Project talk:New contributors/Greeters

About this board

Nice to meet you! Looking for a greeter? Here you will find one. Just register/log in and Start a new discussion explaining what are you looking for.

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

This project is dead today. We could try to reanimate it, but in fact I think it is better to focus on the onboarding processes we already have and improve them. Feedback?

See phab:T85603.

Reply to "Closing this project"
Valeriej (talkcontribs)

Quim says "I think the primary role of Greeters is to connect newcomers with a first task until completion."

Should we come up with a list of first tasks or a list a places a new contributor could find first tasks?

Browser Testing
For browser testing a first task could be writing a feature description, and new contributors could choose from a list of curated bugs that need a feature description.
Bug Management
Bug days would be a good event to point new contributors to.

And in general: could be something to point new contributors to.

Also, what sort of permission will a new contributor need and when should they get those permissions, e.g. when you register with Bugzilla you get 'canconfirm' privileges, and if you ask you can get 'editbug' privileges. At first, new contributors can't assign themselves to bugs with their 'canconfirm' permissions, so do we automatically give them the privileges to do so, or do the Greeters assign new contributors to a bug they want to resolve, and once they do that give them 'editbug' permissions so they can assign themselves to bugs?

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

There URLs should be part of the starter kit, yes.

No especial permissions are needed. Newcomers can comment on bugs and then someone can assign bugs to them. Those continuing being active in Bugzilla can get permissions progressively like anybody else.

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

Reply to "First tasks"

Ideas when thinking how to fix 'Find a greeter'

Valeriej (talkcontribs)

I think the Teahouse model could work really well. New contributors and greeters could create profiles that has information about them, their skills, their interests, and their IRC nicks.

These profiles could help new contributors find a new greeter. I think users would look for greeters with similar backgrounds to ping on IRC, and I know that new contributors would likely have questions that many people could answer, so I wonder if it would be an issue of a few greeters getting requests for help from a number new contributors when other greeters are able to help them as well. I think I'm getting ahead of myself, though.

"Greeters have an explicit interest helping contributors that find a harder time...": Also, these profiles could probably help Greeters identify those new contributors that generally have a harder time.

Sucheta Ghoshal (talkcontribs)

+1 to Teahouse Model. Also, creating profiles seems to be a nice idea. Should be very helpful for the new contributors to find the person for them to approach.

On the thought - " if it would be an issue of a few greeters getting requests for help from a number new contributors when other greeters are able to help them as well." - I don't think it should be. It would not be like we are preventing anyone from helping any person. We are just trying to make this whole process of 'making the first contribution' or 'getting involved with the community' less confusing for the new people.

KatieIreneC (talkcontribs)

Hello all! I'm brand new to the Wikimedia community, and currently applying to the GNOME OPW for a project (hopefully!) sponsored by Wikimedia. Quim Gil recommended that my required small initial contribution could be "defining and polishing" the Greeter page.

I'll start polishing the page now, trying to make existing language more clear.

As for defining, I have some questions after reviewing this thread:

  1. Is this the first thing contributors see after registering?
  2. Greeters seem like they cover any needed topic, but are there any tasks you'd like to highlight that aren't in the current list of possibilities?
  3. What is the best way to contact a greeter?
Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

Hello Katie! That was fast.  :)

  1. Not today but could be, yes. Good idea! In fact these days we are updating the Account creation user experience and I have in my ToDo list improving MediaWiki:Confirmemail_body. A link to How to contribute and to the Greeters page would make sense.
  2. I think the current list is good enough? In any case it is a reference: a greeter is meant to be your first contact in the community, and different newcomers will probably need different types of support. But any ideas are welcome.
  3. About contacting a greeter... Maybe we can simply start by having a discussion thread here "Find a greeter" where newcomer would just introduce themselves briefly and then the first greeter available would answer? We can do something more sophisticated if needed at all, but answering to an existing thread seems to be a simple task (it seemed to work for you?).  :)

I hope this helps. You might want to find some inspirational picture or illustration at or another free resource. See for instance Project:New contributors.

Thank you again for your quick and efficient reply!

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

KatieIreneC (talkcontribs)

it's fast because I'm really excited about the project I'm proposing for the OPW :)

What do you think about an image of people working together physically, to suggest the camaraderie of the community? Have any images of that type in mind?

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

Whatever is the incentive, as long as it's useful...  :) I hope you are enjoying the ride.

Yes that is an obvious choice. But can we do better? What about two friendly animals of different kind? Or even something more abstract?

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

KatieIreneC (talkcontribs)

I saw the award-winning bird picture in commons and couldn't resist a bug pun.

It is correct that a picture can't be both framed and resized? I couldn't figure out how to do it.

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

Good one!

Yes, can be done even if the syntax in not self-evident. I'm not sure about throwing newcomers to Help:Images. It's easier to learn when a greeter helps you with a small edit. ;)

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

Valeriej (talkcontribs)

((Ah, Quim I was drafting a post! I'll post the whole thing anyway, ha.))

Hello! Good luck on you application!

As for your questions:

"Is this the first thing contributors see after registering?"

