How to Coach Someone on wikiHow

When you see someone make a mistake on wikiHow, it's always good to give them some gentle feedback to point them in the right direction. If your message is too harsh or impersonal, though, the recipient is likely to ignore it, or just leave wikiHow altogether. To effectively coach someone, you can write a personal message that will be instructive and positive at the same time!


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    Always assume good faith. Before contacting an editor, consider whether you may be misinterpreting the person's intentions. Are you assuming the contributor was being careless or deliberately disruptive? Instead, try assuming that whatever the person did, they probably did it by accident. It's important, as a coach, to trust that everyone wants to be a good contributor.
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    Begin with a friendly greeting. Jumping right into coaching can seem stern, sometimes punishing. Start off with a simple "Hello", "Hi" or "Hey" followed by the person's first name. This can change the tone of the message to that of a friendly reminder, rather than a slap on the wrist.
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    Thank the editor for trying to help, such as:
    • Thanks for all the patrolling you've been doing lately.
    • Thanks for starting a page here!
    • Thanks for taking the time to edit on wikiHow.
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    State an observation. A good way to start this off is to say "I noticed that..." or "While I was reading your article I realized that..." When stating the observation, focus on the content of the article rather than the editor. Example: Use "I noticed that the video image doesn't match the content of the article exactly" rather than "I noticed that you added a video that didn't match the content of the article exactly." Don't forget to include a link to the article in question.
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    Lead by example. Instead of asking the contributor to fix their mistake, fix it for them. Show and tell: Show your change to the contributor with a diff link, then explain what you changed and why.
    • Example: "I changed the image on [URL_of_a_wikiHow page this] page to that of a dolphin, because the article seems to focus on birds rather than marine mammals You can see the new image [diff_url here]."
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    Keep the discussion open. A new contributor may see your opinion or edit as the be-all and end-all of a conversation. Since this is a wiki, we want people to remember that everything is open to discussion. Inject a dose of humility by writing something such as: "Feel free to undo my edit or let me know if you think the change doesn't make the article better."
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    Close with another wave of appreciation. Thank them again or compliment them on another edit to end on a positive note.


  • If they ask for help right off the bat, suggest a few activities from the Community Dashboard like spellchecking, or writing a new article.
  • Keep track of their contributions and suggest new things to help them.
  • Be there to answer questions. Being a new member can be a little intimidating since they have no idea what they're doing.
  • If they ask you a question you don't know the answer to, seek help from an administrator, NABer (New Article Booster), or a person you look up to.
  • Try never to assume anyone 'ought to know better'. Anyone can slip up, even someone who gets things right almost all the time.

Article Info

Categories: WikiHow