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A couple of conversation starters

Edited by author.
Last edit: 19:33, 18 November 2009

Someone on enwiki has written a "new article wizard" (and updated v2.0). If people are educated as they go (in sensible size doses) then it could pay off in quality terms. If we want quality articles, and we want mass editorship, then one starting point is that most editors won't be used to this kind of writing or the standards, policies and arcana that have evolved. Bringing them sufficiently up to speed - ensuring whatever they do is guided - is a common way to resolve that, in the "real world". If you look at companies that want wide usage of complex programs for example (Microsoft's a good example), it's worth noting the effort they put into interfaces, wizards, help systems, and "newcomer guidance". There's usually an "advanced" setting for users who don't need/want that.

FT2 (Talk | email)09:29, 18 November 2009

Wizzards are indeed a very useful and potentially time-saving tool. Your example is for adding good content. However, wizzards can also be used for instructing how to remove bad content. Above I tried to define content quality by five requirements (it's just a try). What could help is making such wizzards for all of these requirements, then translate them for all projects. For example 'how to deal with POV/unencyclopaedic/biased/etc content'.

Woodwalker13:03, 18 November 2009

A "Report a problem with this page/article" link or icon on every page, that leads to a pop-up wizard for advising how to handle problems? I'd say "yes" to that. It's something we could do with the present-day setup.

FT2 (Talk | email)15:45, 18 November 2009

One of the wikis (polish, maybe?) has something like this. Might be worth checking into.

~Philippe (WMF)20:16, 18 November 2009

@FT2: it is a good idea. Of course there should first be a wizard before there can be a link to it though. @Philippe: I checked the Polish wp but couldn't find something like it. Perhaps Piotrus can help us out.

Woodwalker07:19, 19 November 2009

Love, Love, Love the new article wizard....

~Philippe (WMF)19:35, 18 November 2009

The new article wizard is certainly a step in the right direction, as far as tapping the pools of less tech-savvy editors go. Such initiatives should be prioritized, and the Wizard should be included in the more friendly (usability wise) Beta being developed. --Piotrus 19:57, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Piotrus19:57, 25 November 2009
Edited by author.
Last edit: 20:33, 26 November 2009

I'd like to see the same principles elsewhere, with generic "wizard hooks" in the code, and a "Wizard:" namespace so users can actually code up the wizard contents for these hooks on-wiki:

  • New account wizard, asks users "These are the issues with name choice, please choose a name"... asks "have you already got an account or used one in the past" and notifies them the basics of sock policy"...
  • Edit war wizard, detects 3+ reverts (not quite 3RR) and advises users "I see you've reverted this page a few times recently, are you sure?" -> Yes / Help me! / Cancel my edit
  • Citation wizard, "I see you've added a chunk of text (or new article) but there aren't any citations in it. Would you like help in adding citations so other users can check your edits are verifiable?"
  • Controversial topic wizard, advises users "You're editing a controversial topic. Would you like some hints and tips first?"
  • Deletion wizard: [if we gave users a "delete" button even if not admins] -> "You've clicked "delete", but you aren't an administrator. Wikipedia has a number of deletion tools and processes. Would you like guidance on the appropriate one to use, and on making your request?"
  • ... etc ...

In other words, don't demand users read most policies, or hit them with a stick for not doing so. Instead, guide them when they have actual need for the information.

So the links for a deletion wizard might be buttons for "Help me!" and "Cancel request", and also a link for "View policy summary" which opens a short popup that includes a link to "View full policy". The popup doesn't need to say everything covered in the policy, just what's relevant to the action they're doing.

FT2 (Talk | email)20:06, 26 November 2009
(I also wouldn't make this "ad hoc". I'd design a proper "Mediawiki Wizards" extension, so that all that would be needed in future is a bugzilla request: "Please add a wizard hook for X, that provides parameters P, Q, R". The conditions it fires (parameter based) and the actual wizard pages, are then configurable on-wiki, either via a "Wizard:" namespace, or stand-alone like AbuseFilter.)
FT2 (Talk | email)20:32, 26 November 2009