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 Wikimedia Foundation prevented the idea from going forward in 2011, but in June 2017 agreed to conduct and help implement ACTRIAL as a research experiment, and the Community Tech team is currently seeking funding from the Wikimedia Foundation to assist in the implementation. In July 2017, after a post on his talk page, Jimmy Wales issued a statement regarding ACTRIAL supporting the use of limited trials to gather data to make Wikipedia policy decisions.

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.

It is important to note that ACTRIAL is a trial of the original proposal that achieved community consensus. Information will be gathered during the trial period and reported to the English Wikipedia community at the end of the trial, and the community will decide its success or failure.

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 autoconfirmed status 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 article creation flow implementation[edit]

  1. Update 2011 landing page to be simplified and work with current MediaWiki code.

For trial data[edit]

  • Set up data pipeline to collect information about page creations (T150369)

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.

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.

Updates to Article Wizard[edit]

Wikipedia:Article wizard/Ready for submission will need to be changed to only show the second option (create article in main namespace) to autoconfirmed users.

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.

The Community Tech team at the Wikimedia Foundation requested in July 2017 to receive funding to hire a data analyst contractor that will be devoted to this project. The Foundation will provide an update on funding by 15 August 2017.

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.
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.

Stats Discussion[edit]

Discussion about the questions and suggestions of new ones and what should be updated since the 2011 version should go here. TonyBallioni (talk) 05:16, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

  • It all looks good and makes sense to me. We don't want to restrict non-autoconfirmed users from editing, and thereby creating, their own talk pages as the {{helpme}} method will be inaccessible so help from the MediaWiki development team is clearly necessary. The question now is how it will actually be implemented. Once we have gained consensus on the specifics, will we submit this to the developers? If so, through what channel and what are the practicalities of the submission? DrStrauss talk 12:53, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

DrStrauss, that conversation has been/is taking place at WT:NPPAFC. The Wikimedia Foundation has agreed to assist us in implementing ACTRIAL. There are three options for doing so, the easiest of which being doing it from the blacklist, which we can do without assistance from the WMF if needed. The other two options are updating the software to automatically redirect to the article wizard (which I oppose), or to update the 2011 code. Updating the 2011 code would probably be the best long term, but would also take the most time to roll outTonyBallioni (talk) 14:42, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

  • @Kudpung and TonyBallioni:Another interesting metric would be to probably consider the number of AFC acceptances(month-wise) in the time-span of the ACTRIAL with the number of articles by non-confirmed users that currently enters WP on a monthly-basis.That will give a rough idea about how many of the supposedly good creations get lost in the process.Winged Blades Godric 14:27, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
    • Godric, good point. I think that might add some conflating issues because AfC tends to also be chronically backlogged (just like we are), and I don't expect their acceptances will go up unless they get more people (which is an argument for combining NPP and AfC).
      • @TonyBallioni::--Yeah that's a pretty good point.I don't think we will be able the bring down the AFC backlog to near-zero values before the initiation of ACTRIAL.Winged Blades Godric 16:38, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
For the stats required, I'm updating a list I made in 2011, just give me a chance to post it. It's not prescriptive and anyone can change it or add to it, such as the important suggestion by Winged Blades of Godric. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 21:44, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
  • More metrics: Does the trial result in a in/decrease in the amount of junk pages being created in other namespaces (userspace, "articles" in the Wikipedia namespace, spam drafts, etc)? Is there a net decrease in the amount of crap?
I'm also interested in whether users try to game the system, especially using typical sockpuppet techniques. MER-C 04:31, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
@MER-C:--How do we define junk?While identifying junk is easy in mainspace(supposedly CSDable etc.), the evaluation procedure is difficult to implement in user/draft space.Winged Blades Godric 11:30, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
This is fairly straight forward: at a minimum it should include stuff that gets deleted, vanity pages, social media profiles, CVs, abandoned drafts of hopelessly non-notable subjects, stuff that fails WP:NOTWEBHOST, tendentiously resubmitted drafts. The giveaway is the zero mainspace edit count in hindsight. MER-C 12:20, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

The "effects on articles" questions focus on the article survivability, which doesn't tell the whole story. Many new articles that should be deleted are slapped with a maintenance tag and remain untouched for years. I suggest adding the following research question:

  • Does the number of new articles added to maintenance categories, such as Unclear notability, CAT:COI, and Promotional, change?
  • The prediction is an across the board decrease in both absolute and relative numbers.

