Hello! I'm Isaac, from Fandom's Editor Experience team. 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 (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 or this thread.
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.
A change to your Welcome Messages to allow a method where a newcomer can choose an advisor. As 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?
We're looking to launch today, and the addition to the welcome message will be fairly simple.
This community participates in an advisor program to guide newcomers through any basic questions they have and issues they encounter. Advisors are here to help you! To select an advisor or for more information, click this card.
May I suggest a new Feeds channel called "Help Desk" to place these messages into?
We've looked at the numbers and the project didn't give us the results we were hoping for. There just wasn't the boost in edits we wanted, and the number of users who followed though after choosing an advisor was very low.
On the other hand, it was an idea that was generally liked by admins on the test wikis and we got some great feedback on the process. We also think there's potential for something similar on the UCP, so we want to look into that.
This means we are going to wind down the project for now. We will leave it available to you, and add the set-up instructions to the Dev Wiki for other wikis to try. But it won't generally get updates and specific staff support.
It's a shame, we had high hopes for this, but it just didn't work out as hoped.
So it's up to you whether you are going to keep the feature or not. If you want to, then you don't need to do anything. The code will remain in place and work as before, and there will still be "at-large" advisors to help out.
If you decide to opt out, just let us know and we'll reverse the changes we made.
Let me know if you have any questions or need any help.
Please do remove me. I don't check this wiki any more (I only got these notifications because this thread was still on my watchlist), so if someone were to ask me for Advisorial help, I doubt that I'd be able to assist.