As we think about how we'll scale the help panel to larger wikis (see T249375), one idea is to convert the help panel to ask mentor questions instead of help desk questions. This would simplify our process to deploy to more wikis, because we wouldn't need to worry about help desk capacity, how help desks are archived, etc. Therefore, we want to decide on this before deploying to too many more wikis.
There are several reasons that it might be a better idea for the help panel's "question asking" feature to ask questions to the newcomer's mentor instead of to a central help desk:
- When the original newcomer homepage was deployed, users had equal opportunity to ask a question to their mentor and ask a question to the help desk. Almost all of the question askers chose their mentor. Perhaps asking a mentor is much more appealing than asking a faceless help desk.
- It is easier to scale mentorship capacity up and down than to scale help desk capacity. To scale mentorship capacity, we can recruit more mentors to sign up on the list. They'll know they are getting asked questions because they'll get an alert every time they get one. But for the help desk, it relies entirely on sufficient number of people watching and engaging the help desk.
- We eventually intend to tie mentors in more closely to the suggested edit experience, like by allowing newcomers to notify their mentor when they complete an edit. This would be a step in that direction.
The main downside is:
- Newcomers may get answered more quickly on the help desk than through their mentor. But we don't have evidence that speed is more important than the personal touch. Both the help panel and homepage experiments did not show increases in activation or retention.
Before we convert all help panel over to mentorship outright, it may be best to pilot that on one wiki. The reason is that we're not sure if it will lead to a dramatic increase in mentorship questions, and so we want to have a sense of how the volume changes. Our pilot will be on Czech Wikipedia. We will want to try it out there for about two weeks, and see how much volume comes through before deciding whether to keep the change for other wikis.
Below is what we want to do on Czech Wikipedia. If some of these specifications will take more time than others, we can exclude some of them for the pilot.
- Convert over the help panel to direct questions to the user's mentor's talk page, instead of to the central help desk.
- The large button to ask a question would be changed to have much of the same information and icon as the mentorship module on the homepage, like this:
- After clicking that button, the next screen should contain the same content as the mentorship module (shown below), but should still contain the option to include the article title. The header should also change from "Ask a question" to "Ask your mentor".
- The header of the new section that ends up on the mentor's talk page should contain the article title (if the user has that option selected. Whereas mentorship questions from the homepage have headers like "Question from Cloud atlas (22:20, 14 April 2020)", these should have headers like "Question from Cloud atlas on Ada Lovelace (22:20, 14 April 2020)".
- These questions should show up listed on the homepage in the mentorship module along with the questions the user asked from the homepage (not required for pilot).
- No changes to instrumentation are needed. We will be able to understand behavior changes attributable to this pilot based on timestamps in EventLogging.
- Instead of having the existing "Help panel question" or "Mentorship module question" edit tags, these should have a new edit tag: "Mentorship panel question".