Rentier (talk) 11:55, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Newsletters[edit]

Announcement to NPR[edit]

NPR announcement draft
Hello Autoconfirmed article creation trial, thank you for your efforts reviewing new pages!
Wikipedia New page reviewer.svg

This is to alert you of an upcoming change to our content creation system for new users. In June 2017 the Wikimedia Foundation agreed to implement the consensus of a 2011 discussion to restrict creation of new articles in the article main space to accounts that are autoconfirmed.

This change is on a trial basis only and will run from DD Month YYYY to DD Month YYYY. Afterwards, there will be a period where new users can create content in the article main space again. The Wikimedia Foundation will then provide us with data and statistics that will be provided to the community in a follow-up RfC.

What this means for you:

  • There will probably be fewer pages created in the new pages feed every day to review. This will free up reviewers to look at other pages and work on the current backlog of XX,XXX.
  • Articles for Creation may experience an increase in articles during this time. If you are interested in working with new users to develop content, consider volunteering there as well.
  • Your input in the conversation on how this trial is going will be needed both during and after the trial. You can join the conversation at WP:ACTRIAL or WP:NPPAFC.

If you wish to opt-out of future mailings, go here.

Announcement to Admins[edit]

Admin announcement draft
Hello Autoconfirmed article creation trial, thank you for your service to the English Wikipedia as an admin!
Wikipedia Administrator.svg

This is to alert you of an upcoming change to our content creation system for new users. In June 2017 the Wikimedia Foundation agreed to implement the consensus of a 2011 discussion to restrict creation of new articles in the article main space to accounts that are autoconfirmed.

This change is on a trial basis only and will run from DD Month YYYY to DD Month YYYY. Afterwards, there will be a period where new users can create content in the article main space again. The Wikimedia Foundation will then provide us with data and statistics that will be provided to the community in a follow-up RfC.

What this means for you:

  • There will probably be fewer pages created in the new pages feed every day to review. This will free up reviewers to look at other pages and work on the current backlog of XX,XXX.
  • Speedy deletion nominations will be expected to decline.
  • More admins will be needed to review WP:PERM to grant confirmed status to editors who are taking place in editathons. Editathon coordinators have been asked to place a notice at WP:AN in advance of an editathon to seek admin support in coordinating these efforts.
  • Articles for Creation may experience an increase in articles during this time. If you are interested in working with new users to develop content, consider volunteering there as well.
  • Your input in the conversation on how this trial is going will be needed both during and after the trial. You can join the conversation at WP:ACTRIAL or WP:NPPAFC.

If you wish to opt-out of future mailings, go

Newsletter discussion[edit]

@Kudpung, DGG, Majora, Robert McClenon, MER-C, Winged Blades of Godric, and Scottywong: See the drafts above of the announcement newsletter mentioned on the talk page list. Hopefully the wording here and the commitment to this as a trial with a followup RfC that will be sent to 1600 users will help with Majora's concerns that it might be made permanent without an RfC and that the trial would not stop. Feedback on other wording, copyeditting, etc is appreciated as well. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:22, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

