Wikipedia talk:Wiki Guides/What was your new user experience

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What was your new user experience?

Abhishek Singh[edit]

Dear all,

Let me answer the basics for joining this project.

Why did I start editing Wikipedia? I had been reading Wikipedia for last 5 years to learn about new things. But every-time I would try to find an India-specific information on Wikipedia, I would find it substantially incomplete, inaccurate, heavily under-informed or in most cases absent. After almost one year of such frustration I decided to work on Wikipedia myself to help substantiate its content about India, its government, politics, social issues, etc. So after editing Wikipedia, anonymously for a couple of months, I finally registered on 14th Feb 2011 (yes a few days back).

What was my first experience like? When I created my first article, it was "declined" due to lack of references. After making further improvements spending many hours on Google, when I resubmitted the article, no one reverted. Imagine the frustration. Another article I recently created was "Blanked out" as the reviewer claimed it was based on copyright material which was an incorrect assessment. What the reviewer failed to notice was that the material was available under RTI in India. In India, RTI means "Right to information" (details can be found on Wikipedia) which means that all government information released under RTI is public information. What do we attribute that to? Was that an Anamoly? Anyway I am still working at improving my work and I agree with user: Kwah-LeBaire that " there should be a newbie area-- a place to go when you decide you want to make your first contribution, which is monitored by friendly, knowledgeable people and which can limit the damage made by honest people fumbling at their first steps. The mountains of rules showered on newbies DO NOT help. It has to be simple, easily digestible and friendly. "

What went well? The technology. Wikipedia is surprisingly easy to read, edit and manage. It is even easier than managing my own webpage.

Did anyone help me? Not yet. May be in another few weeks a WikiGnome, WikiFairy or WikiElf would but right now no one is helping even as I am continuing to put my valuable hours in improving the content on Wikipedia.

What could be done better? We can probably all agree that the most important way to grow a community is for that community to maintain a posture of warm reception, communicate a sense of belonging and instill a sense of pride for 'the common goal' into every new individual who wishes to join it. If every new editor at Wikipedia is made to feel that he belongs at Wikipedia and if a sense of self-worth and gratitude can be communicated to them, then I am sure we can grow our community at the desired pace. There would always be the odd case of a rotten apple trying to penetrate a community with mischievous intent. But the desire to protect the community from this odd case should not dictate the terms of handling every newcomer or else we risk repudiating the genius of collective wisdom that Wikipedia intends to promote. The idea of WikiGnomes, WikiFairies, WikiElves, etc is heartening but such behavior should be more mainstream than an exception. Friendly behavior should be more actively promoted too with the use of concepts like "brownie" points, etc. Newcomers should be allowed to give brownie points to those who help them. Alternatively helpful users should be given more recognition. E.g. including a "mentor" link on the page of every newcomer they help which says "I was helped by user: JasonAlexander" or "My Wikipedia Mentor is user NaUnSi". It's like bumper stickers for fraternity and universities that we all so proudly display when we know that we went to the right college.

In these times of automated responses, I'm not sure if people are keen on receiving yet another 'automated welcome email'. Also if someone is smart enough to start editing Wikipedia pages, I think what is really needed is some personal guidance in evaluating people's contribution. So my suggestion would be to break down the problem into the following

Two Angles

  1. What can be done to help the newcomers in an automated way?
  2. What can be done to avoid discouraging new users from actively editing even if they have made a mistake?

The automation part is easy to figure out. Use of wizard (like the current one for creation of new articles) etc can be recommended to new editors to avoid them from making the most common mistakes. For avoiding the "discouragement", I think a more personal approach is necessary. For starters, use of offensive sounding terms like "declined" should not be used. If a reviewer does not like someone's article or feels that it does not follow the necessary guidelines, then the article should be marked as "Under Improvement" process or "Under Feedback" process to give an editor a sense of belonging and hope.

Well I have said a lot here, so I will stop now but feel free to contact me. abhishek singh 14:24, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia really needs to do a better job of welcoming and helping new editors, especially ones from countries such as India and China since coverage of many places around the world is not good enough right now and new editors from these places could help a lot. I think you have many good ideas for improvement so hopefully Wikipedia can make some improvements to help new editors.-Schnurrbart (talk) 21:09, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Wilhelmina Will[edit]

I became a registered editor in Wikipedia in June, 2007, after many months of trying; since circa January that year, to be... I guess you can't say "exact". The details behind it are unnecessary, but I had to e-mail a lot of people about it before I fully understood what to do. Even after I started editing with my account, I only felt comfortable doing the simplest of edits; I remember thinking it would be a huge time-consuming task to add in an external link to an article, or a fair-use rationale to an image description page, before I actually tried it. But perhaps one of the best memories I have, is when I learned that an "edit conflict" message does not appear when a previous edit to a page is simultaneously undone by two people. Back in the day, I was mostly focused on South Park-related articles, though I've not watched that show in years now, and it was in late July 2007, on the article about the show itself, that a user had added a link to a "Myspace" page, and I knew enough at this point that Myspace links were considered spam, so I went to undo that revision.

Thinking I had, and proud of myself (it would have been one of the first "undos" I did, if I recall correctly), I went to the history of the article to see my name up there, and was surprised to see another user's name up there instead. It occurred to me briefly that the server might have been slow (although at that time I wouldn't have been calling it a "server", because I didn't know that's what it was called), but when I saw the time at which this user's edit had been made, and followed it up by checking what had been done in that edit, I was initially furious to find that this user had (from my perspective at that time) been given credit for my undo! I waited a moment to calm down, then I went to that user's talkpage to discuss this with him. When I got there, I noticed that he seemed to have a history of reverting vandalism, and then having the vandals come to his talkpage and complain about this! Figuring he had enough trouble on his hands, I decided to go easy on him, and told him simply that I was upset because he was given credit for undoing the edit I had undone, and that I hoped (because I assumed at the time that nearly all of the other editors were involved with running the Wikimedia software) he would look into the error so it wouldn't happen again. Needless to say, he was very perplexed at this, but did his best to explain to me how the system worked, and another user also came and clarified for me, that when two people revert a particular edit at the same time, one goes through and gets logged, and that it had simply been this other user's lucky day in this case.

I had a number of similar experiences to this early on (I'm alarmed by how naive I really was back then), but this remains one of my most prominent memories of those times. Fortunately, in going-on 3 years, 8 months, I've managed to gain a pretty decent understanding of how the different fields of editing in Wikipedia operate. A considerable amount of this comes from interacting with other users, but most of the time I've kept to myself, and learned through observing (e.g., watching how others edit, looking at editing formulas/formulas for templates, etc., and experimenting; when you have 3 personal sandboxes, you gotta use 'em!). My experiences here have not only helped to shape the Wikipedian I am today, but also how I respond to situations in life. I'll finish with: It's been well worth it! Wilhelmina Will (talk) 23:53, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Jalexander/Jamesofur[edit]

I remember making some random ip edits in 2006 and early 2007 (mostly from school) for little mistakes. For some reason the first edit I REMEMBERED making on my account was to change the endowment number for my university. Evidently I blanked out a bit on the other things I did before that :) Looking back I do remember trying to make an infobox for B. D. Wong who didn't have one and trying to fiddle with the code for it on my user page. I never finished it but a couple months later a bot removed the image because it was a fair use one (and eventually it was deleted because they found a free image). I don't honestly remember much outreach from other users. I was always a reader and eventually started finding links on the talk page to things like ARBCOM messages and eventually decided to try my hand at anti vandal fighting. It all went down hill from there ;) Jalexander--WMF 03:28, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Hydroxonium[edit]

Shortly after I started editing full-time, my entire ISP was incorrectly/wrongly blocked. Most users asked for the ISP to be unblocked, but they were ignored and/or bitten aggressively. After 3 months of asking for unblocks, everybody gave up. The block was forgotten about and left in place for 2 and 1/2 years. I could add TONS more, but you get the picture. - Hydroxonium (H3O+) 11:49, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

