Talk:Growth/Personalized first day/Newcomer homepage

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Please read over the project page, and comment here with any ideas, questions, or concerns. Do you think this is a good idea? Where could we go wrong?

Ата (talkcontribs)

Hi @MMiller (WMF), @Trizek (WMF), it was nice to meet you at Wikimania! I posted on Village pump in Ukrainian Wikipedia about possible enabling of the Newcomer homepage and people immediately started voting for it (even though I asked only for comments first). It is only two days into the process, so while the discussion goes on, I will finish translating the documentation etc.

Does homepage goes in package with other/all Growth experiments? (I should probably create Phab task then, as instructed on that page). Can we have it as A/B? (This may butter up the users who may not feel enthusiastic).

Thanks )

MMiller (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hi @Ата -- thank you for talking at Wikimania, and for quickly starting a community discussion. I'm glad to hear that so many of your community members are interested. When we begin to work with your wiki, we will start with the older Growth features (EditorJourney, Welcome Survey, Help Panel), and then move on to Newcomer Homepage, which is our newest feature. It will be deployed as an A/B test, so we will be able to see whether it has impact. When @Trizek (WMF) returns to work next week, he can continue the conversation.

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hello @Ата! It was good to see you again during Wikimania. :)

Since your community is okay to use the prototypes (yay!), you should indeed create the Phabricator task. That way, we can keep an eye on the advancement of your work concerning translations and all, and I can help you over the entire process.

Reply to "Newcomer homepage on ukwiki"
Quiddity (talkcontribs)

[A tangent from the other topic, "Engagement" page, which I don't want to distract from...] [Preface: I love some of the ideas in the Newcomer homepage project. These are supplementary thoughts.]

Someone asked me recently:

> Whilst I was just a volunteer, what could Wikimedia (movement/foundation) have done better to make me feel I could grow?

I replied: "In a word, userpages.

The way that some editors use their userpages is fascinating. They use them:

  • to track their to-do lists,
  • to store notes and wikitext/snippets/citations they're using a lot (for easy copy&pasting),
  • to list their accomplishments and accolades,
  • to organize (and share) their bookmarks,
  • to disclose their COIs,
  • to write short autobiographies,
  • to list their passions or affiliations (often in the form of those small 'userboxes'),
  • to write essays and rambles,
  • and more.

My Enwiki userpage has always been the first destination of the day for most of my volunteer activities - it loads faster than the watchlist, it contains my links to watchlists on other projects, and it contains my most frequently used bookmarks/snippets. I typically leave it open in a tab whilst I do anything else on the sites.

I've long-thought that there are some good ideas that could be extracted from the previous WMF research into userpages, to help both simplify & power-up the default experience (which is fairly-to-extremely complicated for non-technical people - and the English help docs (stuck circa 2007) are frankly terrifying).

I.e. The previous research included ideas such as automated boxes of statistics about the editor - I think many existing users would really love this. If we could provide that kind of thing but in the form of normal wiki Templates that would fit into the classic freeform pages (thus making most existing users happy), then we could potentially also offer an easy "create your own userpage from these few predefined skeletons" wizard system, which editors could then use normal page-editing to re-arrange and personalize, and thus make everyone happy. [!!]

Here are the 2 old WMF research projects (which never made it past the mockup or notes stage)

TL;DR: We should help newcomers to use their actual userpages in ways that work for them (diverse ways for diverse people). Not a one-size-fits-all-solution (I think the GlobalProfile mockup idea was inherently flawed by its standardization approach), but give them help in finding the possibilities.

Because: Having a good userpage - especially one that is actively used, and can become their first browser destination for daily editing - can give editors a sense of personal connection to the sites, and also provide a space for an individualized (and sometimes 'humanized') element that can help people to relate to each other.

Reply to "Userpage as Homepage"
Omotecho (talkcontribs)

Could you move the section above the not-for-translation template, and if you don’t mind, I’d put a translation request elsewhere. I started translating Growth Newsletter (ja not the priority language), and wish to have a handy glossary. A good way to involve more hands I guess.

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hello Omotecho

First, thank you for the translation work you do!

We've discussed a bit about your request, and we agree: it would help more people to be involved.

