Wikipedia talk:Guidance for younger editors

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Good stuff. Likely to suffer from TLDR (thinking about some of the young people I know!). I would suggest getting some of our young Admins. and other contributors to work on it to see if they can help to make it look "cool". Maybe add some graphics or something. Juliancolton springs to mind, but I'm sure that there are others who could chime in! Leaky Caldron 18:40, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

I too think it's a good idea, but share concerns that it might be a bit wordy. Breaking up the text with some graphics could be useful. Short words, short sentences & short paragraphs will all help too (same applies when writing for adults). DuncanHill (talk) 18:57, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
What do you think? [1]Juliancolton | Talk 04:17, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

That DOES help. Thanks I.P. (talk) 22:25, 17 November 2010 (UTC)


Although I admit to skimming parts of it, I did actually read it but I doubt that it most younger editors would. It desperately needs an executive summary which can function as a standalone set of bullet points that is sufficient if it is the only part of this page that gets read. The language needs to be simplified since this is potentially addressed to pre-teens.

One of the most common criticisms of younger editors is "MySpacing" which is mentioned only in passing. This needs to be front and centre if this guide is going to be helpful. The first bullet should be "Wikipedia is not MySpace or Facebook, etc".

The section on safety is good.

I find it odd that the section on running for adminship is possibly the longest section in the essay. It almost seems like an encouragement to do so. The underlying issue seems to be that youthfully enthusiastic editors strive to become admins well before they are ready. Surely a few caveats about attempting to become an admin would be better. Perhaps a few words about the tendency to view rights like rollback as status symbols would not go amiss here also.

A good start. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 19:00, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Agree with the TLDR reaction, and also that it's a good start. It needs to be more like PowerPoint slides and less like an essay; and perhaps the bulk of the admin section can be moved to a subpage or be dropped entirely? A simple description, warning about running too soon, and some links might suffice. Rd232 talk 19:19, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
An additional heading might be "specialisation" (or "horses for courses" or "know your strengths"), to push younger editors in directions they're better suited to, and be extra careful of other areas (eg summarising complex content, and high-quality research, tend to be weaknesses). There's a reference to vandal-fighting I think - the specialisation concept needs expanding on. Rd232 talk 19:22, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
How about one of those keyword clouds? Leaky Caldron 19:30, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not a fan of lists of "Don'ts" or "Wikipedia is nots" - prohibitional lists tend not to be read closely by anyone, least of all teenagers, and do tend to get people's backs up. Keep it positive. DuncanHill (talk) 20:20, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree. It's a good start and waaay overdue. Thank you, Brad, for getting this rolling. It 'is' a bit tl;dr but I can see it's being pared down to the basics already. One point to note is that WP (and WMF) doesn't appear to have any real policies regarding safety of children, and this bothers me a lot. It seriously needs to be addressed - Alison 03:56, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I wholeheartedly agree about the need for policy and hope that this essay is a step towards community awareness of that need. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:09, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

And now it's even longer and seems to have been enhanced by cutesy images with wordy captions like "The ability to interact well with your fellow editors is a crucial part of achieving success on Wikipedia". Wikipedia in action. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:09, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

I think the images are a good start in breaking up the text into manageable chunks, but no-one, whatever their age, should ever have to read "The ability to interact well..." - i've made it a bit shorter and more meaningful. DuncanHill (talk) 14:32, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

So I was all BOLD'n'stuff and chopped the sections into bullet points, as well as took out a good chunk of the less useful information about administratorship. Andrew Jameson (talk) 19:09, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Good advice[edit]

Speaking as a younger editor (though admittedly not one who could be described as "cool" in any sense of the term), I like the advice, but I would concur about the admin stuff - it should be moved to a subpage, and the rest could be a little shorter (or drop in some bolded bits here and there). - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 19:54, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Maybe I'm just too old to think that "cool" is still "cool"! Leaky Caldron 19:59, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

wording etc.[edit]

I suggest that the wording be checked in any program that determines "grade level" - at this point, I fear the grade level is over 14 -- way too high for the desired audience. (testing only the lede) Readability is 34 -- which is way too low for kids (and most adults)

Second, US and Florida law makes it clear that it is not "just a good idea" not to post personal information - it is a legal requirement that WP prevent posting of such. Wording about that should be in the imperative, not just "it is a good idea."

Third, no section should be over a hundred words or so as a matter of how kids read.