That looks fine to me. Although you may want to also post a version of this to the talk pages of the Teahouse and the help desk. As I'm sure they are going to be hit with a lot of questions. I've already notified a few people who help out in the IRC help channel that this is coming as well. So notifying them of a date as well would also be extremely helpful. --Majora (talk) 23:39, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
The date isn't set yet. As soon as it is we'll be sure to let anyone you think would be interested know. I appreciate your informing people, and I really would like for more people to come here to be a part of the conversation on how to set it up so it address concerns: those of us who think this is the best way forward do take those concerns seriously, and I think if you look at all the places that this has been discussed you'll see that. I'll also ping Cameron11598 since I know he commented (and I think he's involved in -help). I'll post this at the Jimbo talk as well, but I promise that I have no intent of sneaking this in as a permanent change without an RfC and I know Kudpung and Scottywong have also made that exceptionally clear to some people who want to make it permanent immediately. Hopefully if we make that clear on as many places as possible people will realize that this really is a trial. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:50, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
Hey TonyBallioni thanks for looping me in. I'm sure we will get a ton of questions about this in -help on IRC. Would it be possible to get a copy of this notice that we can make into a short link to place in -helpers so our IRC volunteers know whats going on? Thanks! --Cameron11598 (Talk) 23:55, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
Cameron, I wouldn't want this to be sent out yet: currently we are in the stages of working out with the WMF what exactly the trial will look like. Right now we are waiting for the coding to happen and for the WMF to get funding for a data analyst. Part of the reason that the exact date is unknown is because the preferred method for this will also involve a simplified landing page for new users that will help them find what they want to do. That involves updating old code to match with new code. You can read more at WP:NPPAFC and WT:NPR and their archives, and also join in the conversation there and here. Those are very long, but it contains a lot of the background discussion. A much quicker read that will also put the desire for this in context is User:MusikAnimal (WMF)/NPP analysis. I'm also available to answer any questions on my talk page or anywhere else you might want to ask them :) TonyBallioni (talk) 00:05, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
Ideally I'd like some time to get those helpers on IRC familiar with what kind of errors/edit notices new editors will be seeing when creating pages so we aren't blind sided. So long as we have a bit of notice before the metaphorical switch is flipped that would be helpful :D. --Cameron11598 (Talk) 00:16, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
Please send them our way. My talk and Kudpung's have become zones for community comment and questions on this of late, so you can send people there if they don't want to join any of the formal conversations at the places I linked. One of the tough things on this is that there is hours worth of reading material on background. I don't expect everyone to read all of it, but a lot of the answers to the questions people have can be found in those discussions dating back at least a year (and really six, but the last year has been very active.) TonyBallioni (talk) 00:39, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • This has all been brought about by Majoras improptu and inappropriate posting of messages to the VP and Jimbo Wales' talk page. We are nowhere near ready for disseminating this information yet, and won't be until we are ready to revise and decide upon the GUI messages and if the WMF is planning to implement the 'AC' part of the trial or whether we will implement it with a local script. Broadcasting it on IRC is premature. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:02, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
    • Agreed that we should not be broadcasting specifics yet because they are not known. The above were drafts mainly in response to the fear that this would become permanent and to show that we would be sending out abundantly clear messaging as a trial. Its at VPP and Jimbo-talk now, so while I don't think it was secretive at all before, it certainly isn't now and people are able to join in any of the conversations just as they were before.
      Cameron, I think Kudpung's point is that because we are still very early in the planning stages of implementation and don't even know the date yet, we shouldn't have people worked up when the exact details aren't known. We're both very willing to answer any questions anyone has (look at our talk pages), and if you or anyone else has any questions, feel free to ask. Since you are also involved with helping new users on -help, your input in these conversations is very useful. TonyBallioni (talk) 04:28, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • And please note everyone, that the above proposed newletters are only drafts at this stage. Tony has posted them in the interests of transparency so that people know what is going on, but they are in no way the definitive texts and as the preparation evolves, things can change. This trial is going to happen, but we don't know when yet so we don't want people getting worked up and creating the same kind of confusion that happened a few years ago when the BLPPROD was in the making. There is a whole team at the WMF working on this now for us and with us and we want to get it right. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:12, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
    • Yes. These were drafts created after the Jimbo-talk discussion as examples of how we could explain the specifics to concerned groups. As with virtually every edit I make, I have no attachment to them if they can be improved or circumstances change. TonyBallioni (talk) 05:26, 19 July 2017 (UTC)