On Sun, Dec 18, 2011 at 10:25 PM, Nitika <> wrote:

> Hi Srikanth & everyone else,
> This is a really good question and one that I've been thinking about and
> working on as we look at outreach in general.
> From my discussions with various editors and my observing and
> participating in outreach sessions, I think the biggest challenge when we
> do outreach is "why to contribute".  Of course, "how to edit" is essential
> - but unless someone believes there is a strong enough reason to
> participate, it's unlikely they're going to get involved or stay involved
> after a couple of exploratory edits.  From my conversations and readings,
> the motivators of existing editors are any or a combination (or variants)
> of "promoting free knowledge" or "sharing knowledge in general" or
> "improving education" or "passion for their languages" or "interest in a
> particular subject (e.g. astronomy or railways or butterflies.)  However,
> my opinion is that it is relatively complex to convey these in an initial
> outreach session.  It's best to motivate and train and support potential
> newbies to join the movement and community - and allow them to discover for
> themselves what is the inspiration for them (especially because it is
> likely to be unique to that individual.)
> Personally, i think there are a number of really compelling answers to the
> "What's in it for me?" question - and I do want to share my take on it.
> I'm dividing my answer into students and faculty/institutions.  (The tone
> I'm using is what can be used when actually answering the question.)  These
> answers are a little clinical and conceptual but I've found they work - and
> I believe they will provide an adequate incentive to try and learn a little
> bit more about editing and to hopefully become regular editors.
> * Academia - Students*
>    1. It improves your *writing skills*.  Writing skills are essential
>    when you move ahead in life either to do further studies or to work.  Our
>    education system (unfortunately) doesn't adequately teach writing skills
>    and we all struggle when we have to write a formal report or research
>    paper.  When you move into the working world, you'll find that you can be
>    as good as you are at your work but unless you are able to write those
>    written reports properly, you'll always find it hard to succeed.
>    2. It will help your *critical thinking*.  Concepts like Neutral Point
>    of View (which you will sometimes see in Wikipedia being referred to as
>    NPOV) help you see all sides of a story.  In your future careers, you need
>    to consider the pros and cons of anything - because only that way will you
>    be a better professional.  If you're into software, look at the article on
>    waterfall development model and how it looks at pros and cons.  If you're
>    in economics, look at the article on the Euro bailout and see how it looks
>    at all the multiple complex issues involved.  Very little in life is purely
>    good or totally evil; we need to be neutral and consider all sides.  You
>    will find this incredibly useful in both your personal and professional
>    lives. This thinking will help you decide who to vote for in elections or
>    which version of Lok Pal you support or which IPL team to follow!  This
>    thinking will help you understand your subjects even better.
>    3. It'll strengthen your *research skills.*  Editing a wikipedia
>    article requires you to do a lot of referencing (or what wikipedia
>    sometimes calls "citations".)  This means you need to look beyond just the
>    wikipedia article and research online references and also go into that
>    forgotten room called the library and look up books or journal.  This is a
>    skill you cannot live without if you are writing a thesis or working on a
>    research project.
>    4. It teaches you how to *collaborate*!   Editing wikipedia is
>    magical.  You add some content and someone from some other part of the
>    class or school or town or country or somewhere else in the world adds a
>    little bit more and makes your contribution that much better.  The days of
>    sitting alone under a tree and having an apple fall on your head and
>    discovering gravity are over.  In today's world, we will need to
>    collaborate to achieve anything.  If you're into biotechnology, you might
>    be based in Hyderabad but the team you are part of might have someone in
>    Scotland or Brazil- from a different culture and with a different accent -
>    but you need to work together.  Wikipedia helps you learn how to
>    collaborate!
>    5. It gives you a *global audience of - literally, thousands! * If you
>    submit a class report, the maximum audience is 2; 1 being you and 1 being
>    your teacher.  After your paper is marked, it will normally be thrown
>    away.  If you edit a wikipedia article, it is there *forever* and the
>    audience can be any number from the 500 million who read wikipedia every
>    month!  You can show your article to you mother and grandfather and
>    friends!  If you upload pictures to Wikimedia Commons, you will have an
>    audience so much bigger than the 500 friends on Facebook who will see it.
>    So many more can see your talents and appreciate your work!
>    6. It'll boost your chances in admissions or scholarships or *
>    placements*.  Imagine if you are a mechanical engineer and you are one
>    of 100 students in your batch applying for jobs with the best engineering
>    companies who come to campus.  Everyone is likely to submit a resume saying
>    they are the greatest engineer ever born - but it's difficult for any one
>    to stand out and shine.  If you were to put a line in your resume that you
>    have edited 5 articles on heating and cooling systems, there is a very high
>    probability that this would jump out at the recruitment team of the
>    companies and the will actually read your article (if they haven't 
> already.)
>    7. It can be *so much fun*!  You can make new friends - from all over
>    the world.. You can write about subjects that you are interested in
>    (whether it is movies or your hometown or sarees or mythology  or cricket
>    or whatever!) It think it is really important that we drive this message as
>    passionately as we can because this is something that can resonate so loud
>    and for so long!
> * Academia - Faculty & Education Institutions*
>    1. Students with all the above result in much more motivated classes.
>    One thing that teachers constantly say is that they one thing they want is
>    *engaged students.*  I've had teachers tell me that if they are in a
>    class and they see their students involved and trying to learn and active,
>    it is the best thing that can happen to them - and the rest of their day
>    goes well!
>    2. It improves your individual and college's *academic reputation*.
>    In the Indian context where there is relatively lower emphasis on academic
>    research papers by faculty members, supporting your students on Wikipedia
>    articles helps you (rightfully) claim that you contributed to these
>    articles.  That increases your academic standing and helps attract better
>    students and faculty and partnerships and recruiting companies.
>    3. It supports the advancement of *education* - for students in your
>    class and colleges and around the world.  You have devoted your lives to
>    education and this is a great way of promoting it.
> I wanted to share my perspectives because I really believe that the "why"
> needs to be addressed.
> Thanks for starting a great message thread, Srikanth.
> Nitika
> On 18-Dec-2011, at 1:37 AM, Srikanth Ramakrishnan wrote:
> Subha, most of those bullies are editors with zero constructive edits
> or IP based vandals. Sadly.
> Erik, yes, I consider Giving to Wiki as giving back to Society. Thanks
> for the links. Time to read during my month long Wiki break.
> Ravi, Bala told me that physical outreach programs had very poor
> success rates. I concur with him.
> Prad, I agree. That's how Manish and I became friends. But still
> doesn't explain how to get new guys.
> --
> Regards,
> Srikanth Ramakrishnan.
> Wikipedia Coimbatore Meetup on December 10th.
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