Fourth, there is no need for an introductory article to give guidance on becoming an administrator <g>. Collect (talk) 20:43, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

TLDR redux[edit]

I think one of the issues that makes the essay appear TLDR is that wiki formatting tends to create a massive textwall that's hard to wade through. I think simply reformatting in a point-by-point manner, which adds whitespace and pulls the main concepts to the fore, would help. As an example, here's one section, edited for length and vobabulary and reformatted:

Working on articles[edit]

One of the best ways to help Wikipedia is to add to the content of our encyclopedia. You can write a new article, or add information to an article that already exists. Remember when you edit that Wikipedia has lots of policies about articles:

  • Article subjects must be notable. Because we are a worldwide encyclopedia, we do not include articles about things that affect only a few people. Wikipedia has a policy on which things are important enough to include: this is known as notability. One mistake that many new editors make is writing articles about things that are not notable enough. If you write such an article, it may be deleted. If this happens, don't be discouraged, but try to learn from the experience so that your next article will be kept.
  • Articles must have reliable sources. A reliable source is an official source of information like a newspaper or book. Make sure that facts you include in your articles can be linked to reliable sources. This is especially important if anything you write is likely to be controversial.
  • Be careful writing about living persons. An especially important Wikipedia policy covers articles which are biographies of living persons. Information in articles about living people, especially controversial or negative information, must use reliable sources. In addition, material that unfairly invades someone’s privacy should not be included, even if it is true. Information that violates the biographies of living persons policy will be deleted immediately. This is because Wikipedia is a very popular website, and if false or inappropriate information is included on Wikipedia it can be read by thousands of people. If you are unsure whether something you want to write might violate the biographies of living persons policy, you should discuss it with a more experienced editor before including the information.

Some editing, yes, but I think the overall intent is clearer with the bullet points. Andrew Jameson (talk) 22:39, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

I think this is quite good; suggested addition; Privatemusings (talk) 00:36, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Please bear in mind that some articles and areas of the encyclopedia may be unsuitable for minors - Wikipedia covers every notable encyclopedic subject, and isn't censored. As such we have much material that your parents, guardians, or the providers of your internet access (perhaps school, or library?) may consider to be unsuitable for you to engage with. Please discuss the areas of the encyclopedia which interest you, and which you wish to engage with, with a responsible adult.
I've been B, happy to D if someone Rs :-) Privatemusings (talk) 00:39, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Admin. section[edit]

I think JC's graphics make a big difference. It is still too long though and in particular the section on becoming an Admin. is disproportionate. Carts before horses spring to mind. The emphasis should be on safety, content policy & guidelines and crucially, working within the community. Good (young) admins. will surface eventually without the carrot being dangled so obviously up front. Could some of the body of the Admin. advice not be moved to an existing Admin. article, leaving just a short 2 - 3 para. rump in this essay? It would reduce the TL;DR and make the Admin. thing no big deal. Leaky Caldron 09:18, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I suspect the entire admin section could be cut to a few words:
Administrators are editors who have earned the trust of the community (WP:RfA) to help maintain order in the wilderness of Wikipedia. Some of their powers include the power to delete articles, and to block users for violating Wikipedia rules.
Which I think covers the salient points for new young editors. As they grow acronym-aware, they will learn far too many arcane items not even suggested in a short guide. Collect (talk) 12:11, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

"An administrator you trust"[edit]

I have undone this edit [2], as I believe it is very important to emphasize that children should approach someone they truat rather than a random individual. In child protection, one vital lesson that has been learnt very painfully over many years is that "being in a position of authority" is not enough, and that telling children "you can trust so-and-so, he's in a position of trust already" can be very dangerous. DuncanHill (talk) 13:56, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

