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Global watchlist, section editing for visual editor, English Wikipedia forums

Timeshifter (talkcontribs)

New editors need rapid feedback in one place. A global watchlist. Many new editors are multi-lingual, and will try their native language wikipedia, and often English Wikipedia since it covers far more topics of interest to them in many cases.

But once they see that they will have to check multiple watchlists, then many soon lose all interest. A global cross-wiki watchlist is a perennial top 5 request.

If you truly want feedback from more new editors, then create another project page like this on English Wikipedia if you haven't done so already. New editors will not stay here on long since there is little of interest here for new editors. At least on Wikipedia they are often already there trying it out.

New editors who try to edit with older computers will find Visual Editor to be too slow to load on longer articles.

Alsee (talkcontribs)

+1. Even experienced editors find the lack of global watchlist to be an obstacle, and Timeshifter has a good point about non-English people being more likely to edit beyond a single language wiki.

Kerry Raymond (talkcontribs)

Despite my best efforts to set my preferences, I can't get meta alerts to my main "en" account so I would love it too :-)

But the problem with new editors is more complicated than that. My experience from training is that the new editor is are so intently focussed on watching the edit window that they do not see notice or do not react to the presence of Talk message and other Alerts. Or when they do, they don't understand what it means or what to do in response. I hand out business cards with my email address when I do training and I know that I get a lot more follow up questions on email than on-wiki. Also it is a lot easier to email a screenshot of a problem in email than they can via Talk. Oh, and the new VE editor can easily write on Talk page.

So yes new editors need rapid feedback in one place, but I don't think our regular Talk/Alert system is necessarily the "one place" I would choose.

It is important to understand the Talk messages and alerts rely on the user being logged in. How do you communicate with the new user who isn't yet in the habit of being logged in all the time? We need to send an email as well (if their email address was provided) to get their attention.

The next problem the new user encounters is that, having seen a message on their UserTalk page, they may write a response there. Unfortunately the person who sent the original feedback (which may have been a bot) may not be watching for a reply. See this as an example, which resulted in the deletion of about 10 files, because the experienced user who believed it was a copyright violation wasn't watching for a reply (I had to sort it out and get the images restored, a conversation which was initiated via email). This also illustrates another problem new users face -- in this case, it was assumed a new user would "of course" be infringing copyright and did not bother to chck that material was indeed CC-BY as had been stated in the original upload (which indeed it was). A common assumption is "new user = bad user". And of course statistically this is often true, but if we want to retain the good faith ones, we have to stop that assumption.

Timeshifter (talkcontribs)

Good idea. "Get help by email" should be at the top of every page on Wikipedia. That way new users can get help even if they are not logged in. Top of the page, or top of the sidebar.

Malyacko (talkcontribs)

I disagree, because private emails do not scale and do not help others.

Timeshifter (talkcontribs)

The questions and replies should all be made public. Email notification is already done for other things.

MMiller (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Interesting idea about global watchlist's benefit for new editors, @Timeshifter. Right now, the team is thinking about how to help a new editor right after they register, and with their very first edits -- so I don't think their watchlist necessarily comes into play right away. But I could imagine this being important when our team turns attention to farther-along parts of the new editor's journey. Regarding the multi-lingual aspect, I'm wondering if you have any data or anecdotes about new editors trying to work across wikis. How common do you think it is?

This idea is making me think about a "new editor dashboard" concept -- all the things you need to be seeing if you're new, whether that is help documentation, watchlist-type content, or information about the impact of your edits.

And with respect to getting feedback on these ideas from new editors, I'm glad to say that we did this in Czech and Korean Wikipedias! Our ambassadors in those wikis sent emails to new editors to ask for their feedback, which I've incorporated into the summaries on this page. Many of the new editors responded with thoughts or questions unrelated to the ideas in the list, but in general we got some valuable info from them.

Timeshifter (talkcontribs)

New editors, once logged in, automatically start putting things on their Wikipedia watchlist as they make edits. If I am remembering correctly, this is the default setting. "Watchlist" is at the top of the page, and so it is intuitive that many new editors check it out right away or soon because they want to get back to articles they were editing earlier.

If they do any experimenting with other wikimedia projects they are immediately discouraged (I was) by all the many watchlists. And finding the other projects again is not always easy. They are not on the sidebar of this page for example. So it is easy to give up (as most people do) with the other wikimedia projects. Except for maybe the Commons for those editors bold enough to try to put images in articles. It is easy to find the Commons by clicking on any image in a Wikipedia article. The other wikimedia projects are occasionally listed on the sidebar of some pages. No consistency, and easy to miss.

This is all GUI stuff, ease-of-use stuff. Neither one of my main watchlists (English Wikpedia and the Commons) links to other wikimedia projects.

A global cross-wiki watchlist would solve all these problems. Including getting more feedback here.

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

We plan to check if edited pages are automatically watchlisted for new users. It may be different from one wiki to another. (Plus the notion of a watchlist is not always well understood.)

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