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Newcomer tasks: develop standard help content to guide newcomers
Open, Stalled, MediumPublic



The newcomer tasks flow asks users to open an article and then to complete an edit. With its first version, it will ask newcomers to do one of these things:

  • Copyedit
  • Add links
  • Add references
  • Update article
  • Expand article
  • Create a new article (not offered proactively)
  • Add an image (not offered proactively)

To do any of those things well, newcomers need an explanation of what that task is and how to accomplish it. The main delivery mechanism for that explanation will be the help panel, which will open up and guide newcomers while they are editing the suggested article. But newcomers will need to follow links to more in-depth content around the task. They may also want to read about what a task is before they select it. Therefore, we want to have help pages on their wikis.

In deploying V1.0, we include help links to "Learn more" in the "task explanation widget", but as can be seen in this task, our target wikis don't cover most cases.


  • Our target wikis usually do not have help pages that explain the task to be done, or don't have pages that explain them in Visual Editor.
  • Pages that exist can be inconsistent, too long, out-of-date, or confusing.

We want to develop a central, standardized set of help pages for the seven tasks listed above, and then translate them to our target languages.


  • To be used with V1.2 around the end of February 2020.


  • One good page for each of the task types above.
  • Extract a summary from each to include in the help panel; a few sentences or bullet points.


  • Could do a comparative review of how other software systems organize and lay out their help pages.
  • The pages can contain a standard outline across all of them, so that newcomers know what to expect each time they open one. Some potential standard elements of the page:
    • What is this task?
    • Why is it valuable to do?
    • How long should it take? How difficult it is?
    • What are the main rules? e.g. “only link the first occurrence of the word”
    • How to technically do it in visual editor?
    • Prerequisites to have to finish the task?
    • What does an example look like?
  • Page should be concise and not too long.

Open questions

  • Need different pages for mobile? Also, mobile VE is not the default?
  • Does each wiki need the pages to be customized in terms of content?
  • How will we deal with screenshots in different wikis? What about when they get out of date?
  • Should we include gifs or videos? How to make them in different languages?



Event Timeline

There are a very large number of changes, so older changes are hidden. Show Older Changes
Trizek-WMF moved this task from Inbox to Q2 2019-20 on the Growth-Team board.

The last Growth newsletter includes an invite for collecting feedback.

Quiddity updated the task description. (Show Details)
Quiddity updated the task description. (Show Details)

We are moving this to Q4 for now, because @Trizek-WMF has other priorities around Talk Pages Consultation and getting additional wikis to be part of Growth work.

Trizek-WMF lowered the priority of this task from Medium to Low.Mar 20 2019, 6:20 PM

Lowering priority since I'm not going to work on it soon.

Is there a plan in place for this task?

Is there a plan in place for this task?

Yes! Now that TPC is almost done, I can consider to work on it. I'll discuss about the direction of it with @MMiller_WMF soon.

Trizek-WMF changed the task status from Open to Stalled.Oct 2 2019, 10:35 AM
Trizek-WMF removed Trizek-WMF as the assignee of this task.

We don't have any plans for this project for now. It is not abandoned though, since Growth is also working on providing in-context help that would need or automatically influence this project.

MMiller_WMF renamed this task from Help panel: develop a way to guide wikis on generating the right help content to Newcomer tasks: develop standard help content to guide newcomers.Nov 13 2019, 8:05 PM
MMiller_WMF assigned this task to Trizek-WMF.
MMiller_WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)

This is in Ready for Development because @Trizek-WMF is going to start working on it.

MMiller_WMF changed the task status from Stalled to Open.Nov 13 2019, 8:06 PM

Got a meeting today with @RHo who gave me some useful feedback and offered to review my review of existing solutions next week. So next step is due on Nov. 28.

I'm challenged by how to sort the help contents. This impacts how the help contents are created, and how they are connected. I need to map most of them before continuing. Otherwise we may ave contents that make no sense to be listed aside of others.

I'll also need a design review for the page setup I've created: T242618: Design review for help contents sample pages.

90% done, see T240233. Just missing:

  • A proper design
  • A confrontation with the best practices written before working on the examples
  • Copyediting page with some general guidance

I've created a template for the page header, associated with a template stylesheet.

So far, I have to following blockers that prevent me to move on as I would like to:

  • template style
    • not all wikis have templatedata installed
    • the CSS I made have to be checked
  • Tabs
    • proper export of the gadget that create the tabs is required to get the tabs
    • they are not rendered on mobile, which requires some development
    • there is no need to show the desktop tabs contents on mobile, we should find a way to exclude them
  • Contents are overall unperfect for rough translations. They have to be adapted.

@MMiller_WMF, @Trizek-WMF: The Due Date set for this open task is four months ago. Can you please either update or reset the Due Date (by clicking Edit Task), or set the status of this task to resolved in case this task is done? Thanks.

I removed the due date because it's unclear when we'll finish this work.

Trizek-WMF changed the task status from Open to Stalled.Jun 17 2020, 3:06 PM

Let's set status that reflects the current one.

Removing myself from this task, since we don't have plans for it in the near term future.

As the situation? Is there any progress on the topic?

Thank you for asking, @Ailbeve.

The task is currently stalled, with no future progress being scheduled. The focus went on "add a link", but with a more in-context way to add links to article.

I worked on some help contents, based on these best practices. Feel free to use these ressources if you need!