Wikipedia:WikiProject Gastropods/Self-assessment

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This subpage is created to facilitate self-evaluation by members of WikiProject Gastropods. The purpose is to identify what works and does not work for community groups on Wikimedia Foundation projects, to help promote good practices across projects. It is also intended to help brainstorm ways for community groups to reach out to new users interested in their areas, to help encourage growth for Wikipedia. I will be presenting information gathered from this conversation to the Wikimedia Foundation, both to help provide guidelines to other projects and to see if there is anything the Foundation can do to better facilitate your work. Your contribution here is very much appreciated. There is certainly overlap in some of the questions and some of your responses may seem redundant; please don't worry about this. Brainstorming is very welcome here, as it may help other responders to consider different aspects. Conversation can be helpful to generate a kind of consensus view of the issues as well as to note individual opinions. Please feel free to add your answers below and to discuss the answers others have left. Thanks! --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 12:44, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

When it will be presented to to the Wikimedia Foundation? --Snek01 (talk) 01:33, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
It depends on how many projects respond to the invitation. At this point, I anticipate around April, although staff do have access to current and previously completed assessments of individual projects. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 15:53, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

There is urgent need to at least stabilize the situation. I beg for help for WikiProject Gastropods. Thank you very much for your attention. --Snek01 (talk) 05:29, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

How "healthy" is your project?[edit]

Would you say that your project is thriving, declining, effectual, struggling, etc.? Do the members of the project interact well with one another? Do members typically feel welcome and included? This space is to share your opinion of the overall current status of your project.

Basically I would say yes, our project is really thriving, even though it does not have a very large membership and only a core group is really active (perhaps this is true of most projects?). In general I would say that the most active members interact very well with one another, although one or two are not good at close collaboration. It would help the project if the less active members would check the project talk page every week and try to get involved in commenting on the more important questions there, even if they feel a bit out of their depth (be bold!). New members are usually invited and welcomed by me, and sometimes mentored by me. I find new members by using the NewArtBot/TedderBot results. It would be good if more members tried to welcome and encourage new members as they appear one by one, since these are almost always brand new Wp editors who don't really know their way around and who sometimes need a exceptionally kind and encouraging environment for the first few months or so.

Later this year I will attempt to ask all the stated members how active they have really been in 2011 and after that I will prune down the membership list, because it looks as if a number of people are completely inactive and may remain that way. By the way, the person who is our most active contributor (far more active than I am; he has been a very active Wp editor for over 4 years and primarily on gastropods) is currently not listed at all as a member (by his own preference), which I would think is quite unusual. Invertzoo (talk) 14:48, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

I think this project has done remarkably well in the last 4 years for such a very small group of editors and only a few of them being very active at any given time. And as User:Snek01 says further down the page, we have been doing extremely well when you consider how few gastropod specialists there are worldwide. Invertzoo (talk) 20:06, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

What works:

  • there is some progress in creating articles (22,367 "articles" from about ~80.000 = 28% articles started)
  • there is progress in continuous updating of (quite difficult) taxonomy and I think, that readers could be quite satisfied with this
  • there is unified introduction/introductory sentence in all articles. This may seem as a pitiful note, but every of such standardization makes editing extremely more effective.
  • there is more or less continuous intake of new images (some images have probably the same importance as text, or for same readers images can have even greater importance than text) and there are huge resources for free images to upload
  • all texts/facts in articles about gastropods in Wikipedia are de facto written in neutral point of view
  • there is at least some communication about content of some articles. Communication is not (much) coordinated, but it will sometimes happen, that some people are "improving" the same article/articles. There is good thing, that communication (if exist) focus mainly on the Wikiproject talkpage and nowhere else. Some formal and bureaucratic ways are disrupting this concentration of gastropod-related discussions.
  • the project has portal, it could became Featured portal in the future, but we do not know if it will bring more contributors
I agree with all these points that Snek has listed. Invertzoo (talk) 01:22, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

what does not work:

