Editor Growth Coordination Committee

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In the effort to pursue the Wikimedia Foundation’s goal of increasing the diversity of editors to improve knowledge equity, multiple teams in the Audiences and Community Engagement departments are endeavoring to engage new editors with medium- and small-sized Wikimedia projects. While Audiences will focus on changes to our software, and Community Engagement will focus on relationships with editing communities, we expect that the most impactful efforts to increase the engagement of new editors on medium and small wikis will occur when those two domains complement each other.

This coordination committee consists of representatives from Audiences and Community Engagement who will meet to identify and take action on those opportunities when software and community relationships can work together to engage and retain new editors.



Update 2019-11-26: mentor training and newcomer tasks[edit]

  • The Growth team has piloted a "mentor training" with the Czech community. The objective of this training was to help experienced editors gain skills to teach newcomers how to be part of their wikis. The Czech community tried this interactive training in-person on Nov 9 in Prague. Participants had a positive experience, and we're now considering how to expand this to more communities, especially those that geographically spread out such that an in-person session is not possible. The group talked about whether we should be doing more to connect with experienced community members who mentor newcomers at events and campaigns. Those people already have strong mentorship skills, but may not know how to plug into Growth features to meet newcomers on-wiki.
  • We also talked about the deployment of the newcomer tasks feature. This feature was deployed on Nov 20 to Arabic, Czech, Vietnamese, and Korean Wikipedias. So far, we think the deployment went well, and we're optimistic about the data we're seeing.

Update 2019-10-31: data on campaigns, programs, and events[edit]

  • We talked about the Growth team's results with the help panel feature, in which no impact was found on activation or retention.
  • We talked about how Community Engagement and Product want to work better together to track the impact of campaigns, programs, and events quantitatively. This will help our departments figure out how much resources should be spent working together on software to facilitate campaigns, programs, and events.

Update 2019-09-24: connecting the offline to online[edit]

  • Showed the latest mockups of the Growth team's newcomer tasks project.
  • Discussed how newcomer tasks could be used by campaigns and programs. Perhaps newcomers could indicate in the welcome survey that they are participating in a particular program, and then their newcomer tasks could be set to the list that is relevant for the program, either made automatically, or pre-supplied by the organizers.
  • In such a scenario, event organizers would need a way to track that work done by the new users. There could either be a technical integration with an existing tool, like the Event Metrics dashboard, or just upload the list of users to that tool.
  • We also talked about how the Community Engagement department is starting think about where worklists come from: the lists of work that needs to be done during a campaign, program, or event. The team will be researching and writing about that, in an effort to make it easier to assemble and track worklists.

Update 2019-08-27: takeaways from Wikimania[edit]

  • Talked about the many usages of the word "growth" in different parts of our movement. Some people work on growth of readers, some on growth of editors, and some on growth of organizers.
  • In order to make a substantial impact in growing a wiki's editor base, we don't need to find that many more editors. Sometimes a few dzen new editors will make a big difference. We should remember that as we design features for growth, the small numbers count, and we don't always have to be building for the scale of hundreds or thousands of new editors.
  • Several members of this committee were at Wikimania, and these are some key takeaways related to growth:
    • Many Wikimania attendees are movement organizers who plan off-wiki events and programs. They are interested in ways in which product features can support their work. We talked about ideas for how the newcomer homepage can give users the same online mentor as their offline mentor, and for how it can recommend tasks that are related to a campaign in which a wiki is participating.
    • Many attendees commented that they would like features to help them be better mentors, such as a dashboard that shows them all their mentees so they can identify those with highest potential and those who need help most.

Update 2019-07-30: task recommendations for newcomers[edit]

  • Discussed the Growth team's upcoming "newcomer tasks" project, and ideas for different types of tasks that would be best to recommend to newcomers. We hope community members can add their perspectives on the project's talk page.
  • Discussed potential options for new wikis for the Growth team work to expand into.
  • Talked about our goals for Wikimania, and specific connections to make and needs to listen for. In particular, looking for new partnership ideas.

Update 2019-05-28: collaboration across departments[edit]

  • Discussed communities who might make interesting session proposals for Wikimania's Community Growth space.
  • Talked about the Growth team's effort to expand the paid ambassador program into additional wikis as the team works in Arabic and Vietnamese Wikipedias.
  • Discussed opportunities for collaboration between the Growth and Partnerships teams, since they may overlap in certain languages or countries. This brings up questions of how to work with countries that share a language with many other countries. Could Growth team features potentially be deployed only to users in specific countries inside the wiki? This conversation to be continued outside the meeting.

