Wikipedia talk:How to run an edit-a-thon

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Please be bold[edit]

I've created this how-to guide with my work account instead of my personal one since I did this as part of my followup work after Wikipedia:Meetup/San Francisco WikiWomen's Edit-a-Thon, but this is not something the Foundation owns at all. Lots of community members have experience with edit-a-thons, so please hack away. :) Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 21:06, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Input from a UK perspective[edit]

Please see [1] for a UK perspective based on the British Library events. We really need to figure out a single place that this information can be located. Perhaps Meta would be the best place, given its nominal role of being the place where all Wikimedia projects come together to discuss anything cross-wiki? Mike Peel (talk) 22:40, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

I feel pretty resistant to saying we need a one-size-fits-all documentation page, especially on a place no one reads like Meta or Outreach wikis. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:45, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
Also, thanks for the link to the libraries guide, that's great stuff! Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:47, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm just tired of pointing out the same link to information again and again. ;-) And I keep wishing that there was a single place for cross-project discussions to take place. I agree that a 'one-size-fits-all documentation page' isn't the solution - but a one-stop page that links to a variety of useful perspectives would be ... erm ... useful. Mike Peel (talk) 23:18, 20 March 2012 (UTC) P.S. some people (e.g. me) do read meta... ;-)
This is yet another case where cross-wiki transclusion would solve all our woes. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 23:22, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
Or having a culture that is used to, and encouraged to, gather on both on a local scale, and a cross-project scale, in just 2 distinct places - rather than having the latter fragmented across multiple wikis and mailing lists. </rant> Mike Peel (talk) 23:44, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
Hear hear! Ijon (talk) 01:33, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

A key reason for the largest British Library event working well was having it well structured with a bit of up front introductions (by me) at the beginning which encouraged everyone to, very briefly, explain their background and expectations. This was a 25 people event, a small event might easily work well in a more un-conference like fashion, though not everyone is comfortable in the absence of an agenda. Identifying a leader for the event who is experienced, comfortable with keeping the event on time and injecting a bit of humour to the process is probably worth highlighting in a how-to. Cheers -- (talk) 22:54, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for that Fae. If anyone's interested, we started an event-specific notes page at Wikipedia:Meetup/San Francisco WikiWomen's Edit-a-Thon/Reflections. Cheers, Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:57, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
I still remember well the unexpected situation that we encountered at the first British Library editathon - we'd planned for 50:50 wikimedia:library curator attendees over the course of a 2-day event (Fri-Sat) that could support each other with their different skill sets, but it turned out that on the Friday we had 20-odd curators, and only 3 Wikimedians present - and then on the Saturday, the ratio was reversed as we had only a couple of curators but lots of Wikimedians. Fortunately, Fæ (who was an unknown Wikipedian to me at the time) saved the (fri)day. Lesson learned: plan for all eventualities, and have schedules planned for the three possible situations of curators-only, wikimedians-only and mixed-curators-and-wikimedians. Mike Peel (talk) 23:44, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Discussing the term edit-a-thon[edit]

hey, I just came across edit-a-thon, an event or timeframe dedicated to develop specific WP articles. I always use the term 'Wikisprint' for this type of event after I think these two terms overlap in their meaning or even mean the same. Should not we merge them? Bujatt (talk) 08:19, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Editathon - should it be a category?[edit]

I see a lot of editathons have come out of the Wikipedia Loves Libraries campaign. But I also see editathons held at other kinds of institutions (not all of which qualify for a meetup). Should there be a new category for editathons? -- kosboot (talk) 19:41, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

I think thats a great idea! Zell Faze (talk) 19:56, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Be bold, my friend. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:07, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

getting articles from draft into the main space[edit]

At an edit-a-thon in Australia this week, we had 100+ mostly new contributers, some at physical meetups, others online. They initially created their articles in sandbox and as drafts, but at the end of the day, we really wanted to get the articles into main space (as past experience with edit training has shown a lot of people don't return to editing after the event is over and the work would be lost if we didn't immediately get it into main space). However, the new contributors could not do a "move", so we had to resort to copy-and-paste. A lot of the online participants needed someone else to do it for them. The result was the edit histories were lost and various people sent unpleasant messages to me and others involved because of it. There was nothing on this page that mentioned this issue, so I was unprepared for it. Can it be updated to explain how to deal with this problem? It's a waste if the event ends with all the articles still sitting in draft. I am told if we had had an administrator involved in the event they could have solved the problem in some way, but I am sketchy on the details. But presumably we have to have solutions that work for events that don't have an administrator involved. Kerry (talk) 21:42, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

I'm not an admin, but I'd be willing to review some articles if the problem ever crops up again. Its not a great solution, but I'd be happy to help however I can. Zell Faze (talk) 21:22, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

List of edit-a-thons[edit]

Since it will eventually dwarf the article content, perhaps the list of edit-a-thons should be spun off to a separate article? Speaking personally, I would like to see much more non-US and non-English language entries. kosboot (talk) 14:16, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

