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[EPIC] Positive Reinforcement: Personalized Praise
Open, MediumPublic

Description

Problem

Newcomers often get discouraged because they get limited feedback, and the feedback they do receive is generally critical or about someone reverting their edit.

Background

Research shows that praise and encouragement from other users increases newcomer retention. We want to think about how to encourage experienced users to thank and award newcomers for good contributions. Perhaps mentors could be encouraged to do this on their mentor dashboards or through notifications. We can utilize existing communication mechanisms which past studies have proven to have a degree of positive effect.

The personalized praise idea is part of a larger Growth team Positive Reinforcement effort.


Hypothesis

Providing positive reinforcement about their involvement will encourage users to continue contributing to Wikipedia.
Users are more likely to continue contributing when recognition and rewards are personalised and come from a real person.

Ideas
  • A personal message from the newcomer’s mentor appearing in the homepage.
  • An echo notification from the mentor or the Wikimedia Growth team.
  • “Thanks” on a specific edit
  • A new milestone badge awarded by the mentor or the Wikimedia Growth team relating to a specific edit.

Designs

Personalized praise designs on Figma

Project Details

Mediawiki project description: Personalized praise

Related Objects

StatusSubtypeAssignedTask
OpenKStoller-WMF
OpenNone
Resolved BKots-WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
ResolvedJFernandez-WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
ResolvedTrizek-WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
ResolvedJFernandez-WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
ResolvedJFernandez-WMF
OpenUrbanecm_WMF
ResolvedJFernandez-WMF
ResolvedJFernandez-WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
Resolvednettrom_WMF
ResolvedUrbanecm_WMF
Resolvednettrom_WMF
Resolvednettrom_WMF
Resolvednettrom_WMF

Event Timeline

Overall, this seems like it'd be a nice feature to have!

I see a lot of focus right now in the task description on how to present the thanks, but from the vantage of experienced editors, a big challenge is just finding new users doing productive things worthy of thanks. The main signals that a user is new on a typical watchlist are a redlinked user page/talk page, and many signals that someone is doing well (such as using good edit summaries) also make them look more experienced. Introducing additional flags for new users in watchlists would be a highly fraught move, as it could open the door to bullying new users or giving their contributions harsher scrutiny than warranted.

On the topic of how to present the thanks, the more personalized it is, the better — manually written notes take longer to write, but they're a lot more impactful, and they introduce newcomers to Wikipedia's human element. We also already have Barnstars and the thanks system (for smaller things) as existing tools.

(unsubscribing to reduce my notifications, but feel free to ping me in replies)

Overall, this seems like it'd be a nice feature to have!

I see a lot of focus right now in the task description on how to present the thanks, but from the vantage of experienced editors, a big challenge is just finding new users doing productive things worthy of thanks. The main signals that a user is new on a typical watchlist are a redlinked user page/talk page, and many signals that someone is doing well (such as using good edit summaries) also make them look more experienced. Introducing additional flags for new users in watchlists would be a highly fraught move, as it could open the door to bullying new users or giving their contributions harsher scrutiny than warranted.

On the topic of how to present the thanks, the more personalized it is, the better — manually written notes take longer to write, but they're a lot more impactful, and they introduce newcomers to Wikipedia's human element. We also already have Barnstars and the thanks system (for smaller things) as existing tools.

@Sdkb Nice, thanks for the feedback! Your feedback fits almost perfectly with what we are planning with the new mentor dashboard module. Basically we would use editing metrics to surface productive newcomers, and then encourage mentors to send them a personalized message.

I suppose the downside is that this is only available to mentors, and not just anyone interesting in providing encouragement to newcomers. But if we can show that this really helps improve retention, hopefully we can get more experienced contributors interested in becoming Mentors at English Wikipedia.