User:Mamawrites/Roles for New Wikipedians

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

After one month of editing Wikipedia, I began deleting articles from my watchlist. By clustering the articles which remained (still more than 300), I was able to do some first-person research on the roles I have played as a newcomer here, and make some comments about how the process of socializing new members into Wikipedia's user culture works.

Tracking my early contributions to Wikipedia[edit]

  • Also on September 5, 2005, I sorted the articles on my watchlist into 13 clusters, which contained between 3 and 84 articles. Then I reflected on my purpose in monitoring each of the clusters, and identified several roles that I was playing as a new Wikipedian.

Verifying accuracy of existing content[edit]

The largest cluster of articles I have added to my watchlist are those associated with my area of professional expertise -- management research in organizational behavior. This cluster included 84 articles.

The next 4 clusters were place-based, organized around my current residence (35 articles), two former residences (10 and 2 articles), and one recent vacation destination (3 articles).

Keeping track of topical interests[edit]

The next 4 topical clusters concerned long-term interests, in breastfeeding (11 articles, including a newly created stub for Supplemental Nursing System); feminism (8 articles); Apple Computer (3 articles); and politics (3 articles). U.S. presidential election, 2008

Another topical cluster, concerning Wikipedia itself, contained 7 articles in the main namespace (and many Wikipedia-namespace articles and talk pages).

Exploring encyclopedic topics[edit]

There was a cluster of 14 articles representing broad topics I had consulted in the encyclopedia, such as 2000s, 21st century, Civilization, Future studies, Buddhism and related topics, History, Human evolution, List of Young Global Leaders, Long Now Foundation, and Western world.

Contributing to projects and tracking topics of current focus on Wikipedia[edit]

The final two clusters are those of articles I came across while working on different Wikipedia tasks, and included about a dozen articles each.

One represents my efforts on different Wikipedia projects, such as article improvement drives (e.g., Civil Rights Movement, Grameen Bank), translation efforts (e.g., Gestalt therapy, Hare's-foot clover, Société Générale, Humanitarian interference), cleanup crew (e.g., Michel Saloff Coste), and featured articles of the day candidates (Miles Davis). Projects to which I contributed within my first month:

The other represents my involvement in reading the main page and the Current events page, and includes things like Hurricane Katrina, Nepal Civil War, and Rail transport.

How new Wikipedians are socialized[edit]

I figured out how to contribute to Wikipedia in the ways described above by following other users around. I read their user pages, their talk pages, and looked at their recent contributions. I asked a few questions, and passed on the answers that I received to many others by welcoming new users. Because almost all communication among editors takes place within the Wiki itself, it was much easier to figure out what people were doing. Wikipedia socialization would happen much more slowly if user pages and user talk pages did not exist.

Continuing my development as a Wikipedian[edit]

Between September 5 and October 26, I began to develop my philosophy, influenced a great deal by my membership in Esperanza, which I joined in Sept. 8. I participated in a few votes for deletion by recovering articles which I thought were worthy of rescue and thus discovered my largely inclusionist orientation. I also discovered that Jim Wales is an inclusionist.

During this time period, I received my first three awards (from Ulayiti, Redwolf24, and Banes) and created a page about another scholar in an attempt to convince him that Wikipedia was worthy of his contributions and unworthy of his deprecation. I became a strong advocate of Wikipedia ideals.

At the end of October, I broke my watchlist into three categories, because I was not always able to keep up with the recent edits on the Wikipedia pages I was watching. The three categories are: RegionWatch ~ Watchlist ~ WikiWatch.