  • no progress yet in creating Featured articles yet (0 articles from about ~80.000 = 0.000%)
  • from about ~8 "active" members (including me, of course), seven of them have absolutely no interest in the guidelines of the project and about standards of the project. They are passive in this way. The more important discussion on the project talkpage will appear, the less or no attention at all it will get.(!)
  • There is no communication about standards. It seems that majority of people do not only take care but standards, but some of them even does not understand them. When there is something discussed on the project talkpage, it is either not readen or it is completely ignored and the user is doing exact contrary actions.(!) It is understandable, that some people rather want to take care about fascinating facts about gastropods (I also would like to) than to discussing about creating standards, but then they have to at least respect created standards and try to edit according to them.
During the last year or two User:Snek01 has indeed left a number of messages on the project talk page mentioning various standards or guidelines that he wishes to see implemented in our project. But because English is his second language, despite his best efforts it can sometimes be difficult to understand exactly what he means. Also quite often the technical side of what he is suggesting is outlined in such a condensed way that this, combined with the somewhat opaque English, can make it even more difficult to follow what he is saying. He also has a history of not taking any kind of disagreement well, so I think it is not surprising that very few people have responded to his proposals. This is regrettable, but under the circumstances it is not surprising. Invertzoo (talk) 01:50, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
  • At least two members refuse either as a sort of their principles or for another reason the communication via Wikipedia email. When there a difficult problem appear, for example when a user do hesitate to ask or do hesitate to criticize something publicly on Wikipedia, then he/she can not expect help or even opinion from them. The problem then may became insoluble.
I feel very strongly that any Wikipedia problem needs to be discussed openly, on Wikipedia talk pages, and not via private email, which needs to be used only for private communications. It is a Wikipedia guideline that communications about Wikipedia must be transparent and be "on the record", not done "under the table". Private email communications cannot be checked for appropriateness. Invertzoo (talk) 01:50, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
  • There exist no official cooperation between this and other projects. (Some members interact with other wikipedians, of course.) There are even contradictory guidelines or standards in other Wikiprojects. Nobody tried to resolve it on the level between Wikiprojects, because even in this Wikiproject exist passivity and serious misunderstandings. When other wikipedians will apply standards from "their" Wikiproject on gastropods, then may their action be more harmful than useful.
It certainly would be nice if there was more communication between the various zoology projects, especially between those projects that are working on invertebrate groups (animals without backbones). It certainly may not be possible, or even appropriate, to standardize article layout and headings etc, within such different phyla as the arthropods and the mollusks, so that may not be a worthy goal, However, some sort of "hello, how are you? We are here doing this..." non-threatening communication seems like it would in theory be a good idea. However most people are just so busy when they are on Wikipedia that they don't want to spare a chunk of time on some "meeting" that might turn out to be a more or less a waste of time. I for one have sometimes left messages on other project's talk pages and received no reply at all. For example on 15th November 2010 I offered to work with Project Gems and Jewelry on a Shell jewelry article, but have had no reply at all. Invertzoo (talk) 17:21, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
  • This project is more ill than healthy in the communication.
My assessment of our overall communication level would be more positive than that, but perhaps my experiences in communication have generally been more positive, and that is perhaps why I feel that way. Invertzoo (talk) 17:21, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

(My) conclusion:

  • This project is small in number of editors. All of these editors have different abilities and skills and also different opinions. There you can not expect what their opinions are. Discussions are always possible here, because there is no majority in conservatives and no majority in anticonservatives and so on. Overall current status of the project is fragile and it can be destructed anytime. Overall quality of texts and the style of articles is keeping to be not declining with immense effort only. (Luckily it is hard to destroy the quality of images, but even presentation of images may became worse if it will not be maintained.) We should use such advantages, that have small projects, improve workflow, but prior to improving the efficiency of anything, there is necessary to wisely decide how exactly the result will look like. --Snek01 (talk) 01:33, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

I'm an occasional contributor to the project -- I am uploading the marine fauna of an entire region so I move across phyla and to me ythe Project Gastropoda editors in general are easy to work with, the guidelines on article format are clear and in general per family there is an easy-to-find template for classification. I do find sometimes the corrections made to articles are assuming too low a level of understanding of the subject by the reader, but that is perhaps my own bias.

Seascapeza (talk) 15:20, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

What does this project do well?[edit]

What are some of the best examples of this project's successes? This space is for exploring what your project does well--whether those successes are innovative (coming up with new ideas or approaches) or simply examples of successfully following through on established practices.