The reason for the change was that I would not expect the target audience of this essay (very young, inexperienced editors) to be able to more accurately judge the trustworthiness of a particular administrator than the community. Potential administrators are subject to a lot of scrutiny. If the community is unable to find any red flags, surely a very young, inexperienced member of the same would not be able to? Lastly, I hope we can agree that trustworthiness in general should be the #1 criterion for being an administrator in the first place. Of course, if the child already knows an administrator well (preferably from real life), it would be natural to turn to them, but is that really something that needs to be emphasized? decltype (talk) 14:15, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I think it is something that needs to be emphasized. Of course all admins should be trustworthy, but we cannot demand that everyone always trusts every admin in every situation. Children are often very sensitive to small signs that are missed by adults. They also are unlikely to raise personal issues directly with someone unless they already have a feeling of trust for them. By emphasizing "an admin you trust" we are also emphasizing the importance of caution in any personal interaction. There are admins I would never suggest a child approach for help, not because I think that they present a danger but because I think that they have no or little understanding of the needs or worries of children. Being responsible and understanding in dealing with a child's concerns is not something we guage potential or existing admins on. DuncanHill (talk) 14:29, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Encouraging children to "trust" random strangers on the internet is a problem all by itself, is it not? I'm not sure I like any suggestion of the sort. Friday (talk) 20:18, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Probably, but not everyone on the internet has to be a random stranger. There are several responsible adults I interact with frequently on Wikipedia, and I'd be comfortable asking them for personal advice if I felt they could be of assistance. –Juliancolton | Talk 20:27, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I think the point is; 'There are several responsible adults[citation needed] I interact with.....' - it's actually kinda important to remember that you don't actually know anyone here at all, in many ways. Privatemusings (talk) 20:29, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying Friday - that we shouldn't encourage children to contact admins at all? Or we shouldn't encourage them to contact those they have come to have a degree of trust in? DuncanHill (talk) 20:30, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I meant that they should take just it to oversight. We should not do anything to encourage them to establish "friendship" or "trust" or anything of the sort with random strangers on the internet. Friday (talk) 15:57, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
OK, taking to oversight rather than to an admin would make sense. The only real problem I see with that is that oversight is a very impersonal process - when making a request one does not know who will read it (unless one has researched oversighters in advance), and in my experience this would be very off-putting to a child. I volunteer with children and in a crime-prevention forum, and in both settings we find that children are particularly reluctant to approach "faceless" helpers. It's a difficult balance to strike - encouraging children to act and making it emotionally easy so to do needs a personal touch, but at the same time encouraging them to use the most secure method available for dealing with personal information they wish removed. DuncanHill (talk) 16:26, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Without making it sem as though any specific admins should not be trusted, perhaps a group of senior admins who are vetted as having known identities might work as a "privacy team" for young contributors? If, heaven forfend, one of the anonymous admins turns out to be a problem, it would reflect badly on all. Collect (talk) 13:57, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

boxes at the top[edit]

three was pretty much silly, I thought (and unreadable, and unhelpful, and distracting etc. etc. ;-) - so I popped the important one to the top, and feel that the rest are implicit anywhooo.... Privatemusings (talk) 20:12, 19 January 2010 (UTC)


I can't help but think the essay in its current form has lost some of its original meaning. I've added a link to the initial revision by Newyorkbrad at the top of the page. –Juliancolton | Talk 20:14, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

yeah - someone's added heaps of silly images for one thing ;-) - the wonderful wiki process moves things in a certain direction.. but it's not always up.... Privatemusings (talk) 20:27, 19 January 2010 (UTC)except for my additions of course, which are erudite, intelligent, and generally spiffing.

The original essay was not really readable by the intended audience (presumably high school students) <g>. Even now, the "grade level" is on the high side, and the readability a tad low. Collect (talk) 21:33, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

I showed the version from a couple of days ago to a relative of mine who's a retired schoolteacher, and an occasional Wikipedia reader but not an editor. He thought the readability was generally suitable for the target audience. He thought it unlikely that many would read it in its entirety since it is a bit long, but that the clear layout and even the graphics make it inviting and easy for the reader to dip into and look at the parts which most interest them. He also mentioned that the emphasis on privacy might have the unwanted side-effect of giving the impression of a lack of accountability for one's edits.
I was thinking maybe we could reword this illustration caption:

Getting along with your fellow editors is a crucial part of success on Wikipedia

Sorry, but in the light of recent events, the irony is laughable. We could at least tone it down a little and change "crucial" to "important", but maybe rewriting the caption entirely would be better? Any suggestions? Contains Mild Peril (talk) 12:40, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

How do we get this to its target audience?[edit]

Most editors (young or old) don't announce their age to everyone on Wikipedia, and as we know there are oodles of different guideline and essay pages to overwhelm newbies, so I'm not sure how to target this so that those who are likely to find it most useful will actually be aware of its existence. Contains Mild Peril (talk) 19:44, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

To illustrate the point...[edit]

To show just how much can be discovered from apparently negligible online info, how about linking to/describing a real-life incident? I have in mind the case of Dusty the cat: the astonishing rapidity with which the chans found his tormentor provides a salutary warning. And using an actual example(s) would, IMO, be more persuasive to the target group than any amount of finger-wagging warnings. Plutonium27 (talk) 19:11, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

This is written over their heads[edit]

I just ran this page through a readability tester and found, not to my surprise, that it's written at a level appropriate for high school graduates. Since legally kids of around 7th-8th grade (US) can edit without running into COPPA problems, this page should probably be written at about a 5th-grade level. Anyone with Simple English experience, or maybe a children's author, willing to take on this task?--~TPW 14:45, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

