This page in a nutshell: The WMF Growth team is building a set of features to encourage newcomers to make edits: Newcomers Tasks, Newcomer Homepage and Help panel. Our work is summarized here so that communities can easily understand how the features work.
Research has shown that newcomers struggle to edit and continue editing Wikipedia because of three main challenges: technical, conceptual, and cultural. They currently do not have access to the resources they need to surmount those challenges. To give these things to newcomers, the WMF Growth team has built three interconnected features, described in more detail below. The objective is to increase the retention of new editors.
- Newcomer tasks: a feed of task suggestions that help newcomers learn to edit. Newcomers have been making productive edits through this feed!
- Newcomer homepage: a special page that hosts the "newcomer tasks" and is a good place for a newcomer to get started.
- Help panel: a platform to provide resources to newcomers while they are editing.
All of these features are available on both desktop and mobile. It is also possible for experienced users to turn them on and use them. You can try these features on some wikis.
For more information about the Growth team, see this page on mediawiki.org.
We are most excited about this feature, because it seems to be prompting newcomers to make productive edits. This is a workflow that suggests articles to edit, shown to users via the "suggested edits module" on the newcomer homepage. Newcomers are able to choose from different types of edits (based on maintenance templates) and filter to topics of interest (based on ORES models). They then can choose from a feed of articles to work on. Once on an article, the help panel will provide guidance on how to complete the edit.
Results so far
- As of March 2020, 550 newcomers have made 3,083 edits through this workflow (Arabic, Czech, Korean, and Vietnamese Wikipedias).
- They are making copyedits, adding links, and sometimes adding new content with references.
- About 75% of these edits are not reverted, which is about the same share as edits made by newcomers outside this workflow.
- 13% of these users make 5 or more suggested edits.
- 9% of these users make suggested edits on 3 or more days.
- Detailed statistics
For more information about newcomer tasks, see this page on mediawiki.org.
This special page hosts the newcomer tasks workflow, and contains other modules that give newcomers access to the most important things they need to see on their first day. After creating their account, newcomers see a popup (and some other notifications) encouraging them to visit their homepage, which is accessible through the link to their username along the top of their browser window. Though the team is still experimenting with different modules, here are modules that may appear on the homepage:
- Start module: encourages users to do a tutorial, add or confirm their email address, and create a userpage.
- Help module: lists links to commonly visited help pages.
- Mentorship module: assigns each newcomer an experienced user, and gives an easy way to post questions to the mentor's talk page. Mentors volunteer to take part by signing up.
- Impact module: shows newcomers the number of pageviews on each of the articles they have edited.
- Suggested edits module: see "Newcomer tasks" above.
Results so far
- The majority of newcomers visit their homepage, and many of them return to visit their homepage on subsequent days.
- 3,262 mentor questions have been asked as of March 2020.
- The homepage increases the number of newcomers who have confirmed email addresses.
For more information about the newcomer homepage, see this page on mediawiki.org.
This is a box that newcomers can open while they are editing. It does four things:
- Guides newcomers while they do suggested edits.
- Lists links to commonly visited help pages.
- Allows newcomers to search for other help and policy pages.
- Allows newcomers to ask a question directly to the help desk.
The help panel appears in both the wikitext and visual editors. When we deploy this feature, we make sure that a wiki's existing help desk (or Teahouse) will work with the features, and that experienced users watching the help desk are willing to receive the incoming questions.
Results so far
- About 20% of newcomers who see the help panel open it up, and about 50% of those who open it up interact with it.
- The help panel on its own does not increase newcomer edits, but we have retained this feature because we use it to provide guidance as part of the promising newcomer tasks flow described above.
For more information about the help panel, see this page on mediawiki.org.
Try the featuresEdit
- enable the Help panel in the Editing tab.
- enable the Newcomer homepage in the User profile tab. Enabling the Newcomer homepage gives you access to Newcomer tasks.