We think that the best move would be to create a new page (like Growth/Glossary) where we would gather every terms we define for all Growth projects. However, we are all really super busy now. So if you want to create that page, it would help everyone. If you don't have time, it is okay as well: I'll create it, but later.

Thank you again!

Omotecho (talkcontribs)

Thank you indeed to take up the topic, and yes, will start on /Draft and ping you for confirmation as I finish, before moving to final namespace of its official name. Cheers,

Omotecho (talkcontribs)

Started a page under (link corrected) Draft/Growth/Glossary/en with “under construction” template. On Talk:Draft/Growth/Glossary/en, suggested list if glossaries as potential thesauri. Those are intended for translators, not for the Newcomers, that means, selection of terms/expressions requires tuning up to serve their interest/level of comprehension.

  • May we make “word of the day” field on the landing page for Newcomers, as a way to give very basic of Wikipedia culture in the form of terms/ideas ?
  • rather a joke, though, will there be any sample polite answers/declining tips, not glossary in pure sense. A boss or a longterm wikipedian or a nosy person like me is too fast to jump on newbies, trying to pull newcomers to “correct ways of doing so-and-so”; what is part of our culture is new to newcomers who might expect SNS climate or journal/web publishing culture.
  • It is not widely known (not among “learners” either) that a message that you need to enjoy slow starting is another way to relax the mood as well as keep the cool, instead of sitting with your ipad in hand writing/erasing, and end up henpecked by not replying, leading a judgement as being a rude behavior. (Happened to me, and it still does after 3,000+ edits, a heavy cultural feature in my native tongue.)
Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thank you for starting that page.

I was wondering: are you aware of Help:Glossaries? You will find interesting things about how to create a glossary page.

Glossaries are for translators, or for people that want to understand a concept. They are not primary designed for newcomers, but they could be for them.

  • That word of the day idea is a good idea. I've documented it as a possible improvement of the Homepage. But it shouldn't be on the glossary itself to avoid confusion.
  • Concerning politeness and how to work with newcomers, we already have an help page.
  • I'm not sure to understand your last point. It is about experienced users' behavior? People who don't reply to newcomers, or reply badly? Can you elaborate?

Thank you!

Omotecho (talkcontribs)

Great idea we put "term of the day" part out of Glossary,

>It is not widely known (not among “learners” either) that a message that you need to enjoy slow starting is another way to relax the mood as well as keep the cool, instead of sitting with your ipad in hand writing/erasing, and end up henpecked by not replying, leading a judgement as being a rude behavior. (Happened to me, and it still does after 3,000+ edits, a heavy cultural feature in my native tongue.)

Your input made me think deeper, and here it goes. It had never been an issue for me on SNS spaces at all if "no-action" or I will not reply the experienced users sooner enough. I was not aware the experienced users get irritated if I don't reply them sooner. I thought I was leaving bad impression as I did not work on the issue they need me to fix: I did not know how to fix, so thought no way to reply. For my personal courtesy standard, I felt very bad about me not able to reply, and worse when I was attacked for not replying.

Question is: a new comer receives a message from experienced user which is based on "advanced" knowledge of Wikipedia, still unknown to the recipient. I am not sure what research/survey will support the following, though. How can we make messages from experienced uses to newcomers much easier to understand? Experts can offer support/tips which involves asking question. Maybe for a newcomer, receiving inquiry from "those who have been here" is not quite what they are used to or ready for, or expecting at very early stage of commitment I guess.

  • How about asking experienced ones to add a Help/FAQ page link in their message? I expect those links better explain which concerns/advice the experienced holds. That way, both parties will have better understanding of what is the consensus on issues, against any rule of experience or veteran's instinct.
  • Newcomers are earmarked with a template on their user pages (or wherever experienced users will communicate with the newcomers), experienced users will fill in the format/choose options and make their inquiries or advice more digestive/comprehensive to new comers.

Encouragement. Other means to fill the gap between those writing advice and those newcomers as recipient? Will encouragement be helpful to keep newcomers coming back? (if they register their e-mail and choose to receive notices.) Experienced can reverse the newcomer's nervous feeling (they are nagged at or being a target of criticism), by pushing a button/tab, telling they are appreciated as a eager learner.

