User:JRM/WikiJanitor

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Wikipedia janitors (or WikiJanitors for short) are people who are willing to spend large amounts of time on ungrateful, simple tasks that keep Wikipedia clean.

WikiJanitor is not a profession, it's an attitude. Perhaps you adopt this attitude while taking a break from writing the perfect article. Or perhaps you feel like you can't ever contribute to such an article—but there you're wrong. Even if you don't like engaging in peer review, or have no idea how to expand any of the articles, you can still make Wikipedia a better place for all of us.

If you are one of those people who can effortlessly concentrate on a single task, or if you feel particularly comfortable doing semi-repetitive tasks, being a WikiJanitor may be the thing for you. You may also find it enjoyable as a break from content-heavy tasks like research, rewrites, resolving disputes and getting involved in community discussions, that can all be great fun as well as incredibly tiresome.

Expressing your janitorial persuasion[edit]

We janitors don't bother with member lists or (heaven forbid) voting for Great Leaders, and we know how to get around the Wikipedia like it's nobody's business. We don't have to show you any stinking badges. But if you really want people to know that you're a WikiJanitor, just so they'll know your edits are pure, genuine and uncontroversial, just put a link to this page somewhere on your user page (assuming you even bother with a user page, of course). Anyone who's interested will have to use "what links here" to get our "member list". This should encourage them to leave us alone and let us get on with what we're good at.

Things that aren't janitor tasks[edit]

Not everything that sounds tedious or boring is janitorial. :-) If you want to get involved in any of the things below, you need to be somewhere else. Note that being listed here does not imply the activity is not worth doing—on the contrary—just that it's not what your average janitor would want to do.

  • Improving content is not a janitor task
Anything that requires you to stop and think about an article's content for more than a minute is not a janitor task. Things like peer review, expanding articles and collaborating on potential featured articles are all very admirable things, but they are far too involving for a janitor.
  • Discussion is not a janitor task
The janitor's motto is "actions speak louder than words". You won't catch janitors entering disputes, responding to comment requests or voting on anything, least of all deletion. Janitors avoid discussion, and they hone their techniques so their edits are never controversial to meet this lofty goal.
  • Grasping aimlessly for "something" to improve is not a janitor task
Janitors want clear, simple, unambiguous, instantly rewarding tasks. You won't catch a janitor hitting the random page link every five minutes and carefully scan an article for things to improve. Even the janitors in Las Vegas don't gamble, they just sweep the floors.

Task pages[edit]

These pages list open tasks that typically require no coordination.

  • Wikipedia:Find or fix a stub expects you to expand stubs. Fat chance! Luckily, there are other things you can do as a janitor: on Category:Stub categories, you can search for stubs to categorize according to topic. This helps in getting non-janitors who are motivated to fixing stubs from their line of interest. Weird folks, but hey, we're here to accommodate.
  • What links to Template:Wikify is a list of all articles in need of wikification. Formatting and adding links are good janitorial tasks here. You might even slip out of janitor mode and improve the actual content... but let's not go overboard.
  • Wikipedia:Pages needing attention is unfortunately a gargantuan page where people dump just about anything that's "wrong" in some way. You may find some good janitor work here, but you're just as likely to stumble on lazy people who want you to overhaul complete articles, or don't even bother to say exactly what's wrong and expect you to get excited. Only go here if you really have nothing else to do.

Associations and initiatives[edit]

Here is a list of associations and initiatives set up by Wikipedians everywhere that sound like perfect janitorial duties. These differ from the task pages in that most require some moderate form of coordination, to make sure all noses are pointed in the same direction and/or people are not interfering with each other's work. They don't require long and protracted discussion, though—that's anathema to janitors.

Note that most of these started off independently, before the janitor concept was invented. If you have your own initiative, feel free to add a link with a short description to it here (but no large sections of prose, please, this is just an index).