Growth/FAQ

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Welcome to the Growth team Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). We hope you will find the information you need. However, if it is not the case, let us know.

Note for translators: this page is updated regularly, which may impact your work. We are doing our best to avoid these disturbances.

General

Which features are you working on?

  • Newcomer homepage: a new special page, the best place for a newcomer to get started. It includes:
    • Newcomer tasks: a feed of task suggestions that help newcomers learn to edit. Newcomers have been making productive edits through this feed! Know more about this tool.
    • Mentorship module [optional module]: each newcomers has a direct link to an experienced user. This way, they can ask questions about editing Wikipedia, less the need to find where to ask for assistance.
    • Impact module: the user sees how many pages views articles they edit received.
  • Help panel: a platform to provide resources to newcomers while they are editing. If they choose one of the suggested tasks on the newcomer homepage, they are guided step-by-step on the process of editing.
  • Welcome Survey: communities can know why newcomers create an account on Wikipedia.

You can have a look at our features summary to know more about it.

On which wikis Growth features have been deployed?

You can find a list of wikis on our Deployment table. This page lists features activation per wiki as well. Growth features have been deployed at all Wikipedias.

Are Growth features effective?

The Growth team found evidence of the effectiveness of these new features. In short; Growth feature "newcomer tasks" leads to increases in:

  • the probability that newcomers make their first article edit (+11.6%)
  • the probability that they are retained as editors
  • the number of edits they make during their first couple of weeks on the wiki (+22%)

We also find that the quality of their edits is comparable to that of a control group. Based on this, we believe that all Wikipedias should consider deploying Growth features. This deployment has been achieved in October 2021.

The interface is partially translated. How can I change this?

Interface translations are hosted at translatewiki.net.

It takes up to one week to see new translations being deployed.

Special pages names require a special process. For the following strings, please contact us directly with the translations: Special:WelcomeSurvey, Special:Homepage, Special:Impact, Special:ClaimMentee.

Can I test the features?

On wikis where the Growth features are available, and also on test.wikipedia.org, go to your user preferences on one of these wikis and then:

  • enable the Help panel in the Editing tab.
  • enable the Newcomer homepage in the User profile tab. Enabling the Newcomer homepage gives you access to Newcomer tasks.

Don't forget to enable both preferences options: Suggested edits you find on the Homepage need the Help panel to work.

How can my wiki get the features?

The Growth features are now available at all Wikipedias. But any wiki hosted by Wikimedia can request to have these features, with the following conditions.

As detailed on our focus, we will work with the following wikis by order of priority:

  1. Wikipedias in the set of our pilot wikis – we address all the feedback they give us.
  2. Wikipedias – they get the features as they are, but we may consider suggestions of improvements from those wikis.
  3. All other Wikimedia projects – they get the features as they are, and the team will not have time to prioritize improvements specific to those wikis.

Do you plan to deploy the features outside of Wikipedia?

We welcome any Wikimedia community that wants to implement Growth features on their wiki. However, rather than simply deploying the features as they are, we want to provide a solution tailored to the wikis involved. Please contact us on the team talk page to discuss how we can modify the tools to work for your Wikimedia project.

We are considering working with Wikisource communities.

Can you clarify what "Pilot wikis", "Control group wikis" and "Ambassadors" are?

Pilot wikis are wikis who have a close collaboration with the Growth team. They are involved in projects definitions and early review of the projects. They also test all prototypes first. The Growth team can contact some other wikis for some of these steps.

As of (2022-11-01), our pilot wikis are: Arabic Wikipedia, Bengali Wikipedia, Czech Wikipedia, Spanish Wikipedia.

We have completed this list with a few wikis to have a more diverse and representative group to collect data: the control group wikis. As of (2022-11-01), the control group is composed of the Pilot wikis listed above, plus the following wikis: Portuguese Wikipedia, Persian Wikipedia, Turkish Wikipedia.

In order to have a better communication process with our pilot wikis, the Growth team employs part-time contractors, the Ambassadors. These ambassadors have been recruited from the community. Ambassadors can also contact "control group wikis" for a similar collaboration as "pilot wikis".

Ambassadors ease the communication between the Growth team and their community. They help the Growth team to understand the diversity of our wikis, and they assist their communities in using the Growth tools and welcoming newcomers.

Can I use the Growth features on mobile ? On the official apps (iOS, Android)?

Growth features are built to be used on both desktop and mobile version of Wikipedia. They aren't available on the official apps (iOS, Android).

Access to the features

How can existing accounts get the features?

On wikis where the Growth features have been deployed, anyone can find the features in their Preferences.

I host a workshop. How can I control if my students get the features when they create an account?

