[Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

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[Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Brianna Laugher
Hello,

Welcoming new users is a common community activity across many
Wikimedia wikis. The idea is usually to do at least some of the
following: give the user key links to core policies, an explanation of
syntax/technical help, make them feel part of the community, and give
them links to places to ask further questions.

Different projects can have different needs. For example, some
non-English projects give links (in English) to Embassy or Babel
pages, where they can ask questions in English rather than the
language of the project. Also, non-Wikipedia projects can perhaps
expect that most of their new users will be familiar with Wikipedia
first, and therefore tailor their welcome messages with the
expectation that the user already is familiar with the technical
aspects, and emphasise the difference in policies between their
project and Wikipedia.

Personalising the sign-up process is often not a priority for
projects, because only admins can edit MediaWiki pages, it is not easy
to locate which page should be changed to update which message, and it
tends to have been a long time since admins signed up/were new, so
they forget if it was a bad experience or what it was like.

I am involved with the welcoming efforts on Commons, where we have a
bot that places a {{welcome}} message on all newly registered users
who have made at least one edit or upload. We invite users to give
feedback on the message, which you can read here:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons_talk:Welcome_log

There was some concern people wouldn't like the impersonal method of
being welcomed by a bot, but one person even commented that it made
them feel part of the community! Some people said they would like to
appear automatically on the talk page without them even making edits).

The Commons welcome message is quite dense, but the links are useful
enough that an 'oldbie' could still find it very handy to keep around.
It has an emphasis on image-management-specific tools such as user's
Gallery, Commons Helper (transferring images from Wikipedia etc) and
how to get your own mistakes deleted. It also has 33 translations,
which is pretty fantastic.

Anyway, via this feedback, I recently became aware of Hungarian
Wikipedia's MediaWiki:Welcomecreation (this is the message that says
'you have successfully registered your account' -- your first contact
with the new user, in effect). See their changes:
http://hu.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=MediaWiki%3AWelcomecreation&diff=825363&oldid=221779

I thought it was quite fantastic, and updated Commons' Welcomecreation
message in a similar fashion.

I also started looking at the MediaWiki:Welcomecreation and
Template:Welcome (or equiv.) messages for other wikis. You can see my
summry here: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pfctdayelise/welcome
(and you can complete some more if you feel like it, especially
mention if your project has a 'welcoming committee' equivalent)

It is quite interesting what different projects choose to emphasise.
ZH.wp, wikt (Chinese) explicitly highlight the GFDL. IT.wp has a red
warning against violating copyrights. PL.wp, wikt (Polish) both have
explicit links to IRC channels, so I guess it is an important tool for
them. JA.wp (Japanese) doesn't appear to have a template:Welcome (at
least it is not interwiki linked on the English one...surely they have
one???).

So this is just a bit of a message, to admins of various projects who
care about the impression that new users get, to have a look at these
pages on your project and see how they compare.

Here are my 'best ofs' so far:

MediaWiki:Welcomecreation:
FR.wp: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Welcomecreation
HU.wp: http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Welcomecreation

Template:Welcome (or equiv.):
PL.wp: http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Szablon:Witaj2 nice screenshots to
explain things
EN.wikt: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Template:pediawelcome A little
combative, but does well to emphasise the differences between wp and
wikt
NL.wp: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sjabloon:Welkom Nice sidebar with
links to explanations of Wikipedia jargon (remember the jargon,
people???!)
ES.wp: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantilla:Bienvenido_usuario
Visually, the most impressive one.
ZH.wp: http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:%E6%AC%A2%E8%BF%8E Pretty
and minimalist (possibly too minimalist, and thus easy to ignore,
though).

What are the hallmarks of bad welcome messages? (in my opinion--)
Too much dense text. Too much information. (Do they need to know how
many articles there are or when the project was founded? No.) Too many
links. (Consider: is it really vital that the user go read the article
on 'Wikipedia'? Probably not, so probably don't link it.) Irrelevant
links. (EN.wp links to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Article_development as 'How to
write a great article'. It's actually part of a series called 'The
path to a Featured Article'. Rather ambitious for a n00b who you
simultaneously presume doesn't even know how to sign their posts on
talk pages. Do all new users need a guide on inserting images into
articles? FR.wp thinks so, but I doubt it.)

What are the most common newbie errors you see people making? Remember
back, what was the frustrating gem that you spent hours searching to
find and wished someone had told you earlier? Are your users coming
from Wikipedia -- are you wasting precious screen real estate telling
them things they already know? Consider writing messages that cater to
separate audiences if appropriate.

Anyway that's all, I hope some people feel inspired to update their
welcome messages, and if you know of a project that has a particularly
nice welcome message I'd love to see it.

cheers,
Brianna
user:pfctdayelise

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Mohamed Magdy-2
Thanks for bringing that up to our attention, it is indeed a forgotten
place!. also thanks for that table, it should help. but as you said,
simple welcoming message is essential concentrating on the most
important aspects. and yes, yours are designed specifically for commons
place as it seems. especially the 'how to' change language. another
thing, you should include a semi-protected template in
MediaWiki:Welcomecreation page. as I have seen, a lot of registered
users can be creative and yields great results.