I respectfully disagree. There is a major problem with writing an article down to a fifth grade level. The very nature of a Wikipedia article is its formal language. Those people who cannot understand formal language should not edit Wikipedia. There is a fine line between writing something on a lower level and condescension, and, going in line with the formal language style of Wikipedia, this article should always err on the opposing side of condescension. Thanks. TheOneSean  |   Talk to me 23:46, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Admin age[edit]

Out of curiosity, have there actually been any admins that say they are under the age of eighteen? Guoguo12--Talk--  02:38, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes. In fact, over the history of Wikipedia there have probably been dozens of them. Newyorkbrad (talk) 02:55, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:Help_desk/Archives/2006_December_1#Youngest_admin? for an old answer, with a few examples. (Though RfA was less onerous back then...). -- Quiddity (talk) 03:25, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. Guoguo12--Talk--  20:11, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Article ratings[edit]

This page says, "All ratings are to be given only by editors who have not worked on that article". Is this recommendation deprecated? I don't think Wikipedia:WikiProject_Council/Guide/WikiProject#Assessment or the assessment FAQ currently say anything like this. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 11:50, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

I (I was the initial drafter of the page) was referring to designations like FA and GA. I haven't really done article-rating, so if a tweak to the language is needed with respect to other types of ratings ("start class" etc.), that's fine. Newyorkbrad (talk) 12:08, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
I added a link for now, but when or why was that changed? I see what NYB is trying to accomplish here-- remind new younger editors that they can't assign their own articles as A-class, GA, FA, etc-- but I was under the impression that involved editors shouldn't assess, so I don't know how to tweak the wording. (I also added some new material the other day that isn't very well written-- would appreciate if NYB tweaked it up to standard.) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:13, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Personally I wouldn't have thought it's a big deal for someone to give their own article a sub-GA rating. It doesn't seem a worthwhile use of time for someone uninvolved to read an article just to decide whether it's B-class or C-class or whatever. But if self-rating really is against current practise, that should be made clearer at the pages I linked in my first post. Perhaps raise the issue at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Council?
By the way I agree with others above that the administrator section doesn't need to be here. I'd suggest splitting it off into a subpage, linking it from a one- or two-sentence summary on this page. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 03:19, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
I disagree, and think it is very needed here. Too many children put themselves up at RFA, and then get bashed-- it's got to very hurtful, so I think that content is most necessary. It's a really fine page, in fact. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:23, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
Oh I understand that, and realise this is necessary content. I'm just not sure this is the best place for it. At present a younger editor could read everything at Wikipedia:Guide to requests for adminship and associated pages without ever encountering this worthwhile advice. Even a younger editor who was directed to this page early on might not remember the adminship section by the time they think about running for admin. Plus there are the WP:BEANS and WP:TLDR issues of having it at this page. What if the section were moved to Wikipedia:Adminship for younger editors, which was then prominently linked from WP:GRFA, WP:MGRFA and Template:RfA Navigation? Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 04:13, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm seeing a different intendend audience for the adminship section than the rest of this page. The rest of this page is for all younger editors at the time they start contributing, whereas the adminship section is for the subset of younger editors thinking about adminship at the time they think about adminship. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 04:20, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
The point is that for some younger editors it is not very long between the first of those times and the second of those times, which is precisely the issue. Newyorkbrad (talk) 11:50, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
On the wider point, since in many areas assessments have largely broken down, I sometimes self-assess, usually just up to C, especially on expansions, but always say so in the edit summary. No-one I think would ever complain if a stub tag is removed by an expander. Having said that, it is perhaps not a good habit for younger editors to get into. Johnbod (talk) 13:46, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Adding a paragraph on copying and plagiarism[edit]

It has been suggested that in the "Working on Articles" section, we should include a paragraph or two explaining that articles need to be the author's own work rather than copied from another source, but at the same time, that reliable sources need to be indicated (or, at a minimum, available). This would substitute for one-sentence paragraph currently at the end of the section, which is just a collection of links to fairly complicated pages.

I've been told that my writing style might not be ideal for some of the potential audience for this page, so would someone else like to take a try at that insertion? Newyorkbrad (talk) 00:43, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

I'm very surprised to see that only four very minor edits have been made since NYB's question above. As an author of textbooks from Grade 1 through 12, any opinion I might have on this excellent initiative is naturally biased, but time permitting, I'll attempt a rewrite and post a draft to my user space when it's done, rather than cause confusion by making edits to the existing essay. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:22, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
I wasn't very active here at the time NYB left his comment above, so I must have completely missed it, but I agree with the idea. My writing style is also not the greatest in terms of readability for the young editors so I'm happy to let someone with greater skills do the primary work :). I would suggest though making the draft on this page so there is a greater chance of others seeing something is happening.
It might also be a good idea, given the audience, to invite comments from editors active at the simple English project. Thryduulf (talk) 23:57, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
See: this. You'll understand why I didn't want to hack the original about. It's aimed at the 10 - 14 age group. We know from our extensive work on school articles that a great many editors are in this age group. Many elementary school articles are written and edited by students. Please remember that it's a very rough first draft. I've deliberately toned down the stuff on adminship. Do feel free to comment on its talk page - I would appreciate your feedback. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 14:58, 26 April 2011 (UTC)


