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[EPIC] Positive Reinforcement: second iteration of Personalized Praise
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User story & summary:

As a new editor, I want to receive personalized encouragement from my mentor, because then I'll be more motivated to continue editing.

As a mentor, I want to receive automated suggestions to help me recognize my successful mentees, because I have too many mentees to manually review all of their edits.

Background & research:

This task is important because initial experiment results show:
A significant positive impact on newcomer productivity on Spanish Wikipedia, however the use of the feature is very limited and the additional work for Mentors might prevent the current feature from being very impactful.

In discussions with wiki ambassadors we learned that sending praise is a time-consuming process as the mentors need to check a mentee's edits, thus explaining why the feature isn't more widely used.

Improvements to consider before scaling Personalized Praise:

Potential logic improvements:

  • Update logic to incorporate Thanks in some way. (Surface only editors who have been Thanked at least once)
  • Ensure that older accounts aren't surfaced. (Remove any mentee that would no longer be considered a newcomer)

Potential feature modifications:

  • Surface recent diff on Mentor dashboard, so mentors can easily send Thanks rather than review edits and send a lengthy message.
  • Change language to be more about "encouragement" than "praise"

Event Timeline

There is limited use of the current Personalized Praise feature, so we wanted to get a better sense about why, and if current Mentors had specific suggestions for how to make it better.

I asked @Dyolf77_WMF & @Zapipedia to reach out to Mentors on Arabic and Spanish Wikipedia for feedback about Personalized Praise. Here's a summary of feedback:

I use the feature, but it could be better:

  • I like this feature and used it more than once, but there was no response to messages of praise from newcomers, perhaps because it does not reach them in the desired manner or because many of them, they contribute to Wikipedia for a short period and then leave, or perhaps this is due to the wording of the message.
  • Perhaps there can be a follow-up to those we messaged. For example, when we thank one of them, we contact them again after a while. If their contributions increase, the mentor sends them a second and perhaps more specific Thank you, and if they decrease, the mentor sends them an inquiry such as: “We haven’t seen you for a while. I hope things are going well for you…”

I do not have time to use this feature:

  • Just answering my mentee’s questions takes a lot of time, so I do not have time to use this tool.
  • Using the tool properly (without risking to praise a “bad user”) seems to take too much time. I can not dedicate more time as a mentor.

I'm not a fan of this feature:

  • Feeling of frustration and even guilt if once the user is praised is blocked afterwards. “What have I done wrong? Could I have avoided it?”
  • Takes a lot of time to select a good user to praise and, given (AFAK) none of my mentees has become a regular user, my natural instinct is not to congratulate a user who has made a few positive edits, but to go around helping those who ask me to do so.
  • I feel that if I go poking around someone's contributions history (even if it's just to congratulate them) I'm going from being a mentor to being a policeman, something that doesn't represent me.
  • I find it more “efficient” to “accompany” my students in the creation of the article, in their sandbox, from scratch and, when they publish the article (always under my supervision), congratulate them and encourage them to create another one.