  • Needs a measure to bypass that "shame feelings" (as exposed in kowp newcomer homepage deployment). As much as experienced users input on a newcomers page, the newcomer gains positive encouragement; like BurnStar system.
  • How about similar system like those BurnStars. As much as experienced users input on a newcomers page, the newcomer gains positive encouragement;
    • We have "thank you" feature on your Wikipedia user page with heart-mark tab (User Preference needs to be set). You push the heart tab visiting other users and thank people with flowers/teas/chocolate/BurnStar.
    • It feels better to log in and find a nice sticker on your user page than read through a message that you don't understand what they are trying to teach you when you are still very "blank" and the advice does not sound comprehensive.

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thank you for your explanations.

Growth can support technical changes, such as creating the Homepage. But some other elements are a community duties, like:

  • creating a clear and useful welcome template,
  • creating places where newcomers feel welcomed,
  • improving FAQs/Help pages
  • show gratitude (through messages, thanks or Barnstars).
  • etc.

Some wikis have been working on this. An NGO, CivilServant, is conducting several studies on those areas in collaboration with several Wikipedias, to see if the initiatives taken have been successful in order to retain newcomers or have them feeling better integrated.

The urgency to reply is something complicated to work on. What is urgent? Provide source to a new article is urgent, but a suggestion to add an image is not. This should be reflected on the messages left to newcomers that are under community's responsibility.

We also hope to see more people following better practices on how to work with newcomers, we already have an help page. Have you considered to share it with Japanese community? It is a good way to have newcomers feeling ashamed because they don't reply on time, or because they feel dumb asking questions.

The homepage gives encouragements: if you add your email, you get a green badge. We are thinking about having more achievements, since getting achievements done are a motivator to get more involved.

Reply to "Glossary needs to be translated"

An important thing missing is a custom to-do list

5 (talkcontribs)

One of the most important things that has been missing in mediawiki since its inception is a way to organize one's work and decide what to tackle on next. It may be a good idea to draw inspiration from similar systems such as wikihow's task list, Extension:CollaborationKit and wikia's public dev:special:community as well as its private admin-only Special:GoToInterwiki/wikia:c:Help:admin_Dashboard .

The latter in particular is a pretty good model to follow as it basically serves as a tool to help users familiarize themselves with wiki tools, and it also helps guide the administrators to make a wiki successful (in wikia's terms). Although some of the tasks therein apply only to admins, others are helpful to just about any contributor. In a perfect world, both a private and a public dashboard would be available as that creates a sense of collaboration.

Currently wiki users must use awful hacks such as creating lists of pages in the user namespace, risking vandalism, reverts, and people belittling their tasks. The creative process is certainly most effective when it is made in private without any interference.

Also this feature is basically the request in

MMiller (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thank you for these tips on other efforts to check out. We've been looking at a set of platforms in our "comparative review". That work is here, and we're going to be summarizing it on that task this week. We had looked at Wikia, but not at wikiHow -- that's a great idea. I just went through the site and gained a lot of perspective. When you talk about wikiHow's task list, are you referring to this page?

I also think it's a good point that a good profile/homepage situation can help create a sense of collaboration. (talkcontribs)

When you talk about wikiHow's task list, are you referring to this page?

Yes, exactly. As far as the task list is concerned, there is certainly a lot of value in automatically generated ones, but a good system would offer the ability to create a custom list ( by simply adding pages.

I also think it's a good point that a good profile/homepage situation can help create a sense of collaboration.

Yes, wikis lack a sense of collaboration because of that. I mean if one wants to even to contribute to something simple like meta:List_of_articles_every_Wikipedia_should_have, they'd need to discover that page somehow, create their own list, and track their progress manually. It is hard to tell if even a big wiki like english wikipedia contains most of these topics in a good readable state.

In pure terms, good wiki growth will be linked to page completion, which could be estimated by determining if articles have:

  • References (for fact based wikis)
  • An internal link
  • A category
  • Illustrative image (optionally)
  • More than XXX words

A good dashboard would contain such a measure instead of simply listing pages one has edited. Of course it may or may not be currently feasible.

