One of the conclusions after the Wikimedia Hackathon in Zürich and the Wikimania Hackathon in London last year was: we need focused attention on the newcomers. The ones we got were quite lost, and they integrated or not based on quasi-random circumstances.
From now on we need to actively reach out to newcomers, and to plan for welcoming them and integrate them to the event, with the goal of engaging them and retaining them in our community.
How are we doing this:
- Welcoming newcomers is now a basic principle of Wikimedia hackathons, and we have defined different types of newcomers expected.
- The registration form of the Wikimedia-Hackathon-2015 (launched) and the #Wikimania-Hackathon-2015 (proposed) includes:
- a checkbox "This is my first Wikimedia Hackathon EU" to identify newcomers
- a single choice question "We plan to welcome new participants with an intro session based on 1:1 or small group chats. Are you in?" with options "I'd welcome a chat with an insider", "I could chat with a newcomer", "No, thanks", and Other.
- Multiple choice questions for main interests and languages spoken, in order to help finding matching groups.
- We will schedule a "Welcoming newcomers" session after the opening and before lunchtime on the first day.
- The new Buddy system, also promoted in the registration form, aims to assure that all newcomers get a regular contact during the event. See the Buddies pages for Lyon and Mexico City.
But of course, this only works if we do outreach to newcomers.
- We are defining main themes that require training sessions and microtasks for newcomers.
- We are planning at least one session focusing on local developers i.e. in their own language, facilitated by local community members.
- We are reaching out to local developer communities (universities, developer groups), and we encourage insiders to invite colleagues from upstream projects and neighbor communities to their first Wikimedia event.