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Wikitravel talk:Celebrate a contribution

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recognition for moderately-sized contributions[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I recently realized that every time I return from vacation with a pack of travel notes, and make a major contribution to an article at Wikitravel, I subconsciously expect some form of recognition / compliment for my efforts and for a serious improvement I introduced for a destination article or two. I also realized that some kind of reward could be expected, I would be more Wikitravel-focused during my vacation time, and/or procrastinate less with publishing what I have made notes anyway during the trip.

This led me to understanding the rewards we currently have are too high barrier for an average contributor can shares the experience from his recent trip (and is not very proficient with WT MoS or what content to pay attention), but hardly more at a time. Saying "Thanks for contributing to article on Destination, please don't stop" in a welcome message is great, but it works only once when a user joins Wikitravel community, and most typically when someone starts contributing, not when he's done adding all he have to say. DOTM is hardly reachable for an average traveler who returned from a week-long vacation. Pushing article to Star status is something only roughly top20 Wikitravel gurus are able to do from a single trip.

IMHO giving such reward could bring better contributor retention, and probably improve size of an average contribution.

Thinking of how it could work, the following could work fine for me--just to give some food for thought:

  • receiving a personal "Thank you" from one of the community admins, especially if it stresses things like "great that you extensively covered aspect X for the destination Y" or "thanks for rare details/info on attraction Z" or "I could not find anything on practical details for W, and you made Wikitravel first travel guide to help a traveler with this".
  • bringing improved article to "one day of fame" or "one hour of fame, one hour per day during one week" at home page of Wikitravel (or a contribution itself rather than an article, maybe similarly stressing things from "Thank you" from the previous bullet)

What do you guys think? --DenisYurkin 15:55, 22 September 2010 (EDT)

Wikitravel:Barnstars? LtPowers 18:45, 22 September 2010 (EDT)
In theory I'm 100% in favor of making people feel more ownership and involvement in the site, but personally I find my time for such things is limited. At the moment I do a lot of article patrolling and try to comment in discussions in which I can add some insight, but even with that minimal agenda it's impossible to keep up with everything. The dearth of comments on recent Wikitravel:Star nominations seems to indicate that others feel similarly constrained. As a result, while I'm fully in support of giving more feedback and encouragement, we either need a lot more regular contributors with time to do so, or we need to find ways to streamline things around here to free up the time of the regulars. Having some support from IB to implement simple technical improvements would obviously help to achieve the latter (*cough* howhardwouldthatbeforthem *cough*) but otherwise I support your idea but fear that few people will have extra time to help out. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:57, 22 September 2010 (EDT)
I think Ryan is right. Some of our most active admins completely (Burmesedays + Inas) or partly (Stefan) stopped editing and the touting/spam wave now hits hard the rest of us. I personally hope that they return because they are invaluable for this community but IB is not a great help. IB only focuses on increased revenues and nothing else. Also some discussions are cross roads for some so i think barnstars are the only viable option for now. jan 11:33, 24 September 2010 (EDT)

Barnstars is one of the possible options, given that (for this purpose):

  • they are cumulative, i.e. one user can gets many stars, one per recognized contribution
  • each time the star is given, a clear motivation should be provided what exactly it's for
  • we define some guidelines on what contribution can qualify for a star (current "a user's exceptional community and content work" is very vague, and imho should have a lower barrier: i.e. something like "any contributor invested a week worth of evenings editing time should be able to qualify")

As for "we don't have time for that": but we have time for voting on/discussing COTMs, DOTMs, VFDs (OK the latter is more on patrolling) and replying in the Pub. My belief is that voting on significant cotributions shouldn't be more time-consuming. And to make it even less a burden, we can make it a contributor's responsibility to share what he believes is a completed contribution, and what's so special about it (although of course others can submit his contribution in effort to thank for his great work). --DenisYurkin 14:46, 29 September 2010 (EDT)

