This is a topic for discussing how the Growth team should take action on the results from the Welcome Survey, and the thoughts in this section.
Part 2: Personalizing
As someone who deals with the reactive corrector persona in a couple different forums would it make more sense to receive the task list after the first (or maybe second) edit? 15:09, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for weighing in, @Barkeep49. Are you saying that receiving task recommendations after the first/second edit would make more sense because then we would have some hard data on the kind of edits the user likes to make?
@MMiller (WMF) what I'm saying is that a reactive corrector is likely going to have an edit in mind that causes them to register for an account. They then want to accomplish that edit. It's perhaps only AFTER they make that edit (or perhaps the second time they come back to Wikipedia to do an edit) that they would be receptive to a task list. My idea is if you hit them with the task list before they do what they've come to do it might not be as effective of a time to suggest.
@Barkeep49 -- yes, I think that makes sense. Our research definitely shows that people do have an objective in mind when they create their account. I think, then, that we should keep in mind that until someone accomplishes the thing they came to do, we don't give them ideas for other things to do -- instead, we give them help on how to accomplish their goal.
That's very well-put. I think this is actually a more generalizable principle; unobtrusive help, ready to hand when you need it to do what you are trying to do, is welcome. Anything that interrupts what you want to do is utterly unreasonably infuriating, especially as it is likely to happen repeatedly. For instance, when I click on "edit", I sometimes get a popup that asks whether I want to use VE or markup (because I forgot that I'm not logged in). I then have to make a meaningless selection to dismiss the popup, then wait for the page to load, then scroll up and go to the login page. The popup gets in the way of what I want to do, which is make that edit, and is thus intensely irritating. I feel like taking a sledgehammer to that inoffensive popup, an urge as irrational as it is impossible. A "log in" link from the popup would fix.
I'd say that if in doubt, it would be better to err on the side of unobtrusive than risk frustrating editors in this way.
I would also like to point out that in places, the existing help has gotten worse for new editors over time. Suppose you click on a "citation needed" tag to find out what it is. Back in the mid-2000s, the resulting help page was mainly aimed at new editors who had had their work tagged with the tag; until I edited it recently, it was not only aimed at editors using the tag, but it utterly ignored the existence of VE, implying that only markup existed. It's still not as helpful to new editors as it was once. A systematic effort to make sure such pages are useful to new editors might be effective. Templates such as en:Template:Inline cleanup tags might also be useful.
Existing help is under communities responsibilities. have you considered to start a wikiproject to improve it? If so and when done, please ping me there, I can certainly help since volunteer-me has co-created a long time ago the still very active Help pages wikiproject on fr.wp.
Thanks, @HLHJ. That's a good reminder to be deliberate about whether we are nudging people toward something or annoying them. I think we struck the right balance with the help panel, which is hopefully unobtrusive for new editors in the lower right of their window, and which they can turn off by clicking the "cog" icon.
Regarding existing help, one of the things we might be able to get a sense of from the "Understanding first day" project is whether certain help pages are associated with newcomers actually making productive editors. Maybe it will give us a hint about what a good help page looks like.
But in general, we're still grappling with the big question of how help pages can be improved across all the wikis, and looking for any ideas.
If you gather any information about what help pages new editors are most likely to come across, please let me know, and I will have a non-empirical go at improving their newcomer-comprehensibility. I understand that you are doing so, but on ko and cz, not en-Wikipedia; I will have a look at that data and see if it can give me any guidance. Wikiproject Editor Retention is fairly inactive, so I'm not sure I'd have much success rallying support for a more specific initiative. HLHJ (talk) 00:50, 10 November 2019 (UTC)
Hi @HLHJ -- improving help pages is definitely important! We don't know which ones are most visited in English, but you can check it out for yourself using the pageview analysis tool. For instance, Help:Contents is visited a few thousand times a day: https://tools.wmflabs.org/pageviews/?project=en.wikipedia.org&platform=all-access&agent=user&range=latest-20&pages=Help:Contents
@Trizek (WMF) is starting a project that will develop some best practices for how to make a good help page. Maybe he will be able to offer some suggestions.
French Wikipedia maintains a list of most visited help pages. This has indeed been really helpful for people who worked on redesigning help pages.
My work on help pages redesign is just starting. I'm mostly documenting it on Phabricator, but I think that a project page on wiki would worth the move.