It is possible to have a link parameter to control access to the features on Wikipedias:

  • Special:CreateAccount?geEnabled=1 will force Growth features at account creation
  • Special:CreateAccount?geEnabled=0 will force the default experience at account creation

All Wikipedias have Growth features enabled by default. This parameter should have a very limited use. It would impact the data collected by Growth team around account creation and the usage of the features. Please let us know if you plan to use these parameters.

Homepage

The following items are only valid for the wikis where the Growth features have been deployed. All Wikipedias have Growth features enabled by default.

How to access the Homepage?

If you recently created your account on Wikipedia, the homepage is accessible by clicking on your username, the link located at the top right of any page.

If you already have an account on Wikipedia, you need to enable the homepage in your preferences. When done, the homepage is accessible by clicking on your username, or on your talk page link. There, you will find a new tab that goes to your homepage. You also have an option in your preferences to go directly to your homepage when you click on your username.

My email is requested, or my email is displayed at the top of the Homepage. Why?

We assume that most people know how to use an email. As a consequence, we encourage users to add their email so that they can get notifications, like when they are mentioned by other users on wiki.

The email address won't be visible by other users. Communication with other users all happen on the wiki.

The help links displayed on the homepage are not relevant. How to change them?

These links are the same as on the Help panel.

An admin can change these links using Special:EditGrowthConfig.

We can assist you in this task. Please contact us with your request; please provide a link to the community discussion that led to this change.

On the impact module, when is the data refreshed?

It is refreshed every 24 hours, except for the number of edits made or the number of thanks received, which are both updated instantly.

On the impact module, which edits are counted in the edit counter?

Only edits made on the mainspace (edits made at articles on Wikipedia, for instance) are counted. Reverted edits are excluded.

Suggested edits

How does Suggested Edits work?

How topics and tasks are suggested?

We suggest articles that are a combination of both the selected topics and the tasks you'd like to work on.

If you only select task types, you get all articles that have the template corresponding to the task type. For instance, if you select no topic and "Copyedit" as a task, you will have up to 200 articles about copyediting, about any topic.

If you select "Europe" as a topic and "Copyedit" as a task, you will have up to 200 articles about Europe that have a template about copyediting.

If you add "Expand article" to the previous selection, you have articles that are about Europe, and either about copyediting and expanding.

If you add "Asia" to the previous selection, you will have article either about Europe or Asia, and either about copyediting and expanding.

SuggestedEdits' supervision and troubleshooting

Can I monitor which articles have been edited as Suggested edits?

Articles edited as Suggested Edits are tagged as such in Recent Changes and Watchlist.

How to monitor which topics or which tasks need more articles?

Please use Special:NewcomerTasksInfo.

I don't have any task for a given combination. Is it normal?

Some topics don't have a lot of articles. As a consequence, they have less articles being tagged with maintenance templates, leading to a limited choice.

A user uses the tools in an nonconstructive way. What can I do?

Overall, users make more constructive edits using the Growth features. However, you can see a given user who doesn't follow the guidance, and uses the tools in an inappropriate manner.

The most appropriate way to handle these situation is to apply the usual process for nonconstructive behavior:

  1. try to understand what the use tries to do,
  2. contact this user, explain the situation, ask them for details and guide them to a different path if it exists,
  3. if the nonconstructive behavior persists, then block the user.

If repetitive and similar nonconstructive edits are made at your wiki, please let us know. Add to your message some diffs as examples of nonconstructive edits so that the Growth team can analyse the situation and think about a solution.

I enabled the Homepage in my user preferences. When I select an article to improve on the Homepage, I don't see any guidance on the article.

Have you activated the Help panel in your preferences? If yes, please let us know about this issue.

Suggested edits configuration

How to provide more tasks for newcomers?

Newcomers are invited to work on 5 maintenance tasks, ranked by level of difficulty:

Task Level of difficulty Goal of the task
Copyedit article easy fix spelling, grammar and tone
Add Links easy add links between articles
Update article medium bring existing articles up-to-date
Add References medium find sources for existing articles
Expand article hard expand stubs to become sourced articles

Tasks are listed based on maintenance templates. To increase the number of tasks being available, you can:

  • Add other templates that match the definition of the task to Special:EditGrowthConfig on your wiki
  • Add maintenance templates to more articles on your wiki.

Sometimes, easy tasks are not available because experienced editors work on them. We advise experienced users to work on more difficult tasks instead, to let newcomers having a chance to make their first edits.

At some wikis, Add a link has been upgraded as a structured task.

Can we suggest a new task type, or assign a different difficulty level to an existing task?