We are currently pioneers in the use of bot-generated species stubs, a method about which there are some existing prejudices, to our mind, unreasonable prejudices. We are determined to show that this method is very appropriate to Wikipedia and can be handled productively. We have I think also been pioneers in our development of a suitable organizational structure for species articles. I have noticed that editors in other areas of biology have copied some of our choices. Invertzoo (talk) 15:00, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

That can be a good finding! Did they "copied some of our choices" to their Wikiproject(s) or to small number of articles or to greater number of articles? It would be useful to discover why they copied only SOME of our choices. Maybe they improved something, that we can also use. Examples would be very welcomed. --Snek01 (talk) 10:59, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
I find it necessary to mention the fact that the project members had manually created articles for each and every gastropod family (611 of them) in the Taxonomy of the Gastropoda (Bouchet & Rocroi, 2005), long before the aforementioned bot existed. There are specialists among our current members (myself included), who have open access to scientific literature, and have the potential to make very high quality contributions. Some of the best example are our GA and A-class articles. Daniel Cavallari (talk) 02:28, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

See my comment in the expansion section below. --99of9 (talk) 01:02, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

See the caption "what works:" in the section above. --Snek01 (talk) 01:33, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

What challenges face your project?[edit]

In your opinion, what are the greatest challenges that your project faces or has faced in succeeding on Wikipedia? These challenges can be issues that you have overcome or issues that you are still facing.

1. I think the greatest challenge is simply the fact that our project is a very small group of people, whereas the topic Gastropoda is very large indeed, gastropods being second only to insects in terms of how many species there are, and having an even greater diversity than insects. (The biodiversity of gastropods is truly staggering.) What our project has already achieved is really amazingly considering how small the project is both in terms of overall number of members, and in terms of the number of really active members. Our membership is likely to continue to grow steadily over time, but as Snek says, the membership probably will never be really large, due to the fact that most people are just not that interested in slugs and snails, no matter where they are found. (Although three scuba divers who enjoy underwater photography have joined us in recent years, and have contributed a very great deal to the project; many sea slugs are exceedingly beautiful and fascinating to look at.)

The fact that gastropods is such a vast subject is one more reason why we have to be pioneers in the use of robotic software to help create and maintain and add to our articles. As Snek01 mentions, manpower alone will never be sufficient for this project. Even if we recruited to Wikipedia every individual working professional malacologist on the planet (perhaps about 200-300 academics), that would still not be enough manpower without significant ongoing assistance from bots.

2. Another absolute limitation is that the gastropods are mostly not very well known to science, especially the thousands of smaller marine species, the majority of which of are not even mentioned in the popular secondary literature.

3. A frustrating problem is that (for most of us) a paywall separates us from access to the great majority of the current online professional literature.

4. As all our articles become more and more fleshed out over time, the level of competence necessary to be able to contribute (other than with images, copyediting, bot design and so on) will eventually rise so high that the amateurs will be out of our depth and we will really need more of the professionals, the academics, to contribute.

Invertzoo (talk) 15:48, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

One serious challenge that we overcame a couple of years ago (thanks in large part to WikiProject Copyright) was that one person (now blocked) had gradually created by hand over a thousand gastropod stubs, all of which contained copyright violations. Our current challenges include getting more complete coverage in terms of species articles, hopefully using our bot. I believe we also need to try to significantly improve the quality of our top 30 "most popular" articles, since they are so very frequently consulted by the general public. Another challenge may perhaps be trying to keep the project active, growing and flourishing into the future and to plan the best ways of trying to ensure this. Invertzoo (talk) 15:21, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

