Grants:IdeaLab/Reimagining WP Mentorship

status: idea
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Reimagining WP Mentorship
idea creator:
project contact:
  • Ocaasi is helping work on this idea
  • EpochFail is providing software & analysis support
  • Matty.007 is helping wherever he can
  • Jackson Peebles is designing curriculum and a project leader
  • Gabrielm199 interested in supporting analysis and relating relevant experience from education program.
  • Go Phightins! is interested in helping wherever possible including providing resources from his personal adoption course (en:User:Go Phightins!/Adopt) if necessary as well as being a resource as someone who has experienced Adopt-A-User as both an adopter and an adoptee.
  • Steven Zhang wrote one of the first adoption programs which is still in use, and has mentored editors both voluntarily and as part of mandatory arrangements, and would love to work on this grant.
  • Siko is kicking the tires on this idea
Mentorship program designed around a high-touch on-boarding process and a curated user experience allowing for proper matching of newcomers (newbies) and senior editors. The program will address known challenges by focusing on specific modalities for user engagement and retention known to work in other settings.
created on: 17:19, 16 July 2013

Project ideaEdit

There is a vast amount of technical, cultural and institutional knowledge within the Wikimedia community that needs to be more easily transferred to newcomers, the future of the movement depends on it.

Sustained attrition in the Wikipedia contributors' population and increased competition for cognitive surplus has created a new sense of urgency. Recent programs have show encouraging results in attracting and recruiting new editors (GE, GLAM, Tea House). Editors' support programs such as Adopt-a-user, Editor Assistance, Editor Review see moderate adoption. Still knowledge transfer, mentorship and retention of new contributors remains a challenge.

To increase our chances of successfully building the next generation of Wikipedians we need a new mentorship program designed around a high-touch on-boarding process and a curated user experience. This new format will allow for proper matching of newcomers (newbies) and senior editors without burdening or misusing valuable time and talent. The program will address some known challenges by focusing on specific modalities for user engagement and retention known to work in other settings. Please see Project Notes & Brainstorm for details. Sylvia Slventura (talk) 20:12, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Project componentsEdit

The project will be built around three core modalities

  • User preferences & settings (profile),
  • Matchmaking (optional, directing new users to people and projects),
  • Recognition & Rewards (acknowledgement of effort, accomplishments and readiness to contribute and participate)

Below is an initial list of project components. I'll be adding/updating content under each segment as discussions take place and feedback comes in. Your input is valuable!!

  • Outreach – mechanisms to promote and publicize the program within and outside the community
  • Welcome – program tutorial, FAQ, Get Started
  • Enrollment – profile, user settings and preferences (mentees/mentors)
  • Matching – of mentees/mentors and projects based on preferences
  • Completion – recognition of accomplishments, validation and rewards
  • Mentee to Mentor Path – user experience to progress from mentee to mentor status

other. AND/OR Experienced user interested in mentoring in a specific area.

  • Referral & Network – onboarding existing resources and referral mechanisms from TeaHouse, HelpDesk, other points of contact with newbies
  • Evaluation – program evaluation and calibration before large-scale roll out
  • Brand – strong brand identity will be needed to tie in the user experience and recognition/program reward system and the community
  • Pilot team – mentors, mentees, graphic/program designers, engineer, project coordinator, supporters, YOU! Sylvia slv (talk) 22:32, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Project goalsEdit

Improve new contributors experience. Increase onboarding and retention rate of new Wikipedians. Increase knowledge flow from experienced wikipedians to new wikipedians.

Project mapEdit

Project outreach Activities and mechanisms used to promote and publicize the mentorship program. There will be an official program launch with announcements in talk pages, mailing lists, meta blog entry, (and other appropriate communication channels). After the initial launch there will be an ongoing outreach effort to invite new users to the program and to communicate on program progress.

Program components (Describes some user experience)

STEP 1: Welcome This page welcomes users with a brief tutorial on the program – walking them through 5 short slides: about the program, how it works, why you should enroll, what’s in it for me, plug in for the Mentor status. Offer links to useful resources for newbies (tutorials, Teahouse, FAQ…) This is a partial list of existing areas and resources for new editor as an example of places within Wikipedia where this program could be promoted and get referrals from.

