You're clearly going to have enough newcomers that you can do lots of A/B testing, measuring both short-term (30 to 60 day) and longer-term (90 to 180 day) impacts (amount of editing), as well as response rates. I hope you do that.
Topic on Talk:Growth/Personalized first day/Engagement emails
@John Broughton -- yes, we hope to be able to do a lot of A/B testing. But there are a few limits we've run into, that we're trying to solve:
- In each of the wikis we're working in so far (Czech, Korean, Vietnamese), there are between 50 and 100 newcomers a day. We're not yet working on any of the really big wikis with hundreds or thousands of new accounts a day, though we're hoping to bring some additional communities on board, like Arabic (about 300 new accounts per day).
- Of the newcomers, it turns out that only a minority of them have a verified email address. For instance, in Korean Wikipedia, about 55% of newcomers sign up with an email address and about 25% of those verify it (meaning that about 14% of newcomers have verified emails). On top of that, newcomers will need to opt-in to receiving additional email contact via this "engagement emails" program. Taken together, we're thinking about how to educate newcomers on the benefits of associating an email with their account so that more of them choose to do it (without pressuring anyone who doesn't want to). Some of the low-hanging fruit we're considering so far includes:
- Adding language to Special:CreateAccount that explains that email addresses are required for account recovery.
- Adding a notification to Special:CreateAccount letting people know to look for a verification email.
- Re-designing the verification email itself so that it is clearer what to do with it, and is less confusing.
What do you think of this line of thinking?
If it were me (it's not, of course), I'd require anyone who gets an account to affirmatively answer a question such as "I understand that by not providing an email address, it will be impossible for Wikipedia to help me access my account if I forget my password," and to do so before Wikipedia allows the account to be created.
In the larger context, when signing up for an account, a user should be able to specifiy, when providing an email address, that the email address can be used for [checking multiple is allowed]:
--- For recovering the account password
-- For welcoming emails from the Wikimedia Foundation
-- For other emails from the WMF
__ For emails sent by other Wikipedia users [making clear that this does not disclose the user's email to those other users]
The idea is to encourage users to provide an email address because they have more control over what it is used for.
A third leg of this might be to send a second, and maybe a third, email, if the first isn't responded to, explaining the consequences of not verifying the email address.
Thanks, @John Broughton. I think our team is thinking along the same lines. We have learned that it is important that opt-ins not be "bundled" so that users can be specific about what they are opting-in to. I'm not sure if we'll need to ask for an opt-in for account recovery, since that is the primary purpose of an adding email -- but we will inform the user about it. I agree that the right way to think about this is to encourage users to add their address by increasing their understanding of what the benefits are.