MMiller (WMF) (talkcontribs)

What do you think of the article rating system (Stub, Start, C-class, etc.) as a way to approximate page completion? One of our planned components of the newcomer homepage is a task recommendation system, and one way to recommend tasks is to surface articles that are classified as stubs and could use improvements. (talkcontribs)

Article rating systems are good for established wikis only for articles with quality higher than stub because the way they classify stubs is incredibly inconsistent. The article La_Loma_Bridge is certainly small, but is not really that much of a stub. My guess is that editors are quick to add a stub template to an article, but they aren't as diligent at removing them, english wikipedia alone has 2 million stubs. Also, the wikis that would most benefit from growth are those that are too small and unlikely to have an established system. Automation might be the only feasible alternative in those cases.

To sum up, the article rating system alone is insufficient to offer good recommendations. It needs two extra variables, impact (e.g. page views, important topics) and / or personal interest (topics / categories). The fastest way to seed the recommendation list is to simply ask the user what areas interest them, or alternatively offer recommendations using those top level topics, e.g. science, social , geography, history, etc. Another interesting area is hot spots ( topics or areas) where most contributors are currently working on, this is a tactic often used in forums to draw responses to new posts.

Personally, I think that wikimedia doesn't benefit from readers as much as it could. For instance, one easy way to create task lists is to surface red links to readers and ask them if the specific title deserve a topic of its own, and that could generate a good task of "popular" red links. It could even be enriched or filtered by wikidata linked interwikis. Another way would be to ask readers to correlate article quality, e.g. evaluate whether these stubs are really stubs, and eliminate these from certain task lists.

A good system will be a balance of the above, surfacing topics interesting to the user that may have high impact.

Reply to "An important thing missing is a custom to-do list"
John Broughton (talkcontribs)

I think this title, mentioned earlier, has a lot of promise. I'm going to keep suggesting that you think of the page as consisting of "panels", some of them editable by the user, some of them not.

So, for example, there might be a "To do" panel (editable), a "Suggestions" panel (not editable, but where the user can click to copy/post an item to another panel", an "Articles I want to edit" panel (editable), and "Articles I want to create" panel (ditto), an edit summary panel, a projects membership panel, and so on. And editable panels that have lists might allow the user to easily drag an item to another position in the list.

MMiller (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@John Broughton -- I think it's a good idea to eventually combine editable panels with non-editable ones. We're using the word "module" instead of "panel", but I think it's the same idea. Something I learned recently is that the word "personalized" refers to parts of software that the system makes specific to the user, whereas "customized" refers to parts of the software that the user makes specific to themselves. So I think you're saying that a good "homepage" would consist of both modules that the system personalizes and modules that the user customizes. We're going to be working on the system-provided kind first -- those are much easier for us to build -- but I think a natural place for this project to go would be to work on the user-customized kind.

John Broughton (talkcontribs)

Interesting distinction between "customized" and "personalized"; in any case, yes, you've got it exactly right what I'm suggesting.

Reply to ""My work""
John Broughton (talkcontribs)

I think the title "Homepage" is problematical. An editor's "home" page is that editor's user page, which he/she can customize.

Something like "Engagement" or "Involvement" or "Editing" would be much better, I think.

One thing that wasn't clear from the project page is whether an editor can modify this page. I'd suggest that modifications be limited to actions that are pre-specified - delete, highlight, remove highlighting, move up or down in a list, or whatever. (One good option would be "Move to user page".)

Other notes:

  • SuggestBot, on the English Wikipedia, if it's still around, is an interesting model.
  • I'd vote for this as a tab for newcomers that is optional for experienced editors (and can be removed as a tab by going into Preferences)
  • You absolutely want to post something on the User Talk page that this page has been created for the newcomer, as well as providing a link in a welcoming email.
  • Designing this for experienced editors is scope creep, but a panel showing the "impact" of one's editing is great for any level of editor. Panels that could be added to the page, later, for experienced editors, might include things like information from projects that the editor has joined, edit counts (history summary), and tracking of modules completed within an editing self-study program.