I've removed it entirely as it doesn't belong here. Upcoming and past events should be listed at the applicable section of Wikipedia:Meetup. The list caused confusion among editors at UCLA, creating a wasted opportunity. Chris Troutman (talk) 05:08, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I've reverted the removal, since I think it does belong here or on a spin-off page. Editathons and meetups are two distinct things, with different objectives - the former on editing, the latter on meeting other editors (although of course, both things happen at both types of events). Having a distinct list of editathons would be good; having a joint upcoming events list would also be good. What was the confusion with UCLA editors? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:51, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
I've been thinking of making a separate "list of editathons" article. One issue on my mind: What could a new article do that would appeal to Wikipedians across the world to contribute? (You might say "put it on Meta" - but the majority of people don't know about or don't check Meta.) kosboot (talk) 18:33, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure there's a better answer than putting it on meta, sorry. That's where other language contributors would work on the list; meta has the translate extension installed to enable this. I suspect that most people organising this type of event will already be familiar with meta; and the way to improve meta and get more people active there is to put good content there and to encourage people to expand it.
An alternative approach might be to focus on english language editathons, which would naturally be better suited to an enwp page rather than a meta page. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:15, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
I notice now that the number of edit-a-thons has exploded, many of which are not listed on this list but are concatenated through the categorization (see the category of edit-a-thons in 2015). I wonder if it might be better to prune the list (of course making sure that each edit-a-thon page has appropriate categorization) and just listing those whose quality would serve as "best practices." - kosboot (talk) 16:55, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Rather than pruning, it might be a good time to move the list onto a separate page, and then integrate the best practices into the rest of the text? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:39, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Well, I was thinking of pruning because there are now so many edit-a-thons that it seems most of those from this year are not being recorded on the list. Unless the list is maintained it becomes a historical artifact -- and why bother, since the categorization does that automatically. That being the case, and being that this page is going to attract newbies, I thought it would be better just to have examples of the most informative edit-a-thon pages. - kosboot (talk) 19:51, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
The problem with just using categorisation is that there isn't one single wiki that hosts all (or even most) of the editathon pages - some are here, some are on meta, and some are on individual chapter websites. We can't do inter-wiki categorisation, but we can do inter-wiki lists, which is why I'm pushing to keep this list somewhere. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:12, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
To which I counter that the number of edit-a-thons makes the list unmanageable - it only represents "some" edit-a-thons - in other words, it's misleading unless people are going to make sure that every event is on the list. So far that doesn't seem to be the case. - kosboot (talk) 21:57, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

History of Wikipedia Edit-a-Thons[edit]

Has anyone put together a history of the Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon? Who was the first group to do it? Why? Was it the British Library? Could there be section on this page created by anyone in the know? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jmhuculak (talkcontribs) 00:49, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

User account creation strategy[edit]

I am looking to host an edit-a-thon but am a little confused about the user account creation strategy. Can someone elaborate about what one has to do in order to request the exception to the account creation limit? Thanks! SBINFocus (talk) 22:29, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

The safest way is to ask all potential new attendees to have an account before they begin (ask them to submit their usernames in advance on the signup page, so that you know they'll set it up beforehand). Lacking that, befriend an administrator and explain the situation and they'll take care of it for you. kosboot (talk) 00:57, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
Just to eleborate. There's two problems here. Firstly, the limit of new accounts that can be created at the same IP address in a day. This you can get around in two ways. Firstly, by asking folks to create accounts in advance which they will typically do from a wider range of different IP addresses. The problem with this is that some won't bother to it, while others will have forgotten their new username and password when they turn up to your event and have to create another one anyway! So you need to get yourself account creator right, so you can create the accounts on the day if the limit becomes a problem. There is a third way (which I have never done) where you arrange in advance for the IP address on the day to be allowed to create lots of accounts. Generally, I don't know the IP address of the venue's wifi in advance and am usually interfacing with people in the organisation who aren't technically minded. If you take this route, watch out for time zone issues so you and the person creating the relaxation have a common understanding of when it is required. The second problem is the restrictions on new accounts. Until an account is 4 days old and has 10 edits, it is limited in a number of ways, including new article creation (which might be a focus of your event!) and imposing the use of Capcha which people hate. To get around this, you need to get an admin to mark them as "confirmed users". To do that, you need to know the user names. So I try to get people to create user accounts in advance and then email them to me and then I pass them to a friendly admin to "confirm". However, if they turn up on the day without an account, you still have the problem unless you have an admin present. Generally, unless you have the luxury of many helpers, you are too busy to be able to take time out to pass those just-created user names to the not-present admin (who may be busy with their day job at that time or otherwise unavailable) so those folk are now restricted in what they can do relative to the others in the room. In that case, if new articles are needed, you create the minium intial article and then they can edit it (praying no super-zealous person will speedy-delete it between your intial creation and the first genuine edits). In my experience there is no danger in confirming these new users. People who come to events are never vandals in my experence but my groups are all self-selecting middle-aged and older folk. Perhaps it might be different if you are working with school-age kids or university students, especially if they are not there of their own free will. Because a lot of edit-a-thons have the goal of creating more content about some particular topic, being able to create new articles is important and using Article for Creation (the only option for unconfirmed users) is a bit of a disaster, so you really do want these folks to be "confirmed users". Kerry (talk) 02:06, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Following on from that, I don't know of any way to completely "protect" bumbling new users from over-zealous editors. We have editors in our communities who ignore everything in WP:NOBITE and smack new users over the head with speedy deletions, immediate reverts, nasty talk messages, etc in a really quite unjustifiable way. Sometimes it happens in under a minute to your newbies, which is really discouraging. And if you ever try to remonstrate with these people, you get abused too (apparently it's all your fault) as if you could be leaning over 50 people's shoulders simultaneously before they hit Save. Aggressive and abusive editors are difficult to avoid in my experience. Tip: if you can, discourage folks from editing very popular articles as they will have large watchlists. Try to keep any early edits in less popular articles to avoid awaking these sleeping dragons. Kerry (talk) 02:18, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Hi Kerry, just wanted to say a quick thanks for this good tip. We are running our first edit-a-thon this Sunday/Monday in virtual space so I was looking around for tips. If anyone wants to pop into this edit-athon on water and sanitation topics, we have a virtual room in Adobe Connect for that time, see here for details. Luckily or unluckily our types of articles usually only have small watchlistst. EMsmile (talk) 15:15, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

