Topic on Talk:In-context help and onboarding

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Noyster (talkcontribs)

This onboarding project is a very promising initiative. I've felt for a long time that new users should be told the basics at the very outset and not just be left to sink or swim, very often leading to frustration for themselves and others.

What I would very much like this process to cover is how to use user space - the main user page and user subpages. There are plenty of new users who seem to think this is just like Facebook: once you've put your CV, self-publicity or advert on your user page, you've done it and that's your total involvement with Wikipedia. Or, the slightly more sophisticated ones create an unreferenced promotion page in their user sandbox, roughly formatted like an article; apply search engine indexing as VE makes it so easy to do; job done. Please include in the onboarding process guidance about what the user page is for and what it's not for; what to do when you've created a user draft and how to get it on the road to being accepted as an article; and intervene if they apply indexing in user space, which is almost never a valid action for a new user.

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Concerning user (sub) pages, a way to avoid self promotion published there being visible outside of Wikipedia would be to NOINDEX all those pages by default. It has already be done by some wikis.

Noyster (talkcontribs)

Sure @Trizek (WMF), it's already no-indexed *by default* in en-wiki. The trouble is that VE makes it super-easy for anyone, even the newest editor, to reverse this setting, and they do it a lot. A point I made nearly a year ago , section "Page options in Visual Editor", but didn't get anywhere.

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Reading replies you get there, that sounds similar to what can happen on any Wikipedia: anyone who wants to have an article will do whatever is possible to get it, even publishing it on odd places. Have a clear guidance as you suggest may help to avoid article creations on user page or sandboxes.

JMatazzoni (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks so much for your suggestion @Noyster. We are definitely looking at the idea of introducing the user talk page, but had not really gotten much into the idea of the other pages in the user space. I will add this to our list of topics to consult on. It sounds like you have some experience in this area. Are you a patroller, new user helper, just an observant user? Thanks again.

Noyster (talkcontribs)

Thank you for your interest JMatazzoni. There is no doubt that many new users have no clear concept of the distinctions between their user page, user sandbox or draft pages, and Wikipedia articles and it will be real progress if we can help them with this. The patrolling part of my activities on enwiki brings me into contact with many newly registered editors and I try to welcome them and offer guidance, or when necessary deter them from doing what they're doing.

Kerry Raymond (talkcontribs)

I use the User page in training as the first thing people edit. You can always spot people who trained with me as early versions of their user page will look like

where we do italics, bold, headings, wikilinks and citations, as well as addressing any potential conflicts of interest. I figure that's 99% of what they need to know to get started. If I don't have the luxury of much time, I just teach citations. That's the one "must have". Other people can copyedit and wikify what you wrote but they cannot guess what your source was.

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