I missed the presentation by wikiHow that talked about welcoming on wikis but I heard about it later when a small group from wikiHow and a few tag alongs like myself went to dinner. If you’re not aware of it, welcoming on wikis is when people are welcomed to the wiki after they make their first contribution or register for an account. Some of the wiki people I know do this because they think it helps to build community which in turn translates into additional edits to the wiki. As wikis need edits to improve their content, this is really important. Wikis should always be looking for ways to convert edits.
At the session, wikiHow apparently talked about the effect of welcoming and their conversion rate in terms of helping to get more edits. They did a student on the topic in fact. They found that welcoming people to a wiki did not have a relationship to people’s edit totals or likelihood to edit more. (I wasn’t there so I am probably missing more of it.)
That’s kind of interesting as I know of a number of wikis that try that including AboutUs, EncyclopediaDramatica, wikiHow and some wikis on Wikia. We’ve never really done it on Fan History because we couldn’t figure out how to automate the process and most people seemed to come in, edit their article and that was it. Why waste the energy on it? But at the same time, all these other wikis were doing it. It seemed ingrained in wiki culture. Why not do it? Are we just being lazy? It feels kind of nice o be redeemed and know it doesn’t necessarily help in terms of community development.
I would be kind of interested to learn why it doesn’t convert to additional edits though. Is the lack of conversion a result of how people view wikis? Possibly not as a community? Is it because people who want to edit will edit no matter what and some people just edit here and there because of subject matter expertise? Lots of reasons probably and I want to learn more.