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Proposal:A series of videos to dissuade vandals, encourage new editors, welcome and inform newbies of key editing policies and perhaps more

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Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

Edit this page to help identify the priorities related to this proposal!

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


I propose a series of videos be made covering key aspects of Wikipedia, in particular one addressed to vandals encouraging them to change their behaviour and another to welcome and inform new editors.


Video is very immediate and will appeal to people (especially the young) who will never read The Five Pillars and other core Wikipedia policies. I suggest we devote resources to producing a series of videos that could be included in welcome messages and vandalism warnings.

  • A video should be made addressed to vandals. Its purpose should be to dissuade the user from further acts of vandalism. I'm entirely open as to the actual content and tone of such a video; that can be discussed if this proposal makes it to the next stage of proposal evaluation. However, here's some ideas:
    • The video could restate Wikipedia's core aim of bringing knowledge to the world for free (in a way that somewhat guilt trips the vandal).
    • The video could educate vandals about the time and resources that Wikipedia uses defending against vandalism. If it were possible to quantify that amount of time this takes it should be included in the video.
    • The video could show that much vandalism is extremely unoriginal. For example, appending "is gay" to the end of a name, or blanking the article to leave a message insulting a schoolfriend, etc. No kid wants to feel they're just one of a million people who had the same idea. They all think they're being innovative. Pointing out to them how unoriginal they've been would probably unsettle them.
    • Ideally you want to emphasise that most vandalism is deleted quickly by computer, as this should demotivate the vandals.
  • A welcoming video should be made addressed to newbies, especially those making good edits. Its purpose should be to let them know how pleased we are that they're helping out and encourage them to join the community. Again, precisely how this is done can be debated but here's some ideas:
    • Again the video could restate the primary aim of Wikipedia and make the new user really see the value of the project. Maybe the new user just corrected a typo, but this video shows them that they're working on something much bigger and more exciting than they perhaps imagined.
    • The video should give a digested run down of The Five Pillars, with a caption showing the WP:Shortcut to read more.
    • Another idea is a video of editors from all over the world saying "I edit Wikipedia because..." and including the brightest, most optimistic and inspiring conclusions to that sentence. The video could be created by asking for user submissions and editing together the best responses.
    • The videos should talk newbies through various ways that they could contribute to wikipedia.


We want fewer vandals and incidences of vandalism. We want more decent contributors. I feel these videos will reach out to both those communities, especially those who are uninterested in reading.

I've drafted this proposal as a user of the English Wikipedia. That's the only WP I'm familiar with. But I'm going on the fairly safe assumption that all languages encounter vandals; they certainly all acquire new users.

Key Questions

What other videos would be useful? Who would they be aimed at?

Potential Costs

Costs depend on the manner of production. I have little doubt the community of users would be able to take on this project and provide their time, equipment and editing for free. The videos could be hosted on YouTube, so we wouldn't even incur a cost there. So I think free is feasible. The upside of leaving it to the community is that each language can appeal to its own users to help create this kind of content.

Another option would be to greatly involve Jimmy Wales and the board, staff etc. I do not know what the cost of that would be. I assume the Wikimedia Foundation already has video equipment but even if it does not I'm sure it could simply borrow some or use equipment someone on staff privately owns. The necessity to purchase anything seems unlikely, though WMF ownership of video creation technologies doesn't sound like a bad investment anyway. But the downside of this approach is that WMF staff are unlikely to want to or be able to provide this kind of content for all the different languages we have.

If we can persuade celebrities to do such videos and have them released under a free licence we may find them being virally spread on Utube. If pick the right actors we may even get them shown on television as they would be free clips that include those actors.


Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:A series of videos to dissuade vandals, encourage new editors, welcome and inform newbies of key editing policies and perhaps more.

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