Proposal:Train editors on communications and empathy

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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


    Develop a communications training curriculum focused on customer service (e.g. OTRS volunteers) and volunteer mentors. This curriculum would initially be piloted in English. Assuming it creates the desired impact, it could then be modified to target other languages and regions.

    The curriculum would develop greater empathy for new editor experiences through a video. The video would contain a performance piece modeled after the work of Anna Deveare Smith, where an actor would interview new and existing editors, then create characters based on those interviews. Watching those characters serves as a way to build empathy for others as well as to see yourself in other people's eyes. This performance piece would serve as the basis for a discussion on how to communicate more effectively.

    The training program would be part of a larger evaluation framework that would track specific targets over some set period of time.


    One of the priorities of the Wikimedia movement is to create a healthy community space that is welcoming of new editors and that encourages new editors to become active contributors. A new editor's first interaction with an existing editor can have a big impact on their impressions of the community. If existing editors can become more friendly and empathetic communicators, then this could potentially lead to more editors, greater editor retention, and a higher-quality resource overall.

    Key Questions

    • How do we scale this program to have a wide impact?
    • Who would we target as participants in this training program?
    • How would we evaluate the effectiveness of this training program?
    • What is the value of a performance art video over a documentary-style video of actual editors?

    Potential Costs

    • Developing the curriculum.
    • Developing, filming, and distributing the performance piece. This includes:
      • Articulating the goals and the evaluation framework
      • Interviewing contributors
    • Doing the trainings


    Community Discussion

    Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Train editors on communications and empathy.

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