User:Mamawrites/Roles for New Wikipedians
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.
- 1 Tracking my early contributions to Wikipedia
- 2 How new Wikipedians are socialized
- 3 Continuing my development as a Wikipedian
Tracking my early contributions to Wikipedia
- I joined Wikipedia on August 2, 2005. I made my 100th edit on August 15, less than 2 weeks later, according to Wikipedia:Kate's Tool, by adding a stub about Koke'e State Park when I returned from a vacation. As of August 19, 2005, my score on the wikipediholic test was 45.
- Early on August 23, 2005, I edited my 100th article (and my 128th distinct page) when I reached a total of 305 edits by linking Wikipedia:Who writes Wikipedia to Wikipedia's 'see also' section.
- On September 5, 2005, I edited my 200th article (and my 283rd distinct page) when I reached a total of 601 edits by copyediting Fernão Lopes.
- I wrote the entry for the Tanggula Mountain Pass after reading that it was the location of the highest railway tracks in the world. This article and the Qingzang Railway article were mentioned on the main page, "in the news".
- I created Wikipedia:Who writes Wikipedia and prepared a proposal to include a link to that page in Wikipedia's navigation box.
- 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
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
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
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
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:
- Wikipedia:WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles/fr
- Wikipedia:Translation into English
- Wikipedia:Article Improvement Drive
- Wikipedia:Welcoming committee
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
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.