  • There is DYK rule: "Try to select articles that are original to Wikipedia". This should be written much more precisely, with examples. Reviewers often refuse anything that contain any inclusion of public domain or CC-BY text. For example Tarebia granifera was refused for the DYK hook. Very large part of non-stub gastropod articles contain some inclusion of some free text. I do not try to nominate articles with free texts included already, such as Edgar Albert Smith. / Wikipedians should be stimulated to use free texts, but they have no motivation, because even if they will write interesting and new B class article with using some free text, it is refused. In such situation there is not giving publicity to gastropods and therefore nobody write its articles. / In a contract if some other people will include free texts in articles and and they will not provide that information as in-line reference, then their DYK hook is uncritically promoted. Especially if they have a reviewer, who is in cooperation with that article.
Yes, I agree. The official DYK policy on this should indeed be clarified by community consensus. It should not be left ambiguous. Invertzoo (talk) 15:54, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
  • There exist nobody in this Wikiproject, who is able to review articles of gastropods as a Good Article reviewer. All articles were reviewed by external reviewer. / Nobody cares about articles at Category:A-Class Gastropods articles, that are prepared for GA review and nobody nominate them.
You yourself can nominate each of those A-class articles Snek01, or request that one of us nominate them. Or better yet, ask us to try to fix one up as necessary, and then submit it to GA review. Invertzoo (talk) 15:54, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia:Featured article candidates. There is inequitable/unfair evaluation by FA reviewers. For example if Featured article of some species of a bird does not have described internal anatomy of that bird, then it is OK and article is promoted. When the article a gastropod species does not have internal anatomy section, reviewers demand it in very high detail. There should be some equity among evaluation of Featured articles.
I do agree rather strongly with this point. Invertzoo (talk) 15:48, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
I also agree with this point. I must also say that recent detailed anatomical studies on gastropods are so very, very rare. Daniel Cavallari (talk) 04:11, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
This is absolutely true but I guess you can't expect a non-specialist to know that. Our submissions have been reviewed by people who are not gastropod experts. We will have to state this up front the next time we submit something for FA, or even for GA.Invertzoo (talk) 23:01, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Because there are very few members of WikiProject Gastropods and other wikipedians are not interested in gastropods, every nomination reaches very few attention. In such situation any opposing comment (even if proved to be wrong) can result in not-promoting. --Snek01 (talk) 23:32, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
More than once we have suffered from the fact that one very strongly worded opposing viewpoint has been enough to scuttle our concerted efforts. This was true in the bot proposal a year ago when an anonymous editor (who refused point blank to reveal his supposed long prior history as a registered user) criticized us so severely (and unfairly) that he was able to persuade some others he was correct, based solely on the power of his rhetoric. Invertzoo (talk) 16:07, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

What could make this project fail?[edit]

In a "worst case" scenario, what circumstances could make this project fail?

It's hard to say what could make the project fail; maybe if all the most active members retired at more or less the same time? Invertzoo (talk) 15:25, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

  • There is an evidence that "gastropods" are underestimated field. There will be always less human resources for it in comparison with other Wikiprojects. There is an danger, that other Wikipedians (even with good intentions!) will enforce various novelties, that will not fit to needs of this Wikiproject. The danger is higher, when there will not exist members of WikiProject Gastropods interested in policies/guidelines outside this Wikiproject. And even if there will exist some of such active members, it is not guarantee, that their voices will be listened by the huge crowd. There is need somebody such as "Community Liaison" or "our coordinator", who will be able successfully defend strategical needs of this project against numerical superiority. - This danger is real even now. It has been proven, when ALL of this wikiproject members supported something in 2010, that was refused by the community (respectively refused by the one, who evaluated the discussion). There exist also MANY other real examples; number of them were realized spontaneously without anybody from WikiProject Gastropods (with disadvantages for the WikiProject Gastropods), number of them are unresolved.
  • Vandals are threat. Imagine that after 6 years there will exist more than 50.000 gastropod articles. There is not expectation that number of this Wikiproject members will be high. Many of articles will be expanded with much more text. Many of articles will have references that will not be online or will be under subscription. There will not be available wikipedians who have written them. With very limited human resources there will not be possible to verify all claims added by vandals. - I would block unregistered users from editing gastropod-related articles. They can edit talk pages. I think, that unregistered users does not bring advantage for gastropods. - There is possible to make some research if it is true or not. Then there is possible to make an action relatively easily (Wikipedia is the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. But only that one who 1) have computer and 2) is registered user). --Snek01 (talk) 21:58, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't see vandalism as much of a threat to our gastropod articles, especially to the thousands of very short stubs we have. I have gone through several thousand old bot-generated stubs and have never found any vandalism in them. In the most popular articles, yes, I have found a few little bits here and there, but basically very little indeed. Invertzoo (talk) 01:53, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the ACTUAL situation is approximately as Invertzoo described. I was answering to the question "What COULD make this project fail?". Maybe vandals are only small part of anonymous edits. But I think, that anonymous editors provide more informations incorrect than correct. Number of incorrect informations may arise on wikipedia this way and very limited human resources will not be able to check them/remove them. (This is unrelated example about barriers, but: "Editing barriers may be useful" in other ways as claimed at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2011-09-05/In the news.) --Snek01 (talk) 12:39, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes Snek01, you are right that this could in theory become a problem in the future, not only for our project but also for the whole of Wikipedia, but even though subtle (not easy to spot) vandalism would be very damaging to our overall credibility, I would think it would not be enough to make the project fail altogether. Invertzoo (talk) 16:24, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

