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Growth: training for how to help newcomers
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Description

We've seen over time that the ability to help and nurture newcomers is a skill that can be learned. Not all experienced editors automatically know how best to guide newcomers. The idea here is to develop a training that can be delivered to the set of experienced editors who answer help desk questions and volunteer to be mentors on wikis that receive Growth team features.

Ideas so far:

  • The training can be similar from wiki to wiki, but should be delivered by a member of a given wiki's community in their own language.
  • Any experienced editors would be invited, but especially those who answer help desk questions or who are mentors.
  • It could be recorded so that future mentors could watch.

A rough goal is to try a training with the Czech community on September 28, 2019. So the contents have to be ready for the week before.

  • Establish training date
  • Benoit coordinates the development of Training Materials and share with Marshall
  • Test the training
  • Test wrap-up
  • Martin translates training materials to Czech
  • Develop strategy with timelines for Martin to conduct the training with Czech community with metrics of success
  • Martin conduct training with Czech community
  • Conduct retro of training to iterate for other communities
  • Publish contents on wiki.

Event Timeline

Restricted Application added a subscriber: Aklapper. · View Herald TranscriptMay 29 2019, 9:51 PM
MMiller_WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)May 29 2019, 9:51 PM

@Trizek-WMF -- I created this task, and now I hand it off to you for you to apply your expertise. Please go ahead and modify any part of it!

Trizek-WMF triaged this task as Normal priority.Jun 13 2019, 10:25 AM
Trizek-WMF raised the priority of this task from Normal to High.Jul 25 2019, 9:59 AM

Some possible ideas, drafted with @MMiller_WMF

  • Understanding newcomers: these are their challenges and this is how they feel.
  • Best practices for interacting with newcomers
    • Be welcoming!
    • Explain things -- don’t just give links
      • Prioritize feedback
    • Make it sound personal
    • Always ping
  • Include some examples
    • Wrong: “Read this link”
    • Right: “Hello! I know this is hard…”
  • Specific contexts
    • Help desk (through Help desk)
    • User-to-user interaction (through Homepage)
    • Writing your mentor introduction
JTannerWMF updated the task description. (Show Details)Aug 2 2019, 2:37 PM
JTannerWMF updated the task description. (Show Details)Aug 2 2019, 2:52 PM

The training can be similar from wiki to wiki, but should be delivered by a member of a given wiki's community in their own language.

We need to be careful about the unique touch every wiki has: the contents will have to be very neutral, or to be adapted to the wikis.

A first step I want to explore is how mentors feel about mentoring, and how they perceive mentors.

Here are questions I will ask to mentors:

  • What blocks newcomers when they try to interact with you?
  • What blocks you when you need to interact with newcomers (from their behavior, or their understanding of Wikipedia)?
Restricted Application changed the subtype of this task from "Task" to "Deadline". · View Herald TranscriptAug 7 2019, 1:00 PM

Thinking about the training generally, I think it should serve two main purpose:

  • share Growth's point of view "what helps and does not help the newcomers", ideally, with some stories to illustrate our claims. The community don't see the data we have, and also it may not be clear that what works for an experienced wikipedian may not work for a newbie.
  • mentors share how they work with each other.

In email, you said this comment contains "some questions for me". Not sure what I should say there, but in case you want my reply to the two questions, see below. @Trizek-WMF, if you want me to comment on anything specific, feel free to ask!

A first step I want to explore is how mentors feel about mentoring, and how they perceive mentors.
Here are questions I will ask to mentors:

  • What blocks newcomers when they try to interact with you?

As said in the chat, conversation in wikitext isn't easy - with the Homepage, it's easy to write a message, maybe even to read a reply, but how to do follow-up conversation? Sometimes, an user just asks a second question (which works, just adds a ton of headlines, but works), sometimes they edit the section and just don't leave a signature (works, and signature can be exlained), but it isn't intuitive.

  • What blocks you when you need to interact with newcomers (from their behavior, or their understanding of Wikipedia)?

I personally don't consider talk pages as a "guaranteed method of communication" when talking about new users. You can't be sure they read your message. Email, for instance, is much more "user friendly".

Thank you @Urbanecm.

We will have to find workarounds until talk pages are improved to be more user-friendly. Email could be a solution, but I don't think we should rely on it: not every mentor would be okay to use emails (for instance, as a volunteer, I won't).

Wikidata created a mentorship program: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Wikidata:Train_the_trainers. I will contact Léa to know more about it.