STEP 2: Enrollment “Get Started” Tell us who you are: This area offers a mentor/mentee page to fill out with profile preferences that will include interest, availability, editing activity (possibly data pulled from Snuggle?); topics, specialty, geography, other relevant criteria. Once this step is completed, the user is officially enrolled in the program. comment: * It will become more clear what specific criteria we need to capture once we have had a chance to speak with leading mentors in the Adopt-a-User program, Teahouse, and other existing mentorship programs. Knowing the reasons people drop out or where there might be a need for more support will help us address these in the design of the program. * Step #2 and #3 could be reversed – this could be part of a/b testing as users might/or not wish to get familiar with the program/people/projects before they enroll.

STEP 3: “Meet your match” [self-select] Once a Profile page is created users are redirected to their page where they can self-select to be paired with mentors/projects:

Meet the Mentors this page is seen by newbies and shows a list of mentors with name, profile and preferences (availability status, specialty, interests, geo area, program credentials) Select a project >> Select a mentor >> Connect
Meet the Mentees this page is seen by mentors and shows a list of mentees (date of enrollment, interest/needs, number of edits, activity, possibly enriched with data pulled from Snuggle? Select mentee >> Select project >> Connect
Program Alums this page is seen by everyone and features a list of ex-mentees who have become mentors. Active mentors on this list will also appear on the ‘Meet the Mentors’ page. There will be a link to the Alums page on the “welcome” page as well to promote the program and showcase graduates.

STEP 4: “Matchmaking” [automated] If the mentee has not picked a project, suggestions for projects AND a list of mentors based on matching preferences will be offered. Accept >> Connect Likewise, the mentors will see a list of new mentees suggestions. Experienced mentors might also use Snuggle to find mentees, but suggestions will be made both ways based on preferences. Accept >> Connect

comment: During the pilot phase it would be interesting to look at the percentage of compatibility (aligned expectations) of each pairing and how it correlates with project completion and positive/negative outcomes. Negative here being drop out or conflict. Positive being full completion, pick up new project AND/OR graduation to Mentor Status -more details under Measure of Success.

STEP 5: “Training Completion and Graduation”

Mentee: At project completion mentees will be asked to send a “THANK YOU” token with a comment (optional) to their mentor. The format of the token is to be determined and will tied in with the program’s brand. This token stays on the mentor’s page as proof of participation and Mentor Status.
Mentor: will have the option to fill out a short completion survey highlighting what was covered with the trainee during the project (policy, technical, social, specific knowledge). Mentor will be given the option to send a “CONGRATULATIONS, YOU ARE NOW AN OFFICIAL WIKIPEDIAN” token to the mentee (format to be determined). This token stays on the user page. This will be part of the “Graduation” and a “Credentials trail” that validates this new user within the community and gives him/her access to Mentor status.

STEP 6: “Mentee to Mentor path”: Process by which we guide and incent newly graduates (mentees) into becoming Wikimedia mentors. The core component is a Mentor in Training phase, an extra period during which an experienced mentor will assist a younger mentor in wikipedia's mentorship best practices. Mentors will have the option to fill out a short completion survey highlighting what was covered with the trainee during the Training (policy, technical, social, specific knowledge). Mentor will be given the option to send a “CONGRATULATIONS, YOU ARE NOW AN OFFICIAL MENTOR” token to the trainee (format to be determined). This token stays on the user page.

Project Measure of successEdit


  • Reengaging with the program – with same mentor or a different one
  • Taking on a new project
  • Create a brand new project
  • Graduating from mentee to mentor status
  • Joining the pool of mentors and take on new mentees
  • Use of THANK YOU-tokens with positive comment (optional) at the end of the project
  • Use of CONGRATULATIONS-tokens with positive comment (optional) at the end of the project
  • Refer new people to the program

Not desirable

  • Drop out - mentor or mentee drops out of the program. (In the pilot we will follow up with everyone to learn about experience and what can be improved)
  • Conflict (we'll try to follow up to identify areas of high friction and try to address these in the design of the final program)
  • Lack of adoption, lack of interest from community

Project Notes, Details & BrainstormingEdit

Please see Grants:IEG/Reimagining WP Mentorship for the grant proposal.

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