New editors thanks to Wiki Loves Monuments

Wiki Loves Monuments was very successful in the number of submissions – more than 168,000. But the number of pictures was not the only goal articulated by the organizers – maybe even more important was the goal of making more people familiar with the concept of contributing content to Wikipedia. Therefore, it was interesting to look back now, almost 9 months later, and see what happened with the people who contributed a photo to Wiki Loves Monuments.

Thanks to Erik Zachte, the very appreciated in house statistics analyst at the Wikimedia Foundation, we have been able to pull some data to get a better grasp of how successful we were. Besides that, we have some data to pull from a survey which was filled out by more than 750 participants in the months after the contest.

Before starting, we stated that we would be very happy with a retention of 1-2% of the new participants to remain as active contributors in one of the Wikimedia projects. At the participant survey, we found that while 90% of the participants is likely or very likely to participate again next year, and 87% would recommand it to his/her friends, 47% indicated that it was likely or very likely that thanks to Wiki Loves Monuments they would become more active in editing Wikimedia projects.

Participants by year of first contribution (data: Erik Zachte)

So many months later, it is time to make up the balance. Some 2/3 of the participants to Wiki Loves Monuments made their first edit in September 2011 (~3500 users). This clearly confirms what we suspected: Wiki Loves Monuments is successfully involving people who are not yet an contributor to Wikimedia projects.

Participants by month of last edit (data: Erik Zachte)

Of those new participants, 6.6% (231) still contributed in the period November-May, an amazing number! More amazing however is perhaps the number of those people who contributed in May 2012, 8 months after the contest: 1.6% – 61 users who were still active. But not only that, the users still active in May had an astonishing average number of 1139 edits in just those 9 months – an average of 127 edits per month or 4 edits per day. The champion new editor had an amazing 20,000 edits in just these months – not only on Wikimedia Commons, but also on the French Wikipedia.

While these statistics are encouraging – there is still a lasting impact on the Wikimedia projects, beyond the photo contributions in the month of the competition itself – they also show plenty of room for improvement. This year, we are looking to means to improve the ways we receive these new contributors, and give them the warm welcome they deserve. To show them around in the websites we call home, and familiarize them with the cultures of our communities.

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Lodewijk "Effeietsanders" Gelauff has been an active member of the Wikimedia community since 2005; over the years, he helped out as a steward and an administrator of several wikis as well as a board member of Wikimedia Nederland, member of the Chapters Committee and organiser of various internal Wikimedia activities. In 2010, he led Wiki Loves Monuments in the Netherlands together with Maarten, and was mainly responsible for the community-related part of the contest as well as for documentation, and internal and external communication. In 2011 and 2012, he was a member of the international organizing team.