It is not possible at the moment. Please let us know about your potential project.

Structured tasks - Generalities

What is the idea behind Structured tasks?

Most tasks offered on wiki require to know a lot of wikis-specific technical or conceptual processes. We decided to break down editing workflows into a series of steps that newcomers can accomplish easily. We think these types of edits will be easier for newcomers to do, and easier to do on mobile, helping more newcomers do more edits. Our goal is to show users that they can edit, and to encourage them to edit more, more often, and on different tasks types.

Which types of users have been contacted to test these new concepts?

During the design process, several types users have been involved.

  • During the definition process: Growth team members (which include several active wiki editors) and our Ambassadors (at this time of the process: Arabic Wikipedia, Bengali Wikipedia, Czech Wikipedia, Vietnamese Wikipedia).
  • To test early prototypes, we focused on the two types of editors our features target.
    • people who aren't wiki editors (using UserTesting.com, in English and Spanish)
    • experienced users involved in newcomers' first steps, coming from our pilot wikis so as people from Spanish Wikipedia.

Structured tasks - Add a link

The following items are only valid for the wikis where Structured tasks - Add a link has been deployed.

What is the difference between "add a link" and "Structured tasks - Add a link"?

"Add a link" shows users an article where more internal links are needed. This "Add a link" is a task based on maintenance templates. Newcomers have to understand what to do, which can make things being complicated for them: what is a good link, where to link...? Even with some guidance being displayed on the Help panel, not all links were accurate, and, sometimes, some external links were added too.

As a consequence, the Growth team works on improving this process, by reducing the number of difficulties people can face. We provide a better guidance and we suggest a set of links that could potentially be added. These links are shown on specific words in an article. Users have to decide if a link should be added or not added. These links are suggested by a machine.

Which wikis have Structured tasks - Add a link?

You can find the list in the deployment table.

What is the accuracy of Structured tasks - Add a link predictions?

The predictions are, on average, accurate at 70%.

Some people asked us if it would be possible to have a better prediction. It would be possible, but it would diminish the interest of the task. We encourage newcomers to understand why a suggested link would be (or wouldn't be) interesting for readers, and to decide weather they should include it. Higher prediction rate would remove any interest for the task, since including links would be the default answer.

Is there a limitation to the number of articles one can edit per day?

We received some feedback about some users making a lot of links additions, without much consideration to the quality of edits. As a consequence, we have setup some quality gates. As of January 2022, a user can edit up to 25 articles per day.

There can be multiple added links in one edit, which does not make it easy to undo one wrong link. Is there a solution?

We are aware of this problem, and we work on solutions to address it. In the meantime, you can use Diffedit to just edit this one wrong link.

Structured tasks - Add an image

The following items are only valid for the wikis where Structured tasks - Add an image has been deployed. You can know more about this project by visiting its project page.

What is the purpose of "Structured tasks - Add an image"?

Based on the same principle as "Suggested edits - Add a link", this project focuses on removing more barriers regarding images insertion.

Which wikis have Structured tasks - Add an image?

You can find the list in the deployment table.

Which rules define the work done by "Structured tasks - Add an image"?

We have several rules:

  • Images are chosen if they are used at other Wikipedias. For instance, if several articles in different languages, connected to the same Wikdata item, use the same image, then we suggest the image.
  • Only articles where no image is displayed are taken into consideration for images addition.
  • Articles with an infobox but no image aren't taken into consideration for now.

Help panel

We want to change some links displayed on the Help panel. How to do it?

An admin can change these links using Special:EditGrowthConfig.

We can assist you in this task. Please contact us with your request; please provide a link to the community discussion that led to this change.

These links are also used on the Homepage.

Where does questions posted using the Help panel goes?

By default, these questions go the the local Help desk.

If both a Help desk and a list of mentors exist, then it is up to the community to decide whether:

  • new messages should go the newcomer's mentors,
  • new messages should be posted at the help desk.

An admin can change this configuration using Special:EditGrowthConfig.

Our community decided that all messages posted on the Help panel should go to the Help desk. It is not the case at some pages. Why?

We have observed that newcomers sometimes try to contact their mentor by leaving a message at their own talk page (user:New contacts User:Experienced by posting at User_talk:New). As a consequence, we offer to contact the mentor when people use the Help panel on their own talk page.

Configuration of the features

We would like to change something on the configuration of the Growth features. How can we do it?

At your wiki, any admin can edit the configuration page (Special:EditGrowthConfig). Of course, be sure that the change is based on a community consensus.

Please let us know if you have any question about the Growth features that you would like to change, or why you are changing the configuration. Sharing your feedback with us will help improve the Growth features.

