Wikipedia talk:Welcoming committee/Welcome templates

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Feedback requested on Wiki Ed student editor retention or re-welcoming[edit]

The Wikipedia:Education program manages a platform which organizes thousands of university students who contribute to Wikipedia as part of their regularly assigned university coursework. (Sample Wiki Ed course page here.) These Wiki Ed student editors typically contribute for several weeks during the second half of their semester course, and then disappear, no doubt busy with college courses, graduation, and real life. I've made a proposal at how Wikipedia might attempt to regain some of these former student editors at a later time, perhaps after graduation. Your feedback would be welcome at WP:ENB#Student editor retention, or re-welcoming. Thanks, Mathglot (talk) 23:01, 30 March 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal: drop 'first article' link from all templates[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Numerous welcome templates have long had a link to Help:Your first article, namely these 17 templates. It's pretty much acknowledged that writing an article is an advanced task for experienced editors (per Wikipedia:Task Center, and frequent comments at the WP:Reference desk WP:Help desk, or WP:Tea house). I think it's possible that these links are creating false hopes, getting newbies in trouble, and wasting time of helpers at the Help desk or Tea house. And even if they aren't, at a minimum they are uselessly taking up some real estate in the welcome messages that could be used for something else. I think we should drop the "your first article" links from all welcome templates that have them. Thanks, Mathglot (talk) 05:36, 24 June 2023 (UTC) edited; Mathglot (talk) 21:19, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]

I would suggest posting a link to this discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals) to get more eyes on this. I don't think enough people watch this page to have a proper discussion about a project-wide issue like this. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 18:49, 24 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]


  • Support. Unless there are significant objections. I agree with the idea that we should not be nudging brand new editors towards article creation, which is a more advanced task that can result in them getting bit pretty hard when they are unable to wrap their head around our byzantine notability system, then have to experience the bitey AFD or draftspace processes because their article is not notable. This is really the core problem, in my opinion: our notability system is too complicated to explain to a newcomer. For example, as a newer editor, I read our notability guidelines, thought I had my head wrapped around the basics, and then tried to write an article, and it was deleted at AFD. Notability simply cannot be clearly explained to a newcomer. Well, it can, but notability is too controversial of a topic around here to get people to agree on a detailed standard, so GNG remains (in my opinion) purposefully ambiguous. But I guess that's a side discussion. –Novem Linguae (talk) 19:25, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Writing a new article might be something new editors want to do, but the ladder to competence on WP is steep and directing a new editor straight to article creation often results in an exercise in frustration for them. Schazjmd (talk) 19:30, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support per proposal. I have tried to explain this issue to newcomers and users asking for an unblock again and again: Writing a new article requires finding a topic that hasn't been written about for 20 years by millions of users yet still meets the notability criteria. That's not something a newcomer can realistically expect to do; the probability of them experiencing rejection and deletion instead is far too high to encourage this. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 19:37, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support - Perhaps a link to the help article could be sent when editors are automatically extended-confirmed? Beyond My Ken (talk) 19:44, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    "You can now create an article about Palestine and Israel!"
