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Mentor module improvements: Design brief
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This task tracks the writing of a design brief for an initiative to improve the transparency and understanding of the mentor module on the newcomer homepage experiments.
The document will define the goals, target audience, core user job stories, and outline tasks involved in the proposed changes.

Working doc:

When this ticket is marked as complete, a summary will be posted here. Design sub-tasks to follow will be created as subtasks under the mentor module improvements epic T278711.

Design brief summary

A new “mentor dashboard” T239234 is anticipated for launch in Q3/2021 which enables the experienced editors who act as mentors for the Growth team’s newcomer homepage experience to better manage the communications from their assigned newcomers (newly registered accounts). We anticipate this new dashboard feature may result in some mentors taking on more proactive steps in communicating with certain mentees.
In response, this project aims to clarify the role of mentors to newcomers, as well as provide an option for those who wish to opt out of having their activity monitored by a third person, no matter how well-meaning this may be.

Rationale (Why are we doing this?)

We want to ensure newcomers who see this “Mentor module” have a clear understanding of how it works, and be provided with the option to cease participation if they are in any way uncomfortable with this feature. In short, we want to newcomers to know that:

  • Mentors are not mandatory,
  • Mentors do not have any power or influence on their experience on Wikipedia,
  • Their participation in being “partnered” with a particular mentor is voluntary and can be altered (request for a different person), or ceased entirely (opt out).
  • Their communications with their mentor are publicly viewable, even though their own newcomer homepage is not.
Anti-goals (What don't we want to do)
  • We don’t want to overcorrect and make the newcomers feel like mentors should be removed
  • We don’t want newcomers who have “opted-out” to be re-added to being mentored until they have themselves requested to have a mentor assigned again.
  • We (likely) don’t want to enable mentees to be able to unilaterally choose a new mentor.
User Job Stories
As a newcomer who is unfamiliar with the public nature of Wikipedia talk pages and activity(unfamiliar with open Talk pages)
When Isee that I have been assigned an experienced editor as a mentor,(situation)
I want toknow what this means in terms of my privacy and activity,(motivation)
so thatI feel unmonitored and free to do whatever Wikipedia.(expected outcome)
As a newcomer who values privacy and does not want perceived scrutiny by others(privacy-conscious)
When Isee that I have been assigned an experienced editor as a mentor,(situation)
I want tobe able to be remove that mentor,(motivation)
so thatI feel free from personalised attention by someone to my activities on Wikipedia.(expected outcome)
As a newcomer who does not expect or want unsolicited communications(unwanted messages)
When Iget an unsolicited and unwelcome message from my mentor asking about my Wikipedia activity(situation)
I want tobe able to block or stop further contact from this person as my mentor(motivation)
so thatI can continue using other newcomer features and contribute without seeing their messages.(expected outcome)
As a newcomer who wants to be learn about Wikipedia on my own(no help wanted)
When Isee that I have been assigned an experienced editor as a mentor,(situation)
I want tobe able to be remove myself as a mentee,(motivation)
so thatI feel unmonitored and free to contribute uninhibitedly on Wikipedia.(expected outcome)
Areas of exploration

How would we like users to solve this problem or discover this solution?

  • The mentor module directly states the purpose and role of the mentor to the newcomer.
  • Settings on the mentor module can be accessed by newcomers to easily de-activate this feature if they wish, as well as re-enable it easily.
  • The Ask a question dialog provides clear communication about both the public nature of the communication, and transparency of how to remove posted messages.
How do we know we’ve been successful?
  • Newcomers are empowered to opt-out from unwanted attention and interactions (no matter how well intentioned)
  • Insights for how positively or negatively mentors are perceived based on how many people opt-out of mentoring
  • Improved and/or increased communications between mentors and newcomers who keep their mentor active due to a greater shared understanding of the feature.
Next steps

Create designs (see subtasks) for the areas of exploration identified above.

Event Timeline

kostajh triaged this task as Medium priority.Apr 20 2021, 12:18 PM
RHo claimed this task.
RHo updated the task description. (Show Details)