Wikidata created a mentorship program: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Wikidata:Train_the_trainers. I will contact Léa to know more about it.

Anything new about this program/task in general?

Anything new about this program/task in general?

Well, being on vacation is not compatible with having updates concerning the project.

Would you be interested in learning more about Wikidata's training? I can invite you to the to-be-scheduled meeting.

I had a meeting with @Lea_Lacroix_WMDE about Wikidata:Train_the_trainers.

The goal of this training was to give the same level of comprehension about what is Wikidata to people who host trainings.

The first step is to practice Wikidata, as beginners. For most people it was the first time. It make things easier than for people who are already active on Wikipedia and have to explain what is Wikipedia to newcomers. It is difficult to remove the experience mentors have: it may be more difficult for them to remember their first steps and think about simple options.

Attendees were there to learn how to host a workshop. They were already in an empathy mood: telling them to make things simple was not necessary. Some attendees host workshops about Wikipedia, and they show to people how to edit, using their monobook, over-personalized interface and wikitext. (Side note: a lot of people who host trainings are bad at using VE. Or mobile editing.)

One of the activities was to present Wikidata to newcomers. The activity is an elevator pitch. The goal is to explain in two minutes what Wikidata is to a given person (journalist, librarian...). The goal is to have mentors to understand why they have to adapt to their audience. Mentors have to prepare their speech and give them in front of the audience. Then they get feedback from the audience. It is an interesting activity.

To be continued with a new contact at WMDE.

Anything new about this program/task in general?

Well, being on vacation is not compatible with having updates concerning the project.

Not really. You could sent x emails before vacation, read now, together with my q, and you can comment :).

Would you be interested in learning more about Wikidata's training? I can invite you to the to-be-scheduled meeting.

Sure!

Would you be interested in learning more about Wikidata's training? I can invite you to the to-be-scheduled meeting.

Sure!

Sorry, but it happen yesterday: T224633#5461216.

There is still plenty of work to finish writing everything, but the overall structure is there:

  • Introduction to the training training works
  • Module 1 - Understanding how people feel: present Wikipedia to someone
  • Module 2 - Understanding your role: What does it mean to be a mentor?
  • Module 3 - Understanding questions: Think about a broader context
  • Module 4 - Understanding questions: Think about priorities
  • Module 5 - Communicate with others: How to have successful interactions
  • Module 6 - Communicate with others: How to build good replies
  • Trainings on tools
    • Contribute on desktop
      • Visual editor
      • Wikitext
    • Contribute on mobile
      • Visual editor
      • Wikitext

The rough goal is to try a training with the Czech community during a training meeting on September 28, 2019. But @Urbanecm told us that the meetup schedule is already full, so the training is postponed until a date to be decided.

We will have a test session soon.

Trizek-WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)Sep 25 2019, 7:06 PM

Hey @Trizek-WMF, should we update the description of this with a new date? It still says Sept 28th. Have you and Martin identified a new date for the training?

Trizek-WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)Oct 3 2019, 4:06 PM

I have two test sessions:

  • October 3
  • October 6

Hey @Trizek-WMF, should we update the description of this with a new date? It still says Sept 28th. Have you and Martin identified a new date for the training?

@Urbanecm will provide new dates soon.

Trizek-WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)Oct 10 2019, 8:35 AM

Hey @Urbanecm just following up on this

Hi, thanks for the reminder. According to internal WMCZ calendar, I don't see anything that should block using the office last Oct Saturday. I'm now waiting on final confirmation from the ED. Will keep you posted, and sorry for the delay!

ED said we can use any Saturday. I'll ask the mentors for their availability then!

The new date is 9 November 2019!

Just had a meeting with Martin, to checkup what remains to do. We have shared the work, and Martin is going to start translations soon.

Trizek-WMF reassigned this task from Trizek-WMF to Urbanecm.Wed, Nov 13, 4:35 PM
Trizek-WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)

Martin, can you share information about the improvement to be made? I'll then work on transferring the training on wiki.

Restricted Application added a project: User-Urbanecm. · View Herald TranscriptWed, Nov 13, 4:36 PM
Trizek-WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)Wed, Nov 13, 4:37 PM

Martin, can you share information about the improvement to be made? I'll then work on transferring the training on wiki.

Sure. My notes from the training are at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SQqEfvW5BdoFEH5xj0jTSspJCtqab0-cQJdVjoUKjwc/edit#.