One of the ways to help retain newcomers in the wikis is through software. By building features for Mediawiki or changing existing components, we can make the wikis more welcoming, less confusing, and promote healthier interactions between new and experienced users. The WMF's Growth Team formed in July 2018 to work in this space. The team has worked closely with the Czech, Korean, Vietnamese, and Arabic communities to research newcomers and to pilot new features, such as the help panel and newcomer homepage. In this session, we want to share what we've learned about newcomers' goals, habits, and challenges so that more communities can operate with knowledge about their newcomers. We'll also demonstrate the features we've built so far, and invite attendees to share their experiences and ideas around future newcomers initiatives. Finally, we'll promote a discussion around the challenge that software can only go so far to help newcomers -- in order for the software to work, communities have to be enthusiastic about retention, and we'll ask for ideas about how to spread that enthusiasm.
One of the biggest risks to our online wiki communities is that their numbers of active participants could decrease until the wikis are stagnant or decline. Software that helps create a healthier environment for all kinds of newcomers is a technical innovation that encourages those newcomers stay on the wikis, making the communities more sustainable. If more newcomers have an easier time joining and staying on the wikis, the set of participants should end up being broader and more diverse, ultimately reducing the inequality of participation in free knowledge.
Each Space at Wikimania 2019 will have specific format requests. The program design prioritises submissions which are future-oriented and directly engage the audience. The format of this submission is a:
Panel with demonstration, followed by question/discussion time
The organisers of the community growth space wish to provide any necessary support to presenters and participants that they may need and also wish to have an active role in shaping the content of the space to maximise the benefit of all attendees. Please let us know if you would appreciate any help, and if you consent to constructive suggestions from the organiser team that would allow the largest amount of people to share and benefit from each other's contributions.
I would be interested in receiving help in shaping my submission: YES
I consent to the organisers of the space contacting me to discuss alternative ways to present my knowledge (for example, merging two proposals into a common presentation, a panel debate instead of a lightning talk, etc.), or ways to modify and improve my proposal (for example by ensuring a gender diversity on panels) : YES
If my proposal is not selected for a presentation, I would be interested in presenting my proposal in the form of a poster in the Community Growth space: YES
I consent to my proposal being proposed to organisers of other spaces if it would be a good cross-over topic or if it fits better into the other space's scope: YES