PeterSymonds[edit]

I don't remember signing up, but I remember making the occasional few edits after I joined in 2005. I also remember trying to figure out the WikiSyntax. My early edits caused fairly little contention; to my knowledge I was never bitten, but my talk page remained very quiet, so I wasn't really sure who to ask for help. I tried to submit one of my articles over four times because in 2006, navigating away from the page deleted any changes from the box, and I must have accidentally done that a few times, so that was rather frustrating! Apart from that, it wasn't very exciting or eventful; my activity rose consistently when I wrote my first featured article, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. PeterSymonds (talk) 22:32, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Carcharoth[edit]

The two articles that drew me into editing Wikipedia were the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and the 7 July 2005 London bombings. It was seeing those articles develop, and wanting to add comments and edits myself, that made me realise it really was possible for anyone to edit. The first article I named above is what prompted me to create an account, and the second article is what drew me further in (there have been other discussions like this, which I'll try and find - one was on wiki-en-l I think). After that, I probably really wasn't going to be put off by others, so I was unlikely to get bitten. However, it took months if not years to get to grips with how Wikipedia works, and for ages there was a constant feeling of running hard simply to stand still. Now I take a more relaxed view and accept that it is not really possible to be fully aware of the big picture of Wikipedia, and you have to decide on a level of activity that works for you. But I think that a lot of new editors may take a long time to realise this. Also, it may take weeks and months for new editors to feel comfortable or even motivated to increase their activity. Encouraging new editors should, IMO, be balanced with ensuring even development as an editor, and avoiding the burnout that is possible at various stages. It may never be too early to ask people what exactly they want from their Wikipedia experience, and tailor things to help them that way. Ask them what sort of editor they would want to be in a year's time, and give advice on developing interests and things like that. Carcharoth (talk) 00:26, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Danger[edit]

I began editing Wikipedia after a friend of mine wrote on her blog about a hoax article she had written about a supposed pre-Socratic philosopher. It stayed up for three years; some English artist even copied the text and claimed that her art was inspired by this philosopher's writing. This offended my sense of Truth and Beauty and a few months later after reading all the instructions I made my first edit: creating the AfD for this article. Then I went to work on the backlogs, reading the exciting guides and manuals before starting each page. Fortunately I started then and not now, because after wikifying a few articles I came across College softball, and, since it was in such a sorry state and seemed to be the same content as softball I nommed it for deletion. The consensus was that it was a bad faith nom and that I was probably a misogynist who wanted to delete it because it's a women's sport. And thus, because I didn't watchlist the AfD and no one left me a nasty note on my talk page, I was not driven off of Wikipedia for ever and ever amen. And then I gnomed for 4 and a half years. The end. (I guess the moral of the story is that even users who read all the instructions miss some of them and screw up.) --Danger (talk) 19:13, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

TomStar81[edit]

You can find a longer version of this on my Userpage if you like, but I arrived here after getting interested in the Universal Century Gundam timeline. I had gone looking for the ships used by the space fleets of both of the sides in the story arch, and one such result in google returned a message of "Wikipedia has no article with this exact name. You are welcome to create it (etc)". I though "Wow, I could create an article and have it read online? Sweet." so I went for it. I didn't really have a lot of help in the beginning, being an independent person I sort of like to figure things out for myself, so I experimented and made my share of mistakes. About a year and a half after joining, Wikipedia's ideas on worthwhile knowledge underwent a transformation that left most of what I had worked so hard to put here to out of the newly defined acceptable material criteria. I watched as all the hard work I had put into the site for the gundam series and the video games disappear simple because they were works of fiction. Since then I have nested in the military history project, doing what I can to help others and trying my best not to suck at it. I can say in good faith that if I found wikipedia today its highly unlikely I would have registered an account and/or chosen to help because there really isn't any point in doing either these days. Drop me line if you want me to add or clarify anything. TomStar81 (Talk) 13:40, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Kwah-LeBaire[edit]

My first edits were at the end of 2009. I was curious about a piece of music -- The Whiffenpoof Song -- I'd encountered in films made over 50 years apart. The Wikipedia article had some information, but no reference to either of those films. So I took a risk and made some small additions. Six months later I had some spare time and thought I'd add some articles about Australian films and filmmakers, a long-standing interest of mine. This was the first time I attempted to start an article from scratch. I was about one paragraph into the exercise, when the sniping and threats started. I found the experience threatening, frustrating and deeply unpleasant. I made the point at the time to a couple of the snipers, one of whom backed off straightaway and one of whom changed his tone. Another guy came along and offered some helpful information, then tried to recruit me to his pet project. I politely declined. I didn't want to join a cult, just put up some articles about subjects no one else had touched. So he disappeared. I never did make a contact that went beyond either an attempt at recruitment or passing casual criticism.

At the same time, I have discovered in general conversation (in the real world) a great pool of people who have made some attempt at contributing to Wikipedia and given it up as a bad job. There exists a wide sense of disilluionment with Wikipedia within the wider community, sufficient to discourage hopeful new people from ever making their first attempt. If you're serious about welcoming new people (as distinct from lording it over the sub-humans who haven't clocked up 100,000+ edits), you need to approach the subject in a serious manner. There should a newbie area -- a place to go when you decide you want to make your first contribution, which is monitored by friendly, knowledgeable people and which can limit the damage made by honest people fumbling at their first steps. The mountains of rules showered on newbies DO NOT help. It has to be simple, easily digestible and friendly. Kwah-LeBaire (talk) 22:54, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Interesting idea, I like it. No idea whether it's feasible though.--Physics is all gnomes (talk) 15:50, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Jsayre64[edit]

I definitely did not enjoy the first several weeks after I created an account here on Wikipedia, in July of last year. I was annoyed and puzzled by image problem notices and I felt as if I were a burden on everyone else. But then I signed up to join the friendly editors at WikiProject Oregon and I began to realize how I could actually help an encyclopedia. I think inviting new editors into the warm doors of WikiProjects that, based on their edits, they might be interested in, is a greate way to welcome them, because WikiProjects promote collaboration and shooting for a goal. I think that would be so much more comfortable for new editors, rather than editing random articles alone… shivering out in the cold. Jsayre64 (talk) 01:34, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Yoenit[edit]

I made a few small edits back in 2008, but did not become an active contributor till April 2010. What convinced me to start editing at that point was that I stumbled upon wp:OMT. I started off with reading some of the Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Academy, asking questions about reference formatting on the talkpage of the user who welcomed me. I also got myself adopted, but that did not really work as my adopter was in a different time zone and I did not want to wait 12 hours for answers on every question. {{help}} was much more useful. From there on it was smooth sailing and I got my first FA 2 months after I started editing. I think the following factors were very important to my succes as a new editor:

  • The small scale, high activity and clearly defined goal of wp:OMT. Many wikiprojects are all but abandoned or so large there is no sense of community. Highly focused small scale projects are much more effective and welcoming to new users.
  • Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Academy. Is it far from perfect, but definitely a good starting point for a user who wants to contribute but doesn't really know how or which rules to follow.
  • Being welcomed. The template itself is completely overwhelming and useless, but it brings you into contact with an experienced editor you can ask questions.
  • Starting off in a pre-existing non-contentious low visibility article. Dropping straight into some dispute over notability, POV pushing or whatever else would probably have pushed me away from wikipedia. Yoenit (talk) 10:26, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

totnesmartin[edit]

When I started here in 2006, ten thousand edits ago, I made every mistake going. WP:POV, WP:OR, WP:FRINGE, you name it. I even got into a flame war over at talk:Political correctness (*cringes*). I knew nothing about editing a wiki, I just wanted wikipedia to say what wasn't being said. The main thing that helped (and why I'm posting this nostalgiafest) is that somebody noticed me and invited me to join a wikiproject. I think wikiprojects are a damn useful and underappreciated part of WP, and newbies should join, or be invited to join, any project that covers their interests. Totnesmartin (talk) 17:30, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Pfly[edit]

