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  • I'm starting a staff discussion about the advisorr program that Fandom Staff user Sannse approached HiccstridFan with here. The message is quoted below for convenience-

    Hello! I'm Sannse, from Fandom's Editor Experience team. I'm contacting you as the most recently active admin. Hopefully you can pass this on to others as needed.

    One project that we're excited about launching is an initiative to pair newly registered users with experienced advisors (which they can choose from). These advisors would be available for answering basic editing questions and guiding appropriate edits, in the hope that these users will become active in the local community.

    Why do this, rather than rely on admins and moderators? We've seen from research and experience (both from Wikipedia) that establishing a human bond with a peer "senpai" or mentor can have a better effect on the comfort of the newcomer, especially where the high volume of edits may cause the quick response of rollbacks rather than taking the time to walk new editors through their early work. While some communities do take that time and care among their leaders, we feel an additional level might put new users at ease and help them be more comfortable with editing. Ultimately, we feel like this project will either free up some time for admins and moderators, or designate them as approachable welcomers to talk to and guide new users. We want to see how effective this is on a relatively small number of communities and see if Fandom's results are consistent with those experienced on Wikipedia. If they are, we may pursue expanding the pilot program and perhaps seeking to build it into a core part of the new platform.

    Here's what we would wish for your community to agree to:

    • At least one volunteer advisor, acting as an advisor and advocate helping newcomers. For the most part, this means responding to questions that newcomers leave the advisor in Discussions. Sometimes this may mean the advisor interacts with admins and moderators to address concerns regarding the newcomer. We have some advisors-at-large (those not tied to the local community, but available as fallbacks) already, but if you have ideas on who you might want to represent you in this role (or if you'd like to do so yourself!), feel free to contact me on my Wall.
    • Discussions / Feeds. Your community must have this active for the current solution to work. This is the primary method in which advisors have open communication with the users that choose them. We also recommend a Feeds channel of “Help Desk” where the communications can be placed, if you do not have a similar channel.
    • A change to your Welcome Messages to allow a method where a newcomer can choose an advisor. If you are currently participating in the MyDashboard program, there will be a card there to interact with an advisor.

    We are testing this for the next two months, and will see what the future of the program is thereafter. Is this a program you would feel comfortable with placing on your community?

       


    I'll start off with my thoughts:

    1. Sounds like a great idea and it makes perfect sense, but are we an active enough wiki for it to be beneficial? We don't get many new editors anymore, and when we do, more often than not they're just trying to push a theory as fact, or they're only out to collect the virtual badges.
    2. Sounds like she's suggesting that non-staff members be the volunteers so they'd be "peers" with the newbies. We only have, what, three or four active non-staff editors who we'd be comfortable taking on such a role. Wouldn't hurt to ask them, but I'm afraid to hope for much. If only one volunteers, the newbies will end up not having a choice as the original idea presents.
    3. Let's face it, our Discussions and the main wiki may as well be in different universes. Few who frequent Discussions ever edit the main wiki, especially since the mobile apps are more popular with kids than web browsers, and I know at least one of the apps doesn't even allow for editing. And few who regularly edit ever frequent Discussions, either. Doesn't help that most posts in Discussions lately have been rather juvenile in nature since most of the users are [young] kids so the atmosphere over there isn't everyone's cup of tea. I'll admit it; sometimes it's not even mine.
    4. I'm also confused what she means by a Help Desk feed. Is she referring to Discussions "categories"? If that's the case, we'd have to rearrange categories again since we're already using all 10 allowed. Unless she's talking about an all new feature, which admittedly could be cool. We also have the "Questions and Answers" sub-forum here in the forums if we can use that.
    5. Sounds like the mentors are expected to volunteer rather than be nominated. So we could post an announcement or wiki notification (or both) about this and hope one of the trusted regulars bites. Should we direct them to this post, create a post in Discussions, or create a new post here on the forums?

    I may sound like a pessimist, but I'm not saying it'll be a bad idea. I'm just laying out some issues that are worth taking into consideration. With that said, add your own thoughts and hopefully we'll be able to agree on a conclusion.

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    • Here's what I posted: " It does sound nice. It kind of sounds like having a question/answer board or section in Discussions with someone to check it regularly? For the most part, this means responding to questions that newcomers leave the advisor in Discussions. I know Dub checks daily anyway. I mean, I could certainly assist with something like that. I think we all could pop over to such a section and check for messages when we get on. However, I don't know if I have time to be around and 'shadow' someone or 'take them under my wing', to be honest.

