Growth/Communities/Mentors training/Wikipage

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This training is a copy of a training available as a Google Doc. This training has been designed specifically. Please start a thread on the talk page before editing this page.

Before the training[edit]

Goal[edit]

The Growth team has deployed new tools on various wikis. Those tools have been created to help newcomers to succeed in their first steps.

These tools can’t work without a collaboration between the established community and newcomers. This training aims to help experienced users to understand the problems newcomers face and provide the replies that help newcomers edit successfully and continue to edit.

Preparation[edit]

If you are the presenter for this workshop, you will have to introduce the different steps for the training to others. Summarize the different modules and activities and take time to mention to everyone that they are here to work together. They are welcomed to help each other, like they ideally already do on the wikis.

Needed equipment[edit]

  • A video projector
  • Pen and paper for each participant
  • Internet connection
  • Tables and chairs
  • Several materials are to print, see on each module description

About the venue[edit]

Don’t forget to indicate to people the important information about the venue, like where the toilets are.

Introduction[edit]

Time[edit]

10 minutes maximum

Welcome![edit]

This mentorship training program has been designed for anyone willing to be a mentor. Our wikis are a difficult place to comprehend. They have changed a lot over time, and people who joined years ago may have forgotten about it. People who joined more recently had their own challenges, like entering an already existing community. For newcomers who are joining now, they have to face all those challenges, and more.

Mentors are a key element in retaining new users. In 2017, the New Editor Experiences design research project[1] was conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation. This project aimed to learn from the experiences of new editors on midsize Wikipedias. In their final publication, they published the following about mentors: "Informal, individual mentors, however, were often the most effective at both inspiring and teaching new editors."

This research project led to the creation of the Wikimedia Foundation Growth team.[2] The Growth team's objective is to work on software changes that help retain new contributors in mid-size Wikimedia projects. They create tools that aim to help and retain newcomers:

  • Welcome survey, to understand the motivation of newcomers who create an account on Wikipedia
  • Help panel, to provide access to help content during the editing experience
  • Newcomer homepage, to provide a basecamp for newcomers, where they have access to useful links and tools, and a direct contact to a mentor
  • Task recommendations, to engage people to edit, based on their interests (under development)

As of September 2019, those features are live on Arabic, Czech, Korean and Vietnamese Wikipedias.

A key component of those features is the possibility given to newcomers to ask questions to experienced mentors. During 2019, using the Growth team's features, 700 newcomers have asked questions, including about 125 on Czech Wikipedia. Mentors are a key part of the success of newcomers on Wikipedia.

Being a mentor can be a challenging task. The goal of this training is to provide some guidance and best practices to mentors.

Who is there?[edit]

Before starting the training, let’s see who is there. Each attendee is asked to introduce themselves using the following questions:

  • What is your name?
  • Since how long are you editing Wikipedia?
  • How was your first edit? Any good or bad memories?

How this training works[edit]

This training is composed of various modules (understanding how newcomers feel, how to reply to them, improving interactions) and a technical workshops about the editing software (visual and wikitext editors, both on desktop and mobile).

During this workshop, participants opinions and ideas will be requested and collected. This workshop is a safe place: we critique ideas, not people. If a participant disagrees with someone’s opinion, they must offer an alternative, not just say “I don’t like it”.

This training is open to improvements. You can have it as a discussion, and feel free to contact the training creators to suggest additions.

Timing[edit]

This training is designed to keep people busy over a business day:

  • Morning (9:00-12:00): introduction, module 1, module 2
  • Afternoon (13:00-18:00): module 3, module 4, module 5, training on editors tools

There is an indication of time for each module. However, this is not a due time: some groups may need less time to finish their tasks. But even if the majority of a group has finished their task, don’t forget that some people may need extra time to carry out their own task.

Understanding how people feel[edit]

Module 1: present Wikipedia to someone[edit]

Time[edit]

30 minutes maximum

Goal[edit]

Understand that different users have different goals and different learning styles. Therefore, they need different explanations.

Module in a nutshell[edit]

You are an experienced editor and you have to explain to someone what is special about Wikipedia. But you only have a few minutes to do so: one elevator ride!

Each participant get a card with a persona. They have 3 minutes to write down what they want to say and explain it to the rest of the group within 90 seconds.