For me it began one day at a friend's place. I was telling her about a possible ancestor-cousin of mine who was a pirate captain, and how a recent book had used his hanging as a kind of milestone, an end to the "Golden Age of Piracy". She said, "let's see if he's on Wikipedia". He wasn't, so she created a page in less than a minute. I was surprised and amazed. It took me months before I started editing for real, but once I started I never stopped. Nothing dramatic happened in my early experience. But then, I focused mostly on rather obscure topics. The first page I made myself was Pocosin (which still needs work). It took me quite a while to get the hang of references and how best to use citations. Of course, things were much more lax back then. The page my friend created back in 2005 was William Fly. Her first version had no references or anything other than the words: "Pirate, died by hanging. Last words were, roughly, a warning to captains to treat their sailors well and pay them on time." I'm skeptical that such a new page would survive its first day here in 2011. Pfly (talk) 00:29, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

User:Fetchcomms[edit]

I signed up in 2006, never edited, forgot about it until October 2009, was bored, decided to make a userpage as fancy as everyone else's (man, I'd go crazy but we should really ban creative userpages—they distract new users from writing an encyclopedia), and probably made 400 edits to it before starting to think about articles. As usual for about 50% of noobs, I ended up doing NPP/CSD work with Twinkle, moving on later to anti-vandalism with Huggle, etc. I think I was probably more BITEy and un-AGFy in my first 2,000 edits than anyone was to me, and rightly so. We can't let ambitious new users drive away other newer users with their ignorance. Oh, and IRC is often good for learning on the fly. As long as one isn't too immature, just reading other people's text is a good way to pick up information.

I support being unBITEy and AGFing for new users but once they get past the 1,000-edit threshold and think they're on top of the world, we need to start being a bit more realistic, preventing excessive immaturity/MySpaceyness early on, etc. and teaching them how to become experienced helpers of completely new users. That way we have a cycle of helpful/clueful newish and not-newish users helping the true noobs. /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 03:33, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

OlEnglish[edit]

I started out in early 2008 being an avid reader, wishing I could make edits but not being able to because my whole IP range was blocked (for something someone else did) by an admin on some kind of blocking warpath. The admin apparently had made several questionable blocks and was eventually de-sysopped for it, after which he stopped editing. I don't want to name names, but if you really want to find out who it was, look at the User:JamesR/AdminStats list for blocks. Anyways, it was only after this that my IP was unblocked and I was finally able to create an account (I think I was caught in an autoblock, I don't quite remember what the issue was). My first edits were to make minor corrections and gnomish adjustments to articles as I came across them while I continued reading random articles. Today, besides now having some extra tools to play with, I'm still enjoying doing what I started out doing, and my enthusiasm hasn't waned one bit. So what has my early experience with Wikipedia taught me? That WP:DONTBITE is important, and that our various processes do work. We must remain as open as possible to new editors, and remember to not start to take WP:AGF for granted just because we now happen to be seasoned, veteran editors. -- œ 13:09, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

demize[edit]

I started out with a few minor edits and one hoax article in 2007-ish. I was treated fairly (the hoax article was nominated under CSD A7 by somebody using Twinkle so I got a friendly welcome notice and a notice saying that the article was nominated for speedy deletion) then, and then I forgot about wikipedia for a while. I came back late last year, went through a name change (Julianmh to Demize) where everything went smoothly, and then I started helping out in various places. I've done simple vandal fighting with Twinkle, vandal fighting with Huggle and Igloo, NPP with Twinkle, I clerk at WP:CHU, I've done some Good Article reviews and plan on doing more. As well, a year or two ago I discovered that multiple IPs I used were blocked by checkuser, and I went through the process to get the ip-block-exemption user right, and the people I encountered were quite helpful. Overall, my experience was good, and I believe that new editors must be treated kindly and pleasantly, since anybody can become a helpful member unless they're scared away. demize (t · c) 21:56, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

The Interior[edit]

I actually started out at the behest of my mother, who was very unimpressed with the stub article for her hometown. I had been a longtime reader and fan, often going for hours-long odysseys, surfing the bluelinks. My first real interaction with another editor was my requesting some Czech translation, which was replied to almost immediately and in great detail(the reply can still be seen at the top of my talk). I have to say this was my "pivotal" moment which led to further editing adventures. I try to remember this when seeing a very green comment on a talk page, or a misguided request for help. I guess my initial impression of the place was a hinterland of knowledge with the occasional glimpse of a fellow editor seen in the distance. It took a lot of time to build relationships with other editors, and even longer to figure out where to ask for help. I do recall being quite put off by some terse replies to some (admittedly dumb) questions at noticeboards (something I still observe on some noticeboards - they can feel more like the coffee room for a few vets rather than a resource). Now, as a somewhat experienced editor, I do sometimes feel the urge to aggressively demonstrate my knowledge instead of helping an new editor with advice s/he can understand. It is only natural that after gaining a skill, we want to show it off. But the effects can very counterproductive to the project. The Interior (Talk) 23:44, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

User:Laurence Cox[edit]

All good experiences really. It probably helps that I had a fair sense of WP culture from friends as well as a lot of experience writing for different kinds of editor etc., so had some sense of what to look for. The odd hiccup trying to find bits of info about "how to", and a lot of help from editors who were to the point and supportive. Considerably better than the average academic experience in fact. I had one gripe, which was about referencing: while officially multiple citation systems are allowable, in practice there was quite a bit of pressure to apply the most common one (footnoted). If someone else hadn't stepped in and done it I doubt I would have prioritised doing so, having once gone through the painful task of referencing in a different way. It might be helpful either to see if the allowability of multiple forms could be better advertised, or if agreement could be reached on a single standard. But if that is the worst gripe I think it's working pretty well! WRT the discussion of numbers below, I know my own participation was linked to a couple of research projects, and will probably flag for a while. I can see areas I could develop, but life is short and art is long, and to be honest I'm wary of the addictive factor here - it is in one sense just too much fun, and I'm conscious of the potential for flamewars once one has got sufficiently into something. But I will continue to keep an eye on a bunch of articles that relate to particular areas of interest, and over time probably develop a few new ones. I think it would be amazing if the learning curve could be anything other than steep - for people who are not familiar either with net culture or with research and publishing environments WP is a big leap. With all the resources of academia it takes time to get people to this level, and it is a pity but no surprise if some leave when they see the scale of the challenge.--Laurence Cox (talk) 00:49, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Cjmclark[edit]

I started out with some minor edits in 2006 and 2008, then went underground for a couple of years. In 2010, I experienced a burst of activity, primarily centered around the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays and associated players. It wasn't long (about 120 edits under my belt, mostly tweaks on a very small group of articles) before I made a blunder (putting current season stats up for several players) and someone from WikiProject Ice Hockey (which I had no idea existed until that point) showed up to correct me, then ever-so-politely suggested that maybe I should edit a wikia instead, as they are "more fan-related and anything goes there," the implication being that I wasn't "good enough" for Wikipedia. I considered throwing it in at this point, having run into what seemed to be a classic case of a vested contributor (or perhaps article ownership via the WikiProject), but chose instead to very politely thank the editor for their help and move on. The closest thing I ever got to any kind of welcome was a WikiProject invitation nearly a year after I started actively editing, and no one (to this day) has ever offered any real guidance after the previously mentioned correction. So I basically groped my way along, figuring things out for myself. The few editors I have contacted and asked for help have indeed been very helpful, but there's definitely a feeling of general neglect, especially when I see a welcome on someone else's talk page. That said, I'm not here for attention by any means, but a welcome would have been nice. Sometimes it seems like users only get "welcomed" if they really screw something up.  Cjmclark (Contact) 16:47, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Pgallert[edit]

Don't know if this is common: I started as an editor in my area of expertise, creating Convergence (routing protocol), surprised that this important topic does not even have a redirect. To this day, the page has not had a second content contributor, although it is properly linked from the relevant pages. The wikiproject did not recognize it yet (yes, I do know WP:SOFIXIT). Soon thereafter I had an unpleasant run-in that is still documented on Talk:Proprietary protocol--I'm not proud of what I said there, but my comments succeeded a small-scale edit war where I corrected a statement, was reverted with a summary "not referenced", re-inserted with a reference from a standard text book, and was reverted with a summary "the source is wrong". That's when I had it and walked away. See this retired expert's complaint for a similar experience, and that was the time when I considered spending my time on more rewarding web sites.

