Submissions:2021/Editing seems too hard; let's fix that

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This submission has been noted and is pending review for WikiConference North America 2021.


Editing seems too hard; let's fix that


Depth & Breadth for Newer Editors, Tech & Tools

Type of session:

Round Table


I recently tried getting some people I know into editing Wikipedia. They found the process intimidating and difficult. That's pretty bad! I thought of a way to fix that.

I'm thinking we allow an edit to be split into different parts, which can then be done by different people at different times. That will lower the "minimum energy" required to contribute something. I think one way to split an edit is into four parts: get a source, select a fact from that source, find a suitable location in the article, and make the actual edit using that fact and location. They don't even have to be done in that order: perhaps someone could pick a location in the article first, and say "something needs to be done here, but I don't have the source for it". Not all edits add a fact to an article, but the same framework could also be used for edits that correct some information.

There would be some way to view a list of the current "partial edits" that have been proposed by other people. (Name: "Edit Workshop"?) You could contribute a missing part to any of them, or propose an alternative (for example, using a fact located elsewhere in the same source). You could also make comments on any of the partial edits. Perhaps this could all be integrated somehow with the existing talk page; that might be difficult. If a partial edit results in a regular talk page section, experienced editors would have an easier time giving feedback. With the Reply Tool and topic subscriptions features coming soon, new contributors would have an easier time following discussions in wikitext form.

Abuse and moderation would be a potential challenge. However, I designed the four parts to be easy to moderate: the sources can be restricted (only green sources, only sources used ons ors, etc); the facts must be copied and pasted from the sources; the location must be an actual selected position in the article; and we might only allow registered editors to synthesize those into the real edit.

We already have the edit request system and talk pages, but those are even more difficult to learn for new contributors and are only used to "compose" edits by expert editors.

I propose a round-table session where we talk about if this is a good idea or not, or what improvements we could make to it. I would really like to hear some feedback. I would like to eventually propose that we hold trials of this idea on some highly-viewed articles that have persistent problems with people not making "good" edit requests.

I've previously talked about this idea at, and this idea plus others at. (I'd love to talk about those, too!)

Academic Peer Review option:


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Estimated time:

30-45 min

Special requests:

Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:


If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)

Yes, lightning talk or unconference session