    On a more serious note, I'm afraid that encouraging users to create new articles at any automatically selected point may actually cause people to create an article at that point, and more than 50% of these efforts will be a mutual disappointment. Perhaps a learning experience, though; one that doesn't lead to retirement as easily as it would for a newcomer. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 19:55, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    Well, in other fields where there is a learning curve, would-be workers would be expected to first go through a period of education and/or apprenticeship. There's the Wikipedia adventure, and some experienced Wikipedians do offer mentorship, though this sort of thing would attract or appeal only to a minority. Esowteric + Talk + Breadcrumbs 20:03, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Comment: Not only because of the steep learning curve prior to being able to craft an acceptable article, but also because there are over 4,000 pending AfC submissions with an expected wait for review of around 4 months (though if the authors contact the Teahouse, there's a good chance that their draft will be declined or rejected much sooner). There may be unintended consequences, though, if new users aren't pointed to the documentation about how to correctly create their first article, and many already erroneously think that their user page is the place to create a personal or business profile. Esowteric + Talk + Breadcrumbs 19:57, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    Good point. Listed at: WT:AFC. Mathglot (talk) 21:54, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm not sure I have a strong opinion on thsi, but just to be sure we've explored other options, what about a significant re-write of YFA to make it more clear that you probably should not just try writing an article right away as it will probably end badly? Beeblebrox (talk) 20:44, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Housekeeping: I meant 'Help desk' in the OP, not 'Ref desk'; corrected. Mathglot (talk) 21:19, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support – just not sensible to point our newest editors in that direction. Aza24 (talk) 21:40, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. Suggesting to a new user that they try to do something they'll almost certainly fail it at, is helpful to no-one. Maproom (talk) 22:19, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment. This proposal and the discussion of it show how the forces of exclusion and hierarchy have triumphed in ways that even the most pessimistic among us could scarcely have imagined even as little as a decade ago. This is about as profound an indictment of the current state of Wikipedia, and the remaining community's near-total betrayal of the project, as could well be imagined. If the community were capable of course-correction, this proposal would be a clarion call to change course. If there were still any body capable of holding the community to account, this proposal would be the signal for that body to urgently step in. -- Visviva (talk) 23:52, 28 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. At the same time, I would also like to see the verbiage for redlinks which now says "You can create a draft and submit it for review, or..." to be a bit more supportive of people writing their own (possibly brief) articles. Stub writing, especially bios for the many, many people who are notable and who don't have articles, is not actually a super advanced-level thing given some useful guidance and templating. This would help with the AfC as well. I agree that setting people up for immediate confusion and possibly a very bad user experience is not putting Wikipedia's best foot forward, but it's already very gatekeeper-y here and it would be good to address this. I also agree with the comment above that says letting people know when they've hit extended-confirmed status, maybe setting them up for what their new privs are. The Welcoming Committee is one of the things I really like about this place, I agree with this suggestion to make it go better for people. Jessamyn (my talk page) 00:16, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    Yes, I'd thought of what kind of link might replace the "new article" link, if that gets removed, and I was considering Help:Sandbox, which before "Draft" space existed (and still) is a way to create new articles, or pieces of them. Mathglot (talk) 01:51, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support realistically, most new editors are not ready to be nudged toward article creation. LEPRICAVARK (talk) 01:42, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. The whole First Article thing really needs to be farther down the road, and I feel like we're inviting poor articles. Drmies (talk) 01:44, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. Not a day (or two) goes by without a new editor asking why their draft was declined or rejected at the Teahouse or Help Desk. —Tenryuu 🐲 ( 💬 • 📝 ) 01:52, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Focus on improving YFA instead. While I sympathise with the idea behind this proposal, do we have any indication at all that editors unready for article creation are being nudged towards it by welcoming templates? Last year's Growth team survey seems to indicate that people come here for reasons they've already chosen, the largest subset of whom have the goal of article creation. Obviously we don't need articles on every entrepreneur, influencer, start-up, and DJ, and people who create an account to write an unsuitable article are just here for the wrong reason. But if someone wants to create a new article they're going to try, and I think better outcomes are likelier if more effort goes towards clarifying notability and sourcing requirements, with the end goal of a simply presented piece of guidance that can be read in two or three minutes, without getting lost in the details. Folly Mox (talk) 02:00, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    I took my own advice and made several bold edits to YFA today, but in the process I think I've come round to the position, articulated by VaticidalProphet below, that the help page needs a full rewrite. It's outdated and poorly organised. I'm sure the good people at AfC and NPP (as well as the more active at AfD) have valuable input as to what all should be emphasised in a new version. Folly Mox (talk) 13:19, 30 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support We really don't need to be encouraging brand new editors to immediately jump into article creation, which as many have noted already is one of the most difficult tasks an editor can do here. Trainsandotherthings (talk) 02:08, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. Writing a simple, start-class article is not all that complex of a task, and we should not make it any harder to find the advice we have regarding how to write an article. — Red-tailed hawk (nest) 02:59, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Provisional support. Mathglot, would you please be able to make a (collapsed) list of the templates you are thinking about? I count 20 templates that come up in the search, including three sandboxes (which I presume you are excluding to get the count of 17). However, there is also Template:Welcome non-latin/Translations, which I admittedly have no clue how it works but I highly doubt gets directly substituted onto UTPs. There is also Template:First article (which appears in the search because of the redirect from Template:Welcome First); I would oppose removing its link because YFA is directly referenced in its prose ("Please review Your first article for an overview of the article creation process"). The other 15 should have the linked removed; nom convincingly argues for that position.
