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Opportunities for editing on mobile

RHo (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Just a point related to the third characteristic of New Editors described in the report which noted "People​ ​do​ ​more​ ​complex,​ ​rigorous​ ​tasks​ ​on​ ​their​ ​desktop​ ​or​ ​laptop​ ​computers,​ ​and​ ​short,​ ​quick tasks​ ​on​ ​their​ ​mobile​ ​phones." (p9).

On the one hand, I wholehearted agree that we should introduce more 'micro-contributions' opportunities on mobile for users (e.g., see this old discussion of Android contribution concepts Reading/Readers contributions via Android).

However, given that "10 [out of 47 study participants] contributed to Wikipedia using their mobile phones or a tablet...(one used the iOS app, and one used the Android app); the majority of these editors were young (under 35 years old)", couldn't this be seen as a trend towards people wanting to edit more on mobile in general and not just small tasks? I found that 10 out of 47 to be arguably quite high (especially the 2 people using apps to edit when they are a relatively low % of overall Wikipedia users and apps have very minimal editing functionality), and it can only increase given the user base will shift more and more towards having mobile as the primary device.

I wonder if it may be a chicken-and-egg situation that users are not performing more complex tasks because mobile editing capabilities are currently quite limited (eg., Visual Editor is presented with reduced functionality on mobile web and not available at all in the apps; it is not possible to create a new page in apps and mobile web on phones).

TL:DR; Are there opportunities to encourage engagement of New Editors through overall improvement of mobile editing capabilities which could be explored in further research and design?

JMatazzoni (WMF) (talkcontribs)

You make some interesting points. And I think there is a lot of potential for creating more granular tasks that could be handled on smaller screens.

On the other hand, it's also true that the tasks that don't get done in a backlog are frequently those that are just harder to do, because they require a lot of rewriting and research and expertise. So do we help people do what's already easy and fun, or do we help make what's harder easier?

The answer is that we have to do both, of course. And it's possible that part of the answer will be to find better ways to break up bigger tasks into smaller tasks. E.g., when I edit an article IRL, for example, I don't just hand it back to the author and say "this needs cleanup" or "this has grammar problems." I underline particular sentences and words and say what's wrong with them. I think we need to get to a system, somehow, that is more like that.

Mikemorrell49 (talkcontribs)

In the Netherlands, voluntary 'micro-contributions' are the trend in voluntary work generally. In the past (10-20 years ago), volunteers 'joined' a voluntary organization and stayed loyal to it. They were recognized for the number of years they had been a volunteer. That's still true for the 'older generation' but it's dying out. 'Younger generations' (say under 45) are much more likely to look for short-term win/win matches between their current interests, available time and voluntary opportunities. Many voluntary organizations have had to adapt to this trend. For one thing, the time that short-term, opportunistic volunteers are prepared to invest in learning is less than long-term volunteers. So short-term volunteers tend to work on small chunks of work under the supervision of more experienced and better trained longer-term volunteers.

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