The Growth team launched a newcomer homepage back in May 2019. This homepage includes a mentorship module where newcomers can ask a mentor a question directly from their homepage. The Growth Team has deployed these features to over 19 wikis and is looking to expand to many others.
In relation to the mentorship module, one currently becomes a mentor by signing up to the mentor list, and then mentees get assigned to that specific mentor randomly. Previously the Growth team spent a day brainstorming for the mentorship dashboard and came up with a list of user stories and possible design ideas. Starting January 2021, the Growth team has set out to create a mentorship dashboard because research shows that offline as well as online mentorship can be successful at helping newcomers adjust to a new role. The aim of the project is to equip mentors with better tools that will help them guide and welcome newcomers as well as add new tools and features that will enhance the mentor experience and aid mentors be more successful at their role. This page will display the current work of the Growth Team in relation to the mentorship project and the steps that are being taken to achieve a centralized place for mentors. In the Project Brief one can find the summary and overarching goals for this project.
Discovery & Strategy Phase
Initially, the team looked into relevant studies about mentoring and previous Wikipedia research on this topic. We looked into the successes and learnings of the Teahouse, Adopt-a-mentor, and Mentorenprogramm projects. The research showed that there are many paths mentoring can take and benefit both the mentor and mentee. Before deciding on potential features the team decided to interview mentors from different wikis and have them share their experience with us. Below are the main goals and objectives of the interview process.
The Research Goals & Questions
The primary objective was to:
- Understand the mentor's motivations and attitudes regarding mentoring.
- Understand the mentor's processes and behaviors.
- Get to know their general profile.
The secondary objective was to:
- Understand how, where, and with what restrictions to design the mentor dashboard with.
The Target Audience
We wanted to interview editors with a couple of years of experience and those who have volunteered to be added to the mentor list for the newcomer homepage.
There were 19 responses to the mentorship questions. 6 of them were written responses while 13 were conducted through online video calls. The team reached out to various communities with the intent to interview diverse mentors from varying continents. Within the 2 week interview period mentors from 7 different wikis reached out (Arabic, Ukrainian, Czech, French, Russian, Hungarian, and Vietnamese). The interviewees were anywhere from 16-60 years old and had 2-18 years of editing experience.
Generally, the interviews lasted no more than 45 minutes and the questions fell under the following 4 sections:
- Background - Asked about their editing experience and why they joined Wikipedia.
- Motivations - What motivated them to start mentoring, or how other editors can be motivated to mentor newcomers.
- Community - Asking about community size, activity, communication channels, and guidelines.
- Mentoring-related questions - Enquiring about current mentoring frustrations, dashboard suggestions as well as general likes and dislikes.
Interview Results & Analysis
Most mentors came from medium to larger-sized wikis where the newcomer features have been deployed to. The participants gave 121 suggestions for the mentor dashboard and shared 45 frustrations. Similar suggestions/frustrations were grouped together by topic and there ended up being 26 groups of suggestions as well as 16 groups of frustrations.
The top 5 frustration topics across all wikis included:
- Having to answer repeating questions.
- Mentors not responding to mentee questions.
- Newcomers that have misaligned intentions/values and do not understand the purpose of Wikipedia.
- Short and rude responses.
The frustrations fell under 3 broader themes:
- Frustrations revolving around the mentees.
- Frustrations about other mentors and their behavior.
- Frustrations about the website and existing features.
There were trends seen across some wikis. For example, the majority of the Arabic wiki mentors suggested having personalizable template answers to the most frequently asked mentor questions. The Czech mentors were mostly interested in a dashboard that would have an improved mentee-based notification system, ways to match mentors and mentees by interest, and include other ways to communicate be it online or offline. The Russian mentor was interested in creating a modular dashboard that would have tools to improve the mentor experience with badges & awards and a mentor feedback feature.
The top 5 suggested topics across all wikis included:
- A list of active mentees.
- One place to see all mentee contributions.
- Answers to FAQs.
- Ability to match mentors and mentees by interest/topic/demographic.
- Getting more notifications (eg. get notified when the mentees page is up for deletion, is reverts, where there are unanswered questions etc.)
Generally the suggestions fell under 3 main categories:
- Suggestions that allow mentors to be more proactive when mentoring.
- Improve the general way mentorship is done (eg. providing better mentor support).
- Improving mentor-mentee communication
Some of the top suggestions would require altering the current newcomer homepage features which is not what we are looking to do in this first iteration of the mentor dashboard. The purpose of this first iteration was to focus on mentor specific stand alone features. When the results were looked over these ended up being the most frequent mentor specific suggestions:
- Mentee contributions.
- List of mentees.
- Answers to FAQ's.
- Getting notified of mentee activity (eg. when the mentees page is up for deletion, has been reverted etc.)
- Provide help/support for mentors.
This list will inspire the next stage of the project and will guide the design of the dashboard modules.
The first version of static mockups
The first set of static designs showcase 9 different modules, which were inspired from previous research and the top mentor suggestions (mentee contributions, list of mentees, answers to FAQ's, being notified of mentee activity, and providing help/support for mentors). At the moment 9 is too many modules for the dashboards first iteration. Ideally at this stage we want to decide on 3-5 high priority modules that will be worked on further and included in the upcoming prototype.
To have consistency across the growth team's projects the dashboard will have a similar layout to the newcomer homepage. Right now it has 2 columns with wide and narrow modules stacked on top of each. In the slide deck below you can find the design of the layout and the 9 different modules.
Round of feedback
We are gathering feedback on the modules content and design. We are interested in seeing which are the most popular features and whether there are any missing pieces. If you would like to participate and share your opinion with us please feel free to leave comments on the discussion page and answer the following questions.