    In response to Folly Mox; I agree YFA should be improved, so I just started a draft to radically revise the page. Please, please, please work on it if you (not talking to anyone in particular) feel so inclined! We are not trying to teach people to create FAs or GAs, we are trying to teach people to create non-junk. HouseBlastertalk 03:35, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    See above, for collapsed list of templates.‎ I wasn't familiar with Template:Welcome non-latin/Translations, but I don't think it's relevant to this Rfc. As a separate issue: the content at that page could be useful if there is any content there not already covered by {{welcome-foreign}}. Thanks, Mathglot (talk) 04:00, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    @HouseBlaster and Mathglot: Oops. I forked this by doing a Bold directly at WP:YFA. Judging by yall's edit summaries we started out in the same place (deleting detailed copyright and redirect information). Not sure where to go from here. Folly Mox (talk) 19:49, 30 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    Folly Mox, my suggestion would be to roll back your changes, and instead apply your changes to User:Houseblaster/YFA draft. Mathglot (talk) 19:59, 30 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    @Folly Mox: The working idea I had (which I plan on doing Soon™, sometime after the July 4 holiday) is writing a very basic lead about the absolute essentials and then a checklist (something like "1. Is the subject notable? 2. Is the article written from a NPOV?" etc.). An FAQ section would exist to help people with completing the items on the checklist. People wouldn't have to read the entire thing. I also think that your changes are an improvement, so I see no reason to roll them back. I created a draft to allow for experimentation without consequences, but the changes you made look fabulous and ready for prime time! HouseBlastertalk 20:07, 30 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    Oh thank you! I just copypasted the version I edited on top of your draft per the previous suggestion, and will begin rescuing any changes I overwrote momentarily. I agree that a radical departure is probably called for, but one of my superpowers is being entirely unable to structure thoughts or ideas. Folly Mox (talk) 20:12, 30 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    I think I've successfully merged our two parallel sets of edits into User:Houseblaster/YFA draft. I might be biased, but I've chosen not to roll back my edits to H:YFA, which I see as an incomplete improvement. Folly Mox (talk) 20:50, 30 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose and Improve Your First Article if needed, per Red-tailed hawk and Folly Mox. One of the most frequently asked questions at Teahouse and Help Desk is "How do I create an article". The answerer will almost always include a link to WP:YFA and often include the advice that it is better to get experience by editing existing articles instead. But, since the question is frequent, and the answer does include WP:YFA, why not just include that in the welcome templates so that the prospective editors can see it proactively. RudolfRed (talk) 05:40, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, with comments. I have little sympathy for the school of thought where writing an article is some bizarrely hard task that new editors are incapable of; if nothing else, a lot of the supposedly 'appropriate newcomer tasks' (e.g. patrolling) are probably harder, and at least certainly have worse consequences when you screw them up. A substantial proportion of new editors (including myself, as a new editor) get 'stuck in' because of a specific interest in writing an article. I'm saying something a little different here to the stats that a big group of people register to write an article; this is also true, but has its flaws (e.g. some chunk of those editors have COIs). I'm specifically saying that writing an article is a task significant enough that doing it is frequently the point where you cross over to becoming a Wikipedia editor, in the sense of feeling a real commitment to the project rather than being someone who occasionally fixes a typo.

