How to Welcome New Users on WikiHow Video
How to Welcome New wikiHow Users
Most people never forget the first time they signed up for wikiHow. Within hours, someone had welcomed them into the community and pointed them in the right direction. Now you can return the favor and welcome the new generation of aspiring wikiHowians into our friendly community.
Finding and Reviewing a New Contributor
Find new contributors.Go to the list of new contributors, which details people who just made their first edit, or the new users log, which details people who just registered.
Click on a username.Review their profile and browse through their contributions. This will help you see what their interests are and what fields they are editing in.
Click on the Talk tab at the top of the page to post on their Talk Page.This is located between the Edit and History tabs below the title that indicates the User Page. Look over the talk page messages this person has already received.
Writing a Welcome Message
Use their first name if there is one.This is an easy way to make the message personal and show that you're not a bot! If the username is Mariana48320, for example, start off by writing "Hi Mariana!"
Find something that the editor specifically did that you can comment favorably on.For example. "I like the way you fixed up the grammar on Tie a Tie. Removing that run on sentence makes the page easier to read."
- Remember to look at the edit thoroughly so you can comment accurately and specifically on it. Part of being personal is understanding what that person did and commenting on that edit directly.
- Be specific! It's quick to look through someone's contributions for a specific edit, and a personal message makes a huge positive impact on new users.
- Tell this person how his or her contribution is a cut above the rest. For instance, if you're an experienced editor on wikiHow, you see improper use of the words to, two, and too all the time. If you see a person correct this kind of error, a nice thing to say would be: "I see lots of people confuse those words every day. It's nice to see someone with a good enough grip on a grammar to spot and fix that mistake!"
Resist the urge to coach.Your welcome note can include a little bit of direction, but the overall tone of the message should emphasize the positive. Trust that whatever mistakes they made, they will more than likely get coached about it by someone else.
- Remember: Welcoming is about being friendly and inviting, not all about coaching. You may be able to coach the newcomer nicely on their most significant issue or misunderstanding, but you don't have to cover each one of their issues (coaching can overwhelm a new user and deter them from contributing). Focus on being welcoming so that they feel comfortable on wikiHow - and so that they feel able to come back and ask you more questions in the future. If you feel they need help, refer them to a policy or article using a hyperlink, but make sure not to coach them!
- Imagine you're welcoming a guest in your house, and they happen to make an innocent mistake of some sort. For example, they bring you a meat dish when you're a vegetarian. If you correct them within the first 5 minutes, they're in your home, even if you do it nicely, you may still make them feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. Concentrate the kindness in the beginning - they'll figure out you're a vegetarian soon enough!
Be conversational and informal.When someone joins our community we want them to feel like part of the "family". Imagine you are talking to them in real life. When trying to make someone feel comfortable and welcomed, you wouldn't read from a script, right?
- Emoticons and exclamation points (in moderation) can be helpful for creating a friendly, upbeat tone.
- Ask questions. Launch a friendly dialogue in the context of their contributions.
- Did you come up with that recipe yourself?
- Have you been training dogs for a long time?
- Have you contributed to other wikis?
- How are you liking wikiHow so far?
Make a personal connection.Find something in your own life that you can relate to what you know about them. Did they say in their profile that they love cats? Mention that you have a cat named Snowbell and that he's awesome! Did they edit articles about car maintenance? Tell them about how you've always wanted to learn how to maintain your own car but feel a bit intimidated by it. Do they live in a region where you once lived, visited, or always wanted to visit?
Give specific suggestions.If this person is good at one particular thing (e.g. correcting spelling), give a suggestion to try a similar activity (e.g. spellchecker tool, fixing articles in the copyedit category, patrolling recent changes). If they seem passionate or seem like an expert in a certain topic, ask them if they would like to help edit other articles on that topic.
