Central location for mentor tools
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. Currently, an experienced user can become a mentor by signing up to their wikis mentor list after which they randomly get mentees assigned to them. The mentor does not know which mentee they got assigned until the newcomer reaches out and asks them a question. The team decided to design a mentorship dashboard that could be a central place for mentor tools, which could help improve the mentor's experience on Wikipedia.
In 2020, 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 team has set out to create the mentorship dashboard with the aim to equip mentors with:
- data and resources to help them be more proactive and successful at their role
- tools that will help them guide and welcome newcomers
This page will display the most recent work of the Growths team mentorship dashboard project. You can find more information and the project summary you can see the project brief.
Discovery & Strategy Phase
Initially, the team looked into relevant studies about mentorship and previous Wikipedia research on this topic. We also looked into the successes and learnings of the Teahouse, Adopt-a-user, and Mentorenprogramm projects. To gain more insight into mentorship and the needs of the community the team interviewed mentors from 7 different wikis and had them share their experience. 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 interviewed mentors with a couple of years of editing experience and those who were part of the wikis to which the Growth team has deployed their features.
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 categories:
- Background - Asked about their editing experience and why they joined Wikipedia.
- Motivations - What motivated them to start mentoring, or how to motivate other editions to mentor newcomers.
- Community - Asking about community size, activity, communication channels, and guidelines.
- Mentorship-related questions - Enquiring about current mentoring frustrations, dashboard suggestions as well as general likes and dislikes.
Interview Results & Analysis
All mentors came from medium to larger-sized wikis. The participants gave 121 suggestions for the mentor dashboard and shared 45 frustrations. Similar suggestions/frustrations were grouped together by topic. There ended up being 26 groups of suggestions as well as 16 groups of frustrations.
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.
The top 5 frustrations 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
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 mentee 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.
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 (e.g. providing better mentor support).
- Improving mentor-mentee communication
The top 5 suggestions 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 (e.g. get notified when the mentee's page is up for deletion, is reverts, where there are unanswered questions, etc.)
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. Considering this, the suggestions were filtered through and then these ended up being the most frequent mentor specific suggestions:
- Mentee contributions.
- List of mentees.
- Answers to FAQs
- Getting notified of mentee activity (e.g. 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 FAQs, being notified of mentee activity, and providing help/support for mentors). At the moment, 9 is too many modules for the dashboard’s 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 content and design of the modules. 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.
Desktop & mobile mockups
After a round of feedback for the static modules in the previous section, 6 different modules (M) were chosen for the mobile and desktop dashboards. The modules are 1) your mentees, 2) settings, 3) unanswered questions, 4) replies for FAQs, 5) your impact, and 6) resources. Both mobile and desktop dashboards will be very similar and have the same functionality. The only difference is that the mobile version will have a dashboard preview page that will show a preview box of each module stacked on top of each other. Selecting one of the preview boxes will lead you to the module's main screen.
M1: Your mentees - an overview of the mentees activity
Main objective: For mentors to have the ability to watch the progress of their mentees, be aware of any setbacks, filter through their mentee's data, and allow mentors to be more proactive with their mentoring. This module is the main component of the dashboard that contains a table with the data of the mentor's mentees. The table holds a variety of data points for each mentee, which include: username, recent activity, reverted edits, blocks, questions asked total edits, and tenure. The mentor will be able to filter and sort the data.
M2: Settings - ability to edit the mentor's message, claim a mentee, and change the mentor status
Main objective: For mentors to have a central place for their tools where they can access them easily. The module is made up of 3 different features...
- Changing the mentor’s status: Currently, if mentors stop mentoring, their mentees stay assigned to them. With this feature, the mentors will be able to set themselves as away and have other mentors answer their mentee's questions, or if a mentor stops mentoring their mentees will be reassigned to new mentors.
- Editing their mentor message: This is the message that is displayed on the mentee’s newcomer homepage. By including this in this module, it allows the mentor to access and alter their message with more ease.
- Claiming mentee. Claiming a mentee is an existing feature. It allows for mentors to choose mentees and assign themselves as their mentors. However, not all mentors are aware of this feature, so adding this to the module will allow new mentors to have easier access to this feature.
M3: Unanswered questions - a preview of questions they need to answer
Main objective: For mentors to not miss questions from their mentees and have a central place to preview unanswered questions.
M4: Replies to FAQs - an answer bank of their template answers
Main objective: For mentors to have a place to store answers for the newcomer’s frequently asked questions (FAQs), save time, and ensure their answers are consistent. If the mentor has written a well-constructed, and helpful response they save it to the module. The next time someone asks a similar question they can copy the wikitext, paste it to their talkpage and personalize the response there.
M5: Your impact - showing the total contributions from their mentees, # of questions they have answered, and thanks received from their mentees
Main objective: To showcase the mentor’s progress and show mentors that their efforts are making an impact.
M6: Resources - top resources for mentoring
Main objective: To display a list of helpful links to pages that could aid new mentors. One of the items should be on the Growth teams MediaWiki page, which will help keep mentors in the loop with new newcomer/mentor-related features.