Mohamed Magdy

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Ashar Voultoiz-2
In reply to this post by Brianna Laugher
Brianna Laugher wrote:
<snip>
> I am involved with the welcoming efforts on Commons, where we have a
> bot that places a {{welcome}} message on all newly registered users
> who have made at least one edit or upload. We invite users to give
> feedback on the message, which you can read here:
> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons_talk:Welcome_log
<snip>

Maybe it could be a feature in MediaWiki. I am not sure we want to
create a dummy page each time a user create an account through.

--
Ashar Voultoiz - WP++++
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Hashar
http://www.livejournal.com/community/wikitech/
IM: [hidden email]  ICQ: 15325080


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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Roberto Alfonso
Just a thought:

I am member of over 20 different Wikipedias, and while I have no
problems with English and Spanish, little problem with Japanese, and
can understand several other languages although not well enough to
write in them (Italian, Portuguese, French, etc), only very few
Wikipedias give an "If you don't understand XXXX, see here". I believe
users from all Wikipedias should group together to create messages for
every Wikipedia in as many languages as possible, that would really
help new and existing users, especially with instructions about simple
common tasks (interwikis, speedy deletion messages, administrator's
noticeboard, etc).

Not something we can solve at a "software" level, but at a "community" level.

RB

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Gerard Meijssen-3
Roberto Alfonso schreef:

> Just a thought:
>
> I am member of over 20 different Wikipedias, and while I have no
> problems with English and Spanish, little problem with Japanese, and
> can understand several other languages although not well enough to
> write in them (Italian, Portuguese, French, etc), only very few
> Wikipedias give an "If you don't understand XXXX, see here". I believe
> users from all Wikipedias should group together to create messages for
> every Wikipedia in as many languages as possible, that would really
> help new and existing users, especially with instructions about simple
> common tasks (interwikis, speedy deletion messages, administrator's
> noticeboard, etc).
>
> Not something we can solve at a "software" level, but at a "community" level.
>
> RB
Hoi,
There are at least 117 users called GerardM on the Wiktionaries alone.
The first important function for me is to find where the preferences are
and change the language of the user interface so that I am at least able
to navigate the wiki. This is the very minimum that should function for
all languages. Sadly it does not. This is however very much something
that with some organisation can be solved.

When a good consistent localisation for all our projects is given
priority, we would make the incubator the wiki where all the effort of
localisation is concentrated. This will provide a focus for localisation
and the updated messages can be distributed from there to all the wikis
for all the projects. It will also ensure that all languages are part of
the MediaWiki releases, making MediaWiki even more relevant than it is
at the moment.

Thanks,
    GerardM

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Brianna Laugher
In reply to this post by Mohamed Magdy-2
On 04/02/07, Mohamed Magdy <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Thanks for bringing that up to our attention, it is indeed a forgotten
> place!. also thanks for that table, it should help. but as you said,
> simple welcoming message is essential concentrating on the most
> important aspects. and yes, yours are designed specifically for commons
> place as it seems. especially the 'how to' change language. another
> thing, you should include a semi-protected template in
> MediaWiki:Welcomecreation page. as I have seen, a lot of registered
> users can be creative and yields great results.

Interesting idea. I think I will do that, it should make translations
easier. Do you work in a project that does that a lot?
Although for this message in particular, I guess most registered users
still won't care much about it, since they only see it once. :)

cheers
Brianna

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Brianna Laugher
In reply to this post by Ashar Voultoiz-2
On 04/02/07, Ashar Voultoiz <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Brianna Laugher wrote:
> <snip>
> > I am involved with the welcoming efforts on Commons, where we have a
> > bot that places a {{welcome}} message on all newly registered users
> > who have made at least one edit or upload. We invite users to give
> > feedback on the message, which you can read here:
> > http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons_talk:Welcome_log
> <snip>
>
> Maybe it could be a feature in MediaWiki. I am not sure we want to
> create a dummy page each time a user create an account through.

Yeah. We looked at the new user log and there were plenty of accounts
that were registered and then never used. Maybe they just wanted to
get rid of the site notice. ;) It seemed like a waste to welcome those
people who might never return, so we made it after one edit/upload.
Although, it only takes one, to make a mistake. :)

cheers
Brianna

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Brianna Laugher
In reply to this post by Roberto Alfonso
On 04/02/07, Roberto Alfonso <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Just a thought:
>
> I am member of over 20 different Wikipedias, and while I have no
> problems with English and Spanish, little problem with Japanese, and
> can understand several other languages although not well enough to
> write in them (Italian, Portuguese, French, etc), only very few
> Wikipedias give an "If you don't understand XXXX, see here". I believe
> users from all Wikipedias should group together to create messages for
> every Wikipedia in as many languages as possible, that would really
> help new and existing users, especially with instructions about simple
> common tasks (interwikis, speedy deletion messages, administrator's
> noticeboard, etc).

Yes. I think it would be a safe assumption that a person registering
an account, that doesn't speak the language of the project, MUST be a
Wikimedian doing routine things like interwiki.