No. This page is a part of an effort to engage new contributors. The scope of this effort is currently being defined.

"Greeters seem like they cover any needed topic, but are there any tasks you'd like to highlight that aren't in the current list of possibilities?"

As I said above, the scope is currently being defined.As you start contributing, keep note of what you need or want that would help you contribute, like a tutorial or HOWTO. Other new contributors could likely use it as well. I would put down any and all ideas that you have, so everyone can discuss them.

Good luck!

"What is the best way to contact a greeter?"

I don't think there's necessarily a "best way". I was thinking greeters and new contributors would communicate over user talk pages or on IRC.
KatieIreneC (talkcontribs)

Please excuse my greenness :) But if you are interested, here are my first thoughts on HOWTO:

A quick tour of the meanings and role of each of the tabs at the top of a typical page would be nice. (Main page, discussion, edit, history, etc.) Perhaps an explanation of the setup for a user (what a talk page is) could fit into this. It wasn't immediately clear to me what the "talk" buttons were all about. Also, an overview of the different parts of the *wiki* world and roles each one plays would help me feel more grounded.

I imagine all these resources exist (perhaps in FAQ?), so perhaps it's just a matter of linking them early and often.

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

Your greenness is precious! Let's learn from it before it vanishes.

You keep having very good points. We have discussed about having a Starter kit. As you say, this would be mostly a page with a comprehensive list of links to the basic concepts and instructions. A nice % of people will have enough with it - no greeters needed. People having further questions or needing active help can come to the greeters.

  • Starter kit = docs.
  • Greeters = humans.

Does this make sense?

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

KatieIreneC (talkcontribs)

Sounds good to me. Will the starter kit be referenced on the Greeters page? From what you're saying, it sounds like it won't be, and instead both Greeters and Starter Kit will be referenced from a third intro page.

While making edits, I realized I was making a few edits containing many changes, and writing summary messages with few rules in mind. I'm sure that is confusing for everyone else and not the Wikimedia way. I looked at the summary help page (linked by the small question mark), and though I found some description of what the nature of the messages should be in the Recommendations section, there were a lot of technical details to sort through to find it. While I'm wishing for things, a guide with example summary messages for common edit scenarios would be really cool.

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

We can link with each other just following the nature of the wiki. From other pages like the homepage or How to contribute, it probably makes sense to link first to the Starter kit, leaving the Greeters for those that know about it. Otherwise we risk getting unaware people here with asking basic questions covered in the Starter kit.

The right way to edit and write summaries is essentially the right way for contributing patches and writing summaries: the principle is the same. Other will look at your edits and read your summaries - have no doubt. The cleaner each edit is (one action, a fix to one problem) and the better it is described, the easier for others (and yourself the next day!) is to understand the progress and add / modify to it. Then again we don't need to spend excessive time with rules there. Just a bit of attention is usually enough.

Let's cover these little questions in the Starter kit before we forget about them.

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

Jmorgan (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hi everyone. If you're interested in giving your new contributors hub the Teahouse treatment (and I think it's a great idea), you should check out The Teahouse Menu, a little kit containing handy templates, workflows, design elements and a few tips & tricks. Our project report also contains some potentially useful resources & recommendations. And of course, you can always ping me, Siko Bouterse, Heather Walls or Sarah Stierch if you have any questions. Our roles in the project were (very roughly!):

  • J-Mo: research/dev/ux
  • Heather: design/ux
  • Sarah: community organizing
  • Siko: pm/benevolent overlord


Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

The page looks pretty decent now. Thank you to everybody involved! Is there anything missing, apart from more greeters with pics & descriptions?

In the meantime we can start with the Starter kit, which can can have pretty straightforward v0.9.

With the tandem starter kit & greeters in place we can graduate these pages and advertise them appropriately.

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

KatieIreneC (talkcontribs)

It's been fun to work on this. Contributing to projects in the Wikimedia sphere seems much more in reach now. Thanks for the push.

Just a wording suggestion:

When the Starter kit is not enough, Greeters can help you:
Check out the Starter Kit first. Next, Greeters can help you:

I feel like the current message is 'don't use greeters unless you really need them'. I worry that might make people who are confused by the Starter kit feel like they aren't skilled enough to contribute. Also, does it preclude new users just introducing themselves on the greeter thread without a specific question--which seems like a good way to make a connection with them and keep them in the community? I understand if you don't think there are enough greeters to go around, though. I just want to make sure the tone is right.

Valeriej (talkcontribs)

Maybe "Check out the Starter Kit first. If you'd like more guidance, Greeters can help you."

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

Usually there is no need to ask: just edit further. As we say here: be bold.

Anyway, you had a point and I tried to fix the problem with another edit.

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

KatieIreneC (talkcontribs)

Speaking of "being bold", I found that the following documents helped me clear up all the questions I had, and helped me find the right Wikimedia spirit: which led to

For my particular path (creating a login on the mediawiki page I wanted to edit and jumping in), I wasn't directly pointed to those pages. They were very clearly located on the front page however---it just took me a little while to think to look there.

I was planning on linking the above pages on the Starter Kit and polishing anything I could there.

