Topic on Talk:Growth/Community/How to work with newcomers on help desk

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GreenMeansGo (talkcontribs)
Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thank you for that ressource. I think I'll add a section with useful ressources like yours.

I think the list of advice can have a point saying that create actual conversations is more efficient than using templates as messages or replies.

GreenMeansGo (talkcontribs)

"Leave replies with actionable content." It's not clear what this is supposed to mean. GreenMeansGo (talk) 15:38, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Don't reply to just say "hello".

(You don't need to sign here, it is done automatically.)

Nick Moyes (talkcontribs)

Here are a few observations.

-This page itself is slightly unclear. It's obviously about dealing with newcomers at help fora, not at user talk pages - but its not explicitly stated in the title.

- There's no mention of using the TalkBack notification we have at the en.wiki Teahouse.

-No mention of checking their talk page for a past 'welcome to wikipedia' template message and then leaving a generic Welcome message for them (though a specific one from the Teahouse or other help forum might be a good thing to have for newcomers)

- There's no mention of continuing to reply for the benefit of others, even if the questioner has been blocked shortly after posting. (We aren't just replying to the questioner - many other people read these replies. Think of them, too.)

- Check back in the forum occasionally for any questions that have gone unanswered for 24 hours, and try to at least acknowledge the questioner, apologise for a lack of reply, or suggest an alternative venue to get a reply.

- Ask the questioner if your answer has helped them - this creates an opportunity for feedback to the host and makes replies seem more 'two-way'.

- I don't like the 'prefered' reply to "How can I add an image to an article" The host needs to elicit whether the questioner is only asking about inserting an existing image into a page or infobox, or whether they want to upload one of their own to then use.

-Personally, I like to insert images into replies from time to time at the Teahouse to brighten the room up a bit and make things more welcoming, though I doubt this is essential advice!

As an aside, I think we're bad at helping questioners help themselves before asking a question. Please link to a page or image of you're able? Are you working on a desktop or in mobile view? Are you using the Visual Editor tool, or the other one (whose name shall not be mentioned)?

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@Nick Moyes, thank you for your replies and suggestions. I think some of them can be integrated right now, for others, I have some questions or comments. I particularly like the "two-way" one as a good opportunity to create more interaction: it is obviously missing.

The page is indeed targeting help desks and similar collaborative Q&A pages. I'll add that precision to remain in scope, thank you for the suggestion! We will certainly have future pages about welcome messages or new users patrolling (that would include talk pages).

The goal is to have advice that would apply to a wiki with no such places, or where that place is not often used. The Teahouse is one of the ways to have a Q&A space and specific tools, like the TalkBack notification you mention, may not be on every wiki. Let's keep the page wiki-agnostic. :)

Do you have frequent example of people who can say by themselves that they are using the visual or the wikitext editor, or the mobile skin on desktop? I've never seen that happening on my volunteer experience. I think it is easier for an experience user to quickly check the last contributions of a new user than for a new user to understand everything about the tools and the context.

Thank you for all your suggestions, they are very helpful!

GreenMeansGo (talkcontribs)

This is a fair point, considering many guests fail to indicate the article they're referencing and it has to be pulled from their recent contributions. Although if I'm not mistaken, the tags for mobile editor and visual editor aren't enabled on many projects.

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Those tags are hopefully by default. :)

Nick Moyes (talkcontribs)

Where do you find these tags on en.wiki? I wasn't actually aware it was possible to tell what editing tool a user was deploying in their edits. It could certainly save me from worrying that I've just given detailed explanation of how to do something that the questioner won't understand because it might not relate to how they're editing.

GreenMeansGo (talkcontribs)

Nick Moyes, it's parenthetical text that shows up next to the edit history. See this diff from when I tested it earlier today on en.quote. I hadn't noticed it prior, but yes, it does seem to be enabled by default.

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Special:Tags will give you the list of tags enabled on the wiki you're on. The page gathers Mediawiki software's tags and community defined tags.

You can filter edits by tags on Recent Changes or on your Watchlist to find edits to review.

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