What is nonetheless true is that for various reasons, 1. our guides to article-writing have significant flaws, 2. a large share of newcomers seeking help are specifically seeking help about declined drafts, and 3. many editors who interact substantially with newcomers are specifically focused on elements of the project, such as opposition (word chosen carefully) to COI editing, where one tends to develop a cynical opinion of newcomer articles. When I was a new editor looking to write an article, I read our guides to article-writing and came away with the impression that AfC wasn't worth my time, but that it was mandatory if I created the article somewhere other than mainspace, so I made it straight in mainspace. This is not ideal, but AfC is extremely not ideal to use if you aren't paid/COI, and a substantial share of my interactions with newcomers sound something like "Hey my draft was declined because it 'didn't fit the Manual of Style', what should I do?".

Of the many things we could possibly direct new editors to, creating new articles is not the ideal, but a marked lesser evil compared to leading alternatives like "bot reverting people who format a cite improperly", which seems to be our biggest growth area. Adding content to existing articles is the theoretical ideal, but the tricky learning curve around citations means this frequently prevents as insta-reverts, which is about equally hostile to actually getting Stuck In to the project. There is really not, in Current Year Wikipedia, an easy way to get into the project. This is a choice we made, or moreso a consequence of other choices we made, and most of those choices are perfectly reasonable. It's something we have to address, but it's a hard problem, because it's often an outgrowth of things like "revert unsourced statements in BLPs because otherwise you might genuinely be libelling them". Article creation gets special attention paid to it as difficult, primarily from editors who've done relatively little of it themselves, but it's a symptom of overall difficulty.

So: tricky problem. Fundamentally I think YFA needs to be redone from scratch, but this is also a symptom of processes around new editor article creation being so problematic themselves. I don't think we're encouraging more people to write articles by having it there; I think writing articles is what people want to do, and they're going to do it. We don't handle that well. We don't handle a lot of things well, right now. Vaticidalprophet 07:44, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Speaking as an AfC reviewer, there's a lot of borderline stuff. Nobody is going to complain if I make a shitty decline because new editors don't know the process well enough in many cases. But if I make one bad acceptance, people will yell at me at AfD for not understanding the subject wasn't really notable when it was a little grey.
I think we can and should lower our standards at AfC a little. If something is more likely than not to be kept at AfD, I think that's a fair criterion for accepting.
Tying this into the main discussion, that's the criterion I'd like to see for what makes a good first article. If an editor writes 3 sentences on their town in India sourced to the local govt website and provides a blurry photo, that's fine. You don't need to know every policy to write a stub on a clearly notable subject with an infobox and a "history" section. Chess (talk) (please Reply to icon mention me on reply) 18:49, 17 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support per above. Whether we like to admit it or not, article creation is not a newbie-friendly task and has the potential to result in a terrible user experience -FASTILY 08:52, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    So we should make the user experience worse by hiding guidance on how to create a new article? Shoving YFA out of sight won't stop them, and, in fact, I bet the quality of AfC drafts and new mainspace articles from new users will decline. This is the wrong solution. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 20:37, 19 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. We should continue to let new editors know about the resources they can utilize if they choose to start writing articles. Which I think is what many editors intend to do when they first join Wikipedia. Lightoil (talk) 09:26, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. While many users when they create an account want to make an article but article creation is a very complex task and YFA may mislead them into thinking it's a relatively easy task. FusionSub (talk) 10:20, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. From my experience as a regular contributor at the Teahouse and Help Desk, I think we should distinguish between the creation of biographies and any other type of article. New editors mainly become unstuck when WP:BLP is relevant, with its insistence on inline citations for virtually all statements, coupled with the need to show notability. Other article types seem to lead to fewer issues and so I think that the advice to newcomers should point this out and suggest that they start anywhere else but a biography. As others here have commented, new editors will become highly motivated to continue to contribute after one of their drafts has been accepted and somehow we need to make sure that first experience is as easy as possible. Mike Turnbull (talk) 10:40, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose - Many newcomers arrive intent on creating an article and hiding the instructions will not deter them, just make them even less likely to succeed. ~Kvng (talk) 11:53, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose and Improve Your First Article This seems a somewhat misguided and worrying proposal. It should be pointed out that Template:Welcome is already pared to the bone, and contains no link to WP:YFA That is the predominant welcome message people receive by default. But there are times when other welcome messages are more appropriate, and removing the link to WP:YFA from them all suggests a somewhat elitist attitude that creating an article about a new topic should be left only to a group of experienced editors, and that they should be given no help. In fact: the proposal is that we should actively hide that help from all newcomers.