This project has already failed. It does not fulfill its function. It does not provide framework for wikipedians. Chaotic expansion of anything can be done without projects. --Snek01 (talk) 05:29, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

On the contrary, I believe the project is succeeding quite well, against the odds. Wikipedia is by its very nature a chaotic enterprise; it's a miracle it works at all. Trying to organize a bunch of Wikipedians is like "trying to herd cats", everyone knows that. We are all volunteers, this is not a paid job, we have no boss, and one person can't just tell people "do this", even if that person believes strongly he is right. People come to Wikipedia to do what they like to do. You cannot force people to adhere to standards or guidelines that you have just invented, and that you feel should be implemented by just telling people "this is the best way to do this, so everyone must do it this way". That doesn't work, as you have found out. Consensus is the only way to proceed. And consensus is a delicate magic created over time in an atmosphere of fellowship, friendly discussion, compromise, patience and kindness. Consensus cannot be achieved by issuing orders and brow-beating those who might disagree with you. Four years ago, when we could all work more or less independently, then collaboration was a theory. Now the encyclopedia is entering its mature phase, we all have to work together much more closely, collaboration is now a necessity, but it is a skill that has to be learned. Invertzoo (talk) 17:28, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Where could this project improve?[edit]

In your opinion, what steps could the members of this WikiProject take to help reach its goals (however your project's goals are defined)?

I think that basically everyone who is active in the project is already working as hard as they possibly can, and currently we are fortunate in that the skills that the different members possess are complementary to one another. One part of me thinks that we might need tighter collaboration and more synchronized teamwork over the next few years, but the history of Wikipedia is full of surprises, so who knows what could happen? I believe it's also important to stay loose and not become too overdetermined, because that can destroy valuable spontaneity. Invertzoo (talk) 15:43, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Any examples for "stay loose" vs. "overdetermined"? --Snek01 (talk) 21:17, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
I meant that as long as people follow the guidelines established by Wp and by the gastropods project, it is not really necessary (in fact is likely to be counter-productive) for members to be forced to do things such as for example have a task assigned to them, or be forced to be work hand in hand with others all of the time, things like that. However, it would be very helpful if members would use the project talk page more frequently and try to stay "in the loop" as to what is going on, give their opinion on important matters, and also let other people know if they are working on a major initiative, rather than working more or less in isolation. In general as Wikipedia matures it seems clear that it will probably require a more integrated approach. Invertzoo (talk) 00:30, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Is there an easy and fast way to send a message to all of the project members at once? If there is, I should use it more often. If not, then there should be such a feature. Invertzoo (talk) 01:13, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

It is a brainstorming so I have many hints:

