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Rethink the way we communicate with communities concerning Collaboration team work
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Let's define a strategy on the way we want to communicate with communities concerning team's products. If things change concerning Flow, we will have to be transparent and reach as much communities and users as we can.
CLs (and me first) want to rethink the way we communicate on product releases and communities consultations, and Collaboration team may be the first to try it.

Possible ways:

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Restricted Application added a subscriber: Aklapper. · View Herald TranscriptJan 13 2016, 7:11 PM
Keegan added a subscriber: Keegan.Jan 13 2016, 9:11 PM

I plan on working with our new hire "differently" with the Discovery team from the approaches we've done before, and document it in some form. We'll see how we can tie this in after we get going.

Qgil added a subscriber: Qgil.

The "rethink" exercise needs to be done for all WMF product teams, actually. How much of this need is specific to the Collaboration team?

I recommend you to start identifying the problems you want to solve, and then find and put the right solutions into practice.

By helping the Collaboration team you will be helping the WMF-Product-Development-Process as well.

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Trizek-WMF raised the priority of this task from Normal to High.Jul 1 2016, 5:53 PM

We have the following ways to communicate with our communities:

  • Tech News, which excludes all announcements concerning specific products or communities (de facto, everything which concerns Flow)
  • Help pages, where people don't necessarily follow updates and improvements
  • Blog posts, rare and only for big announcements

We have Flow and Notifications, plus, in the coming months ERI. All these products will have updates and changes which are not fitting in the previous options listed. So I think T112864: Create a newsletter about Collaboration team products is the best communication option so far.

Thoughts anyone?

Qgil added a comment.Jul 4 2016, 12:03 PM

I think T137825: Recommendations for publishing project updates is kind of a blocker of this task. Let's agree how WMF Product teams should keep communities up to date, having in mind specific cases like the Collaboration. As far as I know the rest of verticals have similar problems, and it is better to think on good general solutions rather than Collaboration's in isolation.

@Trizek-WMF writes:

We have the following ways to communicate with our communities:
Tech News, which excludes all announcements concerning specific products or communities (de facto, everything which concerns Flow)
Help pages, where people don't necessarily follow updates and improvements
Blog posts, rare and only for big announcements

There are actually a multiplicity of ways that Product communicates with the communities. This is great in some ways, a problem in others. See this recent accounting from Wes of our various channels.

Well, I know there is much more ways than the three one listed above but I prefer to have a short list of ideas which have an impact.

Trizek-WMF added a comment.EditedJul 29 2016, 3:35 PM

I'm questioning various people about that task, to gather feedback about regular updates.
I have 3 main questions:

Is a newsletter format relevant? By newsletter, I mean a message distributed on wiki, like Tech News or the visual editor newsletter. Do you have ideas of a different formats? We may consider to try other things. 

What would be the best message design? Is short sentences like in Tech News good? Or would you prefer to have longer messages with more details? (Longer messages may be more complicated to translate.)

How often would you like to receive news? Tech News has a weekly distribution, VE's newsletter a quarterly one. (Note: As one of the main writers of that news publication, I would prefer to have a monthly distribution, but your feedback may be different.)

Please share your ideas and comments :)

I'm also asking inputs from:

  • the collaboration team
  • the technical collaboration team
  • wikitech ambassadors
  • random people on IRC/wikis/bars...
debt added a subscriber: debt.Jul 29 2016, 4:14 PM

Hi Trizek,

Just talking for myself, but who knows, it might be of some interest ;-)

Having emails in my box is great. That's my prefered media because I can get the information immediately (even if I'm off-wiki), and still keep it on sight for as long as I need. It perfectly fits my usual workflow. I also read the RSS version, which is very convenient too for immediate information, but less for handling tasks when applicable. I've never really liked on-wiki distributions (and MediaWiki's email notifications of new messages really suck).

I like the short sentence format of Tech News. I don't have the time anymore to read all emails on wikitech but I always read Tech News from top to bottom. If anything is to change, that would be to have less, not more (and I wouldn't blame anyone if some updates are lighter — or even skipped — just because there's less to tell this time). Links to more details are of course always welcome.

I quite like the weekly distribution as well. More often would be too much. Less often could be fine, unless it means longer emails to process or important information coming late. I prefer shorts emails weekly to long emails monthly, but again, if there's nothing to tell for a week, don't feel obliged to send a mail just because it's a weekly newsletter. Or send a one-sentence email without any shame. Really.

The faster and the less information at a time I get, the more likely I am to process it right and to act / forward in consequence. I guess I'm not the only one. Tech News does a great job at this.

Thank for all your work and best regards.

How often would you like to receive news?

My question re. this would be: who is the intended audience for this newsletter? I.e., who are the people who are interested in the doings of Collaboration Team per se (aside from my bosses)? I'm having a hard time picturing them...

Quiddity has convinced me that this could be a good idea. Quarterly feels like the right granularity to me. At least as a minimum; if something important happens or we want feedback about something, we can always send a special edition, right?

Thanks @Arkanosis!

If something important happens or we want feedback about something, we can always send a special edition, right?

Yes, of course!

Is a newsletter format relevant?

Yes, it's relevant, but it may not be the best format for everything. Newsletters are "push" notifications. It might be good to have "pull" notifications (things I can go look at if/when I want to).

What would be the best message design?

Short, simple sentences are good for frequent, general newsletters like Tech News. The Tech News format is this:

X will happen next week.[link]
Y already happened.[link]
Z was a problem.[link]

This format is good when you need to talk about everything "from A to Z". Short, simple sentences are not as good for detailed, in-depth communication.

How often would you like to receive news? 

When I have a few minutes free, shortly before I need to know the information in it.

Johan added a subscriber: Johan.Aug 5 2016, 8:34 AM

I'm partial of course, but I believe in the newsletter format – if there is consistent information to give. And if one has the patience to build an audience. That takes a while.

Johan added a comment.Aug 5 2016, 10:35 AM

Or phrased differently: Don't start a newsletter unless it's a long-term commitment. Building an audience takes time. If you need to reach out with information here and now, it's probably not going to get you very far.

Discussed about that with @Keegan and we agreed on how will be that communication channel:

  • the formatwill be a newsletter, to have a huge impact on projects
  • people targeted: every subscribers. Reached first after Flow satisfaction survey + anouncement on TN if possible
  • frequency: every 4 weeks
  • content: all recent changes, incoming changes and future projects (TN format)

Notes:

  • that experiment will be used as a trial, to see what works, what does not works and Keegan will create recommandations based on that (as it will be based on Chris and Erica's newsletters).
  • translation will be preferred, because Collaboration team's products have a big impacts on projects (especially Notifications) and the goal is to have more people aware of what we are doing
  • big announcements will still be on a separate newsletter/announcement to VPs to reach people that are not subscribers
  • the newsletter format can use the future Newsletter extension

Timeline:

Qgil awarded a token.Sep 6 2016, 12:06 PM