Based on the discussion on Brad's talk page and suggestions made above mainly by Brad, Andrew Jameson, Adrian J. Hunter, Collect, Delicious carbuncle, and DuncanHill, conclusions are that the language needed to be simplified since this is potentially addressed at pre-teens, and short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs, especially in bulleted form, are recommended. I've addressed these points, targeting the 10 - 14 age range. There is also clear consensus that not too much emphasis should be placed on adminship, lest the youngsters would feel encouraged to try it out. The way to discourage them from wanting the mop too soon is to play down the importance of of being a sysop. This sometimes takes more words than "Sysops can close debates, block vandals, and protect pages - but you won't be ready for that yet." A more subtle approach is needed, and preferably through the literary devices of metaphor and analogy which kids are able to relate to and grasp. BLP and COPYVIO have been treated in the same manner. Other items have been shortened.

More details are in the discussion with Brad, along with with suggestions for publicising the essay, --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 21:41, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Some good improvements: the bits about adminship and barnstars are much better in the current version I think. It could still use some tidying. For now, I have reverted the introductory sentence to the original more concise version, because I felt that the new version was, at best, adding wordage without significant benefit.
There is one further point I want to raise now, regarding the advice "Log out always when you leave the computer, and if its not yours, clear the browser cache too." Is this really what we want to say? Perhaps it would be better to make it clear that this advice is intended for "public" computers e.g. in schools and libraries, and if you're using a family member's computer but not your own separate log-in, it's probably better to ask before clearing their cache along with your own. Contains Mild Peril (talk) 12:15, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I put it in there because I thought it was important. Why not just cut it out completely? To fully explain it would make the essay TL;DR ;) Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:49, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I think it's important to keep this in, and I would almost be tempted to expand it, for reasons I'll explain in a moment.
This is yet another "between a rock and a hard place" aspect of this, much like the contradiction between encouraging younger editors to seek support from a Wikipedian they trust, and encouraging them not to put trust in anonymous people off the internet. Yes there are probably families where children don't have separate logins for the computer and they are expected not to clear the cache; there are also "online child safety" guides that describe clearing the history (a different but related thing) as being a sign that the child is up to mischief. However, family rules will naturally take precedence over Wikipedia advice - so there's no problem with us giving the advice and then letting the child or parents adapt it to their set-up.
Why would I go further? I was recently asked to help with an incident where an editor with a considerable editing history (actually an undergraduate, so not technically a minor) was in a dispute on another editor's talk page, then he logged out, and then some time later, his IP address added insults on the talk page where he had recently been involved in the dispute. Of course the presumption was that it was him, even though his account had not been used to add the insults; so he was indefinitely blocked and then forced to go through the procedure of admitting to something that he remained privately adamant he had not done, and apologising for it, in order to get unblocked. Was it really him? Maybe.
So although leaving public computers logged in is an obvious issue, it's not the only issue.
This is related to the WP:LITTLEBROTHER issue. After all, consider;
  • Most younger editors will have siblings.
  • The siblings will mostly be aware of their Wikipedia activities.
  • The siblings will often have access to the same computers, and almost always to the same IP address.
  • Most siblings will attempt to gain access to each other's accounts (my younger brother still openly tries to work out my passwords by watching me type, and he's not been littler than me for a loooong time...)
  • Some will succeed.
  • Most siblings who gain access to an account, would then make problematic edits with it.
  • Some siblings who see that a logged-out account has just been on a user talk page ("Return to User talk:Demiurge1000") would make problematic edits to that talk page.
  • Very few admins will accept the excuse that a problematic edit was done by a sibling that gained access to the account.
  • Few admins will accept the excuse that a problematic logged-out (IP address) edit on a talk page where the related account was recently engaged in a dispute, was done by a sibling. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 18:46, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

How to make it more widely known?[edit]

There are several possible ways of publicising this essay. It could be included as a link in the standard welcome template and on other help pages, and the RfA guidance pages. It could also be linked on the project pages for WP:NPP and WP:RCP where a large number of younger editors work. A significant number of new pages that get slated for deletion are created by young and very young editors, mainly articles about nn teen-idol bands, and elementary and middle schools. Links could also be made to it on the music and school project pages, and on the WP:WIZARD instruction pages. There could also be a link to it on the bottom of the editing window along with the other instructions: (E.g.: 'If you are a young user, do consider reading this before you press 'save page' ' --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:20, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Good suggestions. I would add a link at WP:RFA as well. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 13:18, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Guidance from younger editors :-)[edit]

Kudpung has asked for feedback on the revamped essay from people in the target age range (10 to 14). Since it's not recommended for people in that age range to identify their age, I'm going to provide their comments below without identifying them.