For example FR.wp links from template:welcome to
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikip%C3%A9dia:Bistro_des_non-francophones/en
You can see on this page that they more or less assume the user is
familiar with Wikipedia. I think that is smart.
Compare to HU.wp's "welcome for non-speakers" -
http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sablon:Welcome . IMO this should be
redone. If the user doesn't know enough Hungarian to comprehend a
welcome message, what is the point of giving them Village pump links?

Here is something that RTL wikis should take note of: non-speakers
would LOVE a link that gives some tips for editing in a RTL
environment. it can be really, really scary!

OK for Wikipedia, maybe we can create a universal "non-speaker's
welcome". It should be something like...

=============
Welcome to the X Wikipedia, Y!
* Put [[Wikipedia:Babel|]] boxes on your user page so others know how
well you can speak language X. You can put an interwiki link to your
English Wikipedia userpage by writing [[en:User:Y]].
* If you are updating interwiki links, please note that we
conventionally put the links [at the start|at the end] of the article
[before|after] the categories. You can put "updating interwiki links"
in X language in the edit summary by saying "...".
* If you notice vandalism, you can mark a page for speedy deletion by
putting {{...}}
* You can ask questions in your language at [[...]] or by contacting
someone in [[category:user languages]] (equiv.)
* A popular translator for X-to-English translation is [...]. Remember
that machine translations are only a rough guide :)
* Y is a RTL (right to left) language. This page [...] has advice on
editing in a RTL environment if you're not used to it. (if relevant)
=============

anything that's VITAL that I've missed? I think it should be
reasonably easy to gather translations for this and propogate it.

cheers,
Brianna

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Brianna Laugher
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
On 04/02/07, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]> wrote:
> When a good consistent localisation for all our projects is given
> priority, we would make the incubator the wiki where all the effort of
> localisation is concentrated. This will provide a focus for localisation
> and the updated messages can be distributed from there to all the wikis
> for all the projects. It will also ensure that all languages are part of
> the MediaWiki releases, making MediaWiki even more relevant than it is
> at the moment.

You are talking about the interface, correct? I think RB is right that
welcome templates need to be a community effort rather than something
that can be automatically propogated. The message needs to be tweaked
from wiki to wiki, because they are at different stages of
development. A relatively small wiki doesn't usually have an
administrators' noticeboard and six varieties of village pump. And a
Wikipedia welcome will of course be significantly different to a
Wikinotpedia welcome.

cheers,
Brianna

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Gerard Meijssen-3
Brianna Laugher schreef:

> On 04/02/07, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> When a good consistent localisation for all our projects is given
>> priority, we would make the incubator the wiki where all the effort of
>> localisation is concentrated. This will provide a focus for localisation
>> and the updated messages can be distributed from there to all the wikis
>> for all the projects. It will also ensure that all languages are part of
>> the MediaWiki releases, making MediaWiki even more relevant than it is
>> at the moment.
>>    
>
> You are talking about the interface, correct? I think RB is right that
> welcome templates need to be a community effort rather than something
> that can be automatically propogated. The message needs to be tweaked
> from wiki to wiki, because they are at different stages of
> development. A relatively small wiki doesn't usually have an
> administrators' noticeboard and six varieties of village pump. And a
> Wikipedia welcome will of course be significantly different to a
> Wikinotpedia welcome.
>
> cheers,
> Brianna
Hoi,
You can only address these issues when you communicate in the first
place. With a language not supported in the first place, the people will
be isolated from your attempts at informing them as a result. It is all
very good that you want to point out why and where all the different
notice boards are but this too is something where you need localisation
to be effective at it. Remember there are some 250 languages that we aim
to support. Effectively that is the size of what you want to do.

When you make it more interesting by wanting to consider WikiNotPedia,
consider what to do for WikiNotMedia. You want some structure to the
messages because Wikipedia and Commons are at the moment the only
projects where you have communities for 250 languages.

Thanks,
    GerardM

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Brianna Laugher
On 04/02/07, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Brianna Laugher schreef:
> > On 04/02/07, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> >> When a good consistent localisation for all our projects is given
> >> priority, we would make the incubator the wiki where all the effort of
> >> localisation is concentrated. This will provide a focus for localisation
> >> and the updated messages can be distributed from there to all the wikis
> >> for all the projects. It will also ensure that all languages are part of
> >> the MediaWiki releases, making MediaWiki even more relevant than it is
> >> at the moment.
> >>
> >
> > You are talking about the interface, correct? I think RB is right that
> > welcome templates need to be a community effort rather than something
> > that can be automatically propogated. The message needs to be tweaked
> > from wiki to wiki, because they are at different stages of
> > development. A relatively small wiki doesn't usually have an
> > administrators' noticeboard and six varieties of village pump. And a
> > Wikipedia welcome will of course be significantly different to a
> > Wikinotpedia welcome.
> >
> > cheers,
> > Brianna
> Hoi,
> You can only address these issues when you communicate in the first
> place. With a language not supported in the first place, the people will
> be isolated from your attempts at informing them as a result.