As a Teahouse Host, I know many people come there seeking help with the sole purpose of creating one article. I'm happy to link them to WP:YFA, or leave a different, more detailed welcome message for them, such as Template:Welcome-t, which I use a fair bit. But many more do not come to the Teahouse - or anywhere else for that matters, and just get the aforementioned default template. Others however merit more than our pared down Template:Welcome and we should be able to welcome and point them to a well-written guide on what's involved in creating their first article if we want to. Those other templates let us do precisely that. If the guide is not effective - address that issue; don't just hide the guidance!
In addition, there are entire groups of editors here who teach, train and encourage new editors to create articles. See WP:WikiProject Women in Red. I've personally worked with WMF(UK) and even done training courses to help me teach others, both online or in person. Some of these are highly committed new users who set themselves the task of creating a new, well-researched page about a notable person who has been overlooked. It's good to have the ability to leave them something more all-encompassing than the minimalistic default welcome message. To suggest that current (and possibly all future?) welcome templates should be scrubbed clean of any link to a well-written version of WP:YFA seems utterly nonsensical.
Finally, as an aside, I would point out that there are actually many more welcome templates that link to Wikipedia:Your first article and then get redirected. The search result list linked to by Mathglot in their proposal, only displays those containing links to Help:Your first article. It could be that some slimming down of the plethora of templates could be helpful, as many, I suspect, are just slight variants of others, and rarely used. But that's a different matter entirely. Nick Moyes (talk) 11:57, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment re. Growth Team: It looks like others are working on improving the article creation process (at a high level): Wikipedia talk:Growth Team features#Article creation hypothesis Following the previous topic, just above, the Growth team is exploring a project idea that aims to improve the experience of new editors by providing them with better guidance and structure in the article creation process. The hope being that by providing new editors with more structure around article creation, it will lead to newcomers creating fewer low-quality articles that create work for patrollers who check recent edits and mentors who review newcomers’ drafts. There's a summary at: Wikipedia talk:Growth Team features#Early high-level community discussion summary. Esowteric + Talk + Breadcrumbs 12:49, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    I mention this here because their high-level project, (with its own ideas of how to proceed) will take precedence over changes implemented here, and may involve interactive changes to the article creation wizard, even the possibility of first proposing a list of sources for review. Esowteric + Talk + Breadcrumbs 13:33, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    The discussion here has been noted and appreciated by a representative of the Growth Team, who has also clarified the GT's position regarding their proposed project: Edit difference. Esowteric + Talk + Breadcrumbs 18:13, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support per the many thoughtful support comments above. Johnbod (talk) 13:40, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, because trying to write an article is something that many new editors want to do; Removing the link wont stop them, it will just prevent them from having easy access to the guideline on how they are supposed to do it. It wont stop them from doing it, it will only stop them from doing it right.
