Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/News/August 2013/Op-ed

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Bugle.png

Productivity secrets of an absurdly prolific contributor

By Sturmvogel_66
WikiCup 2010
Gold Award
WikiCup Trophy Winner 2010.png
Awarded to

In the six years that I've been on Wiki I have taken a very large number of articles to Good article status and above. I thought that I might share some of the techniques that I used to maximize my productivity despite being quite lazy and often unmotivated. In no particular order:

  • I find that creating links to other Wiki articles is very time consuming because the types of articles that I like to write use a lot of jargon that I usually need to disambiguate from more common usages. So I've built a page in a text editor program (I like Textwrangler on my Mac, but Windows users can use Notepad) that contains many of the terms that I often use, properly formatted for Wiki. Using the pipe trick can help to reduce your typing as well.
  • Develop a standard format for similar articles. I've been writing ship articles these last few years and I use a standard layout for all of them. After filling out the infobox and adding references, I generally format the article into two main sections, Design and description and Career. In the first section I discuss the reasons why the ship was designed and/or developed and then go on to describe the ship in general terms, then cover propulsion, armament and armor in that sequence. I usually put construction details in the career section and I almost always follow a chronological sequence in its career to minimize confusion (and to make things easier for myself).
  • To quote Tom Lehrer, "Plagarize, Plagarize, Plagarize!". Ship articles are particularly amenable to plagarizing yourself as you can use the same descriptive text for all of the ships in a particular class. Furthermore you can copy that same text over to a different ship article and then make any necessary changes.
  • I find that my motivation to work on articles fluctuates over time. I help keep my interest up and give myself a little extra motivation by providing an achievable target to aim at, usually in the form of a good topic of related articles. Since the minimum number of articles to create a topic is only three, it's not too hard to accomplish. This does require that all the individual articles be assessed as good articles, but since I normally write to that standard anyway, that's not a big deal. I have a whole page of topic boxes that I use to track my progress and to help me decide what to work on next as I like to mix up the subjects that I'm working on to prevent burnout. It's very efficient to work on related articles one after another, but I find that my interest in finishing off the last few disappears rather quickly as they become a chore rather than a pleasure. Best to indulge my Attention Deficit Disorder and work on whatever grabs my interest.
  • I find that qualifying an article for the Did you know? (DYK) section of the front page is also a motivator. The main downside is that it has a five-day limit in which the article has to be essentially complete. That can be a problem, but I've taken to creating stub articles with complete infoboxes and reference sections and only a single sentence of text in the main body. That makes it very easy to meet the 5x expansion requirement for DYK whenever I decide to resume working on the article. This has the added virtue of creating the skeleton of the article to my standards if someone else starts work on it before I get back to it. You can also create the article in userspace before moving it to mainspace as the five-day limit doesn't start until it's in mainspace.
  • Participation in article-creation contests like the WikiCup is another way to motivate myself. While I'm not hugely competitive, I find that these contests can provide enough of a push to get me to work on an article when I'm otherwise disinclined to spend the time and effort.

The Bugle.png
About The Bugle
First published in 2006, the Bugle is the monthly newsletter of the English Wikipedia's Military history WikiProject.

» About the project
» Visit the Newsroom
» Subscribe to the Bugle
» Browse the Archives
+ Add a commentDiscuss this story

This is a really interesting article - I had been wondering how Sturmvogel maintained such a high workload. Thank you for contributing it. Nick-D (talk) 10:18, 21 August 2013 (UTC)