Mailing List Archive

Increasing the number of new accounts who actually edit
Hello,

Did you know that less than a third of the users who create an account on
English Wikipedia make even *one* edit afterwards? Two-thirds of all new
accounts never edit! Interestingly, this percentage vary very much from
language version to language version.

Now, the question is not: "what can we do about it?" We know plenty of
things that we *could* do. The question is this: "what are the easiest
levers to push that increase the numbers?"

We have a couple of ideas (they are presented on the Outreach wiki, at
http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Account_Creation_Improvement_Project),
but we need your help! Here are three easy things that you can do:

1. Offer ideas
2. Sign up to help with the project
3. Spread the word. Do you know anybody who would want to be interested in
helping out? Pass this message on.

Best wishes,

Lennart

--
Lennart Guldbrandsson, chair of Wikimedia Sverige and press contact for
Swedish Wikipedia // ordförande för Wikimedia Sverige och presskontakt för
svenskspråkiga Wikipedia
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Re: Increasing the number of new accounts who actually edit [ In reply to ]
On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 9:55 AM, Lennart Guldbrandsson
<wikihannibal@gmail.com> wrote:

> Did you know that less than a third of the users who create an account on
> English Wikipedia make even *one* edit afterwards? Two-thirds of all new
> accounts never edit! Interestingly, this percentage vary very much from
> language version to language version.
>
> Now, the question is not: "what can we do about it?" We know plenty of
> things that we *could* do. The question is this: "what are the easiest
> levers to push that increase the numbers?"

I think we need to take a step back first. Before deciding on what to
do about this, two other questions have to be asked:

1. Why are people creating an account without editing?
2. Do we want/need to do something about it?

There are various reasons why people could register without editing.
To name a few:
* people coming in from other Wikimedia wikis, auto-registering through SUL
* people creating sock puppets, then not needing them or forgetting
them when they do need them or having them blocked before they have
the chance to use them
* people wanting to change personal settings
* people thinking they can get something extra by registering
(previous category, but then for personal settings that don't exist)
* people who out of a habit register for every web site they see where they can
* people who find they cannot create an article on en: wikipedia
unregistered, want to create an article, register and then find
creating an article is too difficult

Not all of these categories we want to do something about their
non-editing, and when we do want to do something about it, we should
not use the same strategy on all. Therefore, before trying to solve
the problem, I think you should first determine
1. whether there is a problem, and
2. if so, what the problem is

--
André Engels, andreengels@gmail.com

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Re: Increasing the number of new accounts who actually edit [ In reply to ]
On 22 September 2010 04:27, Andre Engels <andreengels@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 9:55 AM, Lennart Guldbrandsson
> <wikihannibal@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Did you know that less than a third of the users who create an account on
> > English Wikipedia make even *one* edit afterwards? Two-thirds of all new
> > accounts never edit! Interestingly, this percentage vary very much from
> > language version to language version.
> >
> > Now, the question is not: "what can we do about it?" We know plenty of
> > things that we *could* do. The question is this: "what are the easiest
> > levers to push that increase the numbers?"
>
> I think we need to take a step back first. Before deciding on what to
> do about this, two other questions have to be asked:
>
> 1. Why are people creating an account without editing?
> 2. Do we want/need to do something about it?
>
> There are various reasons why people could register without editing.
> To name a few:
> * people coming in from other Wikimedia wikis, auto-registering through SUL
>

I think Andre is right, and this is the reason for so many non-editing
accounts, especially since SUL. I am sure someone can run a script to
determine how many "non-editing" English WP accounts have a partner
"editing" account on another project.

Risker/Anne
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Re: Increasing the number of new accounts who actually edit [ In reply to ]
2010/9/22 Risker <risker.wp@gmail.com>:
> On 22 September 2010 04:27, Andre Engels <andreengels@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 9:55 AM, Lennart Guldbrandsson
>> <wikihannibal@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> > Did you know that less than a third of the users who create an account on
>> > English Wikipedia make even *one* edit afterwards? Two-thirds of all new
>> > accounts never edit! Interestingly, this percentage vary very much from
>> > language version to language version.
>> >
>> > Now, the question is not: "what can we do about it?" We know plenty of
>> > things that we *could* do. The question is this: "what are the easiest
>> > levers to push that increase the numbers?"
>>
>> I think we need to take a step back first. Before deciding on what to
>> do about this, two other questions have to be asked:
>>
>> 1. Why are people creating an account without editing?
>> 2. Do we want/need to do something about it?
>>
>> There are various reasons why people could register without editing.
>> To name a few:
>> * people coming in from other Wikimedia wikis, auto-registering through SUL
>>
>
> I think Andre is right, and this is the reason for so many non-editing
> accounts, especially since SUL.  I am sure someone can run a script to
> determine how many "non-editing" English WP accounts have a partner
> "editing" account on another project.
>