    I agree that the "Your first article" page is not something that is particularly easy for someone with little knowledge to understand; I concur with my fellow editors that the page needs improvement, or even perhaps a new article for just the basics that outlines things like Reliable sources, NPOV, Citation, and OR. These are basic concepts, and more of the guidelines are things they can learn along the way or by asking around. The current article is rather formal, long, and in general quite complicated for someone willing to contribute but unaware of the rules. Captain Jack Sparrow (talk) 17:04, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, but explicitly discourage new editors from creating articles in most cases. I would support a front-and-center warning at YFA to the effect of "If you are not under the active mentorship of an experienced editor, the community recommends that you familiarize yourself with Wikipedia's norms around notability and quality before creating your first article. If you do choose to create an article, it is best to avoid difficult topics such as living people, companies and organizations, and politically-sensitive subjects." As a trade-off, we could recommend AfC at this point and then remove the bit later on that intentionally misleads people into thinking AfC is required. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 21:37, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, in the strongest possible terms. CapnJackSp and Vaticidalprophet have already said much of what I am thinking. The people who are determined to write garbage new articles will write garbage new articles regardless of what is in the welcome template. The only people who will be dissuaded are the ones we want to keep: conscientious newcomers who are interested enough in some particular topic that they want to join the project to write about it. I also strongly oppose any more overt language discouraging new editors from creating articles. Instead, new editors should be encouraged in positive ways - if you don't want new editors writing articles from scratch, you encourage them as much as possible to do the tasks you want them to do, not the other way around. Time and time again people who have tried to join Wikipedia describe it as intimidating, confusing, overly bureaucratic, or just plain unfriendly. We absolutely should not make this worse. -- asilvering (talk) 21:52, 29 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    Can you elaborate? Your argument would seem to favor a support vote:

    if you don't want new editors writing articles from scratch, you encourage them as much as possible to do the tasks you want them to do, not the other way around

    Exactly. By removing the yfa link from the list of bullet items in the welcome templates, they will see all the things we encourage them to do. There is not one word in the welcome template discouraging them from writing a new article, nor would I favor that. (Some templates do contain "don'ts", like: npa, incivility, spam, copyvio, vandalism, etc.; but this Rfc is not about any of that.) Afaict, removing the yfa link is doing exactly what you suggest we should do. Your strong oppose about "more overt language" is a strawman; nobody is proposing that here. Mathglot (talk) 01:27, 30 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    Since they quoted me as having a similar point, Ill explain my rationale; I encourage them to elaborate more if necessary. The point is, people wont stop creating articles. And we cant stop people from creating articles, given the nature of Wikipedia. Most new editors write poor articles, though a few write okayish ones. By removing a guideline on how to create articles properly, we would then have only poorly written articles, as expected from someone unfamiliar with policy. It presents a hurdle for those wishing to do stuff the right way. If you cant stop someone, at least make sure to provide them the resources to do it properly. Captain Jack Sparrow (talk) 04:55, 30 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    @Mathglot Tamzin proposed it immediately above my comment. -- asilvering (talk) 22:51, 2 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Ideally I would like any new editor work up to creating a new article after doing a whole bunch of easier tasks like anti-vandal work, not jumping in immediately. There may be an assumption that most people come here are looking to create an article, but don't know if that is true. I don't think there all coming. Discouraging them and then showing them the way to do it, makes no sense. That approach has never worked. scope_creepTalk 21:39, 30 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    To be honest, I made my account because I wanted to expand Zopherus jourdani out of a redirect. I also created some AfC drafts about centipedes. I read the relevent guidance, asked for help when necessary, and everything went fine. Creating a new article is far from an insurmountable task for a newcomer, provided one actually reads the mountains of policy and guidance. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 12:46, 20 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support: to reiterate my position on new volunteers creating articles—our main aim should be to discourage newcomers from creating a new article, and we should not be ashamed of this. It is like a driving teacher preventing a student from going on the motorway (high-speed roads). The 28% of new users who come to create an article should be told: great, let's build your skills up with these simpler tasks so we can reach that goal.
