Proposal talk:Involving older people

From Strategic Planning

Computer literacy opp

This would be a good campaign. It would also help to reach out to those who may be intimidated by technology; the Internet, specially. This would be a great way to:

  • Teach them how to use research tools (to find sources)
  • How to type on a keyboard (for super, fast editing!)
  • How to incorporate knowledge and experience on a free-editing environment
  • A venue of relaxation or entertainment (this isn't a job, and you can have some fun doing it!)

This is a cool idea. I lean towards a supporting side. ESanchez013 19:13, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One way to approach this worthy goal may be to publicize reference desk services and article readership statistics. 23:35, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If there were older people involved, there would be fancruft about the following: Ed Norton, Ralph Kramden, Elvis Presley, the Great Depression, World War II, etc. I don't support this proposal. GVnayR 19:39, 19 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why would you want to exclude some ppl, they have their right to their opinion too! I think its a great idea and it should be done alongside with Internet literacy campaigns and workshops in the field. I think its a great idea, also for people 50+ not just seniors (thus generally people who know a lot and are afraid to edit Wikipedia). I am actually giving such a workshop for interested people this fall, and I think we should increase resource and interest among the young WP-editors in such topics. --Hannes Röst 12:20, 22 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If older people were encouraged to participate, then Wikipedia would turn into Conservapedia overnight. Young people tend to be more liberal in their thinking than old people. In fact, we need to get more 15-18 year old people actively editing articles as these people are the future of our human society. GVnayR 12:49, 24 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hey, you dont own Wikipedia and there is no political direction inherent to it. I think it is very conservative and narrow-minded of you if you do not want to be involved in discussions with older ppl. I do not believe that 15-18 year old youngsters would be any better in writing good articles and creating good content. --Hannes Röst 09:24, 31 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you want older people to get involved in Wikipedia, why don't you put kiosks in all the retirement homes? Older people often can't afford between both their standard living expenses and a computer with Internet access (unless they get a huge company pension or something like that). Nursing home people are simply too far gone to have a kiosk (they need to stretch their muscles by playing Wii games or something like that). Retirement people, are just old people who need to get away from the stresses that us younger people have to look forward to. GVnayR 03:32, 22 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reset indent You know what, I think you're being a bit uncivil and inflammatory. Did you forget all humans get old? We cannot and will not exclude older citizens because you think they are too conservative. What made you an expert on what people need to do? This isn't stressful; people like you make situations on Wikipedia or Wikimedia projects get stressful. I suggest you become more open-minded toward people's rights, including the right that the license on Wikimedia projects gives you and those old people: the right to edit and share freely. ESanchez013 16:57, 22 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In principle, I believe it's brilliant. True,it is possible that some older people might be shocked with some of our contents, and some might even be inclined to vadalize it, and here we go again. But consider that WP is such a vast world in itself now that chances of an older person to stumble across, say, marylin manson are not that many. And many of them will do in this virtual world what they do in the real one: look the other way. I believe it's definitely worth trying even if we risk some more friccion. There's so much of that already, anyway. Now, if we really go for it, lets ask our programing wizards to come up with a VERY simple editing interface, and one with BIG fonts. Saludos, Thamus 03:12, 22 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Keep Wikipedia for the 18-49 group because a lot of the articles are a bit too liberal for the 50+ crowd to take (even for the liberal 50+ crowd). Old people have no business editing an encyclopedia where there are articles about in vitro meat, human cloning, genetic engineering, driverless cars, and other liberal stuff that conservatives and/or old people might take offense to. GVnayR 03:56, 22 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I respect that, but shouldn't we let them decide? for the proponent: take a look at