Offer to help!Remind them that you're happy to answer any questions they might have. If they seem to be having difficulty with anything, or if they've received coaching, make an offer to help specifically with that. For instance, if one of their articles got nominated for deletion as a not a how-to, offer some tips on editing the page to save it from deletion (maybe even edit the first step or two to show what you mean).
Reply promptly and helpfully to any questions that the new contributors might ask.If you can't answer their question, ask someone else for help. Keep in mind that you might be the first wikiHowian this user has ever met, so bend over backwards to help them and encourage them to stick around here.
Example Best Practices
Situation: A new editor is removing a bunch of images from an article and is getting rolled back in recent changes patrol.
Appropriate Welcome: Hello, Mike. Nice to meet you. I saw you made a lot of changes on Boil Eggs. It looked like you were removing a bunch of images. Not sure if you meant to do this. As a result, I saw another editor rolled back your edit. Wiki editing can be confusing and I'm guessing you were actually trying to insert a new step instead of deleting things. Don't worry - we all make mistakes while we're learning! Can I help you with the edit?
Situation: A new editor adds a comma in one edit to the page Be Generous. Since it's hard to comment in a detailed manner about such a small edit, you need to welcome creatively.
Appropriate Welcome:Hi, Mohican. Welcome to wikiHow. Great to see that you made some edits to the important topic of being generous. Contributing to wikiHow is a pretty generous act in itself. :) Hope you do more of it.
Situation: A new author writes an article that is very likely to get an NFD or merge.
Appropriate Welcome:Thanks for writing a new article on how to calm down. I already feel more relaxed after reading it. :) I loved the tip on meditating whenever you feel anger start to surge. I sure need that tip! By the way, since we already have an article on how to Be Calm, I wouldn't be surprised if this article gets marked for merging. That's not bad though. It will keep all the content on one page. If you agree these articles should be merged, I'd be more than happy to help you with the edits to combine the pages. In fact, you should feel free to contact me for any help you need editing on wikiHow for that matter. Hope you keep contributing!
QuestionCould I welcome someone if I've only been on wikiHow for one day?Rosette LoveCommunity AnswerYes, it would be nice to welcome someone that's been on for one day just like you. However, your account needs to be at least a month old to be in the "Welcome Wagon" group.Thanks!
QuestionWould it be considered too coachy if I gave them praise for their work and then told them to check out this article that would lead to what they're doing wrong?Community AnswerNo, you can direct them to a policy or article that teaches them what to do properly. You can also send them to the writer's guide or other policies.Thanks!
- Ooze warmth and friendliness in your messages. Starting at wikiHow can be terrifying! Ease their anxiety by being over-the-top kind.
- It's best to become comfortable with the policies and workings of wikiHow before you welcome someone so that you can confidently steer them in the right direction if needed.
- If someone is clearly spamming links repeatedly without adding useful content, trolling, vandalizing, or is otherwise using their account for malicious intentions, there is no need to welcome them like other users and therefore encourage their behaviour! Just make sure you are not confusing these users with users who are genuinely trying to help in good faith.
- Send a warm welcome even if the new user has made poor edits in good faith. Learning wikiHow takes time and there is a job for every skill level here. Just because someone can't write well, doesn't mean we wouldn't want them contributing to images or videos. Welcome everyone warmly in the hopes they will stick around and find the wikiHow niche that is right for them.
- Make your welcome fit this acronym: TSP: True, Specific, Positive. To remember TSP, recall the abbreviation for teaspoon (TSP) and picture yourself spooning out a teaspoon (or even more!) of wikiLove to each new editor.
- Always preview your response before sending it! You want to come off as professional but friendly. Spelling and grammar checkers are your friends if you're unsure.
- Avoid posting a "canned" or template welcome message on multiple talk pages. It's always better to make it personal!
- Answer the question to the best of your ability, and don't just ignore it because it seems like a stupid question to you. It may really matter to the new member. Remember- they're new and don't understand the policies as well. Also, do not use rude or insulting language. No editor is "better" than any other editor - this is a team effort.
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