What do you mean by this, "a language not supported"? I am only
concerned with existing Wikimedia projects.

or is your point that I only wrote my email in English? I don't
apologise for that...

I am not really clear about what your point is or was. Is it a
criticism of me? Or the current Wikimedia community? or something
else?

regards,
Brianna

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Gerard Meijssen-3
Brianna Laugher schreef:

> On 04/02/07, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> Brianna Laugher schreef:
>>    
>>> On 04/02/07, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>>      
>>>> When a good consistent localisation for all our projects is given
>>>> priority, we would make the incubator the wiki where all the effort of
>>>> localisation is concentrated. This will provide a focus for localisation
>>>> and the updated messages can be distributed from there to all the wikis
>>>> for all the projects. It will also ensure that all languages are part of
>>>> the MediaWiki releases, making MediaWiki even more relevant than it is
>>>> at the moment.
>>>>
>>>>        
>>> You are talking about the interface, correct? I think RB is right that
>>> welcome templates need to be a community effort rather than something
>>> that can be automatically propogated. The message needs to be tweaked
>>> from wiki to wiki, because they are at different stages of
>>> development. A relatively small wiki doesn't usually have an
>>> administrators' noticeboard and six varieties of village pump. And a
>>> Wikipedia welcome will of course be significantly different to a
>>> Wikinotpedia welcome.
>>>
>>> cheers,
>>> Brianna
>>>      
>> Hoi,
>> You can only address these issues when you communicate in the first
>> place. With a language not supported in the first place, the people will
>> be isolated from your attempts at informing them as a result.
>>    
>
> What do you mean by this, "a language not supported"? I am only
> concerned with existing Wikimedia projects.
>
> or is your point that I only wrote my email in English? I don't
> apologise for that...
>
> I am not really clear about what your point is or was. Is it a
> criticism of me? Or the current Wikimedia community? or something
> else?
>
> regards,
> Brianna
Hoi,
It is fine that you write in English, no need to apologise. I am also
happy with what you aim to do. It is therefore something else.

There are several languages among them Marathi that are not supported
while there are projects in Marathi. The Marathi Wikipedia for instance
has 7566 articles according to the information on Meta. These languages
are not properly supported in MediaWiki because when a new project is
created, there is no place where the localisation is maintained. All
this maintenance is done in a haphazard way and you have to be aware off
and able to use the tools of the developers to do something about it.

Nikerabbit hosts a project called "BetaWiki" and this is where a lot of
localisation work was done for many languages. Special software was
written to manage this, it has been made a MediaWiki extension. We are
waiting for Brion to give it priority and accept it. Gangleri was the
man who did a lot of the work on the BetaWiki and he was absolutely
invaluable, while he was active he was one of the most relevant people
in the Wikimedia Foundation for the work that he did. At this moment in
time, we want to move the functionality of the "BetaWiki" and include
this in the Incubator. The policy of the language committee for new
languages is that without content in the Incubator there will be no new
project. This means that when people change the messages for a new
language they will immediately benefit; instant gratification.

The importance of this is that all messages can be maintained in the
Incubator and all projects will benefit when messages are maintained
there. The messages that are specific to one specific wiki will still be
maintained locally. These are very much the messages that you are
talking about. However, you cannot inform at this moment in time the
Marathi speaking people because no project supports Marathi except the
Marathi projects and each Marathi project has to maintain the messages
again and again. This is a major issue when starting up new projects. It
is a painful issue because it can be resolved. It is painful because
localisation effectively has no priority.

Thanks,
    GerardM


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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Robert S. Horning
In reply to this post by Brianna Laugher
Brianna Laugher wrote:

>Hello,
>
>Welcoming new users is a common community activity across many
>Wikimedia wikis. The idea is usually to do at least some of the
>following: give the user key links to core policies, an explanation of
>syntax/technical help, make them feel part of the community, and give
>them links to places to ask further questions.
>
>Different projects can have different needs. For example, some
>non-English projects give links (in English) to Embassy or Babel
>pages, where they can ask questions in English rather than the
>language of the project. Also, non-Wikipedia projects can perhaps
>expect that most of their new users will be familiar with Wikipedia
>first, and therefore tailor their welcome messages with the
>expectation that the user already is familiar with the technical
>aspects, and emphasise the difference in policies between their
>project and Wikipedia.
>
>  
>
>cheers,
>Brianna
>user:pfctdayelise
>

There may have been a time when this was true for Wikibooks, but
increasingly I am finding individuals (at least on en.wikibooks) who are
coming into content development on Wikibooks first that have never been
involved with Wikipedia at all on any level.  One of the huge reasons
for this is some minor publicity that is happening in regards to
Wikibooks among educators and the broader educational community, and
because it is growing to become a substantial project in its own right.
 There have been recently several articles in magazines written for
educators who mention Wikibooks as an educational resource, and
Wikipedia is mentioned only as a footnote.

The user community on Wikibooks is growing in ways that even surprise
and astonish me from time to time.

