Talk:Editor campaigns

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Project background and rationale[edit]

Andrew and Sage have been working for some time on improvements to the Education Program extension. That extension exists to support classrooms that edit Wikipedia as part of the Wikipedia Education Program. Its core functionality allows instructors and students to enroll in courses, and it provides a window into the activity of students on the site. Today the extension is enabled on 10 Wikipedias and two other Wikimedia projects.

The extension contains infrastructure that is highly useful to the international Education Program, and has also been the proving ground for promising features like structured signup lists for groups of editors, activity feeds, and other group functionality. However, it has also been buggy and fragile, and uses outdated architecture that has posed a significant challenge to maintaining and improving on its functionality.

Despite these helpful features, the extension's interfaces focus on classroom use cases, prevents its use in other contexts, such as edit-a-thons, contests, and workshops. Unlike the (highly successful) media upload campaigns the Wikimedia community has run in the past, we have done typically done less well with inviting external participants to sign up and edit text content as part of a contest or campaign. Typically, the number of new editors invited, new signups, and retention of editors is either hard to track, very small, or primarily composed of hardcore Wikipedians. This is in large part due to a lack of tools that make it easy to invite newcomers, show them what needs doing, and help them keep in touch with others.

Our conclusion is that while the Education Program extension does fulfill a necessary role in the Wikimedia ecosystem, it would require an almost total rewrite of its codebase just to support its current use cases in a maintainable way. So, we're embarking on an effort to replace the Education Program extension with a generalized set of tools and reduce our technical debt. Hopefully we will eventually be able to deprecate Extension:Education Program as largely redundant with a generalized toolset. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 04:22, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

I also hope this new extension will have a reduced footprint over the user interface. The Education Program extension added a number of log types, user rights, special pages and hundreds of system messages. This affects all users negatively.
Most of the bullet points in the user stories here are things for which standard infrastructures already exist: I hope no ghost infrastructures will be built, especially as the purpose should be to integrate users in standard practices. This extension should build on top of existing wiki practices like edit drives and other BarnRaising efforts, filling the blanks rather than trying to supplant existing things.
In particular, description/introduction, location, subject, todo, talk, participants lists are all things that are normally done on a project page and its talk page. They can be structured a bit more but there is no need to reinvent them. Most of the other bullets seem to be related to GuidedTours and whatever discussion/threading system is in use on a wiki. So, apart from the activity statistics and user "adoption", the rest is just about bridging existing stuff so that there is some continuity. For the invites, there is Extension:InviteSignup by the way.
If you build something lightweight enough, we could even imagine extending it to all users. "Campaigns" is not a term I'm a fan of, "Edit drive" for instance sounds much better. Anyway, we could have "campaigns" where one user invites friend X to (register and) edit page A and to talk on its talk page; with some toys to follow the invited-adopted user in question. --Nemo 21:18, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Nemo re: "I also hope this new extension will have a reduced footprint over the user interface. The Education Program extension added a number of log types, user rights, special pages and hundreds of system messages. This affects all users negatively." I strongly agree. That extension was way too heavy-handed. I need to clarify the first work we're aiming to release, but it's much more minimal. We will likely not even attempt to replicate most of the logs, userrights, namespace, etc. of the EducationProgram extension. Other aspects we like, such as activity feeds, are a long way away. We're currently shooting for building on the tools we have now (like Campaigns extension and Wikimetrics) for a first pass. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 21:37, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Good. :) A nice explanation by Sage today confirmed my worst worries about "ghost infrastructures" above, especially:

the watchlist is a tool that is not often used by students

Students, like any other targeted group, need to be included in standard wiki workflows (though gradually); learning things like watchlist and project pages is a top priority. --Nemo 15:17, 16 April 2014 (UTC)


Are you looking for helpers? Open Research (talk) 08:46, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Hello, Open Research, thanks for the offer. :) Volunteers are always appreciated! What sort of help could you provide? Warmly, Anna Koval (WMF) (talk) 23:56, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Hello Anna, Are there any non-coding tasks that I can do? I am a journalist/academic so press release writing is a possibility. Some background: I am considering adopting the Campaigns extension to a wiki for a campaign to increase editing by a particular subset of academics. I would love this project to be a case study and could write it up and structure this writing it in a particular way that is most helpful. Is there a task list somewhere that I have not found yet? best wishes Dr Jenny Gristock Open Research (talk) 08:38, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
Dear Dr Jenny, I'm not sure about non-coding or writing tasks, but there might be some. It would be great if you could use Campaigns with your academic colleagues. And the case study is also an intriguing idea. I'm pinging Andrew Russell Green (WMF) and Steven Walling (WMF) to get their suggestions of how best to utilize your time and talents. All the best, Anna Koval (WMF) (talk) 15:59, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
Hi! Here are some ideas for some non-coding tasks: scoping out more requirements for features, studying how people work together on Wikipedia to better understand how the software can help them do so, and doing initial design proposals for new features.
Maybe take a look at some of these documents:
Thanks so much!! Also, feel free to drop by on IRC (try #wikipedia-en-ambassadors, #wikimedia-dev or any other common channels) to talk about this some more. Cheers, AGreen (WMF) (talk) 17:43, 2 July 2014 (UTC)