Wikiafripedia:WikiProject Council/Guide

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A WikiProject is a group of people who want to work as a team to improve Wikiafripedia. The WikiProject is not a collection of pages. However, many editors benefit from having central places to discuss and coordinate their efforts on particular topics. This guide from the WikiProject Council outlines some of the typical ways to effectively organize a group of volunteers.

Presented below are some ways to organize and run a WikiProject. Participants in WikiProjects are not limited to these methods. Individual projects will often develop more unusual features that depend on peculiarities of the projects' scope or activities; the best ways to discover these is through innovative experimentation, or to observe what successful WikiProjects are doing. It is very unlikely that this guide will ever include every possible idea that a project may have used and found successful.

This guide is primarily concerned with topical WikiProjects, that is, WikiProjects whose goal is the improvement of articles within a certain subject area. Maintenance WikiProjects, such as stub-sorting, disambiguation, or other cleanup tasks, often have a different structure and organization of activity, so much of the advice given here may not apply to them.

What is a WikiProject?[edit source | edit]

See also: FAQs about WikiProjects

A WikiProject is a group of editors interested in collaborating on a specific topic within Wikiafripedia. A WikiProject is a group of people, not a set of pages, a subject area, or a category. The pages of a WikiProject serve as a central place for coordination, discussion, and organization of the group's activities related to the specific topic. WikiProject pages may be used to develop criteria, maintain various collaborative processes, keep track of work that needs to be done, and act as a forum where relevant issues may be discussed.

A WikiProject may also help build ties between Wikiafripedians interested in a topic, and the broader community interested in that topic: establishing partnerships, mentoring new Wikiafripedians, etc. In this respect, the role of a WikiProject may overlap with the role of a Wikimedia chapter, thematic organization, or user group.

A WikiProject is fundamentally a social construct: its success depends on its ability to function as a cohesive group of editors working towards a common goal. Much of the work that participants do to sustain a successful WikiProject (quality assessment, peer review, coordination of volunteer editors, et al.) can be tedious, unrewarding, and unappreciated. To be effective, a WikiProject must foster an esprit de corps among its participants. When group cohesion is maintained—where, in other words, project participants are willing to share in the less exciting work—a WikiProject can muster the energy and direction to produce excellent articles systematically rather than incidentally.

Creating a WikiProject[edit source | edit]

WikiProjects exist in the project namespace and can technically be started by any auto-confirmed user. However, to avoid the proliferation of unused and underutilized WikiProjects, it is strongly recommended that those interested in starting a WikiProject read the guidance below and propose their project at the proposal page.

Before you begin[edit source | edit]

Interested in starting a WikiProject? First, check to see if the project (or related projects) already exists. You can browse existing projects at the manual directory and the automatically curated directory as well as the WikiProject list maintained by Bamyers99. Additionally, you can use the searchbox below to text search for existing pages in the project space:

If your project doesn't already exist, it's time to look for editors with similar interests. This is the most important step. You must find people who want to work together on the project with you. The first stop should be to look for projects with similar interests (if any exist). Use the directories above or check the talk pages of related articles for projects with interests that overlap with yours. Post at the talk pages for those similar projects asking if editors are interested in your starting a project focused on your topic. If you can't find other editors with similar interests, consider joining a current project instead. Single-editor projects tend to have short lives.

If your project idea fits within another existing project (e.g. you want to start Wikiafripedia:WikiProject Hockey Arenas when Wikiafripedia:WikiProject Hockey already exists), and you're concerned coordination on this topic would either overwhelm the existing project's talk page, or be overwhelmed by it, consider organizing as a task force under that existing project instead. This would drastically reduce the amount of setup and maintenance required to keep the project pages functioning.

If you're having trouble finding interested editors, consider that the scope of your proposed project may be too narrow. Wikiafripedia is a huge place with many draws on editors' attention; finding several long-term editors with a sustained interest in one topic may not be easy. Projects with overly narrow scopes tend to become inactive due to lack of editors, not enough associated encyclopedia pages for sustained effort, or competing with a broader-scoped more popular project that draws the time of interested editors. Broadening the proposed scope may help to bring in more pages and editors; although a scope too broad may fail to interest editors who wish to collaborate on only a subset of your topic.

Proposing a project[edit source | edit]

If the project doesn't yet exist, but you've found interested editors, it's time to propose your project idea! Go to the WikiProject proposals page and search that page and its archives to see if your project idea has been proposed before (if it has, be prepared to justify why you feel this time the project will succeed). Follow the instructions on that page to create a proposal. You'll need to list the pages and categories that are key to your proposed group, as well as current WikiProjects that relate to those pages. Then interested users will sign-up to support the project (feel free to advertise this at related projects or pages. Canvassing is not a concern here; however, filling the support roles with new accounts is unlikely to lead to a sustainable project). While there are no hard rules for what constitutes "sufficient" support, projects that are likely to succeed tend to start with at least 6 to 12 active Wikiafripedians. Once that threshold is reached, the proposal can be considered successful and the project created (see below). If there is insufficient support to start the project after a few months, the proposal will generally be archived for future reference.