It then happened that I entered an area where I am a total layman, Namibian history. Here it turned out there was no self-proclaimed Watcher of the Holy Knowledge, and I can just go about adding, repairing, and referencing, as I always have done. I could even say that the editing experience has made me somewhat knowledgeable in this subject area but my actual expert knowledge I'm not going to contribute, also partly due to the WP:OR policy. I do have the patience to wait until someone else digs out proper references, and I certainly won't resort to citing my own papers. Randy in Boise is still around, and this puts off some people. --Pgallert (talk) 23:40, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Daniel Case[edit]

Wikipedia had first come to my attention over 2004. At the time I was an active yet pseudonymous (and still want to keep it that way) political blogger. As a result I spent about the amount of time each day that I currently spend editing reading and posting—which, as anyone who's ever actively blogged knows, means a lot of Googling around for stuff to link to in order to add layers of irony or explain what you're talking about. I had noticed during that year that, increasingly, when bloggers needed a link for the latter, they were linking to this Wikipedia place. It looked a little rough around the edges (Vector had not yet been adopted) but it seemed to have the advantage of aggregating the information you'd otherwise need to search through twelve different sites to find and putting it in one place.

Later in the year, I took a class on technology and education. It was taught, predictably enough, in a classroom with a computer terminal at every desk, and the professor knew (i think) that we were all going to be spending part of our time partly paying attention and partly surfing. Somewhere at that point, I began actually editing anonymously. About what, I forget. Lost in the mists of time, as all good things originate.

My early experience was good. I saw that my contributions were cleaned up and formatted properly, and learned from those edits. After about a month of doing this from home, school and other places on various IPs, I took the plunge and realized I had to set up an account. Daniel Case (talk) 01:44, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Bejinhan[edit]

In May 2009, I joined Wikipedia just for fun. I had been browsing the encyclopedia when the Log in/Create account tab caught my attention and I thought, 'why not?'. The first edit I made was a message I left on an editor's user talk asking for adoption; I never received any reply. I meddled around with my userpage, edited typos, and requested for adoption. 2 days after I joined, I got 'adopted' by Gaia Octavia Agrippa. Looking back, I think that if I hadn't gotten adopted, I would certainly had lost interest in this whole project. That is why I think that it is very important for us to get hold of the new users and guide them. That is also why I joined WP:USPP. Ever since the first edit I made in June 2009, I've had my ups and downs here but I absolutely enjoy being here and right now, I can't imagine not editing Wikipedia. Bejinhan talks 12:43, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Abductive[edit]

I just discovered that I edited as an IP for many months earlier than I remembered. I misremembered the day I was reverted, as a "vandal" no less, when adding perfectly legit, sourced info to an article. Since that was back in 2006, it seems unlikely that whatever is causing the present slowdown had anything to do with my experience. Abductive (reasoning) 14:04, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Calliopejen1[edit]

When I first started editing (late 2005), I didn't like that I was welcomed--I would have preferred to be left alone. I deleted all of my original talk page messages as they appeared.[1] I also wasn't really aware where to make a sandbox, so I was using my talkpage for that. I got bitten when I tried to edit Night Ripper to note when some samples were used. My edits were just reverted without explanation, which made me sad. (To this day, I'm not really clear why that happened. To the extent they were original research, so was everything else there...) My overall impression when I was a new user was that I wanted to help, but I didn't know what tasks I could do. I went to the community portal, which was the only sensible starting point from the main page, but found it totally unhelpful and confusing. It really hasn't changed much from how it was years ago. I think having a landing page for new editors would be useful, linked prominently in the sidebar or from the main page. We do a better job of explaining the mechanics of editing than explaining how a newbie can be useful. I had no idea was needed to be done back then (and that was when so many articles were even worse than they are now). I imagine that the problem of figuring out how to help is only getting worse as articles look better and better to newbies. Calliopejen1 (talk) 19:45, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

And as far as slightly-less-n00b but still n00b days go, the happiest moment of my early WP career was when someone nominated an article I had written for DYK and it got on the front page. I didn't even know that that was possible, and it was so great to see my article on the front page of Wikipedia. I think almost all DYKs these days are self-noms and noms for friends. It would be good to try to find good articles written by new users and get them on the front page. Also, I remember being slightly sad/disappointed that it took about a year and a half of regular editing to finally get my first barnstar. It seemed like a special club of people got them, and I felt left out. Calliopejen1 (talk) 19:54, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I just wanted to touch on your barnstar comment if you don't mind.. I've also noticed that it seems like there's only a select few that receive barnstars. I think many users, especially newish users, are hesitant to give out barnstars because they believe you should only give them to someone you've interacted with before; that it's somehow 'improper' to give someone a barnstar if you don't know them or they don't know you. This is not good. We should all be able to feel free to give a barnstar to anyone whom we see doing good work, at any time. And that sometimes is the best feeling, when a total random stranger just happens to notice your work and recognize it as being good. -- œ 02:25, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
I think you're right, I really like barnstars and rewards/comments/etc in general. I think they are very important. Why do people edit an encyclopedia? They want to share their knowledge but it's a dreary thing if you're not part of a community and a huge part of that is making sure they feel welcome and appreciated and things like barnstars (and even simple "great job!" comments) are really nice and important I think. Jalexander--WMF 22:55, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, I'm new and don't even know where barnstars "come from." How is one supposed to find this out? Jane Peppler (talk) 12:21, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
You can read about them at Wikipedia:Barnstars. -- John of Reading (talk) 21:01, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Sumsum2010[edit]

I read Wikipedia, without editing it, back all the way to 2007. In late 2009 I discovered a new area of Wikipedia, aside from reading, it was called editing. After doing a little reasearch into just what registering involved I created my account on January 25, 2010. I never was welcomed, my first talkpage message was an issue with file sourcing. I never even new about welcome templates until I stumbled into WP:Birthday Committee. Not knowing and being able to learn from my mistakes was far more helpful for me the welcome would have been. This helped me become very eager to edit and to learn on my own. However a "Hi! Do you have any questions thus far?", would have helped me avoid ,or at least shortened, my early myspace-yness. I've always found greater joy in solving problems on my own, if I can. Such as disciphering the notablitity policies and deletion templtes for the first time. I eventually found my way into Wikiprojects and have spent much of my time at them, mostly Wikify and Disambiguation (even though I still don't know how to pronounce the latter, without it sounding really clumped together). Learning for myself has, overall, allowed me to broaden my horizons and have a greater knowlede of Wikipedia, and who to ask if I'm not quite sure. My early experience on Wikipedia seemed to be similar to the story in the song A Boy Named Sue, by Johnny Cash(this isn't nescisarrily a bad thing!). Using this same strategy, I have found my way into the depths of Wiipedia, and like to think that I am better off because this was how a had to learn on Wikipedia. Sumsum2010·T·C·Review me! 03:38, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Dis-am-big-yoo-ay-shun. Stress on "dis" and "ay". :) Danger (talk) 15:24, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
We like making up words ;) Seriously was transclude ever used widely before here? :) I STILL get it underlined every new word spell checker I use. I think the wikiprojects are amazing things to help bring people into the fold of editing and show them what is available. As well as Wikignoming in general. There are huge amounts of things to do even for people who aren't comfortable writing a whole FA/GA article etc etc. Jalexander--WMF 22:58, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Anna Frodesiak[edit]

New editor question: I was bitten as a newbie and almost left. I added the fact that Obama is left-handed. It was reverted with an unpleasant edit summary. The result: I stayed. I'm productive. I recognize the potential loss of newbies chased away.

