User:JSutherland (WMF)/Community Health: Tips & Tools
Below are notes from the "Community Health Tips and Tricks" session at Wikimania 2017 in Montréal, Canada.
- 1 What makes a community healthy?
- 2 Workshop
- 2.1 Toxic communication between users
- 2.2 “Factions” or opposed groups fighting with each other
- 2.3 Low participation or activity levels
- 2.4 Unclear decision-making processes
- 2.5 Bad treatment of newcomers, "biting"
- 2.6 None of the above
What makes a community healthy?
What things can we measure?
- Number of active users
- Number of reports of vandalism
- Number of conflicts per active users - on reporting pages
- Number of reverts
- Long-term trend in active users
- This is typical - we are talking about community health by lowering "bad" behaviours. Easier to measure.
- Talk pages - people blank them to hide past behaviour.
- Abuse filter - number of triggered actions. AbuseFilter is a tool that allows you to predefine certain kinds of behaviour. It triggers if you try to e.g. save a page with a profanity. Can limit this right to e.g. admins, logged-in users, etc. Needs to be enabled on projects.
- To measure a healthy environment ... number of "thanks"? See how much the users are thanking each other and helping out. WikiLove messages.
There are a lot of discussions on "health" but less definition around what a "community" is. What is the community - this might be something else we need to understand. E.g. "WikiWomen in Taiwan"... is this a community? Want to also monitor the health of a Facebook group, as this indicates the health of the group.
- We should assume for the purposes of this task that we want it healthy.
- It's healthy if you can trust the process. If the process has its own life and it can be trusted then it is healthy.
A healthy community means no-one is overworked. e.g. Admins:Users ratio. (Number of actions: ratio between highest and lowest)
- Introducing mentions.
What things are hard to measure?
- Trust - it's our currency and is such a basic thing.
- How much fun are editors having?
- How well are you connected to the article you are writing
- Sense of excitement from the content.
- How welcoming is the environment? Who is to say what that is or means?
- In response - there's been feedback from users in Australia that the welcoming messages are not helpful. We have a strong response that they should be shown to be part of a community.
We could do surveys - Edward's Community Engagement Insights.
- Teahouse - new noticeboard for new users, where people answering the questions were given actual training and guidance. Non-judgemental.
- Addresses abusive behaviour towards newcomers.
- Training modules (Joe). New Support & Safety (SuSa ) team thing to address harassment and learn best practices of dealing with cases etc.
- Need: few trainings for experienced users
- Scalable to all languages (translation needed)
- Resources: hosted on Programmes and Events dashboard
- Just get involved and do it
- Wikizghushchivka (Wiki Condensed Milk) - in Ukrainian Wikipedia, instead of barnstars, we use condensed milk. When we want to thank someone, we post a pic of a condensed milk tin on their talk page (like one posts a pic of a barnstar).
- For most active people (1 newbie and 1 experienced user) we will send them a tin of condensed milk (a real one, by post).
- This shows that people appreciate their contributions - some people went on to become administrators and so on as a result of this.
Toxic communication between users
- Face to face communication
- Avoiding politics
- Facebook discussion (more friendly)
- Neutral mediation
- Beer time +1
- Find a common ground
- Avoid the term "toxic user"
- Make people understand the impact of their words on others
- Zero tolerance for toxic comments from the very beginning before the toxicity is known by everyone
- Ask tribal leaders (with the right sensibilities) to intervene/mediate and counsel them
“Factions” or opposed groups fighting with each other
- Let each party vent and get voice heard
- Face-to-face meetings
- Clear do's and don't's
- Better mediation
- Conflict resolution committee
- 3rd party advice processes
- Neutral external expert mediation
- Volunteer contributor vs. paid work and staff
Low participation or activity levels
- Contests with prizes
- Editing challenges
- Education programme
- Photo contents
- Rewards for achieved milestones
- Shared on other platforms
- Showcase content on main page
- SiteNotice invites
- Celebrate editing milestones
- Get a celebrity
- Make editing sexy
- Wikipedian of the month (in that community)
Unclear decision-making processes
- Transparent discussion platform
- Deletion process improvement (for noobs)
- Clearer notability standards
- Numerical cutoff (a la Commons voting)
Bad treatment of newcomers, "biting"
- Mentorship program
- Gifts for noobs
- Welcoming messages
- No "alphabet soup"
- Rewards for achieved milestones
- In-person meetings
- Survey newcomers for their experience
- Motivate, give frank but kind words
None of the above
- Informal meetings "apertif"
- Spread cuteness through plushies
- Support community leaders through regular contact (Skype?)