  • 1) Few more administrators: User:Anna Frodesiak and User:Daniel Cavallari have my full support.
  • 2) At least one OTRS member associtaed with this Wikiproject would be fine.
  • 3) Wikipedian who is interested in prehistoric gastropods would be welcomed.
  • 4) Wikipedian who knows Russian language would be welcomed.
  • 5) Create list of the best gastropods related resources. Choose those ones, that could theoretically be public domain (TOP10). There exist many public domain resources, but we do not use them yet. Somebody who is able to do so, will have to investigate with 100% evidence if they are public domain or not.
  • 6) Import species and texts and images from AnimalBase (public domain source).
  • 7) Move all images that belong to Wikimedia Commons for their better categorizing, to exemplify ideal solution and for support for Wikipedias in other languages.
  • 8) Polbot have been creating articles based on IUCN Red list in 2006. Updated version of this Bot could check the IUCN status, checking synonyms, creating new articles. Even not all species of gastropods from IUCN Red list have been started. That can be done every time when the new version of IUCN Red list will be published.
  • 9) Semi-automatically create all recently extinct species articles from doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01245.x (appendix S1-S2).
  • 10) Creating about 2000 articles of species of Digenea would be great, because all Digenea have a gastropod in its lifecycle (exceptions exist). Some Digenea have no known snail host, some have one host and some have more snail hosts. Some gastropods have no known dinenean parasites, some have one known and some have more dinenean parasites known. These species should be wikilinked to each other. They would usually be the same reference in both articles. Standardized section name in digenean articles would be fine. (Standard section in gastropod articles is "Parasites" section.
  • 11) It would useful to adding a small icon PD-icon.svg indicating, that the certain reference is in the public domain to stimulate users to incorporate its content into the article, if they will find that reference useful. Example is Biomphalaria glabrata (version), where 3 public domain references are marked this way. It is questionable, if the same would be also possible to realize with Creative Commons references (I think it would be possible).
  • 12) I think, that robot should not archive talkpage on the Wikiproject. It should automatically archive only resolved discussions (those ones, that will be somehow marked as resolved). Unresolved discussions should be threated in different way, maybe archived on different place after very long time. It is because I believe, that every question or suggestion should be answered. It is better to get an answer "I do not know", than nothing.
An interesting idea that has some merit. Invertzoo (talk) 01:15, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • 13) Every project member can have his/her own {{To do}} template (anywhere in his/her User namespace). (I have the template on my user page.) Users can have transcluded "To do" templates of other wikipedians (of all members or of those ones, with them they are in closer cooperation). At least, we will know what are other members doing, respectively if they are seeking for help.
This is also not a bad idea except for the fact that some users have strong ideas about how exactly they want their user page to look. Invertzoo (talk) 01:17, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • 14) There ARE possibilities how to relatively easily add practical notes about how the certain article could be improved. Most commonly there are used: {{Expand section}} which is used inside articles; and "To do" template on talkpage of any article. Especially "expand section" has an advantage, that if you will provide information directly in the article, even less experienced wikipedian could be able to follow instructions and expand the article. (Consider, that we already use "expand section" in Bot generated articles.)

Random example:

Look, that it works with ref tags also:

  1. ^ Pilsbry (1889). page 163
  • I have started with non-controversial simple hints. More hints that will come maybe later. --Snek01 (talk) 18:59, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

How can this project expand?[edit]

How can this project reach out to and nurture newcomers to Wikipedia who share an interest in the project's goals?

It would be wonderful if we could approach shell clubs directly, and likewise approach museums, marine life institutes, and other nature conservancy centers on the land, as well as the American Malacological Society and Conchologists Of America, etc. If I lived in San Diego (where there is still a good shell club), I would certainly ask to be able to demonstrate the project to them at one of their meetings and show them how easy it is to contribute and then maybe we could get one or two of them interested.

Only a small percentage of people worldwide are willing and able to create content about snails and slugs (from the sea, from land or from freshwater), but we would love to recruit those who are! Currently I use the NewArtBot results to find out who is making new articles relating to gastropods, and a number of those people are indeed brand new Wp users. I would also like our Project to have one or two "commercials"; I drafted the wording for four Wikipedia banner ads here on one of my user subpages, but I need lots of help to actually create those ads. I would also be very interested to hear any other ideas as to how to attract new users. Invertzoo (talk) 17:28, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Do you need web banner-style advertisements? I think, that no. We should use all features of Wikipedia: using of wikilinks, easy modification. We should focus on personalization for example like this:
Erinna newcombi.png
Maggie, gastropods live everywhere.
Improve your knowledge with WikiProject Gastropods.
Erinna newcombi color.png
Ancula gibbosa.pngHermaea bifida.pngDendronotus frondosus.jpgDoto coronata 2.pngOkenia elegans.pngFacelina auriculata.pngTritonia hombergii.png
Maggie, recover hidden beauty with WikiProject Gastropods
Ancula gibbosa.pngHermaea bifida.pngDendronotus frondosus.jpgJimbo Wales 25 July 2009.pngOkenia elegans.pngFacelina auriculata.pngTritonia hombergii.png
Jimbo, gastropods are all around you! Help us to keep them in their Wikipedia articles.
Recover hidden beauty with WikiProject Gastropods