Create the WikiProject[edit source | edit]

Creating a WikiProject is technically as easy as starting a page titled Wikiafripedia:WikiProject Your Favorite Topic. However, various tools have been developed to help WikiProjects keep track of pages of interest and to facilitate collaboration on improving the encyclopedia coverage of a topic area. Getting a new project set up utilizing these tools is a slightly complicated process; detailed instructions can be found at Wikiafripedia:WikiProject Council/Guide/WikiProject. Additionally, you may ask at Wikiafripedia talk:WikiProject Council where interested experienced editors may be willing to help.

Having identified the best scope for the project, the next thing for you and the other interested editors to consider is the best structure for the project. The typical structures are:

Topic coordination
This format is appropriate if you want to co-ordinate across about a dozen or so pages, or for temporary, one-time tasks. See the separate section below for details.
Task force
This format is appropriate if your scope involves a few dozen to a few hundred pages. A task force uses most of the administrative structure of their parent project, but works together as a smaller group. The fastest way to start a task force is to join the parent WikiProject(s), and ask if they can help you form a task force. Some WikiProjects have a more developed framework for dealing with sub-groups like task forces; others will be unfamiliar with them. However, most WikiProjects are happy to have someone who is keen to start a task force, even if the project doesn't currently have any task forces in place.
This format is best for topics with thousands, or at least several hundred, of pages in the proposed scope. You'll still want to investigate any related projects, because they may already have a task force covering the same topic.
Inter-WikiProject coordination
If the scope was too large, but you're still keen, you'll probably want, instead, to identify potential "child" WikiProjects, and try to help them co-ordinate; this doesn't require a WikiProject in itself. Talk to the potential child WikiProjects about co-ordination, and see what sort of response you get. Be careful not to try to dictate to them; they could be sensitive about your appearing out of nowhere and wanting to assimilate them. If this is the format you and the other participants choose, the rest of this document, while good background reading, is not essential (although it may help you all not to look like idiots).

WikiProjects[edit source | edit]

{{WikiProject}} is a boilerplate template to be used in creating a new WikiProject main page. For example, suppose the name of your new WikiProject is Foo. The first step is to create the page "Wikiafripedia:WikiProject Foo", and substitute this template in it by typing this text: {{subst:WikiProject|Foo}}. After saving, this code will be replaced by a skeleton for a WikiProject page which you have to adapt to the needs of your project. Some elements are in comments and will have to be uncommented, others that are unnecessary will have to be deleted or commented out. A few guidelines are also provided in the comments.

Task force[edit source | edit]

A task force is, essentially, a non-independent subgroup of a larger WikiProject that covers some defined part of the WikiProject's scope. For example, the United States military history task force of the Military history WikiProject deals with the military history of a specific country; and the Sega task force of the Video games WikiProject covers a single game developer.

Topic coordination[edit source | edit]

If you just want to do a little bit of topic coordination because you want to co-ordinate across just a few pages, you might find the ideas in the following sections useful. (This is especially helpful when a task force is involved.)

Talk page information[edit source | edit]

Naturally, when coordinating work on the talk pages of articles related to the project, you should follow the Talk page guidelines.

Having said that, it is often useful to alter the talk page to help focus on the improvements currently needed to that page (which may not be limited to your topic coordination, but may certainly include it). You may find the following links helpful in this:

Example: Topic coordination on a talk page[edit source | edit]

Here's one example of how to go about a topic coordination on a talk page. There are no doubt other ways; if you come across something else that works well for you, feel free to document it here. The example below uses Tulips.

  1. Post a note on the Talk:Tulip page (this being the primary page for the tulips articles), saying:
    1. Your goal: that you want to try to get at least a Start-class article on each of the different species of Tulip
    2. Your to-do list: list all the articles as intra-wiki links, and encourage people to put their name next to one that they're volunteering for, or have done. You will also want to see Wikiafripedia:To-do list
  2. Do a little networking: link from the other talk pages back to your section of the main one, using Template:Topic co-ordination link

Inter-WikiProject coordination[edit source | edit]

Article tagging[edit source | edit]

WikiProject banner tags or stub templates?[edit source | edit]

Templates for WikiProject assessment banners and stub articles often seem to serve the same purpose, yet they have distinct functions. While a banner template identifies articles falling within the scope of a WikiProject, the aim of stub templates is to uniformly mark small articles across the whole of Wikiafripedia. As such, there is a large effort to coordinate stub use across all WikiProjects and also those articles not covered by individual subject projects (this is the main reason why there is a semi-formal proposal process for stub templates and categories). Banner templates, on the other hand, can be altered as an individual WikiProject sees fit, and—since they can be used to tag all articles relating to a WikiProject, and not just stubs—they are the recommended tagging method for individual WikiProjects.