We think that newcomers should have every opportunity to succeed when they first arrive at the wiki. But frequently, newcomers attempt a task that is too difficult for them, can't find a task they want to do, or can't find ideas for how to remain involved after their first edit. This leads to many of them leaving and not coming back. There have been successful attempts in the past at recommending tasks to editors, and so we believe that the newcomer homepage is a potential place to recommend relevant tasks for newcomers.
We'll need to keep in mind a few things:
- Many newcomers arrive with something specific in mind they're trying to accomplish, like add a specific photo to a certain article. * We don't want to get in the way of them accomplishing their goal.
- Newcomers build up their skills over time by progressing from easier edits to hard ones.
- When newcomers are successful early on, they are more motivated to continue editing.
- Taking those things into account, we want to recommend tasks to newcomers that arrive at the right place and time for them, teach them skills they need to be successful, and relate to their interests.
A valuable tool we have for helping tasks be relevant to newcomers is the welcome survey, which was originally built specifically for this purpose: personalizing the newcomer's experience. We'll plan to use the optional information newcomers give about their goals and interests to recommend appropriate tasks for them.
One of the largest challenges is going to be figuring out how to gather tasks that are appropriate for newcomers to do. There are many existing sources, such as templates that call for work on articles, recommendations in the Content Translation tool, or suggestions from tools like Citation Hunt. The question will be which of those options help newcomers accomplish their goals.
At first, we'll focus on using the newcomer homepage as the place to recommend tasks, but in the longer term, we can imagine building features that extend into the editing experience to recommend and help newcomers accomplish recommended tasks.