Growth Newsletter #17

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Welcome to the seventeenth newsletter from the Growth team!

The Growth team’s objective is to work on software changes that help retain new contributors in mid-size Wikimedia projects.

Structured tasks

Add a link: the team is continuing to engineer on our first “structured task”, which will break down the workflow of adding wikilinks to articles, and assist newcomers with an algorithm to identify words and phrases that could be made into links.

Add an image: even as we build our first structured task, we have been thinking about the next one. “Add an image” is a structured task in which newcomers would be recommended images from Wikimedia Commons to add to unillustrated articles. This is an ambitious idea with many details to consider. We have already learned a lot from community members, and we encourage everyone to look at the project page and join the discussion.

Moving forward: more wikis to get the features

Last November, our team published the analysis of the impact of newcomer tasks. We announced that we found that the Growth features, and particularly newcomer tasks, lead to increased editing from newcomers. Because of these results, we believe all Wikipedias should implement these features.

We have started to contact more wikis to deploy the features, including Wikipedias of all sizes. Bengali Wikipedia recently began using Growth features, and Danish, Thai, Indonesian, and Romanian Wikipedias will be coming soon. Please contact us if you have questions regarding deployment.

We are looking for translators who can help by translating the interface. Translating is done on (it requires a different account that your Wikimedia one). Communities that already have the Growth features being deployed are invited to check on the translations. Access translations here.

Variant testing

As mentioned in our previous newsletter, we ran a test of two variants of the newcomer homepage, meant to find a version that increases users completing suggested edits. We have completed the experiment, and learned that one of the variants leads to more edits on desktop while the other leads to more edits on mobile. Therefore, we will deploy the strongest variants for each platform to all newcomers.

News for mentors

Mentor dashboard: we have interviewed mentors from several communities as we plan a mentor dashboard feature, which would help mentors track the progress of their mentees. We encourage all mentors to share their thoughts on tools that would help them.

Magic word for mentors: it is now possible to use a magic word{{#mentor}}, to display the name of a given newcomer’s mentor. This can be used on welcome messages, userboxes, etc.

Help panel questions going to mentors: in most wikis, newcomers using the help panel ask questions to the help desk. On Czech Wikipedia, we have experimented with sending these questions to mentors instead. This simplifies the newcomer experience, and only led to a increase in mentorship questions of about 30%. We tried this in Arabic, Bengali, French and Vietnamese Wikipedias, and we are making it the default experience.

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