Resources question: New editors and prospective editors should know loud and clear, that Wikipedia is composed of others just like themselves -- that there is no government that audits and approves their edits.

Guides question: Don't know.

Comment: Has there been a survey asking visitors open questions? I constantly hear these two things from friends:

1) "Some mysterious body within Wikipedia vets edits, right?"
2) "What I read could just be made up, right?"

Let new editors (and especially prospective editors) know that what we essential do is 'report' from a good source, and cite that entry. Okay. That's it. Was I off-track? Hope it was useful. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 15:12, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

I think it's great and not off-track at all :). I do not know of any survey with open ended questions like that and you're very right there are a lot of things that people don't understand at all even after 10 years of Wikipedia. When I was working on fundraising this past cycle we did a survey and found out that an enormous amount of people had no clue we were non-profit (there was even a good 1/4 of them that thought we were ad supported!). I think trying to make sure that we show people that this is just a community helping to make everything better that it can certainly make things better. Some times we need to make our community a it better too :) Jalexander--WMF 23:01, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the kind feedback Jalexander. It inspired me to post Wikipedia_talk:Village_pump_(idea_lab)#How_to_Attract_Thousands_of_New_Editors. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 05:16, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Tesseract2 - TLDR FRIENDLY[edit]

My experience in 10 seconds: Since I joined around the beginning of 2010, I've met some uptight editors who slow my productivity, sure - but now I'm just really bold, and I even sometimes get to see my contributions defended by others! I'm flourishing.

Cutting to the chase - what I think Wikipedia needs most: (from my user page)

  • Sticky-note editing
BASICALLY: A new button, next to 'edit', that says something like 'highlight'- it will allow users to leave tiny expandable sticky notes in the margins.
EXPLANATION:Haven't we heard of getting one foot in the door? We need to provide the world's easiest first steps to interacting with Wikipedia. If we're not getting new editors, maybe it's because everyone I tell about my editing says "how do you even do that?", or "yeah, I saw something wrong but couldn't be bothered". That's insane. IPs should be able to hit 'highlight', then HIGHLIGHT THE TEXT THEY WERE JUST READING, and leave a little comment (the comment and the text to which it applies is available through a little expandable square in the margins).
Will Bots want to scan these for vandalism? Yup. Is this just one more chance to tell users they really might want an account? Yup. Will this make it so that readers have almost no excuse for neglecting a falsehood on the human race's encyclopedia? You'd better believe it.

Wireless Keyboard[edit]

I got shown around Wikipedia and really formally introduced to it by a friend of mine. At first, really, the policies and guidelines seemed overwhelming, like you had to follow this and that, so I was really, really careful not to make a mistake. The other probelm I had was the dreaded WikiMarkup. What do the brackets mean, how about the pipe, what is the ref tag do? Once that was all taken care of, Wikipedia really seemed like a welcoming, open, and friendly place to be - it was also addicting. I would spend some time on Wikipedia just reverting vandalism, while sometimes I just looked and patrolled new articles. Once all the concepts were grasped, everything flowed smoothly from there. I've seen Wikipedia change in a few years, the Vector skin, reviewer userright. I'm hoping to share my interests and my skills with others. ► Wireless Keyboard ◄ 03:13, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

e2eamon[edit]

I originally created an account with the intent to create an autobiography. Obviously, it was deleted per CSD A7. I thought that there was a computer program assessing the articles and tried to fool it by using phony refs. I was rather surprised when I received a talk page message from a human! After that, I was inactive for about 6 months until I heard a presentation about the Real Medicine Foundation. I went home and checked Wikipedia for more information, but was surprised to find that Wikipedia did not have an article on the subject. I decided to write it myself, and was extremely proud when it was not deleted. From there on, I was stuck on Wikipedia. I think that I would have much appreciated a few pointers on policy at the beginning- I pretty much had to learn by trial and error. I also had difficulty with the wiki-markup formatting. I think a Wiki Guide would have been very useful to me.--E♴ (talk) 16:21, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Worm That Turned[edit]

Well, it feels like a heck of a long time since I signed up. I was browsing the site one day and happened across the ref desk. I found a question I wanted to answer, so I signed up and answered it. From there I tweaked an article or two on subjects I was interested in (TV shows mainly). Eventually I wrote an article... but my formative days were mostly tentative, not really believing in WP:BOLD, expecting someone to bite my head off at any moment. The fear of editing was pretty high. WormTT 14:20, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Lionratz[edit]

Compared to all these editors here, I am relatively new to Wikipedia as I only joined on 10 August 2010. I started because one of my favourite movie (Snow Prince) is not featured in Wikipedia. I would like to share this movie with others and hence created this page (My first edit was to create a new page!). Anyways, the first edit I made was immediately edited by another editor who helped insert a little basic wiki markup. Also, I made extensive references to the pages of the same topics (films) and included the best practices into my page.

However, I ran into copyright problems with tagging non-free images and the first photo I uploaded almost got deleted. Then, another user deleted much of my reaseach due to its referenced tag. Also, this same user also threatened to report my edits as violation of copyrights to the administrators. This was quite scary for me and I switched to Wikibooks for a time being. However, I started re-editing Singapore-related articles (I am from Singapore) and regained my confidence to edit again.

I am thankful for the help given by other editors that are helpful and gave me nice suggestions on the mistakes I made. I strongly believe that as long as a new user who is coupled with other more experienced and NICE senior editors, the new editor will greatly help to improve articles on Wikipedia, helping it maintain the top website to go to for information. Hence, I believe that this project has the right aims.

I will suggest that the members of this project help collaborate with other relevant Wikiproject members to mentor newcomers in a particular subject. This will help twin experienced editors from a particular field and an experienced trainer who is willing to moderate and direct a newcomer will serve as an unbeatable two-punch combination. Lionratz (talk) 07:34, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Buster7[edit]

One of the more troubling aspects of my early days as a member of Wikipedia was discovering "lost souls". As with most "newbies" (I would guess) I was jumping here and there and everywhere. Reading articles, discovering the lay of the land, creating an exceptable user page, daring to make the occasional edit. And, also, looking for acceptance and maybe a little guidance. The discussion pages were filled with wonderful conversations and more than a little verbosity. It was an advantage to be able to get a feel for an editor and then be able to go to his/her user page and find some more about who they were. But, often times, that editor had given up. Sometimes it was the politics, or the futility of defending a new article without any knowledge of how, or just being 'biten to death'. Perhaps the "newbie" got involved with an article at a level that they were just not ready for---too inexpierienced. Or, they got enbroiled in an editing war with a bureaucratic editor or administrator or a seasoned wiley old veteran that 'blew their socks off'. WikiJargon started to flow, things got said, names were "called", and the newbie got discouraged. The Wiki-Experience changed. For many---the Wiki-Experience ended!

It would probably do us all a WikiWorld of good to remember (each on our own) our individual early days at Wikipedia. May 2, 2008 was when I started. How bright-eyed I was. How exciting the place was. OMG. The challenge of my first edit. It was probably just a minor edit...punctuation more than likely! Then I typically shifted to editing articles about the many aspects in my life. I was hooked. I had joined a World-wide phenomenon. As I wandered around the changing landscape of Wikipedia, my sense of the enormity and value of the place grew. I got a taste of what a free-flowing, ever-changing, stimulating project it was. And I wanted to be involved.

But...then it happened. I was young and innocent and only a few weeks old and I got bit!. More than once. I remember how I felt when I was chastized for the first time. I couldn't believe that my good faith was being challenged...by 5 people...all at the same time and place. I was extremely lucky that I had previously been befriended by a couple of veteran editors who came to my rescue like Batman and Robin. (or the Green Hornet and Kato, to be timely).