First is from a 13 year old in the UK, who has an active English Wikipedia account and is not currently blocked;

The length is fine for me, but most people my age wouldn't bother reading it, even if it was 2 lines long. But most people I know, don't edit. I think pretty much it covers everything, but I haven't seen anything about mentoring, that would be very useful for kids. Some explanations for the safety and security sections would be good. I think more about deletion processes would be good, but I think the more serious stuff, like article assesments should be on a seperate article, with lots more details of whats on the current article. Make this like the basics and optionally kids can read the extended version.

More to follow. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 18:10, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

This is from a 12 year old in the USA, who has an active English Wikipedia account and is not currently blocked;

Under the Your safety and security section, a few things could be clarified. Why should you use your account always (I know why, but others might not)? Always log out could be clarified too. The page seems a little long to me. That is all I have to say.

--Demiurge1000 (talk) 18:51, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Shortcut is WP:GFYA not WP:GFYE .... any reason?[edit]

just curious --Demiurge1000 (talk) 16:22, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Take photos.[edit]

Might it be an idea to point prospective young photographers to Commons, so they can, err, make benefit glorious nation of Commonstan? If they are going out specifically to take free photos for Wikipedia, having them on Commons would be more useful as other projects can reuse the images. —Tom Morris (talk) 10:10, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Editing this essay[edit]

While improvements are welcome, concerns have been expressed that the essay may still be too long. However, in order to contain all the essential advice, it may not be practical to shorten any more. The effort therefore is not to make additions where the message to young editors is already clear. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:34, 11 July 2011 (UTC)


Some people above have said that the article may go over the heads of the intended audience. I hope not. Maybe American kids lack the intelligence of kids elsewhere but to me this article is incredibly patronising.--Xania Flag of Italy.svgtalk 23:33, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

This essay is aimed mainly at the 10 to 14 age group. (There are reasons for its not saying so explicitly). It may be a little patronising for teenagers older than that, but that's not a huge worry. I've sought feedback on the essay from a number of editors with age ranges from 10 to 15, not all Americans, and none of them mentioned it being patronising (plenty of them had that word in their vocabulary). A few mentioned that some of what it told them was things they already knew, but equally, even some of the older ones were very emphatic that it told them things that they didn't know, and had made mistakes on. Kids get talked down to all the time, but they can also quite often take written material seriously, if they have the inclination to read it. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 23:43, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Demiurge is quite correct in his interpretation - and I'm not saying that because I happen to be the editor who recast the text deliberately to address a cognitive level of slightly lower than the median of the target age group. The critics of the language used in this essay probably do not have children, do not work with children, have probably never studied and researched child psychology or communication psychology, and most probably do not have a Wikipedia history of thousands of edits dealing with younger Wikipedia users and issues associated with their edits. They probably also forget that American kids are not the only children to read and edit the encyclopedia, but also that their intelligence is most likely comparable with that of Australian, British, Canadian, Singaporean and youngsters from from other parts of the developed native English speaking world. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 08:07, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I think the essay has improved a lot: some of its earlier versions were more patronising than the current version. I know that when I was aged 10-14, if I read something I found patronising (which was not a rare occurance) it would tend to motivate me to seek out the "grown-up" version of the information, but the trouble with doing that on Wikipedia is there's just so much of it, and finding the important stuff by clicking links from page to page feels like negotiating a labyrinth which can be daunting for readers of any age. As an adult, I will sometimes read well-written material aimed at children if I want to learn about the basics of a particular subject quickly. Contains Mild Peril (talk) 23:44, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