The other simple method is to compare statistics before and after SUL
was implemented. Comparision of old statistics from the current one
could also tell us if the proportion of non-editing accounts vs
editing is stable over the time or not...

--
Tomek "Polimerek" Ganicz
http://pl.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Polimerek
http://www.ganicz.pl/poli/
http://www.ptchem.lodz.pl/en/TomaszGanicz.html

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Re: Increasing the number of new accounts who actually edit [ In reply to ]
On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 4:39 AM, Risker <risker.wp@gmail.com> wrote:
> I think Andre is right, and this is the reason for so many non-editing
> accounts, especially since SUL.  I am sure someone can run a script to
> determine how many "non-editing" English WP accounts have a partner
> "editing" account on another project.

Circa last May, roughly 15% of new EN wikipedia accounts were being
created by SUL cross-overs. Even if you assume that none of these
were to engage in editing, it still means that at least 80% of the
unused accounts were created via local registration.

-Robert Rohde

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Re: Increasing the number of new accounts who actually edit [ In reply to ]
On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 1:27 AM, Andre Engels <andreengels@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 9:55 AM, Lennart Guldbrandsson
> <wikihannibal@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Did you know that less than a third of the users who create an account on
>> English Wikipedia make even *one* edit afterwards? Two-thirds of all new
>> accounts never edit! Interestingly, this percentage vary very much from
>> language version to language version.
>>
>> Now, the question is not: "what can we do about it?" We know plenty of
>> things that we *could* do. The question is this: "what are the easiest
>> levers to push that increase the numbers?"
>
> I think we need to take a step back first. Before deciding on what to
> do about this, two other questions have to be asked:
>
> 1. Why are people creating an account without editing?
> 2. Do we want/need to do something about it?
>
> There are various reasons why people could register without editing.
> To name a few:
> * people coming in from other Wikimedia wikis, auto-registering through SUL
> * people creating sock puppets, then not needing them or forgetting
> them when they do need them or having them blocked before they have
> the chance to use them
> * people wanting to change personal settings
> * people thinking they can get something extra by registering
> (previous category, but then for personal settings that don't exist)
> * people who out of a habit register for every web site they see where they can
> * people who find they cannot create an article on en: wikipedia
> unregistered, want to create an article, register and then find
> creating an article is too difficult
>
> Not all of these categories we want to do something about their
> non-editing, and when we do want to do something about it, we should
> not use the same strategy on all. Therefore, before trying to solve
> the problem, I think you should first determine
> 1. whether there is a problem, and
> 2. if so, what the problem is

Some recycled stats for EN wikipedia from many months ago:

~ 215 k account creations / month (~15% imported from other wikis)
~ 65 k new accounts will edit at least once
~ 22 k new accounts will edit at least 5 times
~ 8 k new accounts will edit at least 10 times
~ 2.4 k new accounts will eventually edit at least 100 times.

There is a huge gap between the number of registrations and number of
new accounts that edit. However, there is also a huge gap between the
number of people who edit at least once and the number that edit at
least 10 times.

From the user interaction tests done by the Usability Initiative, it
is clear that a significant portion of visitors are confused,
intimidated, scared, or otherwise discouraged when they first
encounter the editing process. I don't think it takes a big leap to
conclude that feeling uncomfortable with making edits is a major
reason that people abandon new and lightly used accounts (though it is
certainly not the only reason).

Currently, only about 1.1% of account registrations reach the level of
100 edits. That conversion rate is tiny. Even if there are many
different reasons that such people abandon editing, I have to imagine
that a significant portion of the other 99% are people we can capture
and develop into active editors given a bit more support. Even if
such efforts can only convince another 1% to become active editors,
you would still be talking about doubling the size of the active
community.

So I certainly support initiatives that reach out to and help the very
newest users. Exactly what kinds of support we provide will likely
vary depending on what issues are determined to be most common, but
regardless of the details, I think this is a very important avenue for
outreach and growth.

