Saturday, April 18, 2015

WDOY: Getting into the Flow

If you've read some of my previous posts, you'll know I'm not entirely unfamiliar with Wikipedia's software and operation.  I am a newbie when it comes to Wikipedia proper: communication flow, editing manners, and so on.  I asked for advice and read some "How To" articles. The most useful advice I got was:

  • Go where the people are 
  • Project pages are mainly noticeboards for project participants

Everywhere you go, there you are

Communication with individuals is a matter of finding the right talk page.  There are multiple Wikipedia/Wikimedia/MediaWiki sites, and for the longest time users had to sign up and in to each site.  Since then, global users have been added, and it's possible to have one account that logs you in to all the sites. You still have several talk pages, but you only have to log in once.

I created a new account* for the WDOY** project. As a result, all of my user pages are blank.  My talk pages are starting to fill up as people leave me messages or ask questions.  Then I had to figure out which page of theirs to use for my reply.

You see where this is going: any discussion is going to be disjointed. The conversation thread is in the minds of the participants, and anyone who joins in the middle won't have the full context.

Wanted: someone to make sense of this

Project pages are still a little "here be dragons" for me.  When I first wanted to set up a project site, I read the directions. Silly me.  Simply put, I thought the flow was that you'd make a project proposal page, get people to sign up, {*a miracle occurs*}, and you create a WikiProject page.  There might be another miracle in there.  Anyway, at the moment, there's the original Inspire page, its talk page, the proposal page, and its talk page.  Oh, and the two sets of pages are on two different wiki sites, so I originally had two watch lists.

What's lacking is a clear communications plan. Mostly because the project is me and a few others who are interested, but who've not yet decided on what they'll be doing. This is a work in progress.

Enter: Project X and Flow

Of course I'm far from the first person to notice this.  Project X was started as a way to make projects easier for participants and Wikipedia pages easier for editors and admins.  One of the things revealed last week is Project Flow.  Simply put, it's part of a framework that will set up a communications plan. You can read all the gory details here.

This will be a slow running thing. Wikipedia is huge, and change comes slowly to any organization, much less one as loosely organized as this one.

If you'd like to join any of the projects on Wikipedia, including Adding More Women to Days of the Year, head on over to the project pages and put down your name. 

*I created an account in 2011 because I thought I'd contribute in some general way, but never got anywhere.  I'd long since forgotten the password, and the email address I used no longer exists.  Wikipedia's solution is for you to create a new account.  This wasn't great, but for me there wasn't a lot at stake.  
**Originally WDOTY, now WDOY to align with the DOY project.