So what's the plan to assess the listed problems? We all have some of our own ideas what the major issues here are, but at this point they appear to be mostly just that - ideas with little proven backing. Need to gather quantifiable data and verify that an issue is real, significant, or presents in the way we expect before worrying about how to fix it, especially since said research often makes more clear what will fix it.
Topic on Project talk:New contributors
No assessment plan so far. Do you want to propose one? I agree we will obtain better results.
I started by listing current activities plus initiatives that were already started, to map the current efforts. Ontology and Category:New_contributors are related and it is quite straightforward to get them to a decent first iteration. The goal is to identify the key content at mediawiki.org and open the door to the aggregation of related content from the Wikimedia Blog, Bugzilla and perhaps Gerrit.
There are two principle guiding my steps:
- The chronological sequence of events for an absolute newcomer, focusing on the first points of contact first. Like channeling water and starting closer to the source.
- Have a variety of tasks offered here so people with different skills and interests have a chance to contribute to different areas.
Proposing a plan is not my job, nor would I have time. But the need to establish one and carry it out should be clear. We can all sit around talkpages and mailing lists indefinitely, discussing the matter, miming the actions of new users, and even writing a plethora of personas that fit our perecptions perfectly, if we want, and still get essentially nowhere if nobody gets out the door, so to speak, and actually talks to and researches the new users and the problems they face, gathering quantifiable data on where they wind up and how it impacts them when they do.
I should hope that's your job, because if not there appears to be a rather massive hole in this entire process.
The Engineering Community Team is constantly dealing with potential and actual new contributors, getting out of the door and talking to them. We deal regularly with requests arriving from multiple sources and we organize and attend events and talk with people interested in doing a first contribution. The fact that I can't show you research data right now doesn't mean that we are working in an isolated lab.
I understand proposing a plan "it's not your job". I will continue working on a plan while keeping the work-in-progress approach.
And I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be so accusatory. I know you're doing what you can... it just scares me sometimes.