Then the stalking started. I may have been an amatuer editor but I could tell that an editor was stalking me and reverting just about everything I did. We had had a dis-agreement at one of the more problematic articles Ayn Rand. After a week or so of back and forth wrangling, he finally dropped his sword and moved on. But it was very troubling and perplexing. At the same time, I must admit, that it strengthened my resolve to handle situations one-to-one.

I think that most Wiki-editors start with high hopes, high purpose, high regards for others. Each Wiki-life is different. But, for some, sadly, the roads travelled have led to the same place---discontented, disheartened and discouraged. The LOST value (to the Wikipedia Community)of an editor that gives up and no longer edits cannot be measured. Good Faith Editing (GFE) should not be a rare commodity. Too many editors get thrown into the sea before they even know which way "aft" is. Buster Seven Talk 07:28, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Other Choices[edit]

I started editing here almost a year ago. I was reading Gavin Menzies' book 1421, and decided to see what wikipedia had to say about it. I thought the wikipedia article was biased, so I jumped in and tried to improve it. I quickly learned that I didn't know much about my subject or about how wikipedia works or about how to communicate with wikipedia editors. The Menzies article led to another controversial article on the Newport Tower. I decided to use this one as my personal tutorial: I researched the subject, studied the editing procedure (I'm not very tech-savvy), and found a mentor who helped tremendously at a tense moment. I was dealing with several experienced editors who were opinionated and inclined to be dismissive or openly antagonistic. I stuck to my guns, managed to avoid losing my cool, and finally found a previously-overlooked reliable source that changed the nature of the discussion and led to a grudging consensus on that article which has lasted until now. That was my "baptism by fire" here at wikipedia. A thought question: what percentage of new editors starts out on articles that have seen a lot of controversy? With what I experienced, I imagine that many new editors may feel humiliated and/or get subtly (or openly) insulted, so they disappear, nursing a grudge. I suppose that a certain percentage of such discouraged editors turns into vandals. --Other Choices (talk) 05:50, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

Diego Grez[edit]

I began editing on the Spanish Wikipedia almost five years ago, in 2006. I did not understand the goals of the encyclopedia at first: I created self-promotional articles (here and on the Spanish Wikipedia), under several names, created accounts used for vandalism until I was blocked indefinitely here (2007 or 2008, don't remember exactly), and on Spanish Wikipedia (early 2008). After a break from Wikipedia, I decided to begin my own encyclopedia project, with the idea of later taking these articles to Wikipedia: it was Encyclopedia DG (my initials :)). I worked on it most of 2009, until I got a stable Internet connection in late November of that year. I came back editing as MisterWiki, until I was caught to be a sockpuppet of my former usernames, which were quite controversial. Once more, I was blocked indefinitely, in January 2010. But, I decided to prove people I wasn't that bad guy who did not understand policies or things in my early years here, so I began editing Wikinews (a sister project of Wikipedia), and began drafting more articles, and attempted to get Pichilemu (the article of my hometown) as a Good article. This all worked out later, around May, when some of the restrictions I had where lifted by community consensus (all of them were removed in December 2010, if I recall correctly).

Okay, enough of tragedy. :) So far I have written two good articles (Pichilemu and 2010 Pichilemu earthquake), 20 Did you know articles, and two ITN items (2010 Copiapó mining accident and 2011 Tucson shooting). I have created more than 200 articles for this Wikipedia. I think I am a good example of how a clueless user can become an useful asset to the community. Thank you for taking the time to read this. :) --Diego Grez (talk) 19:49, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

Thank you very much for posting, Diego Grez. I think it is very important to keep this example in mind when we write our rules and how we treat our contributors. When we treat people as vandals and don't appreciate their contributions, we end up with problems. My belief is that very few users come to Wikipedia for their first time with the thought of harming the project. They only feel that way after having been mistreated. This is my personal opinion of course. - Hydroxonium (H3O+) 04:24, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

J04n[edit]

I started editing in December 2008, at first by linking songs and artists to album pages and creating redirects for songs that did not have there own pages. After a couple of weeks of doing this I found that an album I owned did not yet have its own page. I very excitedly wrote a page for it, The Music Never Stopped: Roots of the Grateful Dead and could not have been more excited. My excitement lasted all of eleven minutes, when the article was tagged for speedy deletion. Luckily, I figured out how to use the 'hangon' tag and several users came to my rescue! Since then I've created nearly 30 pages, made about 60,000 edits and become an admin. Without the friendly help from those editors I very well may have not continued on Wikipedia. J04n(talk page) 16:47, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

MER-C[edit]

I began editing WP sometime in mid 2006. The first thing I remember doing was (oddly enough) clearing an image copyright backlog, followed by the usual. I don't remember much from those early days. I don't particularly enjoy writing articles, even though I have written a handful. Instead, I deal with Wikipedia's spammers (so you don't have to) and remove copyright violations. I also maintain a bot framework and a couple of tools.

Two of the most important things I believe are important when editing Wikipedia are learning by example -- much easier than reading the hundreds of pages of policy and guidelines -- and logical and critical reasoning, which can also cut down on the amount of reading you have to do. MER-C 12:22, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

User:Jane Peppler[edit]

I joined in February 2011. I am working on a cd with my friend and singing partner, who is chair of the Slavic Languages department at Duke University - she wants to do cabaret music from Warsaw between the world wars, written, composed, or performed by Polish Jews, half in Polish (her specialty) and half in Yiddish (my specialty). I was grieved to see that none of the people we were working on - who were famous and fabulous in their day - many of whom died in the concentration camps - not mentioned in Wikipedia at all. So I started right out creating articles about them.

My first article Fanny Gordon was hit with a nasty (well I thought it was nasty, now I think it was just bot language) box on it saying the person's importance was doubtful. I've been around for a few weeks now hitting "random article" and have to laugh (bitterly): there are so many utterly obscure and forgettable members of the second lineup of contemporary sports teams and endless two-bit tv episodes in Wikipedia -- and a composer who moved a country to tears is less important and is subject to deletion?? Hah.

I am still utterly overwhelmed by the oddness and severity of wikimarkup and have to google everything to figure out how to do it. I'm thrilled on the few occasions when somebody comes along and adds something to one of my articles. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jane Peppler (talkcontribs) 12:36, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Pyfan[edit]

I can't remember exactly when I first used Wikipedia. What I can remember is that I was an instant wikiholic. Not yet a registered user, but already spending hour upon hour trawling through the encyclopaedia daily. This probably wasn't good for my academic marks but hey, Wikipedia's much more important anyway! During this period of wiki-infancy, my favourite button by far was the "random article" one. It is amazing what random information (that you're probably never going to use) you can pick up using that button.

In March 2008, I finally created my account. I was very excited. My first action was to create a page entitled: "Travelling back in time with the LHC (Large Hadron Collider)". At the time, I could see absolutely nothing wrong with this title. In fact, if you look here, you can see I had not the slightest idea of how to write a Wikipedia article. On the same day it was created, RHaworth redirected it to the Large Hadron Collider article. I realise now that the page I created did not fit on Wikipedia, and RHaworth's actions were faultless. At the time, however, I was quite hurt and confused. What had I done wrong? What did the other Wikipedia articles have that mine didn't? I received no guidance from the more experienced editors, and the first message on my talk page was a welcome two months after I registered. Afraid of trying to write another article, but unwilling to give up, I began doing pure vandalism reversion, receiving rollback unusually early in my career.

About a year and a half later, after a failed RfA (which I'm sure a few of you might remember), I decided I try my hand at content creation again. I was successful, this time, in creating a small article with the guidance of WereSpielChequers.

At the start of my wiki-journey, I was left to fend for myself. It felt akin to being surrounded by hungry beasts and wondering why you're still alive.


