The collective nature of Wikipedia is a motivator for editors, but many new editors don’t know about it. In addition, collaboration functions are hidden, preventing users (even if aware of the collective nature) to participate.
In order to make the collective nature of the project more visible, we can send new editors a notification to introduce them the discussion activity for pages they recently edited. A mockup illustrates the idea below:
Content and timing
This is intended to let users know that talk pages exist, introducing them in a way that is connected to the recent contributions of the user to make it more meaningful. To make the notification meaningful we may want to send it only when:
- The user contributed to pages in the main namespace.
- The user has not participated in discussions. Otherwise the user is already familiar with the concepts we want to introduce.
- The article talk page has recent activity. It makes no sense to direct users to an empty talk page or very outdated/inactive one for them to learn how they work.
- The user has not received this notification before. It should be sent only for the first time the user meets the above criteria. This is only intended to introduce the existence of talk pages, not to continuously surface new activity.
A guided tour could be useful as a follow-up to indicate (a) where to find talk pages (i.e., pointing to the Talk/Discussion tab), and (b) how to subscribe (i.e., pointing to the star for them to watch the page).
Research (including New-Editor-Experiences research) shows that new editors have issues to discover the collaboration happening in Wikipedia, and the mechanisms to participate. This notification is expected to help some newcomers to discover such mechanisms, and encourage them to participate more actively. We expect the increased collaboration, to result in a more positive learning experience and transition of new editors into experienced ones.
It would be great to measure the impact at both short and long terms, measuring (a) how much participate in discussions those users that received the notification, and (b) the effects in retention for these users.