Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2017-11-24/WikiProject report

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Recommendations for WikiProjects: A novel approach to recruit members for your project!

A novel approach to recruit members for your project!

Uncle Sam Wikipedia.png

Hey folks!

I've been working on some cool technology to help WikiProjects. I've learned that many WikiProject organizers struggle to get members and manage the tasks of maintaining a WikiProject, with the result that lots of WikiProjects become inactive. I made a bot that scans RecentChanges for people who have been working on or near a WikiProject's tagged articles and who are likely to be productive members of the project; it then recommends these editors to project organizers who can choose whether to invite them. So far, six WikiProjects have signed up and have been using the bot. Here's what some of them have to say:

  • "I really think Bobo.03 is on to something here. This puts some science behind recommendations, and will be a great supplement to the current processes. We've already had new members join thanks to Bobo.03's tool ..." – Peacemaker67, MILHIST
  • "I would recommend the tool to others as a valuable way to reach new editors who might otherwise slip through the cracks, and who might prove to be valuable members of the community ..." – Tom, WPVG
  • "Taking our comments into consideration, Bobo.03 provided us with recruitment lists over the course of three months, each iteration is an improvement over the previous one. An impressive number of those who were invited have joined our project ..." – Rosiestep, WiR

I'm now ready to make the tool available to more WikiProject organizers. If you're interested and want to try it for yourself, contact me on my talk page and I'll help you get set up!

In the meantime, keep reading to see an example of what the recommendations look like and read more quotes from project organizers who've already tried the tool.

Username Why we recommend this editor First Edit Date Total Edits in ENWP Recent Activity Level Invite
Deadpool Deadpool just joined Wikipedia and made the first edit on an article within the scope of your project, Article:Agent X. 2017-9-14 1 New Editor invite
Spider-Man Spider-Man just joined Wikipedia and made the first edit on an article within the scope of your project, Article:Marvel Team-Up. 2017-9-11 4 New Editor invite
Hulk Hulk made 77 out of their most recent 500 edits to articles within the scope of your project. 2010-5-24 606 Very Active invite
Wolverine Wolverine made 49 out of their most recent 500 edits to articles within the scope of your project. 2006-1-23 2132 Active invite
Iron Man Iron Man edited articles similar to articles your project members edited. For example, Iron Man and your project member Superman edited 9 of the same articles in their most recent 500 edits. 2017-7-26 191 Active invite
Thor Thor edited articles similar to articles your project members edited. For example, Thor and your project member Captain America edited 8 of the same articles in their most recent 500 edits. 2009-5-19 28552 Very Active invite
Wikipedia Editathon at Newnham College, Cambridge, March 2017 - 63.jpg
Wikipedia Editathon at Newnham College, Cambridge, March 2017

More thoughts from our interviews with some Wikipedians who already have used our system:

How important it is for your project to recruit new members?

  • "Because WikiProject Video Games is one of Wikipedia's largest such projects, it is fortunate that recruitment is not as critical as smaller projects for which membership is an existential matter. But that's not to say WP:VG doesn't do any recruitment." – Tom, WPVG
  • "Very important. We have around 1,000 members and many of them are currently inactive, so we are always looking for new editors to join Milhist." – PeaceMaker67, MILHIST
  • "The tool is most helpful with surfacing users who have shown interest in the subject area and may not know that a WikiProject page exists to solicit third opinions, get feedback, and pool sourcing expertise." – Czar, WPVG


What is your experience using our tool?

  • "The tool has gone through several iterations in connection with its application for WiR. Initially, the output was rather difficult to interpret, especially as it contained many Wikipedians who have regularly created articles on women over the years but who were obviously not interested in joining. ... I was pleased to see that in later versions of the tool, most items on potential recruits also contained information on their interests." – Ipigott, WiR
  • "My experience has been positive. The majority of the recommendations have been clueful and we've had a few positive responses." – PeaceMaker67, MILHIST


What would you say to other WikiProject organizers who are considering signing up to get recommendations?

  • "I would recommend the tool to others as a valuable way to reach new editors who might otherwise slip through the cracks, and who might prove to be valuable members of the community. Early guidance in Wikipedia's rules, customs, and culture is likely to make for a smooth transition from new editor to established editor, and I believe this tool will enable established users to more effectively and systematically reach a better cross section of new potential editors for the WikiProject." – Tom, WPVG
  • "Women in Red is rather different from most of the other WikiProjects but I have also seen positive reactions from other projects where the tool has been tested. I think the more active WikiProjects would benefit from the tool if they wish to increase their membership." – Ipigott, WiR
  • "Do it. Try it out and see what you think." – PeaceMaker67, MILHIST


Some other comments from Wikipedians:

  • "One of Women in Red's 2017 goals was to develop a recruitment strategy. We know we have a lot of contributors, in addition to our members, but we didn't understand how to develop a recruitment process, let alone an automated one. After user:Bobo.03 reached out to us with his proposal, Women in Red had many conversations with him regarding our scope, our metrics, and our requirements. Taking our comments into consideration, he provided us with recruitment lists over the course of three months, each iteration an improvement over the previous one. An impressive number of those who were invited have joined our project. The short-term impact is greater awareness regarding Wikipedia's content gender gap and what one WikiProject is doing about it; the long-term impact will take time to assess. In the meantime, a big thank you to Bobo.03 for developing this tool, which I think is currently only available on ENWP but other language Wikipedias would probably find it useful." – Rosiestep, WiR
  • "I really think Bobo.03 is on to something here. To date, recruitment of new editors to Wikiproject Military history has been rather organic, with coordinators inviting them to join when we notice someone new via our watchlisted articles. But no-one has all our articles watchlisted. This puts some science behind recommendations, and will be a great supplement to the current processes. We've already had new members join thanks to Bobo.03's tool. I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes." – Peacemaker67, MILHIST


Again, if you like what you see and you want to test it out, contact me on my talk page! Bobo.03 (talk) 20:57, 4 October 2017 (UTC)