Preparation before the module[edit]

  • Write the personas on small pieces of paper

The personas are the following:

  • An undergraduate student
  • A university student
  • A scientist
  • A librarian
  • Someone who has no Internet access at all (never been online)
  • A journalist
  • Someone who always says “I don’t trust Wikipedia”
  • An alien from another galaxy (who fortunately understands your language!)
  • A senior citizen
  • Someone who wants to share their knowledge

The presenter may remind participants to go straight to the point. They only have 90 seconds, which is a very short period of time.

Complete the module[edit]

  • Explain the goal
  • Explain the exercise, with time limits
  • Distribute the personas
  • Set the clock
  • At the end of the 3 minutes time, stop the activity
  • Go to each participant and ask them to give the explanation they’ve written in 90 seconds max. Stop them if they are too long.
  • Ask other participants (time limited):
    • What is useful information in the presentation?
    • What is missing and how they would have framed it?
  • Go back to step 6 until everyone has spoken.
  • Wrap-up.

Module wrap-up[edit]

There are multiple ways to explain what Wikipedia is, because there are multiple people to hear about it. Not everyone will understand what Wikipedia is the same way. This is the same for newcomers.

There is also a time factor: people tend to be distracted if they don’t get the information they need in a difficult context (principle of divided attention).[3]

Understanding your role[edit]

Module 2a: What are mentors?[edit]

Time[edit]

One hour maximum.

Goal[edit]

Understand what being a mentor means, using known examples.

Module in a nutshell[edit]

Mentors, sitting in 3 to 4 people groups, reply to several questions about being a mentor. All groups findings are summarized and presented to the whole audience at the end of the activity.

Preparation before the module[edit]

The module is designed for small groups. Every group has to reply to the following questions about 5 mentors they know. These mentors can be real people (teachers, sports trainers,...) or fictional characters (Gandalf, Yoda, …). It is not a problem if several groups pick the same mentor.

  • How people know this person is a mentor?
  • Who are they mentoring? Why?
  • How do they interact with their mentees?
  • How rewarding it is to for them to be a mentor?
  • Did they had a mentor?

When wrapping up

  • give everyone an opportunity to speak up. It is however not mandatory.
  • people can react in silence if they agree, by waving their hands.

Complete the module

  • Divide the attendees in small groups. (5 minutes)
  • Introduce and explain the activity. (5 minutes)
  • Each group works on 3 mentors, ask them to wrap-up by writing on a piece of paper the key elements they have found about these mentors. (30 minutes)
  • Each group agrees on a spokesperson who will introduce the findings to the entire audience. (No more than 10 minutes)
  • Wrap up. (5 minutes)

Module 2b: Be a mentor on wiki[edit]

Time[edit]

1 hour

Goal[edit]

Understand what being a mentor means and what are the benefits for mentees.

Module in a nutshell[edit]

Same exercise as on the previous module, but applied to an onwiki situation.

Preparation before the module[edit]

The module is designed for small groups. Have all of the following questions on a piece of paper, to be picked by groups during the activity.

  • Do you think mentorship on Wikipedia would help newcomers to be more successful?
  • Do you think that newcomers trust their mentor?
  • Why do you want to be a mentor?
  • Did you have someone helping you when you started on the wikis? How was it?
  • Do you remember what it was like when you were new to the wikis? What were your challenges?
  • Did you have someone mentor you when you were new on Wikipedia? If not, would it have helped?
  • Who has an on-wiki story about a mentorship experience that worked well?
  • Who has an on-wiki story about a mentorship experience that did not work well?
  • Who has an off-wiki story about a mentorship experience that worked well?
  • Who has an off-wiki story about a mentorship experience that did not work well?

Advice about this module[edit]

  • Give everyone an opportunity to speak up. It is however not mandatory.
  • People can react in silence if they agree, by waving their hands.

Complete the module[edit]

  • Divide the attendees in small groups. (5 minutes)
  • Introduce and explain the activity. (10 minutes)
  • Each group starts writing down what it means to “be a mentor” (10 minutes)
  • Each group takes a question and does the same activity (10 minutes)
  • After each group has worked on 3 questions, ask them to wrap-up by writing on a piece of paper the key elements they have found about mentoring. (30 minutes)
  • Each group agrees on a spokesperson who will introduce the findings to the entire audience. (No more than 15 minutes)
  • Wrap up. (5 minutes)

Module wrap-up[edit]

Participants have a better understanding of the role of a mentor, and the importance of this role for newcomers. Mentors are really important people. They are guides that newcomers can totally rely on, teach at people who have less knowledge. They will help newcomers to succeed and avoid bottlenecks and failure. Mentors are also people with knowledge, and they can be trusted. Also, mentors protect new people from other people.