Defined goals[edit]

Hi. I do a lot of NPP and have been helping to clean up and mark as reviewed a lot of articles created on editathons recently. I think many of these projects, especially the women in science editathons, have really great ambitions. I have a few thoughts about how they could help to get people used to the format of Wikipedia articles.

Wikipedia is intended to be structured and interconnected. One article is linked to and discoverable from another, articles are marked with keywords so they can be indexed into categories and discovered from a search engine. Discovering how all this works is difficult for the new contributor. Speaking personally, when I joined Wikipedia in 2013 I sort of knew what an article looked like, on the outside, but I didn't understand how the formatting worked. I think a lot of people interested in joining Wikipedia will have read a lot of articles, too. But formatting is the hardest bit to discover, and a lot of people on editathons don't seem to go away any the wiser about it.

I suggest the following would make a great checklist for new Wikipedia articles created on editathons:

  • Three citations (the Google Books citation generator is often really helpful here)
  • Three categories - speaking of which, if editathon participants are often creating new articles, I suggest that HotCat is enabled by default on their accounts if they're mass-created by the person running the editathon
  • Two links to other Wikipedia articles
  • One WikiProject banner on the talk page
  • One link from another Wikipedia article (if possible, may not be for obscure subjects)

I think that doing those things (or at least setting them as a standard aspiration) should give people a sense of how Wikipedia articles work and what reviewers are looking for and feel they need to fix.

More practically, a suggestion that I'd add to this guide is that for people unsure how to write good articles, looking at featured articles on comparable topics for guidance is often a great plan. I know I did that when I wrote my first few articles.

Although I wouldn't make it a hard and fast guideline, I would reassure new article creators that short articles are not a problem and what's important is citations verifiying the facts in an article. I've often seen gigantic articles created at editathons padded out with unnecessary information or obvious statements (a professor both teaches and does research! She's written many presentations at conferences! Here's her entire list of papers going back to 1986!) I sometimes just want to hug these poor people and tell them that they didn't need to write all that. Perhaps suggest that six sentences is a great target length for a first article.

My other concern is that I've sometimes unfortunately seen NPPs be a little brusque with editathon contributors. I think this is often because new articles on topics people care about can seem a bit gushing and promotional, even if they're just written at an editathon without promotion in mind, because people see articles as "their" project and want to "sell" the person to convince the reader that they matter. But anyway, I think it might reduce this problem if all editathon participants are encouraged to put a set text on their user page saying that they're at such-and-such editathon working on such-and-such a topic.

Any thoughts? Blythwood (talk) 22:41, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

Look like good suggestion to me, Blythwood. (I might reduce it to two citations and two categories, to make life easier) Although I haven't yet attended an editathon (and only do a bit of new article checking whilst correcting spelling errors) I am very concerned by the ease with which new editors can be totally jumped on by people like you and me for legitimate weaknesses in brand new articles. I use Lupin's live spellchecker and, more recently, WP:AWB. Neither seem to allow any time whatsoever for an article to 'bed in' before errors are flagged up. So I have no way of knowing how recently, by whom, or under what circumstances an article has been created.
If I see a notice saying it's part of an educational project I do tend to be less critical (or at least try to be more more diplomatic) in correcting or pointing out mistakes. See this on my talk page for a not unreasonable example how AWB can upset someone when it's checking brand new articles. When I am suspicious, and think an article probably needs AfD or Speedy Deletion, I do go and check the user out more carefully, but I don't have the time or reason to do so otherwise. So, as well as your sensible suggestion recommending a note on each User's Talk Page, why not suggest users employ the {{in use}} or {{under construction}} templates at the top of each article, too? The 'under construction' template could easily be left on for a few days after the event, too.Parkywiki (talk) 15:21, 25 February 2017 (UTC)