User:JSutherland (WMF)/Community Health: Tips & Tools

Below are notes from the "Community Health Tips and Tricks" session at Wikimania 2017 in Montréal, Canada.

What makes a community healthy? edit

What things can we measure? edit

  • Number of active users
  • Number of reports of vandalism
  • Number of conflicts per active users - on reporting pages
  • Number of reverts
  • Long-term trend in active users
  • This is typical - we are talking about community health by lowering "bad" behaviours. Easier to measure.
  • Talk pages - people blank them to hide past behaviour.
  • Abuse filter - number of triggered actions. AbuseFilter is a tool that allows you to predefine certain kinds of behaviour. It triggers if you try to e.g. save a page with a profanity. Can limit this right to e.g. admins, logged-in users, etc. Needs to be enabled on projects.
  • To measure a healthy environment ... number of "thanks"? See how much the users are thanking each other and helping out. WikiLove messages.

There are a lot of discussions on "health" but less definition around what a "community" is. What is the community - this might be something else we need to understand. E.g. "WikiWomen in Taiwan"... is this a community? Want to also monitor the health of a Facebook group, as this indicates the health of the group.

We should assume for the purposes of this task that we want it healthy.
It's healthy if you can trust the process. If the process has its own life and it can be trusted then it is healthy.

A healthy community means no-one is overworked. e.g. Admins:Users ratio. (Number of actions: ratio between highest and lowest)

Introducing mentions.

What things are hard to measure? edit

  • Commitment
  • Trust - it's our currency and is such a basic thing.
  • Productivity
  • How much fun are editors having?
  • Satisfaction
  • How well are you connected to the article you are writing
  • Sense of excitement from the content.
  • How welcoming is the environment? Who is to say what that is or means?
    • In response - there's been feedback from users in Australia that the welcoming messages are not helpful. We have a strong response that they should be shown to be part of a community.

We could do surveys - Edward's Community Engagement Insights.

What exists? edit

  • Teahouse - new noticeboard for new users, where people answering the questions were given actual training and guidance. Non-judgemental.
    • Addresses abusive behaviour towards newcomers.
  • Training modules (Joe). New Support & Safety (SuSa ) team thing to address harassment and learn best practices of dealing with cases etc.
    • Need: few trainings for experienced users
    • Scalable to all languages (translation needed)
    • Resources: hosted on Programmes and Events dashboard
    • Just get involved and do it
  • Wikizghushchivka (Wiki Condensed Milk) - in Ukrainian Wikipedia, instead of barnstars, we use condensed milk. When we want to thank someone, we post a pic of a condensed milk tin on their talk page (like one posts a pic of a barnstar).
    • For most active people (1 newbie and 1 experienced user) we will send them a tin of condensed milk (a real one, by post).
    • This shows that people appreciate their contributions - some people went on to become administrators and so on as a result of this.

Workshop edit

Toxic communication between users edit

  • Face to face communication
  • Avoiding politics
  • WikiLove
  • Facebook discussion (more friendly)
  • Neutral mediation
  • Beer time +1
  • Find a common ground
  • Avoid the term "toxic user"
  • Make people understand the impact of their words on others
  • Zero tolerance for toxic comments from the very beginning before the toxicity is known by everyone
  • Ask tribal leaders (with the right sensibilities) to intervene/mediate and counsel them

“Factions” or opposed groups fighting with each other edit

  • Let each party vent and get voice heard
  • Face-to-face meetings
  • Clear do's and don't's
  • Better mediation
  • Conflict resolution committee
  • 3rd party advice processes
  • Neutral external expert mediation
  • Volunteer contributor vs. paid work and staff

Low participation or activity levels edit

  • Wikicup
  • Editathon
  • Contests with prizes
  • Editing challenges
  • Education programme
  • Photo contents
  • Rewards for achieved milestones
  • Shared on other platforms
  • Showcase content on main page
  • SiteNotice invites
  • Celebrate editing milestones
  • Get a celebrity
  • Make editing sexy
  • Wikipedian of the month (in that community)

Unclear decision-making processes edit

Existing processes edit

  • Transparent discussion platform

Suggested processes edit

  • Deletion process improvement (for noobs)
  • Clearer notability standards
  • Numerical cutoff (a la Commons voting)

Bad treatment of newcomers, "biting" edit

Existing processes edit

  • Mentorship program
  • Gifts for noobs
  • Welcoming messages
  • No "alphabet soup"
  • Rewards for achieved milestones

Suggested processes edit

  • In-person meetings
  • Survey newcomers for their experience
  • Motivate, give frank but kind words

None of the above edit

  • Informal meetings "apertif"
  • Spread cuteness through plushies
  • Support community leaders through regular contact (Skype?)