Do you see how extremely easy it is to personalize the (advertisement) message? You can for example incorporate images of gastropods, that the user have previously created or uploaded. Immense number of possibilities! You are good in communication with newbies. Each newbie can have his/her own combination that will address him/her. That works. --Snek01 (talk) 13:56, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes these are very pretty and cute too. I wanted to say (in partial reply to this) that I think it's really great that User:Snek01 manages to get an impressive number of gastropod DYKs onto the Wikipedia Main Page every year, because that does help to get people looking at gastropod articles, and it could in theory help attract new editors who are interested in gastropods (I say in theory, because as far as I know no-one new has signed up yet because of a DYK.)
The advantage of the standard non-customized Wikipedia banner ads however, is that once they have been created, (and I hope they will be!) they can be out there helping draw attention to our project with no further work at all being necessary on our part.
What I do is that when I discover (using NewArtBot) that a new editor has created a gastropod-related article, I use a standard "invitation to join WikiProject Gastropods", but I personalize the welcome message that goes with it (of course). Most often the new User is completely new to editing Wikipedia, and so I welcome them to the encyclopedia and then thank them and give the invite on the gastropod theme. It takes quite a bit of time and thought to do that for each new user, especially as you then need to watch for and reply to any messages that result from the first contact. Most of the editors in our project (except for GaneshK) don't make the effort to find and welcome newbies from scratch; I do it because I feel it is really essential, despite the fact that the process is quite time-consuming, and that is without taking the time to create an individualized graphic gastropod welcome for each person. I use words instead and our standard invite template.Invertzoo (talk) 22:38, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Following Invertzoo's line of thought, I believe shell collectors would be the most easily attracted contributors. Malacology harbors a small number of specialists worldwide. Not all of these few scientists are gastropod specialists, and an even lesser number would have enough time to contribute in WP. Performing a wide propaganda, drawing attention to our best articles would be undoubtedly an important first step. Daniel Cavallari (talk) 16:17, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Daniel that shell collectors are our greatest untapped resource in terms of who could be attracted to contribute to the gastropod project, and in terms of how many of them are out there. There are plenty of them! For example, I know from my own experience (as does Daniel) that there are numerous retired baby boomers and others who have large well-labelled shell collections and who could at least supply images of shells, and who maybe could find info (with citations) from popular shell books. We need all the help we can get. Even shell collectors who are not very scientific could still be very helpful here. Invertzoo (talk) 16:45, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

Following Daniel's line of thought, drawing attention to our best articles is important:

How much attention we need to draw? According to the number of articles in the whole Wikipedia (currently 3.7 millions articles) and the number of gastropod species (or number of our gastropod articles), there should THEORETICALLY appear some certain number of gastropod articles each year on the main page in the "Today's featured article" section. They should appear there, because Wikipedia does not want to show bias. There should appear approximately from three to eight articles about gastropods each year. That is our goal to get at least three featured articles to the Wikipedia main page per year. --Snek01 (talk) 21:51, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes we really do need to start getting what would be our first one or two articles up to FA and a fair number more up to GA too. However FA is really hard to achieve. The first one or two FAs will require not only a great deal of time and work, but also more importantly, a great deal of patience and a great deal of willingness to compromise. Invertzoo (talk) 16:45, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

As an occasional editor of Gastropod articles, and photographer of Gastropods, who is not a member of WP:Gastropods, I am very impressed by this WP's outreach. I was contacted by Invertzoo, and invited to join, within days of starting an article about an Australian species of abalone. I consider myself a generalist, so chose not to join, but the opportunity was certainly served up to me on a platter. Because of this positive experience, I later came back for identification help on a photo I took. That itself was a positive and successful interaction (connecting me with a local editor who had professional contacts). So all up, they're doing the right things! --99of9 (talk) 01:01, 14 September 2011 (UTC)