Submissions/Grey Revolution: Motivating Older Persons to Participate in Wikipedia

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

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Title of the submission
Grey Revolution: Motivating Older Persons to Participate in Wikipedia
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
Karen Torben-Nielsen, Jonathan Bennett, Stijn Bannier, Rüdiger Glott & Beat Estermann
E-mail address or username (if username, please confirm email address in Special:Preferences)
Country of origin
Belgium, Switzerland, The Netherlands & Germany
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
Bern University of Applied Sciences, UNU-MERIT University Maastricht
Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

Grey Revolution: Motivating Older Persons to Participate in Wikipedia

How can we promote older persons’ (60+) access to online collaboration projects like Wikipedia? That is one of the main questions in the European research project Third Age Online (TAO). In formulating an answer to that question, we have two main goals: Firstly, we aim to develop effective methods to encourage older persons to actively join online communities. Secondly, we attempt to improve user interfaces by making them more accessible and usable for older persons –without losing sight of the needs of the wider community.

The European project TAO (2010-2013) involves Wikimedia Switzerland and Wikimedia Germany, and unites academic and business partners from Switzerland, Germany and The Netherlands. The consortium brings together researchers from disciplines as diverse as psychology, public management, cultural studies, engineering, business administration and health sciences to join forces and to stimulate the access of older persons to Wikipedia.

At Wikimania 2011:

we plan to organize an interactive workshop discussing the preliminary findings and first recommendations. Concretely, we could present:

• Wikipedia-participation and use by older people (quantitative worldwide Wikipedia survey and qualitative study in The Netherlands)

• Older persons’ opinions about voluntary participation in online communities, e.g. as Wikipedia-author (qualitative study in Switzerland)

• Older persons’ various profiles and experiences (motivations, hindrances) with online communities like Wikipedia (exploratory study in Switzerland)

• Preliminary recommendations to improve the accessibility of community platforms (depending on time plan of this research part)

After the presentation of the preliminary results, we look forward to an active discussion with the audience. Thoughts, comments and remarks from the Wikipedia-community are of high interest to us. Furthermore, we encourage the audience to share their experiences regarding older persons’ participation in Wikipedia or the (challenging) cooperation of different generations. Another topic of discussion could be the value of dedicated programs to encourage older persons to participate in Wikipedia. We welcome a regular exchange about these topics with other interested parties and would be happy to meet you in Haifa!

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Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)
People and Community
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  1. CT Cooper · talk 18:02, 28 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  2. --80686 07:30, 29 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Eloquence 03:47, 1 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  4. 05:49, 1 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  5. --Frank Schulenburg 17:49, 1 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Vibhijain 07:12, 8 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
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