Wikivoyage talk:Language Expeditions

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Over the years we have become desperate for people willing to write new content at the Hebrew Wikivoyage[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Almost all people involved only fix existing content. As a result of this continuing situation in which almost no one writes new content, the following note was added by me to our main page.

I would appreciate any feedback/ideas you might have about maybe how to improve that text in order to actually get people to join the effort to write new content on the Hebrew Wikivoyage. ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 09:29, 1 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This i the text translated to English:

"Note to anyone wondering why the level of activity on the site has faded

Over the years, the few editors who have been involved in the creation of the Hebrew Wikivoyage have managed to do the unbelievable and gradually create the infrastructure of the website, which now consists of 2,071 articles that are mainly about the most interesting destinations among Hebrew-speakers based on the Wikimedia Foundation's statistics, and it also contains thousands of templates, banners, categories, advanced features and other elements that were needed for the site to become the best travel wiki site in Hebrew on the web. As a result, the Hebrew Wikivoyage nowadays receives circa 1.54 million unique pageviews per year from over 57 thousand unique devices every month.

While the site nowadays probably already contains the most sought after essential articles, many of these articles still lack much of the essential content that should be included in them, and their further extension now primarily depends on whether more people will choose to get involved in creating the missing essential content. Unfortunately, because over the years an active community of editors primarily focused on the creation of new content has not formed at the Hebrew Wikivoyage... naturally, the few editors who have been active at the Hebrew Wikivoyage until now have gradually reduced their activity on the site mainly because the process of creating all the most vital content is a lot more difficult and tedious when it is not done as part of an organized group effort. As a result, the site has actually entered a continuous period in which the level of daily activity is relatively low - a period that will probably continue as long as people more people would help write the content of the site.

Ultimately, in order for the site to develop considerably, in the typical way most wiki sites develop and grow over time, the Hebrew Wikivoyage requires more active writers whom are willing to take part in writing new content, and especially writing the most sought after essential content - either by doing so by themselves and/or by collaborating with the other editors (for example, by formulating an agreed plan for expanding the most essential and sought after content that is still lacking vital parts, agreeing on the division of tasks to achieve the objectives of the plan, and actually following through the various stages of the plan). The creation of the new content can be done both by writing original content and by translating the selected content from the corresponding articles at the English Wikivoyage. This is a major challenge because most of the users at the Hebrew Wikivoyage continue to focus their efforts on fixing the existing content. However, unlike the Hebrew Wikipedia, because there are only a few active regular users, when this becomes the most common type of activity on a small scale wiki site, there is a much greater difficulty in achieving real progress. Just to illustrate... theoretically, even a situation in which only 5 to 10 writers would choose to join forces and focus on creating the most essential missing content ... they would most likely be capapble of contributing to substantive progress.

One of the side effects of the decline in the level of activity is that this situation attracts various users whom hope that the site has been abandoned and that as a result they will be able to vandalize the articles, add external links to advertising web sites that aren't allowed to be added, as well as users joining whom have hidden agendas and aren't actually here to write useful guides for travelers. If you belong to this category of editors, I am sorry to disappoint you, but the site has not been abandoned ... The veteran editors and especially the editors with the admin permissions are still active here from time to time - each according to the amount of time and motivation they have to devote to Wikivoyage. It should also be noted that problematic editors of the worst kind will be blocked in the event that this would be necessary and that the the admin permissions will ultimately only be granted to users who take part in writing content, and who have proved over a long period of time that the interests of the travelers are paramount to them and that we could trust their judgement and common sense.

Join the initiative to collaborativly create articles about the most interesting destinations for travelers