Understanding questions[edit]

Module 3: Think about a broader context[edit]

Time[edit]

10 minutes of preparation + variable time

Goal[edit]

Understand what could be implied by a given question

Module in a nutshell[edit]

Questions asked by newcomers may sometimes be obvious, but they hide unstated questions that may be more important.

Preparation before the module[edit]

  • Get the questions on screen (slides)

Questions below are listed by complexity.

Question Possible hidden questions
I want to add an image to an existing article. How to?
  • Who took that picture?
  • If I’m allowed to upload that picture (copyrighted contents, freedom of panorama, personality rights…)?
  • Do I need an account?
  • What is Wikimedia Commons? Why is it a different website?
I want to add an image to an article I’ve just created. How to?
  • Same as above
  • Is the article notable enough?
  • Are references added?
Why doesn’t my article have good formatting like other articles I see?
  • How can I use templates to make an infobox?
  • How do I make headers?
  • How do I get a table of contents?
I want to write an article about someone?
  • I want to start editing Wikipedia, and the only thing that seems to be possible is creating new articles. But is there an easier way to get started?
  • How do I know if someone is notable?
  • How do I know if I have a conflict of interest?
  • How do I know if I have reliable sources?
Why was my article deleted?
  • Was the topic notable enough?
  • Were proofs of notability added?
  • Was it a copyright violation?
  • ...

Complete the module[edit]

  1. Explain the goal (2 minutes)
  2. Explain the exercise (3 minutes)
  3. Show each question individually
    1. Ask people to write down what can be hidden behind a question (3 minutes)
    2. Wrap-up the question by asking each participant about one thing that hasn’t been mentioned (1 minute per participant)
    3. If one point hidden behind a question is shared by multiple participants, they can raise their hand to show that they have found it.
    4. Give the most important missing hidden questions (1 minute)
    5. Highlight the important points based on the following questions:
      1. Why do they want to do this action
      2. What do they need to know in order to succeed?
  4. Wrap up (5 minutes).

Module wrap-up[edit]

You have enough experience to understand what people really want to do and question yourself about their intentions. However, don’t guess what people want to do: if in doubt, ask them.

Some guiding questions to help people to understand what the newcomer wants to do:

  • Why do they want to do this action?
  • What do they need to know in order to succeed?

Module 4: Think about priorities[edit]

Goal[edit]

Understand the unstated priority of a question, to provide the best answer to the newcomer

Time[edit]

15 minutes per question.

Module in a nutshell[edit]

Questions asked by newcomers may sometimes be obvious, but the understated questions will lead to a different reply, based on priorities.

Preparation before the module[edit]

  • Get the questions on screen (slides)


Question Context Priority Reply
I want to add an image to an article. How to? The article has zero source. Provide sources Please provide sources before I explain you how to add pictures.
I want to add an image to an article. How to? The article has zero source. The article has zero formatting (no title, no links…) Provide sources
  1. Please provide sources before adding pictures.
  2. When done, don’t forget to wikify the article
I want to add an image to an article. How to? Sources are provided and the article seems to be notable. Explain copyright for images If you’ve created the image, you can upload it on Wikipedia Commons.

You can add new examples, since you take time to provide an analysis of the possible replies.

Complete the module[edit]
  1. Explain the goal
  2. Explain the exercise, with time limits
  3. Show each question individually with the context (question 1 can be an example)
    1. Ask people to write down
      1. What is the priority for that question
      2. How they would structure their reply
    2. Wrap-up the question by asking each participant about different replies and structures
    3. If any, give all the missing priorities and replies
  4. Wrap up.
Module wrap-up[edit]

You have enough experience to know what is important to make to have a quality edit, and what would lead to a failure.

Some guiding questions to help people to understand what the newcomer wants to do:

  • Why do they want to do this action?
  • What do they miss to achieve it?
  • Is is the most important thing to do? If not, what is missing?