      Also, Feeds channel of “Help Desk” where the communications can be placed - I'm not sure what that means? "

      I guess I need some more clarification on what exactly they mean? Cuz if there's going to be some kind of help board, where any of us can answer, why do they need to be assigned a specific person? None of us are on more than about once a day on average, but between all of us we should be able to answer any questions within half a day or so.

      And yeah, we don't have many new editors that seem interested in learning how we do things or reading the MOS or staying, really. Especially now that the main series/franchise is over.

      Would "How-To" pages be useful? Not that anyone would actually look at them :/ I get the impression the editing screens may appear different to different people on different operating systems and different browsers. Personally I don't really use or know anything about the "apps" (we have more than one??). I use Safari (browser) and switch to full site view (like what it'd look like in a computer browser).

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    • Stupid question - but when someone posts here, will I get a notification of some sort? Or do I just have to hope I don't miss it on the "Wiki Activity" feed?

      Also, off topic - can we institute and enforce a minimum age here, more specifically on the Discussions? Isn't it supposed to be like 13 or 14 anyway?

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    • We have two apps- the Fandom app for the Fandom site in general (this is advertised at the bottom of virtually every page of the wiki), and the HTTYD Wiki app just for our wiki (this is advertised on our homepage). I don't have either, as I've always just used browsers, so I don't know the details differentiating the two. I just know one only allows for posting in Discussions and reading the wiki, but not editing the wiki; not even one's profile or message wall. As I understand it, the HTTYD Wiki app is no longer supported by Apple devices, so the Fandom app is getting more popular.

      And the age restriction thing has come up a few times before. Only Annabeth can elaborate on it, but she doesn't enforce the 13+ age requirement for the site as long as people don't admit their age or birthday. I guess if we can't prove they are younger than 13, we aren't going to ask. But there's times when someone slips and does admit their age or birthday, or gives other clues like grade in school or "That was before I was born" when "that" happened to be only 10 years ago. I think on average most newbies on Discussions are 11-12. Though I've seen kids as young as 8-9 at times.

      And yes, you should get a notification on the envelope at the top of the screen (when viewing in a browser) when someone comments. Unless you click the "Following" button at the top of my post above, in which case you'll turn the "following" feature off.

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    • Having had more time to think about it, I do agree with the issues DublynT mentioned. Yes, the discussions, and main wiki are pretty much separate from each other. Many users use discussion who don't edit on the wiki, and there are those who edit on the wiki that don't use discussions. I also agree that this wiki isn't growing enough, and even when we do have new users making edits not many of them do that many edits. Also, I do see that we don't have tons of experienced users, that are currently editing that aren't staff. I've looked before at the how many users have 1,000+ edits, not including bots, there are 43 users with 1,000+ edits, and only 20 of those editors are currently active. Of course a couple of those 1,000+ edit active editors aren't experienced since most if not all their edits come through using the forums. So with that their are not that many active experienced users. Even though it is a great idea, this wiki simply doesn't have enough active users, and doesn't get many new users who continue to edit after they first get here and make an edit, for it to make sense for us to implement the advisor program.

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    • So this happened a few minutes ago. Clicking the advisor's user name led me to discover that a wiki box for the new advisor program is listed at the bottom of everyone's profile pages now. None of the advisors listed in it are active on our wiki though. Probably not an issue, but I'm disappointed that we never heard back from Sannse or the other staff member she told to check out this conversation.

      The post I linked above doesn't really break the rules so I'll leave it be, but I hope announcing in Discussions who one chooses as an advisor doesn't become a regular thing. It could lead to similar announcements and posts that skirt the rules and I've been dealing with enough of those lately. 😪

      Just thought I'd bring everyone's attention to the fact that the program appears to have been launched even though none of the advisors are actually active here.

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    • DublynT wrote:
      Probably not an issue, but I'm disappointed that we never heard back from ... the other staff member she told to check out this conversation.
      I hope announcing in Discussions who one chooses as an advisor doesn't become a regular thing. 
      Just thought I'd bring everyone's attention to the fact that the program appears to have been launched even though none of the advisors are actually active here.

      That would be me. The notification behavior is intentional, as there are few other ways to get engagement in a consistent area where others can assist. The idea behind having advisors-at-large is that they are available when there are no other local advisors; if I missed where your community had selected local advisors, I apologize.