If this is a topic interests you, and if you also see an advantage in the existence of articles in Hebrew for travelers about the destinations that are of most interest for Hebrew-speaking travelers and you would like to see that the amount of content available on the site would continue to grow, please help us make sure that this vision will materialize. You can do this by joining a special initiative in which we will try to establish an organized team of core writers for the Hebrew Wikivoyage. If you are interested in joining this initiative, please include your username in the list below and we will contact you when there are enough people interested in doing so." ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 09:49, 1 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ויקיג'אנקי: My initial impression is that you could try to convert some of your readers into editors, in traditional Wiki fashion. The text at the end, about including usernames, seems to target only those who would be contributing, anyway. Some ideas you could consider: add a prominent link to register an account, then, for every new account created, even ones without edits, just created, place a welcome message on their talk page outlining the most basic things about editing pages, like how to find the edit button, how to publish changes, etc., with some prominent links to pages that could be improved, like he:קטגוריה:עמוד_מתאר_-_כל_המדריכים. Also in the welcome message, include some text asking them to contact the welcomer if they have any questions, things like that - anything to lower the barrier for initial communication with other users. You could even start asking them some basic questions about places they've been, if they were thinking about adding something, etc., and noting that you are a real person, not a robot (I thought our templated welcome message was a bot at first, and so didn't reply, and I think that applies to most of the users we welcome). If they don't reply in a few days, you may want to consider following up and just linking an article that needs some improvement, since the message will go to their email and cause them to remember Wikivoyage - a user who registered is one who came very close to contributing, after all. Also you may want to emphasize he:ויקימסע:היו_נועזים_בעריכת_מדריכים and outline explicitly that any edit at all would be appreciated, even if it does not perfectly match policy. This is based on my belief that bureaucratic processes are a hindrance to new editors and people who have edited once are more likely to edit again. Hope any of this helped. ARR8 (talk | contribs) 17:54, 1 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. I'll definitly try that. Which page lists all the new accounts created? what is the standard message the English Wikivoyage uses on pages of new accounts? does it really show up in their email? What is the percentage ofpeople whom contribute as a result? ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 22:15, 1 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
ויקיג'אנקי: On English-language Mediawiki sites it is Special:Log/newusers. On hevoy, looks like it would be he:מיוחד:יומנים/newusers. The page distinguishes between accounts created automatically, by visiting the site while logged in to Wikimedia, and ones created explicitly by registering an account. Our standard message is {{welcome}}, but it's pretty basic. With default settings, all talk page messages get sent to the registered email. As for how effective it is, that's hard to say. We do welcome most users, but we only do it when they've already made some edits. If they come back, it's hard to know if they were already going to do that, or if the message actually helped. Welcoming users with no edits isn't something usually done here. ARR8 (talk | contribs) 23:47, 1 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
ויקיג'אנקי, I think that a "we are struggling" note might backfire. (Who wants to contribute to a dying project?).
Have you talked to Wikimedia Israel? They run classes to teach new editors. Maybe a travel-related class would be an interesting project for them. It might attract people who are more interested in travel and tourism than in academic content. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:38, 2 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Seems like this project could use the Content Translation tool to ease translation from English to Hebrew, since English literacy is fairly high in Israel. —Justin (koavf)TCM 02:47, 2 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Though I helped out a tiny bit with a Module, I wish I knew Hebrew to assist. I would see if one could reach out to other communities for assistance. Content Translation tool sounds interesting - I wonder if a comparison between wikis could be done and temporary pages created for missing articles and go from there? Best wishes -- Matroc (talk) 04:44, 2 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Personally, I found the tone of the message to be quite dark, unwelcoming and negative, like using words such as "abandoned", "vandalize". Give something positive. Also, it is impossible for new users to edit the table that you created for this initiative because it's in Main Page and only editable by admins, which would give the impression that the project is truly "inactive" because no one else is signing up on that table. I do agree that Content Translation tool will be very helpful. By sheer coincidence, I asked on MediaWiki today about the road map for expanding the tool beyond Wikipedia. The tool gets a lot of pushback because of poor machine translation but I think it's quite suitable for Wikivoyage. OhanaUnitedTalk page 07:13, 2 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for all the feedback! I'll try to answer some of the points brought up above:
  • ARR8 - Is there any easy way to make sure that the welcome message is sent to all new registered users without having to do so manually? (Even having a bot run from my computer, by one click of a button from my side every time I want it to work, would be considered by me to having to do so manually as I am looking to have it done completely automatically.) Is that possible?
