Forums: Index War Room Ideas for user retention
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It was brought up in #wiki-discussion recently that there might be some changes we can make in an attempt to improve the new user experience and retention. It became relevant during Forum:Removing Discussions that we should be doing more to try to bring new users in, and we should be exploring options to make this easier. This is an ongoing thing that is always important, but for this forum we have a couple of ideas.

  1. Get rid of templated warnings. It has been noted before in Forum:Warning templates and others that templated warnings for just about everything except vandalism are very impersonal, and that it can be harrowing for new users to be faced with a wall of text complete with a listing of things that they probably didn't do most of. If we remove them entirely, then each warning will have to be manually explained by whomever is posting it. This will grant a great deal of personability to each warning and will cut down on the monolithic nature of current templates. It could be argued that you can simply add a personal message in {{{2}}} of any of the warnings, but far too infrequently is this ever done.
  2. Enable wiki achievements. We ran a trial run of these years ago but they were disabled after the consensus deemed them not useful. I think it's worth at least revisiting the possibility of using them since our current wiki culture and community is far removed from 2010's. Similar to discussions, achievements are a fun little supplement to the editing experience. They are definitely not strictly necessary in any capacity, but I would speak from experience to say that they have been a fair success on Crysis Wiki where I enabled them. They provide just a bit of positive reinforcement when new users do certain things (which can be customized); I think this could be a nice addition to our new user experience. It's no secret we have user retention issues, and given that today's users are a different breed than they were 7 years ago (i.e. younger), I think it could help some users understand the fundamentals of contributing a little more easily.

Please add any additional ideas you feel are relevant to the nature of this forum. We have forums like this every so often and rarely do they ever produce tangible results, but each outing at least provides different perspectives dependent on the timing and users currently active. Joe 01:47, June 2, 2017 (UTC)

Relevant linksEdit


I'm all for both, if it gets users. I know achievements could work to help users want to do more. It's a fun, somewhat addicting little thing that doesn't hurt anybody. It could drive up "user competition", though. But, I don't think that'd be a big deal. I don't have a problem with personally writing out warnings, either. GhKJh.pngP90DeathmanuceaHlB.png01:52, June 2, 2017 (UTC)

Achievements are a big no from me. We shouldn't be attracting users on the basis that they'll reach the top of a leaderboard, as that sort of system just causes burnout to happen too quickly. Capt. MillerTalk 03:33, June 2, 2017 (UTC)

Both are a hard no from me. The achievements added nothing to the wiki and really just encouraged edit boosting rather than productive editing and gives the wrong impression of what editing is about by giving it a ranking system. And are the other warning templates really used all that much that they warrant removing them? I don't see the image template being used much any more and the bad edit template really only seems to get use when a user makes the same wrong edit pretty consistently. Conqueror of all Zombies (talk) 05:26, June 2, 2017 (UTC)

Regarding warning templates, I wouldn't really say get rid of them, but I agree that users need to make sure not to use them without actually explaining the situation. Regarding things like vandalism, licensing images, advertising and the like, they're fine. The main problem is the "bad edit" template, which some people commonly use without directly saying what the other user did wrong. In this particular case, yeah they should go towards particular messages, be it in the {{{2}}} parameter or just a standalone message. But achievements? Nope. They're completely unnecessary, and I would even say that they're unprofessional on a wiki like ours, not to mention that they will increase the risk of edit boosting. HBRa3 menu icon AW Ultimate94ninja talk · contribs 20:36, June 2, 2017 (UTC)

