Research talk:New User Participation in Help Spaces

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deleted talkpages[edit]

My experience is that many editors whose articles are being tagged for speedy deletion will raise issues on the article talkpage, but that page will usually get deleted when the article is deleted. so if you haven't been looking at deleted revisons of these article talkpages may i suggest you look there as well? WereSpielChequers 17:43, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Good idea. I don't currently have rights to see the text of deleted revisions, but if we follow up on this I'll request them for that very purpose.Jtmorgan 21:53, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
It should be possible to get you the researcher right on EN wiki. Alternatively, if we are talking about looking at a dozen or so deleted article talkpages, if they are on EN wiki I can look at them for you and tell you how many contained queries from the article author. WereSpielChequers 13:44, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

spotting newbie comments on their talkpages[edit]

Perhaps what this shows is that we need to presume help is needed when newbies make comments on their talkpages. Perhaps it would be useful to have some extension to help listing unanswered talkpage comments from newbies. WereSpielChequers 17:43, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Another excellent suggestion. In this and other qualitative analyses that I, Stu and Melanie have performed, we've seen numerous instances where one of the first edits a new users makes is a request for help on their own (otherwise empty) user talk page. And then, because they already have a talk page, they get skipped over by the welcoming committee and never get so much as a template with help links!Jtmorgan 21:57, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Percentages?[edit]

With such small sample sizes I think the raw data is safer to quote than a percentage. 7/20 means something is likely to be a significant minority, but 35% is the sort of stat that can be quoted and taken out of context. WereSpielChequers 09:55, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

this is one of the reasons we're moving our in-progress research off the public site for now, so that we can safely chart trends that result from small datasets (or imperfect queries) in a way that is useful for our continuing research, while avoiding the risk that these data will be construed as final. :) Jtmorgan 21:59, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Other venues[edit]

Which other venues for help have you considered? I don't hang out in the IRC channels so I don't know how many if any help requests turn up there, I do subscribe to a number of mailing lists and attend a number of events and I think that newbie help requests there are fairly rare. But I occasionally get email requests from newbies, and I suspect others get more than I do - one person said to expect 7 emails for every thousand deletions that you perform. I don't get anything close to that but the deletions that I do are rarely of articles from goodfaith newbies. If it was possible to get stats on the number of newbies who use the "email this user feature" I think you might find this is a moderately important communicationmedium for newbies. WereSpielChequers 10:03, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

I'll look into this. I'm pretty sure that newbies don't show up on IRC or mailing lists often, but they may ask for help via email with some greater frequency. Not sure how much data on this is available to me, though.

Overall, I think that newbies are more comfortable directing questions to specific other users, so making the email option more visible is probably a good thing regardless. Jtmorgan 22:01, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

I recently had a query with my mobile company that was resolved in realtime via a chat on their webpage, so IRC can work - I'm just not sure how used it is at present.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:IRC doesn't look like the sort of page that many see. But if we want realtime help then it is definitely an option to promote.
Does the SWOR research database let you query how often editors use the "email this user" feature? As for making the "Email this user" bit more prominent that is a matter of which skin you use, I have the advantage of having Monobook installed so "Email this user" is a prominent option on the left of the screen. But the default for newbies is Vector which trades usefulness for simplicity - I couldn't find that option or indeed much else that is useful in Vector. Probably the best solution to this would be to revert from Vector to Monobook as the default skin for new editors, or at least to do some test as to which works better for newbies. As I understand it Vector was installed to make the screen nice and clean for complete newbies, but it achieves that by losing or hiding many useful features, was probably a mistake and IMHO we would be better reverting to Monobook or gently evolving Vector into Monobook by adding useful features to it. WereSpielChequers 17:03, 3 July 2011 (UTC)