  • WhatamIdoing - it is a bit emberassing to post such a note at the front page of a wiki website, but you got to understand that this is our final straw... we have already tried EVERYTHING else for a verry long period of time. At this point, even if this note doesn't help get people to become regular writers, at the very least it would serve as a warning to the people whom are hoping the site has been abandoned and that they are free to do what ever they want. Nevertheless, I still believe that if we'll only get the chance to establish a group of people interested in writing collaborativly, and that everyone would start editing at the same point in time once we're all ready and aware of such an intiative taking place, the site actually might have a chance to flurish. For there to be a significant change we probably only need 5-8 active prolific users. We have tried contacting the Wikimedia Israel and I do realize that they run classes to teach new editors, nevertheless, beside giving me the oppertunity to become the leading voice for the Hebrew Wikivoyage in their classes or other Wikimedia Israel events, they are not willing to lead any acitivities to promote the Hebrew Wikivoyage by themseleves (and I am not going to devote myself to being the "Jimmy Wales" of the Hebrew Wikivoyage).
  • Koavf - I love the Content Translation tool. Is there any way to add it to the Hebrew Wikivoyage? It seemed to me it is only available on Wikipedia sites.
  • Matroc - your help with the module have been enormous! You would never realize how much it has helped over time :) thank you! We have done the endless comparrisons between the wikis and actually created many decent articles for the most sought after destinations that interest Hebrew speakers. As I mentioned above, this has mainly contributed to the fact that nowadays the Hebrew Wikivoyage receives circa 1.54 million unique pageviews per year from over 57 thousand unique devices every month. Nevertheless, despite this, no one wants to take part in the "tough work" of producing new quality content.
  • OhanaUnited - Unfortunately, we got some bad people trying to ruin the site in various ways at Hebvoy. One of them, whom refuses to take part in producing new content, even told me recently with a lot of chutzpah (after only taking part in fixing typos for a short period of time and after making various questionable edits that made me question his motive for editing and his judgemnt) that now that I am no longer the prominent active user I have been here, he should be made an admin. I can only assume he is a bored elementry student, whom is only looking for a little summer project without really devoting himself to it (he probably is more interested in telling people he is the "Admin" at the Hebrew Wikivoyage than actually doing anything), but nevertheless, it is quite clear to me that his intentions aren't writing useful guides for travelers and that he might do more harm than good intentionally or unintentionally (you'll just have to trust me on this one). I believe that there should be some barriers preventing problematic users from trying to "take over" and reshape a small scale wiki according to their shananingans only a short period of time after joining and without proving that they are willing to invest time in producing quality content, work in collaboration, and prove that we can all trust their judgement and common sense to "hand them over the keys".
  • OhanaUnited - I'll also add that IT IS POSSIBLE for new users to edit the table that appears on the main page of Hebvoy (try for yourself). This is because the table is actually stored on a different page and there is a link right beneath the table that says "edit table" which sends the users to the page where the table is stored, which they could then edit. Getting the word out that we need more active writers and trying to create establish a list of people willing to help is necessary as we've already tried everything else. ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 07:40, 2 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't see why in principle we can't--just log a ticket at phab: (or find an existing one that is relevant). I can't promise it will happen on any timeline but it seems like that would help. —Justin (koavf)TCM 08:19, 2 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please do. I know it can't hurt to add it but do you think that a lot more users would choose to participate as a result of adding the Content Translation tool? ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 10:25, 2 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's probably easier to ping User:Amire80 than to file a Phab task. He might have some ideas about the overall problem, too.
Outside partnerships can be important, and the smaller you are, the more important they are. For example, could the Israeli Ministry of Tourism give a grant to Wikimedia Israel to run a workshop? Would a tourism group like Birthright Israel to sponsor the promote Hebrew-language content ("you're going on a trip, so let's research what you want to do...")? Are there any libraries or clubs for senior citizens looking for an interesting class to offer? Could you inspire some help from Wikipedians by posting a monthly, 100%-positive-news update at the village pump at the Hebrew Wikipedia?
I don't see any realistic path that doesn't involve working with other groups. Just waiting for someone to drop by, read your plea for help, and think, "Hey, I don't have anything better to do with several hours a day, so why don't I pitch in here?" is not likely to work well. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:16, 2 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the feedback. I will ask Amir to help get that tool to work on Hebvoy - thanks for the suggestion. I don't know how familiar you are with smaller language groups in the wiki sphere, but that's exactly how it worked with the Hebrew Wikipedia - it has mostly been created by 200-300 individuals (!) whom decided it was an effort worth participating in. from my experience, even though it is far fetched, convincing individuals to participate is probably the only way it is going to happen here too. This is so much harder to achieve though because there aren't that many Hebrew speakers to "cherry pick" these individuals from, and because the Hebrew Wikipedia community (the few people whom are very good at developing content in Hebrew on wiki websites) mostly decided that Wikivoyage is not worth investing in. ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 15:58, 2 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
ויקיג'אנקי: Automatically welcoming users is definitely possible, plenty of projects do it. They seem to run off this script. ARR8 (talk | contribs) 16:48, 2 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There already is a Phab ticket about this: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T105171 . --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 05:51, 3 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]