Reply to "Ideas when thinking how to fix 'Find a greeter'"
MarkDilley (talkcontribs)

I read the page, skimmed the talk page and am still left with the sense that a big elephant in the room is missing. Please excuse me if I have missed this idea somewhere else. From the people I talk to and a few experiences I have had - the issue, as I see it, is that people who do some work on Wikipedia don't have their work honored. Tools are great steps forward, but if some sysop or another editor comes along and stomps all over my work, without a good reason or communication - it sucks. I learned this lesson, for myself, from the early days of WikiIndex. So how does one help a cultural shift happen - that tools can augment? Best, MarkDilley (talk)

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)
Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

Just to clarify: the scope of this project is new technical contributors. Still, those also edit wiki pages and also write code. Arguably they could also feel their work is not honored if/when someone "stomps all over" their work.

Said that, I'm not sure what are you proposing. Do you mean highlighting meta:Founding principles to newcomers and have a version adapted to technical editors / free software contributors?

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

Guaka (talkcontribs)


The scope of this specific project might be about technical contributors, but Wikipedia also has a very similar problem with not enough new contributors. And I think the underlying problem is the same.

The founding principles look good but there should be much more focus on "4. The creation of a welcoming and collegial editorial environment."

In the past I've seen my work deleted on Wikipedia and also on I could not feel the slightest element of founding principle 4. from the people who deleted stuff. I've built some successful, active wikis and if an admin would behave like this on my wikis I would start a discussion with them. There's no such thing as this on Wikimedia projects. It's very much about policies and bureaucracy.

Greeters could be a good idea. I recently posted on the pywikipedia list with some code that is likely to be useful for other users of pywikipedia, but it's more than 1 month later and I haven't heard back from anyone. Meanwhile I simply published my code elsewhere. If someone would have greeted me and ideally given a bit of guidance I might have started doing other work on pywikipediabot by now.

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

In any case, I have seen Greeters initiatives in other open source projects and they really work well. Both giving newcomers a warmer welcome AND getting a new type of contributors involved as greeters, since you don't need to be a PHP wizard or a busy maintainers to become a successful greeter.

Who wants to start? See for a reference that was successful while it lasted.

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

Jmorgan (WMF) (talkcontribs)

(re-posted from Research_talk:Teahouse): Hi Quim! Technical implementation of the Teahouse isn't too hard, and I could help out. Maintaining it doesn't take much work either, since a lot of the critical functionality (such as inviting new users to participate, featuring and archiving content, etc) is automated. The most important 'soft' requirement is a critical mass of dedicated volunteers to staff the Q&A board, answer questions and in general be helpful & welcoming presence on wiki. Will post this to the thread on Mediawiki as well. Cheers, Jonathan

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

Thank you! This is useful. Ok, so it seems that in any case we need to start recruiting 'greeters'. Only if we can reach a critical mass of greeters it makes sense to discuss the creation of a Teahouse here.

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

Thank you for the idea and congratulations! Now we have an own page to start developing Greeters.

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

Jmorgan (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Sorry to keep spamming your thread :) Quim asked me to provide a bit more information about how many greeters you might need to get started. In my experience, the number of greeter's you need depends on the number of newcomers you expect and what you want your greeters to do. We started the Teahouse with around 15 hosts. We get an average of about 30 who participate each week, a subset of whom are highly active, plus quite a few drop-ins who answer questions and take part in conversations in the Host Lounge. We currently get about 10 questions and 2-3 new profiles at the Teahouse.

What will be the role of greeters, do you think? At the Teahouse, we initially had a few hosts (mostly Sarah and RosieStep) delivering LOTS of manual invitation templates to new users they found on the New Contributors filter, AfC, a bot-generated daily report, and elsewhere. But that wasn't sustainable for us: we were dealing with the firehose of new enwiki editors, and only about 5% of the people we invited actually stuck around long enough to visit us, so to get critical mass at the Teahouse we needed to invite 50-100 newcomers per day. Since July 2012, most invitations have been sent out by bot although some Wikipedians do still invite new editors manually.

The other major role of Teahouse hosts is to answer questions on the central Q&A board. Some hosts also 'welcome' users who create a profile using the 'welcome this user' link which is baked in to each profile. Hosts do connect with new users one-on-one as well, but this is mostly ad-hoc. The Teahouse space itself is more geared towards lightweight peer support than direct mentorship.

Anyway... not sure which of these activities will apply to your greeters, but I hope that helps!


Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

The good news is that we don't expect to have as many newcomers as English Wikipedia. The other kind of news is that our newcomers might be looking for a much more diverse collection of questions. Wikipedia is mostly about editing, while here editing is only one of many potential activities, and not even the primary one.

While MediaWiki bots or categories might offer to newcomers a choice of new tasks, at the moment this is not so straightforward for development, testing, product development and other activities, many of them not happening on top of MediaWiki. I think the primary role of Greeters is to connect newcomers with a first task until completion. Once you are there porobably you can go alone for a second one, or you have met the people that will help you further in your area.

This post was posted by Qgil-WMF, but signed as Qgil.

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