-Robert Rohde

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Re: Increasing the number of new accounts who actually edit [ In reply to ]
On 22 September 2010 17:26, Robert Rohde <rarohde@gmail.com> wrote:

> Currently, only about 1.1% of account registrations reach the level of
> 100 edits.  That conversion rate is tiny.  Even if there are many
> different reasons that such people abandon editing, I have to imagine
> that a significant portion of the other 99% are people we can capture
> and develop into active editors given a bit more support.  Even if
> such efforts can only convince another 1% to become active editors,
> you would still be talking about doubling the size of the active
> community.


It would take a major effort to get individual wiki communities to
actually understand and apply "don't bite the newbies." It's already a
top-down value, just one widely ignored in practice.

(That's because there's ridiculous amounts of complete rubbish to sift
through. I'm not saying it's simple or easily remedied negligence on
the part of existing community members, because if it was it would
have been trivially remedied by now.)


- d.

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Re: Increasing the number of new accounts who actually edit [ In reply to ]
On 9/22/2010 3:55 AM, Lennart Guldbrandsson wrote:
> Hello,
>
> Did you know that less than a third of the users who create an account on
> English Wikipedia make even *one* edit afterwards? Two-thirds of all new
> accounts never edit! Interestingly, this percentage vary very much from
> language version to language version.
>
> Now, the question is not: "what can we do about it?" We know plenty of
> things that we *could* do. The question is this: "what are the easiest
> levers to push that increase the numbers?"
>
> We have a couple of ideas (they are presented on the Outreach wiki, at
> http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Account_Creation_Improvement_Project),
> but we need your help! Here are three easy things that you can do:
>
> 1. Offer ideas
> 2. Sign up to help with the project
> 3. Spread the word. Do you know anybody who would want to be interested in
> helping out? Pass this message on.
>

Personally, I think you're starting too far back on the issue. We have
plenty of people who create accounts, edit, then stop almost
immediately. Among people who do make an edit, the enwiki retention rate
a few months later is 1-2%. I think we should try to improve that first.
One concern on the English Wikipedia is the rather impersonal way that
new users are handled - everything is bots and template messages. Simply
increasing the volume of new accounts will only exacerbate that problem.

Just very recently, for a completely unrelated discussion, I complied
some statistics for the English Wikipedia (though it could be run for
any project) about users' first edits and editor retention. The full
results are at [1], the summary is:

* Users who create an article are much more likely to leave the project
if their article is deleted. 1 in ~160 will stay if their article is
deleted while 1 in ~22 will stay otherwise
* Our main source of regular users is not users who start by creating an
article.
* Users who start by editing an existing page outnumber article
creators by 3:1
* Users who start by editing an existing article are far less likely
to have their first edits deleted (and therefore are far more likely to
stay)
* From the users analyzed, we got fewer than 200 regular users from
those who created articles (1.3% retention), we got more than 900 from
users who edited existing pages (2.5% retention)
* A significant number of regular users (24%) get their start outside of
mainspace.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Mr.Z-man/newusers

--
Alex (wikipedia:en:User:Mr.Z-man)

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Re: Increasing the number of new accounts who actually edit [ In reply to ]
On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 1:55 AM, Lennart Guldbrandsson
<wikihannibal@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello,
>
> Did you know that less than a third of the users who create an account on
> English Wikipedia make even *one* edit afterwards? Two-thirds of all new
> accounts never edit! Interestingly, this percentage vary very much from
> language version to language version.
>
> Now, the question is not: "what can we do about it?" We know plenty of
> things that we *could* do. The question is this: "what are the easiest
> levers to push that increase the numbers?"
>
> We have a couple of ideas (they are presented on the Outreach wiki, at
> http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Account_Creation_Improvement_Project),
> but we need your help! Here are three easy things that you can do:
>
> 1. Offer ideas
> 2. Sign up to help with the project
> 3. Spread the word. Do you know anybody who would want to be interested in
> helping out? Pass this message on.
>
> Best wishes,
>
> Lennart
>
> --
> Lennart Guldbrandsson, chair of Wikimedia Sverige and press contact for
> Swedish Wikipedia // ordförande för Wikimedia Sverige och presskontakt för
> svenskspråkiga Wikipedia
> _______________________________________________

Some of the people who create accounts probably realize that they
don't actually have a valuable contribution to make, and so move on.
Some are just lazy. Some came for other reasons mentioned elsewhere in
this thread.

