editing Fridays

Today I was talking with Eugene, a Wikimedian friend of mine. He was telling me about all the Wikipedians he talked to who don’t edit anymore, or who spend their time working on institutional things like outreach instead of editing.

“Man, I never have time to edit either!”  I said.

We agreed this was ridiculous. There’s an obvious solution: finding time to edit. But it’s hard. There’s a lot of distractions and we all feel overworked. Sometimes you need peer reinforcement.

Which is why I want to start “editing Fridays”. If you’re involved in Wikimedia in any way, and especially if you don’t edit much now, take the time over lunch on Friday to spend half an hour to an hour working on a content project. Fix some typos. Add a reference. Categorize some photos. Add a definition, or a sound file. Proof some source text. Work on expanding a learning objective; rewrite a textbook chapter; add a book chapter outline. Did something happen today? write a news story. Take the time to relax, write about something you love.

Things that don’t count: meta, infrastructure wikis, documentation, mailing lists, IRC. This is all about staying grounded in why we’re involved in the first place: so, editing content. Starting with the backlogged maintenance categories is a good place to go if you’re stuck for ideas. Double points for working on a small project or small language.

What do you think? Will you join me?

n.b.: I choose Fridays only because of the traditional American workweek, which winds down on Friday; fun activities are often planned on Fridays. But if editing Thursdays or editing Saturdays work better for you, that’s cool too — I mostly think it would be motivational to work together.

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12 Responses to editing Fridays

  1. Huzza! says:

    Ripping idea! Absolutely wizard! Count me in. And proofreading on Wikisource counts, y’say?! T’riffic!

  2. J. T. Glover says:

    Sounds like a fab idea. I will pass over without commenting on the oft-made comment of senior librarians about how they don’t do any “real” library work anymore.

  3. Dror K says:

    Hi Phoebe,

    I think the main problem is not time, but the awfully bureaucratic nature Wikipedia has taken in recent time. It is not simply clicking the edit tab and contributing in good faith these days. It’s reading tons of policy pages, being interrogated on your talk page about your background and the sources you use. You can often be blocked based on allegations by someone who doesn’t like your edits. Even when people do assume good faith, they often ask so many questions about a certain edit, that you simply can’t find enough time to address them all. I know that from reading a letter from a distinguished professor. He said he has nothing against those who asked him the questions, but he simply cannot dedicate so much time to answer, and therefore we are better off without his contributions.

  4. phoebe says:

    huzza: anyone who comments with “absolutely wizard” gets triple points 🙂

    john: yes, it’s exactly like that. enough with the meetings, time to do some reference editing already.

    dror: so sad 🙁 can we do half an hour of copyediting in good faith, though? that’s all I’m talking about. I know there are big, terrible, systemic problems that shouldn’t be ignored; but sometimes I think we let them get in the way of remembering why we all started participating.

    I can, of course, only speak for myself when I say actual lack of time — and a pressing feeling that other obligations are more urgent — is a big barrier.

  5. jredmond says:

    I’m in. It’s been too long since I did any articlespace editing.

  6. phoebe says:

    cool! documentation hashtag: #editfri

  7. Kim Bruning says:

    About time. \o/ 😀

  8. Frank Schulenburg says:

    I’m in (although I’m still pretty active as an author). Great idea! Frank

  9. jredmond says:

    I put in about forty-five minutes on RC patrol. (Damn, but those bots are quick!)

  10. phoebe says:

    cool! I added a couple references to articles and spent maybe 15 min fruitlessly looking for more.

  11. Sage says:

    Yay! Thanks for this, Phoebe. There are seven people signed up on the office wiki for this for next week! I just added a bit to the article on my new town.

  12. llywrch says:

    I used to contribute to Wikipedia more frequently on weekends than during the week, due to having a day job. But then we had a daughter and my free time on weekends went to almost zilch.

    Sometimes I get away with editting from work, but that depends on the boss & my work load. Editting while I’m unemployed can be even more of a hit-or-miss because of the pressure to find a job, run errands, or look after my daughter because I’m not working & we need to economize.

    And then there is the need to do the research to have something to contribute. (Using sources to write Wikipedia articles? What a concept!) I have a few dozen articles in various states of readiness I could create, & creating an article ab nihilo is always far easier than rewriting existing ones which need work — all waiting for that quiet hour or four when I can work my thoughts & reading into intelligible prose.

    I wish I could have one day to edit Wikipedia, without worrying about the consequences.

    Geoff

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