Defense Mechanism or Socialization Tactic? Improving Wikipedia’s Notifications to Rejected Contributors

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In this paper, we first illustrate and describe the various defense mechanisms at work in Wikipedia, which we hypothesize are inhibiting newcomer retention. Next, we present results from an experiment aimed at increasing both the quantity and quality of editors by altering various elements of these defense mechanisms, specifically pre-scripted warnings and notifications that are sent to new editors upon reverting or rejecting contributions. Using regression models of new user activity, we show which tactics work best for different populations of users based on their motivations when joining Wikipedia.