Thamus 04:36, 22 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

good day to all, I think that we do need the input of older active people (I am 58...): they're educated, "were there" as said above, have potentially more time. Tutoring is a time consuming task, likely to benefit every one for it's positive and interactive,different age strata have different interests and thus cover the population as a whole, WP is a comprehensive encyclopedy isn'it? Hope&Act3! 11:02, 30 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not all seniors are as active as you are, Hope and Act 3. Most the seniors in my area are content to laugh at old sitcoms and rely on their grandsons for tasks that need a computer. Golf is also a good activity for seniors in my area but that doesn't teach you how to edit Wikipedia. Instead of reaching out to the over-50 crowd, we should try to reach out to the 8-18 crowd that could better relate to some of the more future-oriented articles on Wikipedia like in vitro meat or lights out (manufacturing). GVnayR 02:48, 31 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, if I understand correctely, it's not about making it mandatory for older people, is it? So never mind if the majority of people over 60 were woebegone alzheimer cases, if only there is one in a hundred like, say, my mom, who's 76 (I think) and a pretty good hacker, and much more likely to shock you with one of her tirades (if you ask for it) than be shocked by anything you may show her on the web (cause she's seen so much in real life, you know) I say, why not invite... HEY! Gosh, you're a genius! Yeah, I'll invite my mom over to wikipedia and boy we're finally going to see some fun around here! and learn a thing or two to boot. Thank you, GVnayR, that was a rilliant idea you just gave me! :) -- Thamus joyfulnoise 06:07, 14 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, you have a cool 76-year-old mom. I'm not against her or her type going on. I'm only worried about the ones in the nursing home who play Bingo all day go on Wikipedia and wrecking stuff that they're not supposed to. When they edit the article, they might mean to contribute in a constructive way but might end up ruining something in the article because he didn't know the Wiki programming code. GVnayR 03:36, 15 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Er, wouldn't that be equally likely with an eight year old? Your ageism is astounding, and if you were picking on any other demographic you would have been called on it by now. --Bodnotbod 09:49, 15 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The eight year olds we have in this day and age have been computer savvy since they were three years old. They are less likely to ruin a Wikipedia page than an old person. GVnayR 14:23, 15 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

<unindent>(speaking to Bodnotbod) The problem is that people's brains lose plasticity as they age. As people hit the 50+ mark, they stop being able to change their opinions as new information is presented to them. (The age at which this happens is different for everyone, and having a very active mind delays the onset of plasticity loss.) They become physically incapable of modifying their existing opinions. This inability to accept opinions differing from their own makes them bad editors (some people call it "grumpy old man" syndrome, but it isn't just regular cynicism. It's an actual physical change in their brains). Are those really the kind of people we want to encourage to come to Wikipedia (or Wikimedia)? As to your comment about 8 year olds, I don't want them on Wikipedia either! Most young people are too immature, and most old people are too far gone. Neither set should be actively encouraged to join any Wikimedia project.

That's not to say that there aren't some old people and some young people who would make good contributors. If they want to find us, they will, and they'll be judged exclusively by the quality of their edits just like everyone else. But to actually go out and ask drooling idiots in nursing homes to contribute? That's dumb:P. The mentally capable old people will find us on their own without our help (they're not infirm, and they don't need our help. They are their own person, and will choose to join or not by themselves), and the bad ones shouldn't be encouraged to join. It's as simple as that. Gopher65talk 14:28, 15 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suspect that most of the objections to encouraging "older people" (whoever they are) to edit is from people who don't personally know any older people -- beyond their parents & maybe their bosses or teachers. Speaking as someone who started with Wikipedia almost seven years ago in his late 40s, the basics interface is not difficult to learn; I can't help but suspect that the people who claim it is "too hard to use" simply are looking for an excuse not to contribute. If Wikimedia actually wanted to make changes which encouraged more people 40+ to contribute, the major changes would be the same ones that would encourage people under 40 to contribute:

  • Improve the documentation, especially concerning the wealth of templates. If I want to use a template I've seen but am not intimately familiar with, I end up spending as long as an hour searching for it; a paid documentation technician would help far more than some WYSIWYG interface which only 10% of the users actually use.
  • Make it easier for part-time editors to contribute. Those of us over 30 tend to have jobs & families which put a demand on our time; making it easier for us to participate in contributing & debates when we might only have a few hours a week available would definitely help.
  • Work on the civility. (This might be a problem unique to en.wikipedia.)

