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Submissions/Other-a-thon: Roundtable on alternative models for public outreach events

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This is a Completed submission for Wikimania 2017 ready to be reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Submission no. 5029 - GO
Title of the submission

Other-a-thon: Roundtable on alternative models for public outreach events

Type of submission


Author of the submission

Andrew Lih
Ryan McGrady

Language of presentation


E-mail address




Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)

Andrew Lih - Wikimedia DC, American University, associate professor
Ryan McGrady - Wiki Education Foundation, North Carolina State University

Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (up to 300 words to describe your proposal)

Edit-a-thons have emerged as the most popular form of Wikipedia outreach. But should they be?

Like most such events, it comes with a strong call for participation, the ability to harness public enthusiasm for particular topics, and requires relatively little overhead. It is a neatly packaged, iterable, media-friendly model the Wikimedia community has adopted as the standard model for teaching Wikipedia to the public.

But there are well-known limitations to this model. Though successful for public relations, generating enthusiasm, gathering data about new users, and educating people about the site, the relative impact on Wikipedia — in contributing high-quality content or recruiting new active editors — is unclear. Similarly, the type and manner of contributions are necessarily constrained, with each individual encouraged to learn about Wikipedia and attempt direct contribution during a typically brief block of time — leaving out other types of contributions.

During this roundtable session, attendees will discuss alternative outreach models, including what has been done in the past, possibilities for the future, potential limitations or drawbacks, and ways to neatly package other approaches.

Among the issues to be discussed include:

  • Measurement and evaluation - instead of content edits as the sole activity, events around article assessment, gap analysis and categorization
  • Ways for experts to contribute knowledge without hitting the edit button - critiques, feedback or co-editing
  • Wikidata as a way to solicit contributions, such as using games or competitive endeavors
What will attendees take away from this session?

Through these discussions, attendees will better understand the opportunities and limitations of the edit-a-thon model, learn about alternative models that have already been proposed or put into practice, brainstorm new alternative outreach models, and leave with some well-defined, practicable ideas.

Theme of presentation
  • WikiCulture & Community
  • GLAM
For workshops and discussions, what level is the intended audience?


Length of session (if other than 25 minutes, specify how long)

55 minutes (flexible)

Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?


Slides or further information (optional)


Special requests
Is this Submission a Draft or Final?

This is a Completed submission for Wikimania 2017 ready to be reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Interested attendees

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  1. Smallbones2 (talk) 02:18, 17 February 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Anne Delong (talk) 04:28, 17 February 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Jamie Tubers (talk) 14:50, 18 February 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  4. This was inspired (in part) by a Signpost article I wrote, so I'll be happy to come and share my experience. Amir É. Aharoni (talk) 15:09, 29 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Wittylama (talk) 16:44, 29 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Debaser42 (talk) 14:45, 30 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Jami (Wiki Ed) (talk) 14:56, 30 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  8. I am experimenting in this space as well (example) Daniel Mietchen (talk) 03:30, 9 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  9. GastelEtzwane (talk) 12:23, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  10. #TMorata (talk) 12:49, 7 June 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Ouvrard (talk) , 9 June 2017 (UTC)
  12. ... Monikasj (talk) 15:54, 21 July 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  13. Kosboot (talk) 14:29, 31 July 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  14. Digitaleffie (talk) 16:37, 31 July 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  15. Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 17:54, 7 August 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  16. #TMorata (talk) 20:41, 7 August 2017 (UTC)[reply]