When I drafted the original version of this page (accessible in the history, of course), I used my very best efforts to avoid this problem. I may or may not have done a good job of avoiding it in that version (opinions are welcome)—but a number of other editors opined that I hadn't found my stride in writing for the intended audience (I'm a litigation attorney IRL and I'm afraid it shows in my writing here), so most of the content has been rewritten. If there are specific instances of what you consider to be patronizing or offputting language, as opposed to a general impression, please feel free to point them out so that people can work on them. Newyorkbrad (talk) 03:19, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Don' be too harsh on yourself Brad - the initiative for the essay was excellent and badly needed. I recast it because as an author of graded readers and language textbooks for children, I thought I could put a more focused tone to it. I changed the style of prose, but I was very careful not to change the content. It says all that needs to be said - and must be said - but it is still a tad too long, and there is unfortunately no workaround for that. Perhaps dressing it in an attractive skin (it's no coincidence that kids love comics) such as the new outreach pages would motivate youngsters to read through all of it without feeling it's TL;DR. The only people who will be offended by it or feel that it is patronising, are those of a small minority like our friend User:Contains Mild Peril above, who has/had an above average level of maturity for their age. The essay is obviously not aimed at them. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:06, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

The Simple Wikipedia[edit]

Young editors with beginner English skills would be more welcome at that project, but I don't see that pointed out in this essay. Thoughts? -- Kendrick7talk 01:17, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure that they would be more welcome. Perhaps a bit, but the thing about Simple is that it is designed to be easy to read, and thus may be more appropriate as a source for younger readers, but is hard to write, as it is difficult to reduce a complex problem with complex words into simple English. - Bilby (talk) 01:24, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, I agree with you both.
I've always been wanting to spend more time over at Simple English Wikipedia, and been trying to subconsciously percolate ideas to integrate and harmonize our communities a bit more. (I know that Simple: has its critics and detractors (see eg: old discussions about bumping "Simple English" links in the interwiki sidebar, to the top of the alphabetical stack). But I think it's loaded with ripe potential. I often use it myself (or wish a page existed in Simple) when our version is too technical (or just to read an alternate perspective/phrasing).
If we were to link there from here, where would we point to? simple:Wikipedia:Schools might work. Is anyone here, also active there? -- Quiddity (talk) 01:50, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
  • I think one extra point is worth raising here. One of the suggestions amongst unblock practices on Wikipedia, is that the blocked editor should spend some time demonstrating their commitment and ability to contribute, by making contributions on a different WMF project. I've never seen objections raised to this on projects such as meta or Commons. However, Simple editors have been quite strident, both here and there, saying first that they discourage the suggestion to use Simple as that "different WMF project", and secondly that any editor starting to edit on Simple after being blocked on, will be under a "one strike and you're out" restriction. Now, hopefully most of the editors discussed here won't be going there for that reason, but some of them will be, and when considering a question like this, it's worth considering this entire mindset over at Simple. Simple is not necessarily easier for younger editors to deal with. The language might be simpler, but some of the culture is problematic. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 02:11, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm not active there, and I guess I'm dealing with a really, really small sample size, but I noticed an obviously young but very enthusiastic editor (only because they random-walked to make a few wiki-love posts on my talk page a few weeks ago) pretty much getting raked over the coals (almost every single mainspace edit reverted, bots and regs 'plating (him?)/her with vandal warnings, etc. and I'm pretty sure another editor made her cry) but those edits would be probably 50% OK over on Simple. Her reach exceeds her grasp on this project, but Simple English is definitely in her wheelhouse. Maybe not too common a situation, but it seems like something this essay might want to suggest. -- Kendrick7talk 02:20, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
The edits to article space made by the user in question were obviously inappropriate and immature. While we encourage younger users to edit the Wikipdia, they must understand that this is a serious project and all edits should reflect an adult style and conform with policy. We have to get this message across somehow without discouraging them, but they should understand that template messages are a one-size-fits-all although enormous efforts have been made recently to take the bite out of many of them. See my comments in the previous thread. Any suggestions for changing the essay would be most welcome.Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:44, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
There is nothing anywhere in policy that mandates "an adult style". Kudpung, many of your peers on this project (and I mean administrators, here) are legally children. So long as they edit constructively, exact nuances of style are irrelevant. I and many others, probably including some WMF staff, think that you do yourself a disservice by constantly focusing on numerical age as some key part of problems on Wikipedia. Wikipedia has always had young editors, and indeed very young editors. It looks likely that it will always have them. You take time to inform teenagers that you're exasperated at the behaviour of "kids", while not realising that that many people would consider the older teenagers you're talking to, to be "kids" themselves. An impulsive 20-year-old can be just as damaging as an impulsive 14-year-old, but so can an impulsive 60-year-old. Just, the 20-year-old and the 14-year-old have, on average, more in common in terms of a possible focus on hats. There's a time to move past a pure focus on age. Sometimes you need to just - control your exasperation. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 03:21, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Well... I happen to think that Martin Luther King Jr. did indirectly encourage Rosa Parks, and that Maryland does indeed have some nice coastal haunts. Not great edits, but not the kind of edits that come to my mind when I hear the phrase "inappropriate and immature". Does this essay explain that all edits should reflect an adult style? Maybe per WP:COMMON it should; that is obviously an expectation of the average editor. But again, my point is that Simple doesn't want or expect an adult style per se. -- Kendrick7talk 03:26, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but as you yourself say, you're as inactive on Simple as I am... so what do you know of what the editing community on Simple wants? Not what Simple should be, but what the community there wants to enforce. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 03:39, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
From simple:Main_Page The Simple English Wikipedia is for everyone! That includes children and adults who are learning English. I take them at their word. On the scale, we want 9s and 10s here, and will put up with 7s. We treat anyone else as zeros; even children since, as this essay points out, on the Internet, no one knows you're a dog. But Simple might only want at least 5s, but if we send them a 3.5, maybe overall they can round up, per finger math, to 5. Given their front page mission statement, I would hope as much. -- Kendrick7talk 04:13, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I think everyone is either implicitly (me) or explicitly (others) just suggesting that: we should probably ask Simple: what their input/advice/preferences would be. Simple as that. Someone should drop them a friendly note... ;) -- Quiddity (talk) 05:12, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Just to clairfy a little bit on this, recently the Education Program opened discussions with the Simple community about moving editors from India in the program over to Simple, in part as a response to the problems that arose when the IEP was last run here. Part of the IEP's argument was that Simple required lesser English skills than en.WP, so editors with relativly poor English would be able to be more productive there and would be less likely to encounter issues. Over on Simple, one of the responses by the community was that it was false to assume that writing in Simple English requires less skills in the language - I've been trying it out, and I'd agree that, if anything, you probably need a slightly higher proficiency, as you need to take complex concepts and break them down into a very small range of possible words. This isn't an easy task.
My feeling is that directing young or problematic editors with relativly poor English skills to Simple as editors would hit the same problems as the IEP did. Simple needs more contributors, but their requirements for contributors are probably about as strict as those on en. - Bilby (talk) 05:22, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Very good point by Bilby. I wasn't aware of the Education Program approach (shows how up to date I am!), but the response by the Simple editors does not surprise me at all. That's something I've heard before and that I should have mentioned - that writing "properly" for Simple can require more English skill, not less. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 05:51, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Your Safety and Security[edit]