BTW, just to plug something from Wikibooks, there is a Wikibook that you
might want to get involved with that has been addressing some of these
issues of project management from the viewpoint of a "sysop" on
Wikimedia projects:

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/A_Wikimedia_Administrator%27s_Handbook

This is essentially a new administrator's guide that we (the other
Wikibooks admins and I) have put together primarily for our own internal
training of new administrators, but we have written it with the
intention that it would be generally of use for other Wikimedia projects
and for other users of the MediaWiki software.  Some of your suggestions
that you have made here in this e-mail post I would like, with your
permission, to add to this handbook.

--
Robert Scott Horning




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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Brianna Laugher
On 05/02/07, Robert Scott Horning <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Brianna Laugher wrote:
 Also, non-Wikipedia projects can perhaps

> >expect that most of their new users will be familiar with Wikipedia
> >first, and therefore tailor their welcome messages with the
> >expectation that the user already is familiar with the technical
> >aspects, and emphasise the difference in policies between their
> >project and Wikipedia.
>
> There may have been a time when this was true for Wikibooks, but
> increasingly I am finding individuals (at least on en.wikibooks) who are
> coming into content development on Wikibooks first that have never been
> involved with Wikipedia at all on any level.  One of the huge reasons
> for this is some minor publicity that is happening in regards to
> Wikibooks among educators and the broader educational community, and
> because it is growing to become a substantial project in its own right.
>  There have been recently several articles in magazines written for
> educators who mention Wikibooks as an educational resource, and
> Wikipedia is mentioned only as a footnote.

That's awesome to hear, and will become more and more common I
imagine. Unfortunately most of the press I see still acts as if the
only thing WMF does is run English Wikipedia, grooh.
I also noticed as I have been continuing down the list that quite a
few languages have wikt appear above wp. My list was ordered by # of
pages, so this is perhaps not entirely surprising, since writing a
word definition is rather less daunting than writing an encyclopedia
entry, but it still surprises me given Wikipedia's head-start in time,
and Wiktionary's relatively low profile.
I suspect Wiktionary's rather excellent adaption of Special:Search,
with pre-formatted templates for many word types, has helped lots of
people quickly add entries, which is great.

Anyway... I still feel it is probably useful to highlight the
differences between Wikipedia and Wikinotpedia. Two columns can be
used:

1. Brand new to wiki editing?
Howto, Help, Be bold, sign talk pages, NPOV, copyright/license.
2. Familiar with a Wikimedia or MediaWiki wiki?
Prominent link to a project page contrasting other Wikimedia projects
with this one, link to Village pump equivalent.

If I am a Wikipedia user I am going to be arrogant :) and assume this
new project works the same way. And if you give me a message telling
me to sign my talk pages posts, I'm going to figure I've seen it all
before. If I am not a Wikipedia user, then please don't tell me about
the differences between them just yet!
That's what I figure.

While looking at all these welcome templates, I have been thinking
about the EN.wp one which I have never much liked. At the moment, if I
could overhaul its content, I would remove all references to the
Manual of Style and FAs and 'Community', and just put a humungous link
to a list of WikiProjects and invite the newbie to join one they are
interested in. There is just so many of these things. They offer an
instant advice network, shared interests, and topic-specific MOS-type
info; model articles. I like the welcome templates that give users a
link to wanted topics. I imagine a lot of users join with one specific
goal in mind (to write an entry on their favourite sports star, for
example). After that, what next? I think WikiProjects could be a great
way to hook people in. There's over 200 WikiProjects at EN.wp, and
that's just the active ones! (!) I wonder how widespread they are at
other Wikipedias? Are there similar topic-grouped task forces at other
projects?


> BTW, just to plug something from Wikibooks, there is a Wikibook that you
> might want to get involved with that has been addressing some of these
> issues of project management from the viewpoint of a "sysop" on
> Wikimedia projects:
>
> http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/A_Wikimedia_Administrator%27s_Handbook

Such a book, or rather books, are sorely needed. That one looks like
at least 3 books: How to set up a MediaWiki wiki (the social/community
management side rather than technical, which has decent coverage now);
How to start up a new Wikimedia wiki; Info about these existing
Wikimedia wikis.

The latter seems like the one that is going to be out of date most
quickly. I am interested mostly in the second, I guess: what guidance
can we give to new Wikimedia projects to help them survive? MediaWiki
is set up by default to serve a medium-sized wiki rather than a small
one, so when you start a new one, you spend a lot of time fixing
redlinks that appear in system messages to pages like
[[project:administrators]] and [[project:protected pages]]. And you
are given a sidebar with a good half-dozen links that seem to need
filling out, even though currently the discussion of your entire wiki
could all take place on [[talk:main page]] for a good six months.

this is a general comment - keeping the meta information on your wiki
at an appropriate level is a constant process of review, that should
probably be formally reviewed every 6 months or so. By formally
reviewed, I mean an admin logs out of their account, signs up for a
new one, gets their grandpa's grandpa to sign up for an account, and
tries to see with new eyes, what info is overwhelming and unnecessary
(at that stage), and what needed info is missing.
When you start, you don't even need welcome messages, because maybe
all the people who join are people you personally invited anyway.
Then for a while you write some users manual advice, when they seem to
get a big muddled.
Then you notice you are giving more and more users the same advice, so
maybe you make a template.
Then it becomes part of the community: the expectation that all
newbies should be welcomed, and looked after in this superficial way.
Then it becomes bureaucracy: the templates become overloaded with
"essential" info, they divide and multiply in versions, and... I'm not
sure what next.