Anyway, if you think someone 50+ contributing to a Wikimedia project is going to ruin it, then it's too late for you to do anything about it: we are already doing just that. (You might be surprised at how many of us are already active & invaluable contributors.) -- Llywrch 17:26, 22 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ok, I didn't realize there were already people over 50 editing to Wikipedia. I apologize for all the bad things I said about people over 50 editing Wikipedia. Heck, I'm sure that some of them have been editing Japanese video game articles or maybe a few NASCAR articles. Many people who are 50+ probably have seen the 1955 Southern 500 and the 1971 Daytona 500 either live or on television years ago so I shouldn't really be the judge about what direction those articles take on English Wikipedia. GVnayR 23:37, 22 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the proposal is written in a slightly patronising way, and I find it amusing that some young people assume that old people tend to be conservative. But I think this is a great idea, lots of old people are still interested in the world and have the time to contribute. Here in the UK there are volunteer recruitment events where the recently retired can see dozens of stalls from various organisations who are looking for new recruits. Maybe we should have a stall at something like that. WereSpielChequers 14:57, 2 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here in Canada, old people are lazy. They do ham radio, watch hockey at the seniors' center, watch television, and generally sleep when they're not doing either of those. GVnayR 03:15, 3 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Beware of stereotyping people. I suspect a lot of old people think wikipedians are lazy for spending to much time on the Internet. But you only need to identify the one in a hundred who think differently to have a huge number of users. WereSpielChequers 17:55, 5 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do much more than Wikipedia on the Internet. For example, I look at my Hotmail, check out 2012 information, read my NASCAR news, and even check how many people have been reading my Japanese video game articles at any given month of the year. GVnayR 03:35, 6 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reset indent After reading many, many of User:GVnayR's comments, I want everyone to recall a good-ol' Wikimedia rule: Please don't feed the trolls. ESanchez013 17:02, 22 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Being 65 and with five computers in my personal network, interests from Flamenco guitar, to electronic conductance issues in antennae, to psycopathology and psychotherapy innovatons, hypnosis, GLOCKS, and photography (D80) and writing both novels and poetry, I am (speed typing) my sadness to hear such prejudice against elderly people. It seems to me most of the comments here are about "slow" and "uninformed" older persons, but that's a stereotype. There are a lot of talented retired with time to donate tech-savvy elderly. The unwelcome tonus of these posts discourages a newbie oldie like me. The first step would be to have some sort of civility committee for young and old...I had no idea there was such a prejudice against the elderly...based on a few tech illiterate grandmas and grandpas, I guess. Do you young people get out much? With respect, and friendlily I am aghast at the "closed door" attitudes...please re-examine your knowledge base.


Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 00:11, 3 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Very interesting, even brillant.

The only problem I see here is that if you want to propose people to come it in spite of letting people comming, you will be obliged to grant special formation to the elder people because of the complexity of the tool. Mediawiki is something like the most complexe wiki I used and elder people are not really all used with personal computers.

Yet with a good formation the complexity can be a plus because elder people may find it fun to tinker in the tool. Well, I gess this will be easier with men if it is like playing mecano... ^_^

If you can : find elder people who are willing to learn Wkipedia, make them understand what is a wiki, find people to help them to learn how to bypass the barreer, it could be a formidable source of participation and a great hobby for those elder people.

Have a nice day.

--Thibho 18:37, 26 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

An idea, make a special "how to contribute to mediawiki" short document dedicated to elder people, send it to relevant adresses.--Thibho 18:47, 26 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Be careful about stereotyping all oldies as non-geeks. Millions of pensioners are already online. WereSpielChequers 19:28, 26 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, I can't believe what is said in the upper parts of this page. To name an age over which a person couldn't contribute is absolute nonsense. To name an age over which a person couldn't understand internet and wikipedia is even more nonsensical. And to say, that a person over a certain age could only be a nuisance and harming to what is, is just ridiculous. Shall we just put an end to this debate? - Art Unbound 20:34, 26 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, we should all be carfull of not stereotyping yet not close the eyes at opportunities. It is not a question to be able to, it is a question to be used to. In my own environment, many eleder people were a bit late at going to computers yet many of them have then be learning. The fact is Mediawiki is not like other tools, i.e. it does not use the standard ~WYSIWYG way of formating text. This may create a reticence, especially with people that are willing to learn how to use standard tools, yet not willing being an expert of evrything on internet. That's why, evry action that aims at category of people where there is statisticaly a lot of average users, elders or not, should have a part focused on helping people to get the tool in friendly way. --Thibho 02:19, 31 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]