Update 2019-03-28: newcomer homepage and Community Engagement planning[edit]

  • Growth team
    • The group looked at the "newcomer homepage" feature that the Growth team is currently building. Attendees seemed to agree that this feature is on the right track.
    • The group also talked about ideas for possible sessions and presenters for Wikimania 2019.
  • Partnerships
    • Project GLOW's first targets look to be Mexico or Argentina, and then potentially moving to India.
  • Community Engagement
    • The department is working on mid-term and annual planning, and thinking about how their work can align with the work of other departments to achieve movement-wide goals.

Update 2018-11-27: Growth team progress and Help pages challenges[edit]

Growth team updates for this meeting were about the deployment of Personalized first day and Understanding first day.

Then, the group has discussed about two challenges:

  • have up-to-date help pages for the help panel
  • have existing help pages for the help panel

At the moment, the quality of help pages varies a lot from one wiki to another, both on quality (some pages haven't been updated since years) and variety (some wikis don't have help pages for editing using the visual editor or about editing on mobile).

The following points to consider have been raised up:

  • consider translations from existing resources, where translated content would be something easy fix it, better than starting from a blank page. That would require local adaptation and creating images
  • consider to have an edit-a-thon around help pages. Could be around translating and adapting existing resources.
  • motivate communities progressively. The help panel requires 5 links to show to newcomers. It is a good opportunity to have communities to focus on those 5 pages.
  • use more centralized documentation for tools, like the one existing for the visual editor.

Update 2018-10-30: partnerships and Growth team progress[edit]

We added Dan Foy to our committee today, who works on partnerships with other organizations for WMF. Several ongoing partnership opportunities are related to new editor growth, and his presence will help us coordinate efforts.

The group also discussed the Growth team's upcoming interventions: "Understanding first day", "Personalized first day", and "Focus on help desk". We brainstormed some ideas and potential issues to watch out for:

  • A primary concern around driving traffic to help desks is whether wikis have enough capacity to answer the incoming questions from new editors. This is something we continue to discuss as we work on human-to-human help ideas. Although we believe human-to-human help is effective because (a) it has the potential to give people answers to their exact question and (b) it helps them feel connected to the wiki, it comes with these problems of scale.
  • Perhaps surfacing the most common questions and answers as a sort of FAQ could help alleviate the burden on question-answerers, although this would give a less personalized and connected experience to the asker.
  • A long term goal is to help change attitudes toward mentorship on the wikis. If experienced editors believed that growing new editors is part of what it means to be a good editor, then there would be more capacity for mentorship and question-answering. We talked about some ideas around incentivizing this nurturing behavior -- like thinking about how mentorship can affect one's own edit count. This is on the Growth team's list of long-term open questions.

Update 2018-08-28: Growth team list of ideas for development[edit]

Today, the committee discussed the Growth team’s list of ideas for development.  This list was posted on 2018-08-22, and has been publicized via the team’s newsletter and other mass messages.  It has also been translated to Czech and Korean and posted on those wikis.  Community members have been asked to respond with their thoughts and reactions by 2018-09-05.  The group brought up several thoughts with respect to these Growth ideas:

  • We want to be able to give new editors information they need as soon as possible.  That is a disadvantage to any asynchronous question-answering system. Perhaps, therefore, “in-context lessons” could be a better place to start than “in-context questions”.
  • Email new editors their impact” is a favorite idea of the group.  The reason is that we want people to feel good about editing, but Wikipedia does not have much functionality that does this.  The Growth team should think about how editors are feeling throughout the editing process.
  • The New Editors Experiences research identified six personas that characterize new editors.  We want to be able to help each of the six personas in a different way, that fits their goals.  The problem is that we don’t know what a new editor’s persona is when they arrive. The “personalized first day” and “understanding first day” ideas may help with this.
  • OTRS is already overloaded, and so directing any questions to that system might not be a good idea, unless we also invest in relieving the stress on that system.

Update 2018-08-01: takeaways from Wikimania 2018[edit]

Today’s conversation focused on takeaways from Wikimania 2018 having to do with new editor growth. Between Neil’s and Abbey’s presentation of the New Editor Experiences research, and the various conversations we had throughout Wikimania, it seemed that many communities are enthusiastic about growth, and expressed interest in learning tactics or adopting new software into their wikis. Taking these things into account, we discussed whether our committee can play a role in aggregating best practices for new editor growth and sharing them to the many communities. It might be possible for us to help communities learn from each other. We also discussed the fact that many wikis are heavily using social media to communicate amongst both new and experienced editors. We talked about whether and how social media can safely be used to increase new editor retention.

Also see[edit]