I wanted to invite you all to a discussion on the feature set the Growth team is working on next. This "positive reinforcement" effort is our next big project following "add an image", which many of you helped guide. The idea behind "positive reinforcement" is that newcomer tasks (like "add a link" and "add an image") are doing a good job of helping newcomers make their first edits -- but they aren't having a clear impact on getting newcomers to come back another time to make more edits. In other words, they are helping with "activation", but not with "retention". We think the "positive reinforcement" project could increase retention by showing newcomers the impact they are having and encouraging them to continue. Also, when we discussed newcomer tasks with communities, many of you wanted to make sure that newcomers wouldn't get stuck doing easy tasks, and that they would progress to more valuable kinds of tasks. With positive reinforcement, we can encourage that progression. But we know that the wikis are not like other apps and website -- we don't want to motivate people to make bad edits just to rack up points and awards. So we definitely need community input to figure out how to motivate newcomers in the right way that fits our communities.
I also want to tell you about an important transition and introduce you to @KStoller-WMF. I'm moving into a new role at WMF as the manager over the Growth, Editing, and Web teams. Kirsten will be the new product manager for the Growth team, and we're excited about her background as a librarian and as a product manager for a website that also has an active community. Going forward, you'll mostly be interacting with Kirsten around Growth product work, but I will still be working closely with her on strategy and tying projects together across multiple teams. Thank you all for your help building the Growth team features over the previous years, and Kirsten and I are looking forward to continuing to learn from you as we keep making the wikis a better place for newcomers!
Back to positive reinforcement: it would be great if you can check out the background and some of the design ideas on the project page, and post any of your thoughts, concerns, and questions in this thread or in a new one. Here are some prompts to think about:
- What has worked well on your wiki for motivating newcomers?
- Which of the ideas on the project page do you think have the most promise? The least promise?
- What could go wrong and what should we try to avoid?