How to attract volunteers and connect them with interesting people and activities?
The problem[edit | edit source]
We have a problem engaging volunteers and motivating them to stay. The amount and complexity of documentation, tools and channels is so overwhelming that even we have a hard time following it all. Because we're in the shadow of Wikipedia, we could generate massive interest from tech-friendly users, and we could offer them suitable technical tasks. In reality, we miss many newcomers, and our community efforts don't scale.
In more detail:
- Wikipmediawiki: what you need to know as a tech contributor is spread out over 3 or more wikis...
- Plain text identification: it's 2013 and our user profiles consist of a textarea.
- Memory in spreadsheets: all we have are lists of contributors maintained (or not) manually by various people.
- Inefficient mass promotion: every time we start almost from scratch, unable to selectively reach target audiences.
- Inefficient personal promotion: manual pokes in Talk pages + emails from those spreadsheets won't get you far.
- Difficult to propose a first task: it's difficult for us - imagine how it is for new volunteers alone. After 1-2 attempts, they're gone.
- Difficult to find peers: "ask in wikitech-l or #mediawiki" is not the answer.
- Difficult to contribute: our code review process and wait times can be demotivating.
- English only: all of the above only gets worse when writing English is not your strength.
The solution[edit | edit source]
- Better landing pages for contributors, including
- Cutting edge use of projects developed for onboarding new Wikipedians: Account creation user experience, GettingStarted, Guided tours.
- Also for subscriptions and notifications: Echo & Flow.
- Encouraging users to define their interests through subscriptions and user profiles.
- Thematic nodes aggregating key information around popular topics.
We are the MediaWiki experts and we can iterate fast eating our own dog food. We have a tradition of beta testing new developments and helping out polishing tools by using them.
Current tasks[edit | edit source]
Goals to be completed. Check the Roadmap for more ideas.
Volunteers welcoming new contributors.
Joining a community can be confusing and hard. Greeters have an explicit interest helping contributors that find a harder time because of their abilities, age, gender, language or cultural, ethnic or economic background.
Help: Greeters is being drafted. Your ideas and feedback are welcome.
A common vocabulary to categorize items across all our tools.
Call it categories, keywords, topics, tags, metadata... What we need is one set of words applied consistently to wiki content, helping to connect related people, nodes, projects, tasks and events.
Help: list contributors' activities, programming languages and free software / knowledge that are relevant to our community.
A landing page for developers reflecting all the activities, beyond MediaWiki core and extensions.
There have been many discussions about revamping this page but so far it has registered little changes. We might be losing potential developers getting stuck here.
Help: edit the page, removing not so essential links or adding development areas not mentioned. Lead the refresh.
A homepage refresh to reflect the diversity of projects, technologies and opportunities for contributors.
A lot of discussion and work was done but got stalled. The problem is still there, still growing. It needs to be revisited.
Help: be the one restarting this activity.
Ongoing activities[edit | edit source]
Never stop. Watchers and more help is always welcome.
A landing page for all technical contributors.
All the types of activity must be reflected here. All the essential pages for contributors should be linked from here.
Help: improve or translate the page.
Reaching out to the friends of your friends.
Help: follow, like, share and propose interesting content to be distributed.
A list of projects waiting for takers.
Help: list new possible projects and easy bugs.
Bringing selected new contributors from 0 to 100.
Help: give a hand to applicants and interns. Mentor. Connect us with new programs.