Thank you very much for this email.

Most of these thoughts are useful not only for India, but for other
countries, too.

2012/2/13 Nitika <>:
> Dear All,
> The following is a post I've put up on the India Program page on meta
> regarding outreach (Please
> see:
> Please do comment on the page itself; I'm posting it on this mailing list
> only to make sure it doesn't slip your attention.
> We have conducted over 13 outreach sessions in the past one month and have
> many more events scheduled to participate in over the coming weeks. (Please
> see:
>  It's amazing that we're doing so many outreach events all over the country
> to create awareness about Wikipedia, motivate attendees to learn about
> editing and training newbies to contribute to Wikipedia in their own special
> way.
> The single biggest challenge is that we don't know the actual outcome of
> these efforts in most cases, and the results are weak when we have the data.
> I think most of us agree that outreach can be made to work better. (For
> example, 2 outreach sessions conducted recently by the Assamese community
> had about 80 participants, and 8 active editors emerged - which is a hit
> rate of 10% - which is FANTASTIC!) For most other sessions, the results have
> been closer to 1-2% or even lower - which is depressing. What makes outreach
> work? How can outreach work better? Is there anything you need from me?
> Over the past 3 months, I have been working on building a handbook for
> Outreach (Please see:
> where you can get presentation material and tips. Please do go through it
> and help me build it.
> My post consists of 5 (deliberately) provocative statements on the day of
> and the days after an outreach session. These are framed with the objective
> of generating debate and suggestions.
> Hypthesis 1: Don't Shoot the Puppy: Outreach is not being done effectively
> and we aren't adequately introspecting on what we can do better; instead
> choosing to lose faith in attendees
> Should we discontinue general introduction sessions completely and just
> convert everything into Wiki workshops? Every second of volunteer time is
> precious and we need to make sure that every second is made to count. The
> good sessions appear to be those where people are actually shown how to edit
> - rather than just doing a song-and-dance about Wikipedia.
> The best sessions are those where people have actual hands-on editing
> opportunity. Shall we limit the intro session on Wikipedia to just 15
> minutes and then spend 45 minute on basic editing, 30 minutes on hand-on
> editing and leave 30 minutes for Q&A?
> Not everyone is a natural presenter and might need help on basic outreach
> skills. Is there value and interest in a capacity building roadshow where we
> help existing editors who want to improve their outreach and presentation
> skills? Is it useful to pair up a good presenter with a not-so-confident
> presenter when we are doing outreach?
> Hypothesis #2: Staying in Touch: We assume the job is complete after the
> outreach session when in fact the journey has only just begun
> Can we gather (basic) information about attendees (e.g., names, usernames &
> email IDs?) so that we can stay in touch with them after sessions?
> Can we get feedback on sessions (duration, level of detail, quality of
> presenters, etc.?) so that we can all improve? Do we need some sort of CRM
> solution for this or will something like Google Docs suffice?
> How do we get more folks to actually provide their contact details and
> feedback? Which of the following will get higher response rates: asking for
> these just before the end, immediately after the end or the day after a
> session?
> Hypothesis #3: Nudge-Nudge: Newbies struggle with the most basic things -
> including which article to select
> Should we send links to useful wiki pages and tutorial videos where they can
> read up more about how Wikipedia works and how to edit Wikipedia? Can we
> leave handouts on basic editing after all sessions? Can we send them links
> to the actual presentations made at the session.
> Can we suggest / elicit potential articles that individual newbies will work
> on after the workshop? Can we give them individual pointers on what they can
> do with each article by reviewing them there-and-then during the session?
> Can we schedule a follow-up session (even if virtually using google+
> hangout) to clarify any doubts about Wikipedia editing or otherwise - maybe
> 2 weeks after a session?
> Hypothesis #4: Loneliness - Newbies feel alone and the only time they sense
> the community is when their edits get reverted
> Should we not encourage them to join project pages (such as the WP:INDIA)
> and/or the India mailing list and/or their city/language mailing list to get
> involved with the community?
> Can we involve them in COTM or conduct specific editathons for them?
> Can we celebrate their successes and get newbies to talk to other newbies
> about how they learnt stuff?
> Hyptothesis #5: Black Hole: No one has a clue about the actual results of
> outreach
> Can we regularly monitor number & % of active editors after 1 and 3 months
> of conducting all events? Can we figure out % of mainspace edits from these
> newbies after 1 and 3 months? Can this be analysed to provide
> recommendations on how we can do things better?
> Can we actively reach out to those who look like they are struggling? Do we
> need a CRM tool for something like this?
> Is it useful to track and attempt to co-relate age / profession / subject
> (if student) / sex of participants to figure out what is likely to give
> greatest results?
> I have been working to see how can we overcome these challenges and make our
> outreach efforts far more effective. I'd love to hear from on the above.
> Some of you have been actively involved in outreach sessions (attending or
> conducting or planning) an I'd like to know your thoughts and suggestions
> which might serve as solutions for this set of very real challenges.
> Thanks
> Nitika
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