign up and participate with the various Help Projects located through Wikipedia:Help Project. This project is undergoing substantial reorganizing to make it easier for editors to find the appropriate help, especially in high traffic areas where applicable, such as WikiProject Directory. Feel free to contribute to that project.
  • Patrol Special:Log/newusers, find newer users who already have made contributions and put a Welcome Template on their talk page, as well as a personal note telling them to feel free to contact you if they have a question.
  • Scan "Recent changes" searching for either new editors to welcome or situations that require a "retention viewpoint". Soften the blow of speedy deletion, etc.
  • Review Wikipedia:WikiProject_Editor_Retention/FA_editors_list to find FA contributors who appear to have stopped contributing recently. Perhaps by contacting them you can encourage them to return to editing.

Project Tasks

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:

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Work groups and discussions


This is a raw initial list that needs updating

Current working groups

Other areas of the project

Why do editors leave?

Identifying editors who have left, or who are at risk of leaving

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Main Talkpage discussion

Current discussions

General discussion
List of current sub-discussions

Related discussions

These are discussions that affect editor retention at Wikipedia but are being held in different venues and are of interest to all members. Anyone, member or not, is welcome to add a link here if it relates to the goals of the project.

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Peripheral links suggested by editors

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Project banners

Welcome template

New editor templates


  1. {{WikiProject Editor Retention Userbox1}}
  2. {{WikiProject Editor Retention Userbox2}}


  • {{subst:Project Editor Retention Barnstar|1=Put your message here. ~~~~}}
  • {{subst:The Excellent New Editor's Barnstar|1=Put your message here. ~~~~}}

User Page/talk banner

  • {{Wikipedia:Project retention talk}}

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Research resources

  • Planning: Defining goals and methods
  • Action: Implementing the plan
  • Tracking: Quantitatively determining degree of success

Directory Directory of WikiProjects


Council WikiProject Council


Guide Guide to WikiProjects


  1. ^ Wikimedia Foundation, The Editor Trends Study.
  2. ^ Bongwon Suh, Gregorio Convertino, Ed H. Chi, and Peter Pirolli. 2009. [The singularity is not near: slowing growth of Wikipedia]. WikiSym '09. ACM, DOI=10.1145/1641309.1641322
  3. ^ Halfaker, A., Geiger, R. S., Morgan, J., & Riedl, J. (in-press). The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System: How Wikipedia's reaction to sudden popularity is causing its decline. American Behavioral Scientist.
  4. ^ Halfaker, A., Kids these days: The quality of new Wikipedia editors over time, Wikimedia Blog. March 27th, 2012.
  5. ^ David R. Musicant, Yuqing Ren, James A. Johnson, and John Riedl. 2011. Mentoring in Wikipedia: a clash of cultures. WikiSym '11 173-182. DOI=10.1145/2038558.2038586
  6. ^ Note that Musicant et al., 2011 was written before WP:Teahouse

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