Oli OR Pyfan! 10:10, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

ThatPeskyCommoner[edit]

Sole reason for joining up back in 2006 was that, on looking for someone who I knew ought to be on Wikipedia, I discovered he wasn't. So I put him there ... and then did nothing else until this year. First experience, back in 2006, was fine. Coming back, however, almost made me go away again ... but I was rescued in time (mostly because I yelled for help) and discovered that not only could people edit, they could also talk about editing. And teach newbies. The concept of 'Verifiability over Truth' was one I found hard to accept, but hey, if you want to be part of it, some things you just have to learn to cope with. Either that or spend vast numbers of hours of many sleepless nights frantically Googling for even the most obscure source, lol! Another thing I discovered - sometimes it's just much easier to draw your own image of something and upload it than it is to find a free-use one. I find it helps to be an obsessive ... Pesky (talk) 10:49, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Llywrch[edit]

I joined Wikipedia in the distant age of October 2002; I remember that well because I remember editting Wikipedia while my wife was at the door handing out candy. And yes, it was a different place back then. No categories, no templates, the only bot was Rambot, which had just started creating articles on settlements in the US. (People complained that it was making articles faster than the servers could keep up with.) I was surprised to learn later that there were Admins: until late 2003 that the only person who could (or would) ban people was Jimmy Wales. As a result, the community tolerated people who were clearly unfit for Wikipedia. Not to mention names, I remember one guy who wanted articles on every Surrealist group in the US -- although none of the articles explained why any of these groups were notable (i.e., what had they accomplished?) Even then we had a number of people who wanted to rewrite articles to reflect what they believed was The truth; we've gotten better over the years about showing them the door, believe it or not. Then there was one fellow -- looking back, he was a clear case of WP:COMPETENCE -- who was repeatedly banned/unbanned for a couple years until the ArbCom finally dropped the hammer on him: then he spent a couple of years claiming on different mailing lists or websites that the ArbCom didn't really represent the Wikipedia community. He raised the same argument in his final go-around two or three years ago when a thread on WP:AN/I community-banned him for good. These & other characters, I believe, led to an us-vs.-them mentality which still colors how some established editors react to newcomers.

But as for my initial experience, Google brought me here. I was looking for information on one of the later Roman Emperors, Valentinian III, & discovered this project to create an encyclopedia. (I later created the article.) After a few tentative edits as an Anon IP, I created my account. Even then it took a few days for someone to notice I had joined, & a welcome message eventually appeared on my talk page. Hate it, laugh at it, I appreciated the gesture because I had tangible proof that I wasn't just "anybody" editting Wikipedia. As for the first page I created, I probably did that within a day or two: there were a lot holes in Wikipedia's coverage back then.

One detail in my Wikipedia career which I have found to be a universal -- but appears to have been overlooked in the latest campaign to retain new contributors -- is a period of WikiBurnout. I won't go into that, but it appears that every established Wikipedian, after three or four years, reaches a point where she or he seriously wonders if Wikipedia really will ever become a truly useful tool & if anyone cares -- or everyone else is more concerned for their own personal gains -- if the lunatics have taken over the asylum & it's time to close the account & find another hobby. Some overcome this crisis; some don't. But it is something every Wikipedia -- if not every Wikimedian -- will encounter. I suspect a fair number would overcome this crisis of faith were they to know others have encountered it too.

The community was different in many ways back then. Seeing the same usernames over & over on a regular basis creates a different feel for the project than the current mass of strangers, most of whose usernames I have never seen before. (To give a sense of this "mass of strangers", consider that at WP:AN/I 90% of the usernames posting there 3 months ago no longer post now; this is a phenomenon which has been going on for at least 4 years.) Then there is the matter -- something I only noticed when I was sifting thru the edit histories of some pages the other day -- that people joined in editting pages more often. By this I mean the following: user A would create a page, then within 24 hours as many as a dozen other editors would make non-trivial contributions to it. Compare that to the situation today, where if I create a new page, I'm gratified even if one person corrects a typo on it in the first few days. Conflict with other users have driven even the experienced & veteran editors off to their own corners of Wikipedia, where they can create content by themselves.

I'll conclude with one last difference between then & now: we didn't take ourselves as seriously then as the Wikipedia community does now. Back in 2002, we were just a bunch of oddballs doing something strange yet we hoped others would find useful. For the first couple of years, we were excited whenever the established press cited Wikipedia in a story. And some of us wrote about the fear of what would happen when Wikipedia became successful. Now that Wikipedia has become successful -- I guess I can say that because it is one of the top 10 websites -- some of the folks I used to consider my peers have ridden that success to better things, like paying jobs. There are obnoxious policies like WP:BLP which serve as a disincentive to create articles. And all the while I've been contributing as, more or less, Just Another User, & wondering if I should find a better use for my time than sitting in front of my computer -- or if I can get away with adding something new I learned which I think is interesting & think other people might want to know about too. -- llywrch (talk) 18:32, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Firepower Canada[edit]

I joined Wikipedia in Feb 2011 and after doing some small works and edits on existing pages became keen to try a whole article. Unfortunately I quickly ran into Speedy deletion and limited editor assistance. I had started working on Artillery and other small edits under STANAG before trying to write a small article discussing modern artillery fire control in NATO. It was deleted and it took some backbone to successfully petition to recover it to User space where I am still working on it. User:Firepower Canada/SG2 Shareable (Fire Control) Software Suite (S4) if anyone cares...

I still don't understand the real logic about why images with issues are allowed in the Main pages and not in User space. As a result of my initial images being moved to user space with the article, they were then deleted again by bots after recovery. I've almost given up... But I do hope when I retry the article in the main space it will stick. My current plans involve pushing the images into Wikipedia commons through their authors. This should enable me to use images while working in user space and I`ll try to restart my drafting efforts. But honestly, if the work is torn down next time, I'll probably just give up. Firepower Canada (talk) 02:37, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

theonelife[edit]

I was so happy to see this section, being I am about a green as they come in wikistandards. I haven't done any edits on anyone else's work because of my newbieness and my jumping in head first with creating an article about a living person that wasn't on wikipedia. I first experiemented with my article in my userspace because I didn't really understand the sandbox concept but my first article was quickly deleted none the less. So, I then researched, read, and read more, and finally got what I thought to be verifiable and a contribution to wikipedia. Although, my first article is still undergoing much cutthroat editing from those that know nothing about the topic I was writing about, there have been a couple of nice editors, and no welcome until I was being 'biten' for edit conflict, as my exerience with simultaneous editing like Wilhemia Will experienced, it seems that newbies have no choice in what stays and what goes, and quick judgements are made on edit warring which was how I found out what this even meant. In my experience so far, it doesn't seem like a community of 'good faith' or wikilove.

A suggestion that might be put in resources for newcomers who aspire to contribute to wikipedia would be the reference syntax for as in posting my new article, I was told that I wasn't suppose to have 'naked urls'. I tried to look up what this even meant after asking for help with no response, but there is nothing on it here in the help section for basic guidlines on referencing. So I did attempt to fix these little naked urls, with much hard work but was unaware that another editor was editing simultaneously. It feels more like a wikidom and not a free information editing contribution when you can be blocked for something you didn't even know you were doing. I don't know how far wikipedia has come when it comes to editing and formatting templates...perhaps it's come a long way, but it is long over due for some improvement when it comes to newbies. I almost nominated my own contribution to be deleted due to the butchering of the content and editing errors from other editors and it is very discouraging for newbies here to say the least.

Licking my wounds still, I guess I can't even fathom trying to edit someone else's hard work and effort. When I consider trying my hand at someone's work, all I can do is think about my current article nightmare. It's still raw and if wikipedia still wants to keep newbies, it might be helpful for them to review the "please don't bite the newbies" section before they go on a rampage and start edit disputes without even a comment or question in good faith that the newbie isn't even aware of an edit conflict. I guess I will see how it goes from here once I have more experience in all the wikipolitics. I also noticed that there is nothing in the resource section here for newbies yet.