If you want to encourage these people to actually come up with a
valuable contribution you'll have to incentivize that for them. While
it may be hard for a wikipediholic to understand the lack of incentive
structure for newcomers, many newcomers simply may not understand the
value of their potential contribution, and so it doesn't put them over
the contribution threshold.

One way to bring the reward structure of contributing to Wikipedia to
their attention would be to explain it to them after they create their
account. I'll leave it to the wikipediholics to explain best how to do
that =)

- Brian

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Re: Increasing the number of new accounts who actually edit [ In reply to ]
On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 18:49, David Gerard <dgerard@gmail.com> wrote:

> It would take a major effort to get individual wiki communities to

And by that you mean communities on enwp? :-)
People bite everywhere, and the reasons are the same as well, as you
properly pointed out. Enpw is the largest so people bite there most
often.

> (That's because there's ridiculous amounts of complete rubbish to sift
> through. I'm not saying it's simple or easily remedied negligence on
> the part of existing community members, because if it was it would
> have been trivially remedied by now.)

But still I agree that the original topic is mostly non-problem.

Peter

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Re: Increasing the number of new accounts who actually edit [ In reply to ]
Hi all;

I think we can compare our retention rate with other communities like Wikia.
If its retention rate is higher, we can learn from them, otherwise they can
learn from us.

Also, some months ago I read about a Facebook study which said that
"Facebook users who edit their profiles in the first day, use to get
involved". But now, I can't find that study.

Regards,
emijrp

2010/9/23 Peter Gervai <grinapo@gmail.com>

> On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 18:49, David Gerard <dgerard@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > It would take a major effort to get individual wiki communities to
>
> And by that you mean communities on enwp? :-)
> People bite everywhere, and the reasons are the same as well, as you
> properly pointed out. Enpw is the largest so people bite there most
> often.
>
> > (That's because there's ridiculous amounts of complete rubbish to sift
> > through. I'm not saying it's simple or easily remedied negligence on
> > the part of existing community members, because if it was it would
> > have been trivially remedied by now.)
>
> But still I agree that the original topic is mostly non-problem.
>
> Peter
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
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> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Increasing the number of new accounts who actually edit [ In reply to ]
Based on patrolling thousands of speedies and prod deletions at enWP,
of the people whose articles get rejected at enWP, I would say that
fewer than 20% of them have even the least likelihood of becoming
helpful regular editors. (and I've the reputation of taking an
extremely broad view of what might be conceivably be a potentially
useful article),

So the actual conversion rate of potential editors is about 1 in 32
for those who write potentially useful articles that nonetheless get
rejected as compared to 1 in 22 of those whose articles get accepted.
That means that our procedures for scaring away editors of rejected
articles only scare away 1/3 of the possibly good ones, and 2/3
persist nonetheless. I am not sure how much better we can get it
without doing very extensive work with those editors.

We might get a higher yield by working with editors who make edits,
but not new articles, encouraging them to continue to make others.
Anecdotally, many people edit to fix a single error or add a single
fact , and never really want to do anything more.

On Sun, Sep 26, 2010 at 7:11 AM, emijrp <emijrp@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all;
>
> I think we can compare our retention rate with other communities like Wikia.
> If its retention rate is higher, we can learn from them, otherwise they can
> learn from us.
>
> Also, some months ago I read about a Facebook study which said that
> "Facebook users who edit their profiles in the first day, use to get
> involved". But now, I can't find that study.
>
> Regards,
> emijrp
>
> 2010/9/23 Peter Gervai <grinapo@gmail.com>
>
>> On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 18:49, David Gerard <dgerard@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> > It would take a major effort to get individual wiki communities to
>>
>> And by that you mean communities on enwp? :-)
>> People bite everywhere, and the reasons are the same as well, as you
>> properly pointed out. Enpw is the largest so people bite there most
>> often.
>>
>> > (That's because there's ridiculous amounts of complete rubbish to sift
>> > through. I'm not saying it's simple or easily remedied negligence on
>> > the part of existing community members, because if it was it would
>> > have been trivially remedied by now.)
>>
>> But still I agree that the original topic is mostly non-problem.
>>
>> Peter
>>
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>>
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>



--
David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:DGG

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