Thursday, February 24, 2011

The #Russian #Wikipedia treats its newbies right

When you are new to Wikipedia, you are expected to comply with a baffling array of policies and practices starting with your very first article. To top it off, the ease of use of MediaWiki is another stumbling block.

To make things worse, there is the perennial issue of newbies that get bitten by bots and hurried admins. As we want to not only grow our editor community but also want to have more women and minorities suggestions for improvement are welcome.

The Russian Wikipedia has a practice in place that is working really well for them; they have their incubator for new Wikipedians. They have a subspace called the Incubator, this is a place for beginning editors. They usually get spotted and are invited to move with their first article to the Incubator.  They can quietly learn the policies and practices without having to protect their articles from speedy deletion and other annoyances.

A dedicated team of people who are mostly active in Incubator help the newbies. The first generation of users who went through the Incubator have had their articles moved to the main space, and some of these became featured articles...

This proven method of welcoming newbies is paying off; the Russian Wikipedia is the top 5 in traffic and it has an annual growth in traffic of 62%. They are great at welcoming women, they even built templates to fix the localisation where gender is not yet supported in the software.

1 comment:

Amir said...

Surely it's not just the incubator that makes the Russian Wikipedia successful.

What makes it successful is mostly the fact that it's a Wikipedia in a very large language with a long tradition of reference literature, in a country where the Internet is quite popular and the knowledge of foreign languages is quite low. It would strange if with these abilities this Wikipedia wouldn't be successful. (It must be noted that mainstream press is heavily censored in Russia, but the Internet is hardly affected by it.)

And, for better or worse, it also has a lot of bot-created articles.