At the same time, your community is growing. when you first started,
you didn't even have any formalised policies, because everything was
understood. then you formalise a couple. and a couple more. You start
with one discussion page for everything. It splinters into help desk,
tech help, ref desk, policy proposals, email list, irc, admin
attention board, you name it, it can have its own page. But the new
user didn't do all that growing with your community, and chances are
they don't really need to know about them all yet. You have to
re-evaluate your welcome message to figure out which type of help you
actually wanted to offer.

My point is that it's very likely NOT appropriate to foist a welcome
message with the same level of complexity on every community equally.
In a way, the luxury of having people worry about this 'meta' kind of
information only comes with wikis who have 'enough' content-adding
editors. when you're at the stage where basically anything you type in
can come up a redlink, the opportunity to be the first to create those
basic articles is far much more tempting than figuring out how to
tweak the interface to be friendly to newbies. (Bah, you figured it
out, they will too!)

[these are just general musings not directed at Robert or Wikibooks or
anyone else in particular]

Some of your suggestions
> that you have made here in this e-mail post I would like, with your
> permission, to add to this handbook.

For sure, of course! And please do have a look at some of the nice
designs I have highlighted at
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pfctdayelise/welcome :)

cheers,
Brianna

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Bence Damokos
In reply to this post by Robert S. Horning
We should also look at how anonymous editors are greeted, and the conversion
rate of IPs into Users of such greetings.

Regards,
Dami
[[hu:User:Bdamokos]]

On 2/4/07, Robert Scott Horning <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Brianna Laugher wrote:
>
> >Hello,
> >
> >Welcoming new users is a common community activity across many
> >Wikimedia wikis. The idea is usually to do at least some of the
> >following: give the user key links to core policies, an explanation of
> >syntax/technical help, make them feel part of the community, and give
> >them links to places to ask further questions.
> >
> >Different projects can have different needs. For example, some
> >non-English projects give links (in English) to Embassy or Babel
> >pages, where they can ask questions in English rather than the
> >language of the project. Also, non-Wikipedia projects can perhaps
> >expect that most of their new users will be familiar with Wikipedia
> >first, and therefore tailor their welcome messages with the
> >expectation that the user already is familiar with the technical
> >aspects, and emphasise the difference in policies between their
> >project and Wikipedia.
> >
> >
> >
> >cheers,
> >Brianna
> >user:pfctdayelise
> >
>
> There may have been a time when this was true for Wikibooks, but
> increasingly I am finding individuals (at least on en.wikibooks) who are
> coming into content development on Wikibooks first that have never been
> involved with Wikipedia at all on any level.  One of the huge reasons
> for this is some minor publicity that is happening in regards to
> Wikibooks among educators and the broader educational community, and
> because it is growing to become a substantial project in its own right.
> There have been recently several articles in magazines written for
> educators who mention Wikibooks as an educational resource, and
> Wikipedia is mentioned only as a footnote.
>
> The user community on Wikibooks is growing in ways that even surprise
> and astonish me from time to time.
>
> BTW, just to plug something from Wikibooks, there is a Wikibook that you
> might want to get involved with that has been addressing some of these
> issues of project management from the viewpoint of a "sysop" on
> Wikimedia projects:
>
> http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/A_Wikimedia_Administrator%27s_Handbook
>
> This is essentially a new administrator's guide that we (the other
> Wikibooks admins and I) have put together primarily for our own internal
> training of new administrators, but we have written it with the
> intention that it would be generally of use for other Wikimedia projects
> and for other users of the MediaWiki software.  Some of your suggestions
> that you have made here in this e-mail post I would like, with your
> permission, to add to this handbook.
>
> --
> Robert Scott Horning
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

metasj
In reply to this post by Brianna Laugher

Brianna - this is a fabulous comparison you've been compiling, and a good
discussion to boot.  Thank you for focusing on it.

On Mon, 5 Feb 2007, Brianna Laugher wrote:

> On 05/02/07, Robert Scott Horning <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> There may have been a time when this was true for Wikibooks, but
>> increasingly I am finding individuals (at least on en.wikibooks) who are
>> coming into content development on Wikibooks first that have never been
>> involved with Wikipedia at all on any level.  One of the huge reasons
> That's awesome to hear, and will become more and more common I imagine.

Ditto; that's wonderful, and hopefully true for Wiktionary as well.

> 1. Brand new to wiki editing?
> Howto, Help, Be bold, sign talk pages, NPOV, copyright/license.
> 2. Familiar with a Wikimedia or MediaWiki wiki?
> Prominent link to a project page contrasting other Wikimedia projects
> with this one, link to Village pump equivalent.

Yes.