Any Wiki community member can give a barnstar to any other for any reason whatsoever. If you think someone's done exceptional work on Wikitravel, plunge forward and let them know with a barnstar. (direct quote from Wikitravel:Barnstars). Yet how often do you see one? Part of it is presumably that they are generally presented on the user talk page, so not many people know about the award. This is OK in many cases, but in other cases one wants the appreciation/recognition to be more public.
In those cases how about copying the award to the Pub as well?
Another idea that has been lurking in the darker recesses of my mind for some time is a way for a user to notify the community that he/she/whatever has finished a particularly satisfying or tedious or whatever piece of work and wants to celebrate by letting someone else or the whole community know. I suggest for this purpose a "Drinks all round" template with appropriate image/s, which can be used to celebrate any mildly notable occasion, either on one's own user page, someone else's user page or the Pub, depending on how public you want it to be. Maybe a "Have one on me" for private celebrations/thanks. (for those who dont drink, whatever equivalent celebratory notice they prefer) Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:46, 30 September 2010 (EDT)
I've sent out such notifications every now and then. Mostly, though, I just try to leave thank you/praise messages for users who are doing exceptional work on their talk pages. I tend not to do this for excellent work from more established users, though, since I already take it for granted that they do exceptional work ;) Taking exceptional users' exceptional work for granted probably is something we should work on changing.
We don't see the barnstars too often because we have traditionally reserved them for only really enormous, exceptional, and/or exceptionally diligent tedious work. Personally I kind of like that; although there is no restriction on who can or when to give them, you know that it's a big deal if you get one. --Peter Talk 14:31, 30 September 2010 (EDT)
I checked several barnstars granted over time--most (if not all) of what I've found are about really something large enough to be seen at the scale of whole Wikitravel, like regionalizing Russia. I speak of much smaller contributions, and mixing them doesn't look a good idea for me--at least because future authors of exceptional contributions won't feel they've done anything exceptional if a similar barnstar is given every day or week at Wikitravel, for only a one-week-worth efforts. --DenisYurkin 15:30, 30 September 2010 (EDT)
This would imply a change of written policy for awarding barnstars, as it is incompatible with the directions given on Wikitravel:Barnstars. Note that I dont have any strong feelings on this either way, but do think that the directions should reflect consensus or at least common usage. I second Peter Fitzgerald in that exceptional work by exceptional users should not be taken for granted. A bit of occasional appreciation may help delay or prevent burnout. It is sad to see an absence of edits by people who have produced so much good work. Unless of course they are out travelling... Anyone know what has happened to Burmesedays? Cheers, Peter (Southwood) Talk 05:40, 1 October 2010 (EDT)
Burmesedays works in the hospitality industry and is in the thick of high season (same applies to me right now, actually). I certainly hope he'll be back seasonally! --Peter Talk 13:25, 1 October 2010 (EDT)
Another point about barnstars is that they appear to be intended for collaborative work. (barnraising is not generally a one-person occupation). Maybe we need an award for users do quiet solo work as well. Possibly a range of awards, including one that could be given for patrolling, cleanup etc, and something else for producing high quality articles more or less from the ground up. etc. Cheers, Peter (Southwood) Talk 05:56, 1 October 2010 (EDT)
It sounds like there may not be agreement that barnstars are the best option, but the two other suggestions made above seem good:
  • User talk page recognition. If we created something similar to barnstars, such as a new template that could be placed on user pages, this would be easy to work with. Something like {{thanks|Thanks for all your work patrolling edits!}}.
  • Using a community page for community-wide recognition. Instead of the Pub it might make more sense to use a new page such as "Wikitravel:Community appreciation". This would provide a single location to highlight people doing good work.
Assuming these were simple and open I'd be fully in favor. Ideally it would be nice if there was a simple way to combine the two, such that editing a single location would update both the user talk page and the community page. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:54, 1 October 2010 (EDT)
I am not against barnstars in principle, but the regular barnstar should perhaps be reserved for it's customary usage, which should then be described on Wikitravel:Barnstars. Variations on the theme might do the trick, but lets avoid the Wikipedia Barnstar diversity explosion and general OTT sillyness, which would water down the value of the awards in a sea of fluff. Cheers, -- Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:50, 2 October 2010 (EDT)
I still think it would be nice if there was a semi-formalised, but not very formal, if you get my meaning, way of announcing to the community that one has just completed a large, tedious, important, groundbreaking or otherwise noteworthy task, and just want to share with the rest of the gang the satisfaction of being done for the present.
A little bit of generalised social interaction of this kind might be a healthy thing. -- Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:50, 2 October 2010 (EDT)
Some sort of "Milestone" barnstar equivalent? Rezendi 15:44, 4 October 2010 (EDT)
Nice idea, tell us more. Fits in nicely with the travel theme. Peter (Southwood) Talk 04:37, 12 October 2010 (EDT)

Thanks for input to everyone. Looks like:

  1. Barnstars is not what will help much here
  2. The simplest approach that could possibly work would be to have a page where new users can share their completed projects, provided that they are significant enough contribution--and anyone else can praise the contribution (hopefully regular editors of WT will join to regularly comment there).
  3. Maybe others can also nominate someone else's work, but it's unclear now how to make sure original contributor has finished (two-week timeout from the latest revision in a given article will do the job?)

If consensus is close to the above list, we need to:

  • choose a right name for the page. Not sure about "Wikitravel:Community appreciation", because if I'm an author of significant contribution, it's rather unnatural to add it to "appreciation list" myself--while self-added summaries looks like an easiest way to launch the whole idea.
  • define minimal barrier of contribution, so we don't need to deal with "your contribution is ridiculously small, but thanks anyway" cases.