I changed the configuration for "Add links between articles" in Special:EditGrowthConfig, but it isn't working.

Some of the configuration settings (such as the list of sections to exclude) are applied when a new suggestion is generated. They are then added to the Suggested Edits queue, and do not affect suggestions already in the queue. Old suggestions remain in the queue until they are shown to a user. As the queue typically contains tens of thousands of items, it might take very long for all suggestions with the old configuration to be flushed out of the system.

As a consequence, we encourage you to edit the list of excluded sections carefully, to add the maximum of needed sections to the list at once.

See T313642 for plans to improve this situation.

Configuration and operation of the mentoring system

Mentorship setup

My wiki doesn't have the Growth mentoring system. How can I set it up?

The next steps are a summary of the process. The full process is described on this dedicated page.

First, you need to check if the Growth tools are deployed at your wiki. If it is not yet the case, please see how to get the features.

Then, you have to find some other mentors to volunteer.

When you agreed with other mentors, someone has to turn the mentoring process on at Special:EditGrowthConfig.

Mentors can then sign up visiting Special:MentorDashboard. This page is where mentors can configure their mentorship preferences, and, if needed, put themselves on pause or quit.

Admins can manage the list of mentors (edit description, remove mentors). It is done using Special:ManageMentors.

We can assist you in this task. Please contact us with your request; please provide a link to the community discussion that led to this change.

How many mentors does a wiki need?

Based on our observation, we advise to have one mentor for each group of 500 new users your wiki gets per month. For instance, if your wiki has 2,500 new accounts per month, you should have at least 5 mentors.

We recommend to have at least 3 mentors.

Who can be a mentor?

It is up to each community to decide on criteria to become a mentor. We advise community members to keep the criteria simple and encouraging, so that more mentors would signup.

By default, the signup process is opened to editors who have 500 edits and 90 days of presence. These values can be changed at Special:EditGrowthConfig.

Instead, it is possible to assign the right to enroll as a mentor to a user group (a new or existing one) that will be granted manually by admins or bureaucrats. If you are interested in that, please contact the Growth team.

How mentors are assigned to newcomers?

Each new account receives a mentor randomly taken from a list of volunteers.

How many messages does a mentor receive per week?

It is difficult to know. It depends on how motivated newcomers are, and on the number of mentors for the wiki. On average, we observe between 0 to 6 messages per week par mentor, with some fluctuations between weeks.

Have you considered to assign a mentor only to people who already made some edits?

We don't know what each newcomer needs. As a consequence, we provide a mentor to each new account, before the first edit. It is then up to the newcomer to contact their mentor before starting editing, and some do.

This decision has been made based on the following rationale:

  • Based on this research, we know that some new users need a confirmation of their right to edit before making their first edit.
  • Some other editors like to have more information about editing, before making their first edit. The mentor can help them.
  • The Newcomers survey is displayed to newcomers when they sign up. This survey had a question about providing a mentor and the vast majority of users replied that they wish to have a mentor.

We provide an option for newcomers to opt-out mentorship.

Our wiki already has a mentoring project. Is the Growth mentoring system replacing it?

We assume that your mentoring system is a list of experienced users who are available for motivated new users, who have specific questions about specific topics. Most are listed on Wikidata.

It is up to your community to find the right way to integrate the Growth mentoring feature. Some options include:

Replace your mentoring system with the new one

If your mentoring system hasn't much success, it could be replaced by the Growth team features.

Have both systems working together You can imagine to have two roles:

  • Growth mentoring takes care of the newcomers basic questions,
  • The existing mentoring can take care of newcomers who are more involved.

In this case, you might have to locally translate the interface for Growth features using your own terms.

Using the mentorship system

Where can I signup as a mentor?

If your community has setup a mentorship program using the Growth features, you can visit Special:MentorDashboard or Sepcial:EnrollAsMentor to signup.

Your community may have defined some conditions to become a mentor.

If Special:MentorDashboard or Sepcial:EnrollAsMentor aren't working, it means that mentorship hasn't been setup at your wiki.

How do I introduce myself as a mentor?

When you sign up to become a mentor, you are asked to explain to newcomers how you can help them. If you don't write this description, then a placeholder is used: "This experienced user knows you're new and can help you with editing.". Admins can edit your description using Special:ManageMentors.

Read more about this

As a mentor, I have to pause my mentorship activity. How can I do it?

Options displayed when someone edits the mentor profile using Special:MentorDashboard.

You can go to Special:MentorDashboard and pause your activity. You can define a duration for your pause.

No new newcomer will be assigned to you. Newcomers already assigned to you will be inform of you being away. They will have a different mentor name to contact.

