Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Recommendations/Sprint/Community Health/6
Documentation & resources
Easy to understand and read documentation and resources are key to newbie retention, and highly alleviate the burden over more experimented users, which can point them to the right resources instead of explaining themselves the same stuff over and over again. The current status of newbie documentation in almost all projects is appalling. In the Portuguese Wikipedia documentation basically stopped being produced by 2009 or 2010, and instructions about code editing continue being sent to newbies using Visual Editor, and so on. Most other projects I know are in a similar state, because almost nobody has time to develop documentation, it generally is not a priority. I fully endorse this recommendation.--- Darwin Ahoy! 01:07, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
Online training on how to edit the projects could be very useful. There are at least three ways this could be done.
- Do it yourself. Read through, do tutorial, do automated assessment, move on to editing.
- Mentored version of DIY, where volunteer mentors through something like enWP's Tearoom are available to assist as needed. Professional mentors could be acceptable, but only if they are sufficiently familiar with the related project. Generally this would imply that they would be an experienced user in good standing, competent in content creation and general editing.
- MOOCs run a few times a year, run by a group of volunteers and possibly a few professional educators.
With well written training material and a good platform, these methods could be efficient and effective.In most cases the same materials would be suitable for all three systems. Some support from WMF would be needed to run the platform, and probably to produce the materials and get them translated. Project input would be necessary to ensure that project-specific training is appropriate and sufficient. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:29, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
- As for a platform, the Programs and Events Dashboard already exists and is already used for education programs (Wiki Ed runs their own version of it on dashboard.wikiedu.org) and includes some training modules already. I think it would work best in the following conditions:
- Targeting new users. There's been an interest recently about mandatory training modules targeting the handling of non-public personal data and acceptable behavior. In my experience, knowledge retention from such training is limited at best.
- Guides actions instead of dumping information. I think w:en:WP:TWA works well in this regard, as it shows new editors how to edit instead of just telling them the rules. I've seen it work well for new editors that were having difficulty with the other introduction materials.
- A human connection. The perception that Wikipedia is run by bots, their articles were deleted/declined by a faceless 'moderator', and that they'll be permabanned without any chance for appeal if they make a single mistake seems to be unfortunately prevalent among new editors, especially new editors exposed to conflict. In this regard, I think instructor-led or designated mentor training would be most effective. Sure, use ML/AI to lighten the workload on the mentors and instructors, but we really need to introduce new contributors to the fact that Wikimedia projects are a community of people early on.
- I'm not completely sure how the DIY suggestion would be different from the existing help infrastructure on the English Wikipedia, especially w:en:WP:HOW and w:en:H:GS. --AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 17:28, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
- Assessment. If there is assessment of retained knowledge, with appropriate feedback, the participant can be expected to learn more, and be more aware of what they know and don't know.
- I worked through TWA once. It was some time ago, and may have improved, but at the time it seemed a bit trivial, and though I probably am not the target audience, adult education is part of my occupation. It is a start, but does not appear to be sufficient.
- I dont know much about the Programs and Events Dashboard, so cannot comment on its suitability for purpose, but will mention that Moodle has allso been used. It has its own problems.
- Some people need a human connection, others don't. The human connection is relatively costly, so why use it where it is not needed? On the other hand, a lot of the problems we have are communication problems, where there is inherently a human connection, so learning how to effectively communicate on-wiki is potentially valuable.
- There is a big problem dealing with the volume of new contributions. The number of volunteers handling recent changes and new pages is uncomfortably low, but essential for quality assurance. Simply increasing the volume of new users puts a large burden on these volunteers, and they are likely more often criticised than thanked. This problem may be more serious at ENWP than other projects. I only have experience on a few, but that is my impression. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 17:58, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
- How many (what percentage) new users actually use w:en:WP:HOW and w:en:H:GS? How does one find them as a new user? What percentage use TWA? Do we have assessment of its effectiveness?
- I have no doubt that instructor-led or designated mentor training would be most effective, but where do all those instructors and mentors come from? How are they assessed for competence to train and mentor new users? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 18:06, 23 September 2019 (UTC)