It is my great pleasure to introduce our newest Wikimedia Community Fellow of 2012, Peter Coombe! As a Wikimedia Community Fellow, Pete will be working with the community to improve help documentation on English Wikipedia. He’ll be leading a 6 month effort and taking a data-driven approach to reorganize and rewrite key help pages in order to make them more usable for new and experienced editors alike.
Like the encyclopedia itself, Wikipedia’s help documentation has grown organically over the years. Wikipedians have produced a great deal of useful documentation, but today’s help system has a vast number of pages that range from introductions addressing beginner needs to highly advanced technical documentation. Some pages are written in a clear style and some are not, and the path to find information on any given topic can be baffling, particularly to new editors. Pete feels that improving the main help landing page and other key help pages could have significant benefits for editor retention, and we agree.
Pete comes to the fellowships program with an impressive Wikipedia and academic resume. He’s been editing English Wikipedia as The wub since 2005, he’s an admin with over 75,000 global edits, and an active member of Wikimedia UK. Pete volunteered on the Social Media Team in the 2010 Fundraiser, and worked as a Production Coordinator in 2011. He’s also got a B.A. and M. Sci. with honors in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge.
But what really piqued our interest at the Wikimedia Community Fellowship Program is Pete’s experience breaking down complex topics into clear written information. He’s participated twice in a program at Cambridge to create online teaching and learning modules on materials science and engineering topics. In his projects, Pete introduced users to atomic force microscopy and raman spectroscopy. He’s also worked at The Helpful Book Company, publishing books that teach senior citizens how to use computers.
Pete’s talent for making the complex seem simple, combined with his experience A/B testing in the fundraiser and 7 years editing Wikipedia, make him a great fit for his fellowship project. To follow his work or get involved in the redesign project, please visit his project page. Welcome, Pete – the Wikimedia Foundation is looking forward to partnering with you to make help more accessible for all!
More Spring 2012 Fellows will be announced in the coming weeks – we can’t wait for you to meet them!
Siko Bouterse, Head of Community Fellowships