In this epic, we will only be doing "Part 1" described below: driving more new editor traffic to the help desk. We'll also only be doing it in a particular way: through a link in the editing context. "Part 2" is about making the help desk itself a better place to ask questions and get answers. We may choose to work on that second part if we find from "Part 1" that there is demand from new account holders for the help desk.
Most wikis have a help desk where new editors can ask questions, but most new editors don't know about or find the help desk.
Part 1: Invite new editors to the help desk by posting on their talk pages, using banners, or using email.
We have decided to invite new editors to the help desk by adding a clear and obvious link to the help desk inside their editing experience. That's for these reasons:
- We know from the New Editor Experiences research that getting help in-context is important. This would offer a link to get help at the moment when users need it, and in a place that currently has no clear way to get help.
- We have open questions around the "In-context questions or chat" idea, and this will help us learn whether there is demand for such a feature.
These are routes we decided not to go for now, but might in the future:
- A bot that invites new account holders to the help desk by posting on their talk page.
- An email.
- A CentralNotice banner.
- Adding links to many pages that new editors might see, such as other help pages.
Part 2: Other improvements to the help desk, such as listing new questions at the top of the page or notifying new editors when their questions have been answered.
- The most successful process for retaining new editors in English Wikipedia is the Teahouse, a friendly help desk to which new editors get invited. It has a 10% increase in new editor retention.
- By driving more traffic to the help desk, we'll need to consider whether there are enough experienced editors to answer questions.
- Many wikis already have bots that post welcome messages on new editor talk pages, which includes a link to a help desk. This work would make the invitation much more explicit.
This idea has a lot of positive opinions. Many wikis already have help desks with experienced editors productively answering questions, and there exists proof that help desks can increase retention. The main work here would be to drive new editors to those help desks. One potential issue to watch out for is whether driving too much traffic to help desks will overwhelm the experienced editors who answer questions, and also give new editors a bad experience while they wait a long time for answers. In addition to inviting new editors to help desks with a bot, the idea was brought up of making a link to the help desk a prominent part of a new editor's experience while they actually edit. This implementation would have the potential of helping us learn whether the "In-context questions and chat" idea from above is viable. There was also much discussion around how to improve the new editor's experience of the help desk so that it is easier to ask questions and receive replies.