Communicate with others[edit]

Module 5: How to build good replies[edit]

Time[edit]

20 minutes + 10 minutes for each iteration.

Goal[edit]

Crafting the best replies requires to think about many details. Those details will create a good message.

Module in a nutshell[edit]

Participants are paired. Each person writes a message based on an example that has been given to them following the best practices, and this message is reviewed by the other participant (and vice versa).

Preparation before the module[edit]

  • Get the examples you choose on paper
  • Get the general advice printed

Examples

Question Replies
== New message ==

My article has been deleted. Why?

  • Always be friendly, polite and patient. Even if the newcomer forgets about that.
  • Start your reply by saying "hello and welcome!"
== New message ==

My article has been deleted by your stupid admins with no reason given.

  • Newcomers may be angry or frustrated at your wiki because of a variety of reasons. Their complaints are most likely not against you personally. Keep calm and try to understand their situation.
== New message ==

I want to create a Wikipedia page about the band I’ve created with my friends last night. We already have a Facebook page. How do I proceed?

  • Be honest: if the request is not realistic or doable on your wiki, or generally off-topic, say so and explain why. For example, it may not be productive for the newcomer to work on content that may be deleted in only a few days. But explaining why the content can be deleted can help the newcomer to avoid future problems.
  • Invite the newcomer to work on something else instead.
==New reply ==

Okay, I’ve read what you said. But I don’t want to do the tasks you asked to do first.

  • If the newcomer insists, give them the solution to do something that would not work. However, warn them again about the fact that it will fail.
  • If it becomes clear that the discussion is going nowhere, close it politely.

You can add new examples, since you take time to provide an analysis of the possible replies.

Complete the module[edit]

  1. Explain the goal
  2. Pair people
  3. Explain the exercise:
    1. you have to write the best reply you would draft.
    2. People in front of you must be able to read it without your help
    3. You have the advice printed to help you
    4. And don’t forget about the previous exercises.
  4. Start the exercise for 10 minutes
  5. Give a 10 minutes left notice.
  6. Give a 3 minutes left notice. Ask participants to stop thinking and start writing.
  7. Give a 1 minute left notice.
  8. Participants give the reply to their binome and they comment each other replies, following the best practices (5 minutes each).
  9. You can redo the exercise with different pairs of people.
  10. Wrap up.

Module wrap-up[edit]

You can still rely on your fellow mentors, and online resources: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Growth/Communities/How_to_interact_with_newcomers, with examples.

Trainings on tools[edit]

Not every user works like you. New users will work with no gadgets, no scripts, no custom interface. Their interface is Vector, and they can use the visual editor, not wikitext. As a mentor, you need to be ready to face any editing configuration.

The Growth team has decided to privilege the visual editor in contents created for newcomers.

Contribute on desktop[edit]

Visual editor[edit]

  • How to format a page (paragraph, title, bold, italics…)
  • How to insert a citation (automatic and manual modes, re-use a citation)
  • How to insert an image (that is already on Commons)
  • How to insert a template
  • How to edit a template
  • How to use TemplateData (for information)

Wikitext[edit]

Assuming that everyone already knows and uses wikitext, this section should be shorter.

  • How to format a page (paragraph, title, bold, italics…)
  • How to insert a citation
  • How to insert an image (that is already on Commons)
  • How to insert a template
  • How to edit a template

Contribute on mobile[edit]

It is better to work using an actual mobile device (smartphone, tablet…). But it is also possible to emulate a mobile device by switching to mobile view using the link at the bottom of every wiki page.

Visual editor[edit]

  • How to format a page (paragraph, title, bold, italics…)
  • How to insert a citation (automatic and manual modes, re-use a citation)
  • How to insert an image (that is already on Commons)
  • How to insert a template
  • How to edit a template

Wikitext[edit]

  • How to format a page (paragraph, title, bold, italics…)
  • How to insert a citation
  • How to insert an image (that is already on Commons)
  • How to insert a template
  • How to edit a template

Credits[edit]

Authors: Benoît Evellin (WMF), Marshall Miller (WMF)

Suggestions and support: User:WhatamIdoing (WMF), Martin Urbanec (WMF/WMCZ), Léa Lacroix (WMDE), Nick Wilson (WMF)

Wikipage by Vexations

Sources and references[edit]

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license