However, some newcomers who already started a conversation with you, or the ones contact you by directly visiting your user talk page, may still leave you a message.

As a mentor, I would like to quit mentorship. How can I do it?

You can go to Special:QuitMentorship and quit from there. This link is accessible from your Mentor dashboard.

As a newcomer, I would like to opt-out mentorship. How can I do it?

It is possible to refuse to have a mentor.

At Special:Homepage, locate the mentor module, where you mentor's name is displayed. Click on the three dots, and click on "Opt out of mentorship".

You will be able to opt-in later, but you might have a different mentor.

Can I change the number of newcomers assigned to me?

On the Special:MentorDashboard , you can increase or lower the number of newcomers assigned to you.

Management of mentors and mentees

Can we reassign a newcomer to a different mentor?

Yes, any mentor can claim a mentee from another mentor, using Special:ClaimMentee.

The process is different is you want to reassign all your mentees, or reassign all mentor's mentees.

A mentor just quit. Can we reassign all their newcomers to different mentors?

If the mentor used Special:QuitMentorship, it is done automatically. The mentor name is removed from the mentor list as well.

If the mentor is inactive, blocked, or has quit the wiki without quitting mentorship, then an admin can remove their name from the list of mentors. It is done using Special:ManageMentors. Their newcomers will be automatically reassigned.

What happens if a mentor is blocked?

The mentor is immediately considered as away from mentorship. Admins can decide to remove this mentor from the list of mentors. It is done using Special:ManageMentors.

How can I display the mentor of a given user? / How to add the mentor name to our welcome message?

Type the magic word {{#mentor:Foo}} in a wikitext page, and preview. "Foo" has to be replaced by the username you target. This will display the name of Foo's mentor.

This magic word can be used in a template: welcome message, user talk page messages, userbox, etc.

If the mentor changes, then the magic word picks the new mentor's name.

You can "subst:" this message if needed: {{subst:#mentor:Foo}}. Foo's mentor will then be saved as wikitext.

Can I display the list of mentors somewhere?

You can transclude the list of mentors anywhere, with the following syntax: {{Special:ManageMentors}}.

Some wikis have created a specific page, with the mentor list. This page sometimes includes local rules about mentorship, or best practices to follow. You can find these specific pages on Wikidata. If you create a specific page, please list it on Wikidata as well.

Interactions between mentors and newcomers

What kinds of questions do newcomers ask?

From the observations we have made, questions are mostly about basic editing.

Some questions are social interactions ("hello"), coming from users who try the tools to check if someone would respond. We encourage you to respond to these greetings, since they can be the beginning of some interactions.

Based on communities experiences, the Growth team worked on a guide for mentors who have to reply to these questions.

Newcomers haven't replied to my messages. Why?

Two possible cases there:

  • Have you mentioned the user when responding? Newcomers don't know how to use the watchlist or other tools to monitor changes. The Homepage shows a way to come back to the mentor's talk page but mentioning them is most sucessful. A ping will action a notification, which is the most successful way to let newcomers know that they have an reply to their messages.
  • Newcomers don't come daily on the wikis. Some of them will respond after a few days, some others after a few weeks. Mentors, please consider this when you archive your user talk page.

Who can I ask if my mentor is not responding to me?

If your mentor is not available you can ask your question to the local help desk, or to any other experienced user.

Can I ask to have a different mentor?

You can contact another mentor and ask them to become your mentor. If they agree, the mentor will make the change.

As a mentor, how can I monitor the newcomers assigned to me?

A Mentor dashboard is available at all wikis where a list of mentors has been created and activated.

After signing up as a mentor, you can access it by visiting Special:MentorDashboard. A link is provided in your user menu.

At Special:MentorDashboard, you can filter your list of mentees by number fo edits.

Can I filter my mentees' activity in RecentChanges, or in my Watchlist?

At wikis where the mentor dashboard is deployed, a new filter is available for mentors. They can monitor their mentees' activity in Watchlist and RecentChanges. For privacy reasons, this filter can't be accessed by someone else than the mentor itself. This filter only filters mentees assigned to the mentor. This filter is not visible for people who are not listed as mentors.

A very experienced user is one of my mentees. Why?

For technical reasons, we assign a mentor to everyone, including experienced users.

At Special:MentorDashboard, you can filter your list of mentees by number fo edits. This way, you can hide experienced users.

At Special:RecentChanges, you can filter the list by number of edits. This way, you can hide experienced users.

Users who don't want to have a mentor can opt-out.

Are all my mentees assigned to me being visible in my list of mentees?

Your list will only display users who have turned the Homepage on.