MMiller (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@John Broughton -- I agree that we should probably think harder about the name. I didn't realize that people might think of their User page as a "homepage" -- I've always just thought of it as my "User" or "profile" page. One interesting thing to consider is that whatever name we land on will need to be translated into many languages (starting with Czech, Korean, and Vietnamese), and so it will probably be most important to convey to translators the concept that we're trying to cover with the name of the page. I think that concept is, "This is a place to get started each time you open up Wikipedia to edit." I wonder if a straightforward name that would translate well would be something like, "Your work". We can ask our contacts in those communities what phrase they recommend.

Yes, we're definitely keeping our eye on SuggestBot -- the creator, @MWang (WMF), is actually one of our team members! What do you like (or dislike) about that model?

I think it's a good idea to make that homepage (for lack of a better term at the moment) optional for experienced editors, but defaulted to "off". That's what we did for the help panel, and it's allowed experienced editors to try it out, so they know what newcomers are seeing.

We are definitely starting to think about how we will notify newcomers that the homepage exists, and a welcome message on User Talk and a welcoming email are both good ways. Other ways we can think of include CentralNotice banners, links in the help panel, a link on Main Page, and a redirect when someone confirms their email address.

Reply to ""Engagement" page"
Barkeep49 (talkcontribs)

This looks like a very promising concept to me. I use my watchlist as my Wikipedia "homepage" but I would love if I could have something better, the second or third version of this, one day. I would suggest the mainpage is not a great place - we know many readers visit the mainpage directly and so changing that when they become an editor does not seem helpful. However, perhaps, a banner could be placed on the main directing them to this page - which I think makes most sense as a Special page. Barkeep49 (talk) 16:16, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

MMiller (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks, @Barkeep49. The potential for this homepage idea to develop into something useful for experienced editors is something that also occurred to us. What are the sorts of things that you would want on a homepage geared toward experienced editors?

And yes, you are touching on an important point -- once we have a homepage up, how will we drive newcomers toward it? A banner on Main Page is on our list, along with: a link in the help panel, links from engagement emails, a bot posting a message on the user's talk page, and a link or redirect from when a user confirms their email address.

Barkeep49 (talkcontribs)

Just to underline what I was trying to say, the main driving point here was I think this shouldn't go on the Main Page - but do think this is worthwhile.

In terms of how it could be used by the experienced editor, it would be nice to see a way for Projects to be able to push content onto it to further that kind of work, a way for discussions to be highlighted, tie-ins to noticeboard/templates that require high skill levels based on the interests/permissions of the particular editor, while still having things like source this uncited fact, copy edit this article, or whatever it maybe that would work for newcomers. Barkeep49 ([./ talk]) 00:20, 14 February 2019 (UTC)

This post was hidden by Barkeep49 (history)
John Broughton (talkcontribs)

I agree that the Main Page isn't a good place to add editor-specific information, if only because at some point you're going to have to allow the editor to see what was removed or pushed down, and it's not exactly obvious how to decide that, or to explain what has been done, or why.

MMiller (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks, @Barkeep49 and @John Broughton. Yes, we agree that changing Main Page would be a larger conversation and a more difficult challenge to tackle. Right now, we're gravitating toward the idea of "Add it as an additional tab on the User page". And we would redirect newcomers there when they click on their own username (the homepage would prompt users to go to their User page and create it.) What do you think of this tactic?

@Barkeep49 -- thanks for the thoughts on what an experienced editor would want to see in some kind of homepage. It sounds like the theme of what you're saying is that it's sort of like an expanded watchlist. You want to see in one place all the things that need your attention, whether they are edits to articles you're watching, tasks needing doing from a WikiProject you care about, or changes to important discussions.

Barkeep49 (talkcontribs)

I definitely think an additional tab is good. Your flow could be fine - would be curious what would happen in testing.

As to the homepage for the experienced editor, I don't know that describing it as an expanded watchlist is quite right. A good homepage, for me, would have some combination of the familiar - here are the things I like to do all grouped together so I can get to them easily - but also a sense of discovery of something that might interest me and I hadn't even known it was there. Barkeep49 (talk) 02:36, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

MMiller (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks, @Barkeep49 -- I think that's a good way to put it. Some of the familiar and some of the new.

Reply to "Main page thoughts"
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