For option 1, I'm on the fence. Namely for things like vandalism, sometimes it is a bit faster to use a template. So perhaps I'm for it for things like bad edits, where a proper input is needed, and against it for warnings that are just clear cut warnings, like vandalism. As for option 2, I wasn't here for the first test, so I'm mildly open to giving it a another test run. If it falls in to the same pitfalls as the first time however, such as needless edit boosting, then it may be worth considering achievements just aren't meant for here. 15:58, June 10, 2017 (UTC)
I know you already know, Sam, but I just want to mention for everyone else that we disabled achievements almost 7 years ago. The wiki and userbase are vastly different now then they were then and I would expect different results from another trial run. Joe 00:40, June 11, 2017 (UTC)
But a lot of the complaints around achievements have nothing to do with the editing base.
"It has really stressed quantity over quality."
"On a wiki, when users see the possible rewards and badges they can get by hitting the Save Page button x times, it's a recipe for unproductive editing that will, ironically, result in even higher achievement scores by users busily reverting bad edits."
"All the system encourages is an increased aggregate of edits, regardless of the quality or content."
"[The old system] did not actively encourage users to make a large quantity of edits in order to receive a "shiny new badge."
"Users should be drawn to the wiki and be compelled to edit it not for some silly badge or a number of points next to their name"
"This achievement system perpetuates the common misconception that the more edits/points a user has, the greater standing and weight the user will have in the community."
"They're annoying to me and they definitely encourage, or at least easily allow, edit whoring, boosting, as well as ... incredibly minor, pointless edits."
"Achievements will make users edit for the wrong reason: to earn more achievements/points etc.. The purpose of editing is not for points, but to make the wiki better."
"[I]t doesn't give experienced users recognition for prior edits."
"I feel that this will encourage bad edits (i.e. spamming categories, blanking pages and then reverting them, adding a bunch of images that are irrelevant to the page and then reverting it)."
"Leaderboards puts the idea to make users better than each other by putting a rank on them"
All are complaints from the last trial run that are still issues regardless of the current state of the community vs. the previous state. Just because the community is different now doesn't necessarily mean that old concerns are invalid. Sure some of these may be the same or nearly the same, but they are still valid concerns to have about implementing achievements. Conqueror of all Zombies (talk) 02:30, June 11, 2017 (UTC)
I'll agree there are some perfectly valid points in there, but what stuck out to me was "Users should be drawn to the wiki and be compelled to edit." That's sort of the entire issue we're facing here. Though it would be difficult to quantify, achievements could potentially keep some new users here and give them a bit more motivation to edit. We have to consider the types of users that view our articles nowadays--the same ones that are using Discussions, and the same ones that might not even know there's a link between the wiki and Discussions. There are some potentially useful users already using our site that could become valuable editors if given a little positive feedback. Joe 00:44, June 12, 2017 (UTC)

Hey! I'm not really part of your community but here's my thoughts on user retention. For Achievements - having them enabled sometimes hurts a community, it sometimes doesn't. I've seen cases where there's really nothing left to add, so people start over-categorising pages or adding strange things to bump their achievements. I think this wiki would be fine and avoid badge/edit farming if there's a fair bit of content that can still be added or updated.

Templates - I don't know if it'll affect much. I personally don't mind them because it's putting more structure in the wiki. They look fine too - maybe one or two will see the 'expand this article' template and actually help out.

I might as well also leave my thoughts on Discussions - while it doesn't guarantee anything, I feel that it's something that is social and 'lively', something that the wiki by itself doesn't have (most of it is done in Discord). I think that having more interesting and even off topic conversations like those you guys have in Discord feels welcoming, and users gravitate to properly joining in and helping out if they have are actually interested in joining your group. The fact that Discussions isn't well connected to the wiki makes it pretty unrelated though - but restricting socialising and group making for the sake of making it like the wiki might hurt user retention more than leave it stagnant. noreplyz talk 08:14, June 30, 2017 (UTC)

I'm in favor of not using "bad image" etc templates. Semi-automated messages are certainly less user friendly to the receiving end, and they're less likely to make a positive impact. As for achievements, I'm personally willing to give them a try. It'll encourage people to try editing more (and whether they start doing it more because they actually enjoy it, or do it for achievements is rather irrelevant as long as it doesn't show in the quality of the edits) and give a sense of reward outside of "hey I helped". Although it would also potentially bring on some edit boosting, I think the pros would outweigh the cons, and one way to prevent it is to not make a big deal out of achievements (like having them as requirements for something). -- laagone (talk)  13:04, July 1, 2017 (UTC)

I don't think anyone would be in favor of using achievements as a requirement for anything, so we needn't worry about that aspect. Joe 01:29, July 3, 2017 (UTC)

Right, As this is dead in the water, Might as well throw my input. I believe the templates are fine for a warning, Just gotta remember to SUBST it. I believe however that a reason SHOULD be put for why, Such as "{{subst:Bad Edit|(PAGENAME)|Your edit didn't conform to (POLICY), Please feel free to continue editing but do pay heed for our policies to avoid any more reversals.}}". Plus giving reasons for reverting edits that are not blatant vandalism, Been seeing that occur less and less.
Achievements is something that we really don't need, As it could prove a bit more of a hassle with editors edit boosting and purposely filing wrong/incomplete information to boost for achievements. Twig (Talk) GLnUhiE.png 20:27, December 20, 2017 (UTC)

Overall, I'm against adding the achievements, per what COAZ has said. Nor do I think the templated warnings should be gotten rid of either. I think admin, custodians, rollback, etc. are pretty good about reserving default templates specifically for blatant vandalism or repeated offenses of bad editing and the such; otherwise, they often leave a longer message (or a custom message) if its a bad edit, image, etc. to provide help to improve their editing. bionicle__unity_duty_destiny_by_cyberpictures-d6p3li2.pngLegos-Rule-15 Talk 07:52, July 10, 2018 (UTC)