Personae on Wikipedia

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Personae (confined to the area of content improvement) (i.e. we're not talking about formal roles, or positions of authority; this page covers that kind of role). Think of the following key question: „Who is involved in the progression of an article from creation towards featured article? (evolution of an article)“

We deliberately chose not to use existing community slang. Think of watching the wiki-world from 2,000 miles above.

The following list describes personae a newcomer will run across in the context of content creation:

  • Author: Creates new articles, adds sections to existing articles, improves articles
  • Copy editor: Improves the article's language
  • Subject matter expert: is involved in a WikiProject; watches article's edit history; does incremental review; reviews the article as part of a formal (internal) review process
  • Photographer / mapmaker / table builder: Adds visual aids to the article
  • Formatter: Formats articles (community term: "wikifying") according to the style conventions
  • Maintainer: Takes care of the article's integrity (community terms: "recent changes patrol" and "watchlist")
  • Facilitator: Provides guidance on social norms that are conducive to constructive discussion. Moderates discussion on controversial topics to keep focus on neutral point of view, verifiability, etc.
  • Consensus-keeper: ensures that editorial consensus is kept. Unlike the facilitator, this person may simply revert undesirable edits from new contributors making old mistakes. This consists more of the enforcement of existing consensus, as distinct from working to develop new consensus.
  • External reader: Participates in the content improvement by leaving notes on the talk page; doing minor edits

Most Wikipedians play several of these roles. E.g. someone can be a subject matter expert for an article's topic and at the same time maintain the article's integrity.