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    • Thank you for the response! If you'll read this conversation from my fist post you'll see we had some questions and concerns. It doesn't seem our wiki operates quite like the standard Fandom wiki does and this could lead to some issues regarding this new program.

      The post that appeared in Discussions has now been reported as spam by a well meaning user, and another well meaning user appears to assume the OP is confused and has written on their message wall offering assistance. I'm afraid few users who frequent our Discussions ever edit the wiki, much less understand what this new program is or how it works. The post sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the other Discussions posts, and will likely be reported again. It could also be a target for trollish comments. I suppose it'll be best to make an announcement explaining to users what is going on, and even update our local rules to advise against reporting or trolling such posts. But I don't have time to tackle that tonight.

      I do apologise for the confusion, but we (the local staff) seem to have agreed that this program wasn't the best fit for our wiki, and we weren't expecting it to launch anyway, especially without our knowledge.

      Also, update- the advisor has now responded to the Discussions post inviting the OP to tag them in Discussions again if they have any questions. So we can see better now how this is expected to work.

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    • Announcement has been posted.

      I'm trying to decide on how to update the rules to include all this, but that might take another few days to accomplish.

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    • Hey everyone,

      looks like we have some confusion here. My fault, I think I put the wrong note on our spreadsheet, so FishTank thought you had said yes!

      It looks like you have seen how this works now - a new user selects an advisor from a list of local and global advisors, an automatic messages @ing the advisor is put on Discussions (usually in a dedicated category). The advisor gets notified on the bell icon above and replies to the message. Then the new user can ask any questions they have for the advisor.

      I wouldn't say the wiki has to be very active, if the advisors don't get any bites, then that's fine. They just go on as before. But the oportunity is there for new users if they want the help.

      Yes, the feed is a category. The messages can go anywhere you choose, but a dedicated category will help people filter them out if needed (I see the problem with you having filled your category list though!)

      Anyone can answer questions, but the idea is that the new person feels they have a specific person looking after them and caring for them.

      Please let me know if you are willing to keep this, if you decide not to, that's fine. If you are keeping it, and have people willing to be local advisors, please let me know!

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    • Thank you for the further explanation!

      I mean, it sounds okay? As long as any one of us has an opportunity to answer, and the new person doesn't expect an answer immediately. It appears with the few people that have selected an advisor, none have had questions.

      Though our Discussion categories are packed; unless we are allowed to have an additional one?

      Thoughts?

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    • Thank you so much for the response, Sannse!

      Sounds like you read the rest of this thread so you can see the issues we're having. If you'll read the announcement I posted (linked in another of my posts above), you'll see in the comments that other users, including our sole Bureaucrat Annabeth, dislike what this will do to our Discussion Boards.

      One of the new users who took advantage of the program started trying to casually "chat" with the advisor they chose. Such behaviour is against our Discussion Board rules. But since none of the advisors are local, we can't expect them to know our rules. So I was faced with the delimma of making it an exception since it was part of the Advisor Program, or deleting it before one of the kids who frequent our Discussion Boards (and if you read everything above, yes, most are literally children) use it as an excuse to start breaking that rule themselves. You can see where this can create problems.

      And as Lady said above, none of the users who selected an advisor have followed up. They, too, were likely children who saw that "Select an Advisor" button and simply wanted to see what it did. They probably didn't have any intention of editing anything. So all they did was create a pointless post in Discussions and an advisor recieved a notification for nothing.

      Again, I'm not active on any other wikis so I can't speak from experience, but it sounds like our wiki opperates very differently than most. And though this program may be a god send to other wikis, it's just not a good fit for ours. And I personally don't like what this is already doing to Discussion Boards, and would really like to see things returned to how they were before the program launched.

      Thanks for hearing me out!

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    • We've found only a few new users actually ask questions, but the hope is that just the opportunity to do so is a positive experience.

      But no worries if you don't want to take part. Thanks for giving it a go, and thanks for the feedback! I'll add that to our list of things that have come up so far.

      Thanks again.

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    • Thank you so much, Sannse! Again, I know it's a god send for some wikis, so no disrespect meant against the program. It's just not a good fit for ours. Thanks anyway! 😊

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    • np, I've reverted the changes, so the wiki is advisor free. Thanks again!

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    • A FANDOM user
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