> about the EN.wp one which I have never much liked. At the moment, if I
> could overhaul its content, I would remove all references to the
> Manual of Style and FAs and 'Community', and just put a humungous link
> to a list of WikiProjects and invite the newbie to join one they are
> interested in. There is just so many of these things. They offer an

I like that; add links to a few portals and to Village Pumps as well,
since there too you can get instant feedback and advice.  And the early
user experience is very different if one is introduced immediately to AfD
and Deletion Review than if one is not; I don't know which is preferable.


> MediaWiki is set up by default to serve a medium-sized wiki rather than
> a small one, so when you start a new one, you spend a lot of time fixing
> redlinks that appear in system messages to pages like
> [[project:administrators]] and [[project:protected pages]]. And you are
> given a sidebar with a good half-dozen links that seem to need filling
> out, even though currently the discussion of your entire wiki could all
> take place on [[talk:main page]] for a good six months.

This is a really good point.  An effort to change the MWiki defaults so
that it starts out set up for a small project would be helpful for 95% of
wiki users.  Then you could toggle a site-wide size setting that will step
you through ways to update it to scale with a medium- and large-sized
project [more sidebar links, more and different specialized messages, more
organizational pages (a policy overview, a community overview, &c), more
optimization for handling load, storing images, specific options for
coping with spam].


> When you start, you don't even need welcome messages, because maybe
> all the people who join are people you personally invited anyway.

But you do need them very soon.

> Then it becomes part of the community: the expectation that all
> newbies should be welcomed, and looked after in this superficial way.

This is the cheerful stage of wiki growth.

> Then it becomes bureaucracy: the templates become overloaded with
> "essential" info, they divide and multiply in versions, and... I'm not
> sure what next.

When they start warning you, and edit pages lead off with all the things
you SHOULD NOT do... and people feel that scaring newbies away is good
because who needs all these contributors anyway if they're not going to
fight vandals?  This is the defensive stage of wiki growth.

> For sure, of course! And please do have a look at some of the nice
> designs I have highlighted at
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pfctdayelise/welcome :)

Which everyone should look at, on general principle.  Perhaps we need a
welcome message or wikibirthday notice for old-timers, which gets them to
look at pages like this one.

"Happy Second Anniversary as a wiki editor!  Please check out
   a) the following new policies          1) these meta-comparisons
   b) the following community pages       2) these cross-project efforts
   ...                                    ...
"

SJ

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

metasj
In reply to this post by Bence Damokos

On Sun, 4 Feb 2007, Bence Damokos wrote:

> We should also look at how anonymous editors are greeted, and the
> conversion
> rate of IPs into Users of such greetings.

Some Wikidemia-project contributors have long wanted to run such an
experiment.  You might talk to en:User:Tobacman about running such a
study.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Tobacman
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wikidemia
   (see 'Ongoing Studies' for ideas not yet implemented)

SJ

On Sun, 4 Feb 2007, Bence Damokos wrote:

> We should also look at how anonymous editors are greeted, and the conversion
> rate of IPs into Users of such greetings.
>
> Regards,
> Dami
> [[hu:User:Bdamokos]]
>
> On 2/4/07, Robert Scott Horning <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Brianna Laugher wrote:
>>
>>> Hello,
>>>
>>> Welcoming new users is a common community activity across many
>>> Wikimedia wikis. The idea is usually to do at least some of the
>>> following: give the user key links to core policies, an explanation of
>>> syntax/technical help, make them feel part of the community, and give
>>> them links to places to ask further questions.
>>>
>>> Different projects can have different needs. For example, some
>>> non-English projects give links (in English) to Embassy or Babel
>>> pages, where they can ask questions in English rather than the
>>> language of the project. Also, non-Wikipedia projects can perhaps
>>> expect that most of their new users will be familiar with Wikipedia
>>> first, and therefore tailor their welcome messages with the
>>> expectation that the user already is familiar with the technical
>>> aspects, and emphasise the difference in policies between their
>>> project and Wikipedia.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> cheers,
>>> Brianna
>>> user:pfctdayelise
>>>
>>
>> There may have been a time when this was true for Wikibooks, but
>> increasingly I am finding individuals (at least on en.wikibooks) who are
>> coming into content development on Wikibooks first that have never been
>> involved with Wikipedia at all on any level.  One of the huge reasons
>> for this is some minor publicity that is happening in regards to
>> Wikibooks among educators and the broader educational community, and
>> because it is growing to become a substantial project in its own right.
>> There have been recently several articles in magazines written for
>> educators who mention Wikibooks as an educational resource, and
>> Wikipedia is mentioned only as a footnote.
>>
>> The user community on Wikibooks is growing in ways that even surprise
>> and astonish me from time to time.
>>
>> BTW, just to plug something from Wikibooks, there is a Wikibook that you
>> might want to get involved with that has been addressing some of these
>> issues of project management from the viewpoint of a "sysop" on
>> Wikimedia projects:
>>
>> http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/A_Wikimedia_Administrator%27s_Handbook
>>
>> This is essentially a new administrator's guide that we (the other
>> Wikibooks admins and I) have put together primarily for our own internal
>> training of new administrators, but we have written it with the
>> intention that it would be generally of use for other Wikimedia projects
>> and for other users of the MediaWiki software.  Some of your suggestions
>> that you have made here in this e-mail post I would like, with your
>> permission, to add to this handbook.
>>
>> --
>> Robert Scott Horning
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> foundation-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>>
> _______________________________________________
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> [hidden email]
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Brianna Laugher
In reply to this post by metasj
On 05/02/07, Samuel Klein <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On Mon, 5 Feb 2007, Brianna Laugher wrote:
> > Then it becomes bureaucracy: the templates become overloaded with
> > "essential" info, they divide and multiply in versions, and... I'm not
> > sure what next.
>
> When they start warning you, and edit pages lead off with all the things
> you SHOULD NOT do... and people feel that scaring newbies away is good
> because who needs all these contributors anyway if they're not going to
> fight vandals?  This is the defensive stage of wiki growth.