Thank you for asking! I will keep my eye on this project. Bless you for creating it. Good Day User:theonelifeTheonelife (talk) 20:48, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Confused by Jan Drey Sameon[edit]

I am happy that i have created a wikipidia account for me to add new info about non profit organization but was not so easy for me to find out how to contribute or add info to the encyclopedia.I am still familiarizing some features and guidelines on the wikipidia. I want to talk about the wesavelife foundation actually that is created by my coleages.I have invited them also to be part of the wikipidia organization for them to contribute on the encyclopedia and get some new updates too. I invited Jeehan Daroy and Terence Quimotquimot for taking advantage of the wikipidia features.I am advertising also the wikipidia to my friends and folks. Hopefully I would be able to put my life story or Bibliography maybe.About my first article was not really good and is was even deleted by the wikipidia for a very short content on it.I am still trying myself getting to know on wikilife.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Bigheartdrey (talkcontribs) 22:26, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Reaper Eternal[edit]

Probably the worst thing that happened to me was simply not knowing what needed doing. Initially (this is starting around mid-September 2010, even though I registered in September 2009), I began reading Wikipedia policies because I was afraid of breaking things. I had even read WP:SOCK, WP:BLOCK, and a couple "humor" essays before I ever began contributing. I then read WP:BOLD, and decided to start actually editing. However, everything looked fine, so I had no real clue what to do. The result was that I spent about the first several weeks almost solely reverting vandalism with Twinkle, with the result of my receiving rollback and reviewer after around 2 weeks. During that time, however, I noticed WP:RA, and I decided to add Worlebury Camp. Rodw (talk · contribs) noticed it and added WikiProject tags and assessed it. He then helped me through building the article (see User talk:Reaper Eternal/Archive 1), mainly mentioning WP:RS, adding better formatting, and noting the infobox to use. Finally, he helped me through the GA process (see Talk:Worlebury Camp/GA1), which it passed. Since then, I have made an additional two GAs, 8 DYKs, and an ITN. I mainly do backlog work and vandalism cleanup—the types of jobs I like best because they are routine, repetitive, and noncontroversial. In other words, it can even be very calming, as being attacked by a vandal has only made me laugh. I probably suffer less "wiki-stress" than most people since I understand that this is only a website and I can walk away at any time. However, I don't want to, since it is an enjoyable time! Well, enough rambling, and if you've read all that mess, I'm surprised! Reaper Eternal (talk) 01:36, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Joe407[edit]

I started editing as a way to promote a non-profit I was working for. After a few false starts I learned how to source things properly and walk the thin line between saying what I wanted to say and policies such as WP:NPOV, WP:COI. I know that writing this may be held against me or have people fine-tooth comb my early articles. That's ok. The reason I'm writing this is so that editors can understand how valuable "don't bite the newbies" policies are. People here were helpful to a fault and encouraged WP:BOLD. In the 2+ years since I started here, I've added a good number of articles and feel that I have made a contribution. Best of luck to all who come here. Regardless of why you first open an account. Joe407 (talk) 14:08, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Kingofthosewhoknow[edit]

Before I joined wikipedia I had heard many stories about admins of powertrips with almost absolute power doing whatever they pleased, so I admit that I was curious if this was true or not. One the first day I had my first encounter with a admin on a powertrip doing his thing by deleting an article that met the criteria he himself refereed to. However I also managed to cleanup an article that had been bugging me for quite some time without having to fight an endless editing war (so far) that I also had read about so apparently all isn't bad. My first impression is that the admins have way too much power compared to normal users which creates a powerstructure reminicant to that of dictatorships where there is no sense of security for the common man. Anything you do can be deleted or reverted and you can be banned any second simply for happening to bump into an admin who is having a bad day. The fact that wikipedia also officially now doesn't allow anyone to edit but judges people not by their actions but by their orientation is also very troubling. I probably won't be staying very long since the impression is that the admins are happy and no one else dares to complain. Kingofthosewhoknow (talk) 21:20, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

User:Toshio Yamaguchi[edit]

I created my account and started editing in mid 2010. Wikipedia has already sometime before been a source of information for me and since Wikipedia claimed to be "The Free Encyclopedia that anyone can edit" I decided to contribute myself. My choice was to use an account for that from the beginning, I never edited as an IP before. The first article I began contributing to was one about a subject that I personally found interesting and I thought that some information in this article was missing and some was incorrect. When I tried to add references for my information, I first formatted them as external links inside the article text, since I was unaware of the ref-tags. Another editor changed it to a ref-tagged inline reference, and I changed another of the inline external links to one with ref-tags. After I had tried on this case, I began adding sourced statements to the article myself. At that time, I was (for whatever reasons) unaware of the edit summary function and therefore left comments for all my changes on the talk page, which caused a significant cluttering of that talk page. I now was motivated to create something new myself and created an article directly in mainspace about a topic that was very similar to (or perhaps nearly identical to) the subject of an already existing article. Motivated by the comments of another editor, who agreed with my creation (it was in fact a split of the already existing article into two seperate articles), I expanded the new article. There were now two independent articles about in fact the same topic (this wasn't my belief at that time, however). A third editor objected to this split, saying the two articles were in principle about the same thing and that two seperate articles were not needed here. He also said a consensus should be reached over this splitting, but at that time I didn't even know what he meant by consensus and I guess I somehow overread that part of his statement. I then began arguing with statements, I now know fell under WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS, not being aware that fact at that time however. I expanded my editing activity to other topics that interested me, expanding some existing articles and creating quite a lot of new stubs. Eventually returning to the pair of articles I mentioned before, I proposed to merge the longer standing of the two into the one I created. (I wasn't aware of the 'Move'-feature at that time). This was met with harsh commentary by the second editor, saying I should have just proposed a renaming of the article, instead of creating a new one similar to the existing article and proposing a merger in order to have things the way I want them. Reflecting now, I think I really had to learn how Wikipedia works by an amount of trial and error, rather than for example reading policies or guidelines, mainly because I didn't know where to look for what I wanted to know. My conclusion is that, maybe, a nice, obvious pointer to the most important policies and guidelines would have been of great help. I remember that, for example, in order to learn how Wiki-Markup works, I always looked at the markup of some existing article, simply because it was impossible for me to find the policy and help pages I would have needed in the huge jungle of policies and guidelines scattered all across Wikipedia. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 23:26, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Lova Falk[edit]

I remember my first edit, in 2007. Just one tiny sentence that I edited twice, unsourced, and I watched for days to see what would happen. Nobody removed it! I thought it was short of magic that a sentence I had written could be seen by any Internet user in the whole world. (Actually the edit is still there, and quite recently I found and added the source.) After three or four days, I added the next sentence. Being a new user was no problem at all. I wrote clear descriptions in my edit summaries and nobody was mean to me. The first messages on my talk page were friendly and encouraging. Everywhere on talk pages, there were a lot of encouragements - please be bold, and a lot of reminders: don't bite the newcomers.
I was also proud nobody gave me a welcome template - because obviously nobody thought I was so inexperienced that I needed one. Lova Falk talk 16:46, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Xavierduvall[edit]

Well it doesn't seem like Wiktionary is "glad I'm there"... I've only contributed by suggesting an edit to a single page, and it's been a terrible experience. One user rejected my suggestion and said I was wrong, but refused to answer any questions I asked of him... in his last replies he didn't even say anything regarding the article, instead choosing to lecture and berate me, say that I was wasting other people's time, and that they "feel" that I'm not "convincing". I asked that they "please respond with a rebuttal explaining why this term is NOT a near-homonym malapropism, or confirm that it is and adjust the page accordingly." and then got a 6 month block from another user - Equinox - who said that they "can tell this is a person whose entire life is a crusade about one Wiktionary entry (wow! even Equinox isn't so sad!) so watch out for their next user name. I hope they get cancer and die." - is this constructive? Do these detestable, abhorrent comments benefit Wiktionary? Are you "glad I'm there" to "hope I get cancer and die"? Why is this mistreatment acceptable? Xavierduvall (talk) 00:48, 23 September 2019 (UTC)