I changed the list from numbered to bulleted - in line with other sections, and to distinguish it from the TOC directly above it. The section could use a picture to replace the 'Nobody knows you're a dog on the Internet' box.StaniStani  22:03, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

Name of page[edit]

Another editor recently moved this page from "Guidance for younger editors" to "Guidance for young editors." He and I discussed his rationale for the move and my disagreement with it on his talkpage, here. Given that I still disagree with the move and it was never discussed, I have moved the page back to the original title; however, I am opening this thread so that in case either that editor or anyone else would like to advocate in support of the move, it can be discussed and a consensus reached. Newyorkbrad (talk) 23:38, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

I noticed the move and would have objected if I had more time. There is a subtle but important difference between what the two titles suggest about the target audience, and "younger editors" is correct. Johnuniq (talk) 02:43, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

I also noticed the page move. I saw no compelling reason for the move and I support NYB's move back to the original title. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:57, 17 January 2014 (UTC)


I came across an editor who had their birth date in a userbox on their userpage, which showed that they are a minor. Is that only advised against? Thanks, Matty.007 08:58, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Yes. After all, it's not really very much of a crisis for a 17-year-old to mention on their userpage that they're a 17-year-old.
On the other hand, where the age in question is below a certain value, email WP:Requests for oversight and ask them to consider suppressing it. If they do suppress it, they will normally add a helpful and non-antagonising note to the editor's talkpage about it.
(What the certain value should be, is pretty much up to you...) --Demiurge1000 (talk) 22:29, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Great essay[edit]

I'm surprised I'd not seen this before. Kudos to its creator and editors. Bearian (talk) 23:25, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Is there a template we can use to put this on a talk page for a younger editor?[edit]

Just thought I ask as I have put this page as a link on some-but was wondering if there is a easier way to just put this as a template. Thanks! Wgolf (talk) 20:17, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

There ought to be something in CAT:WELCOME, but I don't see anything appropriate. Have you asked at Wikipedia talk:Welcoming committee/Welcome templates? --Redrose64 (talk) 20:25, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

Why on earth is this an essay?[edit]

Surely by now we should be looking at making this into a part of Wikipedia policy and procedures. Isn't there anything already on safety for younger volunteers? CharlieTheCabbie|paġna utenti|diskussjoni 10:25, 5 April 2015 (UTC)