Mm. I think if I was starting up a wiki now, I'd avoid using the term
'vandal' or 'vandalism' at all.I see a lot of edit summaries that are
like 'rv vandal' or '{{speedydelete|vandal}}' when it's really only
experimenting with the wiki software as it was designed to be
experimented with. 'Vandal' should suggest a malicious intent towards
the wiki community. 'Test' edits are not malicious. Page blanking is
probably not malicious.

I guess since English Wikipedia has always led the way in terms of
user growth and sheer size, it is up to other projects to choose if
they consider that a good path to follow, and let it continue, or try
to intervene to avoid some of the conclusions that EN.wp has reached.
Reactions from users at DE.wp, FR.wp, JA.wp, PL.wp would be
interesting in this regard.

BTW, on the topic of research: there is a lot that could be done with
existing projects, tracking new projects from creation onwards,
basically seeing which project namespace pages they choose to create
in what order, and who they choose to model themselves on (the
majority of welcome messages I have seen so far have been modelled on
EN.wp or FR.wp)
It would also be possible to track two same-language projects such as
EN.wq against EN.wp. (This would be a lot easier if you had a minority
lang speaker to help out as well...)

cheers,
Brianna

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Brianna Laugher
In reply to this post by Brianna Laugher
Hello,

I have moved my comparison into the meta namespace, available from
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cross-project_comparisons . On this
page I also  listed some other comparisons it would be interesting to
do, with thanks to Minh (user:Mxn) for some suggestions and
information about the Vietnamese Wikipedia and Wiktionary.

cheers
Brianna

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Re: [Foundation-l] Comparison of new user welcome efforts across projects

Brianna Laugher
Of the top 100 projects (according to # of articles[1]), here are some
statistics:

*only about 10 have made significant changes to
MediaWiki:Welcomecreation, the first page their new registered users
will see.

This is a big missed opportunity for projects to impress their
standards and methods on their newest user.

*23 either don't welcome new users by template, or if they do, their
template doesn't have an interwiki link to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Welcome and I was not able to
find the local equivalent. (For non-Wikipedia projects, I checked to
see if they had a template with the same name as their Wikipedia
equivalent, assuming *it* had a valid interwiki link.) These projects
are: EL.wikt, FI.wikt, DE.wikt, HU.wikt, VI.wikt, KU.wikt, BG.wikt,
TH.wp, ES.ws, CEB.wp, GL.wikt, ID.wikt, SQ.wp, KO.wikt, BPY.wp,
ET.wikt, FA.wikt, SU.wp, WA.wp, SH.wp, SCN.wp, KU.wp, LV.wp.

If you speak one of these languages PLEASE ADD THE INTERWIKI LINK to
the English one, or just reply and tell me the name of it! :)

This top 100 covered 4 special wikis (commons, meta, species,
nostalgia), 1 wikinews (EN), 1 wikibooks (EN), 1 wikiquote (EN), 5
wikisource (EN, PT, ES, FR, ZH), 26 wiktionaries (...) and 62
wikipedias (...).

If you want to improve these pages for your pet project, I recommend
"shopping around" and picking a design you like. Formulating the text
is also very important but much harder for one person to judge over 62
languages :)

Best so far (at least, these have elements that I think are worth
considering including in your redesign):

MediaWiki:Welcomecreation

    * VI.wikt: http://vi.wiktionary.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Welcomecreation
    * FR.wp: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Welcomecreation
    * KO.wikt: http://ko.wiktionary.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Welcomecreation
    * SR.wp: http://sr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%B8%D1%98%D0%B0%D0%92%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B8:Welcomecreation
    * ID.wp: http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Welcomecreation

Template:Welcome (or equiv.)

    * ES.wp: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantilla:Bienvenido_usuario
    * MK.wp: http://mk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A8%D0%B0%D0%B1%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%BD:%D0%94%D0%BE%D0%B1%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%BE%D1%98%D0%B4%D0%B5
    * ZH.wp: http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:%E6%AC%A2%E8%BF%8E
    * NL.wp: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sjabloon:Welkom
    * PL.wp: http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Szablon:Witaj2
    * EN.wikt: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Template:pediawelcome (as
a contrastive message)


cheers,
Brianna


[1] In hindsight I should have used the table ordered by number of
users rather than pages. Some projects have page numbers falsely
boosted by huge bot imports, for example VI.wikt.

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