Suggestions? --DenisYurkin 16:01, 12 October 2010 (EDT)

Unfortunately Wikitravel:Milestones is already taken. -- Peter (Southwood) Talk 07:06, 13 October 2010 (EDT)
"Achievements"? "Deeds"? As for minimal barrier, I'd say something that requires at least a couple of hours of work, and has very significant effect on one article, significant effect on a tree of articles, or affects the entire site. Rezendi 15:24, 14 October 2010 (EDT)
Thanks for suggestion on barrier, it sounds reasonable for me.
As for the naming, the most natural metaphor from what I tried is "Contribution to celebrate": similar to a real-word party/celebration, it's up to host to decide whether reason is significant enough for celebration, and to choose a right moment for it ("when I'm done with X and Y, I'd like to celebrate it with my neighbors"). However, the neighbors are free to suggest more reasons to celebrate than the host originally thought :-)
However, other (much weaker) options I had are (listing them just in case it will trigger some better ideas than mine):
  • Hours of work
  • Significant contributions
  • Significant effort
  • Contribution to share [with the community]
--DenisYurkin 16:43, 20 October 2010 (EDT)

OK, here is first draft: User:DenisYurkin/Wikitravel:Contributions to celebrate.

Feel free to edit/criticize it however you choose. --DenisYurkin 16:13, 29 October 2010 (EDT)

I like it. Possibly change name to "Celebrate a contribution". • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 09:52, 30 October 2010 (EDT)
Done, renamed to Wikitravel:Celebrate a contribution (and also pushed from personal namespace to "official"). --DenisYurkin 16:57, 30 October 2010 (EDT)
On my watchlist!
I wonder if this is a page where new items should be added to the top of the list. Then you see the latest item immediately on opening the page. Comments? • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 10:39, 12 November 2010 (EST)
Absolutely, go ahead! --DenisYurkin 17:02, 12 November 2010 (EST)
The only obstacle that I realized is that we can set up "+" button on that page to make adding a new contribution easier, but it can only add to the bottom AFAIK. However I think we can expect that if someone completed a contribution serious enough to celebrate, it won't be an obstacle for him. --DenisYurkin 17:20, 13 November 2010 (EST)
No point in the "+" button. Agreed. Minimum requirement for celebration is ability to make edit near top of page. (not serious) • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 00:20, 14 November 2010 (EST)
Just added the page to my watchlist - great stuff, you guys. One thought: where should this page link from? At the moment, the only people who can find it are those who have been following this discussion. We want others to be able to find it too! PerryPlanet Talk 18:24, 12 November 2010 (EST)
Good point. I think it should go in the navigation box at the top left corner of the page along with links to Traveller's Pub, Recent Edits, Random Page etc. I also think that new items should be added by registered users, but anyone can comment. I will make some comments to this effect on the page, see if it looks right. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 00:58, 13 November 2010 (EST)
If you believe it should be nearly as frequent as the Pub etc, I would be all for such an outstanding link.
In the meanwhile, I added a link from Wikitravel:Namespace index. Maybe it should be also linked from some of the following, but I'm not sure how to introduce it there--any ideas appreciated: Wikitravel:Project,Wikitravel:Tips for new contributors,Wikitravel:Quick contribution guide, Wikitravel:Welcome, newcomers. --DenisYurkin 17:13, 13 November 2010 (EST)
I think it is a page that can and should be used fairly often. After all that was your original point — moderately sized contributions happen quite frequently — but lets leave it until we have a few more opinions. Besides which I have no idea how to put it in the navigation box. Also if linked from the places you suggest, would you explain the purpose at each reference? • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 00:20, 14 November 2010 (EST)
The only purpose of linking is, as always, "We want people to find it easily". --DenisYurkin 00:56, 14 November 2010 (EST)
Agreed, but if they also know what it is that is linked, they know if they want to go there. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 06:30, 14 November 2010 (EST)
Just a thought: it could be linked from Wikitravel:Barnstars along with a comment that if the contribution is not as exceptional as worthy of a barnstar, but important enough nonetheless, that page could be used instead. – Vidimian 09:10, 14 November 2010 (EST)
Oh my, I'm embarassed. It seems Peter has already done that but I failed to check the page throughly. – Vidimian 09:16, 14 November 2010 (EST)
No need for embarassment, what you suggest is not quite what I had already done! I have gone back and added your improvement as I understand it. Please take a look and see if it fits in with what you had in mind. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 10:27, 14 November 2010 (EST)
Yes, that's exactly what I meant. Thanks. – Vidimian 13:42, 14 November 2010 (EST)