    On balance, I think removing links to Help:Your first article in welcome templates helps with this discouragement. Though, I don't think the page is particularly bad: its length and complex structure probably make it likely that a reader will go down a rabbit hole, read about many of the core principles of editing, and realise they are not yet ready for article creation. — Bilorv (talk) 21:47, 30 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    I just find this view incredibly patronising. Stripping away our jargon, creating an article amounts to having a topic that looks the the kind of thing Wikipedia usually covers and using a user-friendly editor to write about it in the same style as similar articles, making sure you insert enough references to avoid the notorious {{citation needed}}. Is that really so hard? As a teacher, I'd expect anybody who has a secondary education and a passing familiarity with Wikipedia as a reader to be able to do it without any additional guidance. – Joe (talk) 10:26, 1 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    I wonder how much of the disconnect between team "creating an article is super hard" and team "no it really isn't" is due to the quantity of new editors who come here without any clear idea what the website is for or what our inclusion guidelines are like. Having a quick look at WP:AFC/HD, it looks like roughly 80% of the help requests are a variation on "why was my COI unsourced non-notable garbage draft declined?". Folly Mox (talk) 00:26, 4 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    And those are the ones who are immune to guidelines posts, unfortunately... -- asilvering (talk) 05:47, 4 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    I dip-sampled a few random (just clicked various names on the toc without looking at them) AFC/HDs. In order: Draft:Cultural impact of Johnny Depp (interesting rejection -- I'd not accept it in that state either, but quite a few editors strongly encourage creating articles like this for long biographies as part of their interpretation of summary style), User:ThomFett/sandbox (autobio with no sources, fun read though), Draft:AiDash Inc. (if there's one thing AfC should be there for, it's companies, because they're all like this), Draft:Robert W. Seiden (not my matter of expertise, but not an obvious hopeless case -- a few things 'wrong with it', but many similar articles survive), Draft:Savannah Ruth Newton (working on this for four years is a fantastic exhibit of "AfC is perfectly designed to retain only the people being paid to put up with you"), Draft:Rayman (character) (interesting rejection), and Aldrich Potgieter (moved to mainspace after being declined). That's 4-3 "not a hopeless case". Vaticidalprophet 01:08, 6 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    I'm sure our separate low-rigour methodologies in peeking into the AFC/HD process allow for different impressions. I won't say the quiet part loud, but there are certain functions AfC excels at. I do regret the descriptor "garbage" in my earlier comment. I must have been grumpy.
    Regardless the ratio of salvageability in AfC declines (or the subset brought to AFC/HD by their authors), I do wonder whence the disconnect between experienced editors who view (or communicate) article creation as super difficult and those who view it as not particularly difficult. It's good to see you back by the way. Folly Mox (talk) 01:27, 6 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    I have reviewed 51 Afc drafts (not counting comments). Of those reviews, accepted 13, or 34%. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 12:43, 20 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose (with a suggestion for some new research) - a proportion of new editors come with the specific intention of creating a new article. Removing a quick link to some of the little information on creating new articles we have is not going to stop them. It might make them worse. What I think might be useful is identifying what proportion of new editors are here to create a new article and what they aren't understanding (I suspect it's notability and "good" references) that means a lot of first articles aren't as good as all parties would like them to be. Red Fiona (talk) 22:17, 30 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment: When welcoming new contributors, I look quite carefully at what I can find out about them. Some appear to have made a number of sensible edits while others are working on a draft in their user space. I therefore think care should be taken before simply deleting this item from welcome messages but it might be useful to rewrite the presentation.--Ipigott (talk) 07:40, 1 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. I'm also in the "it's not really that hard" camp. We do have a problem with biting newbies if they don't write a GA-in-waiting or blazon the argument for notability across it in big red letters (here's my first substantial contribution to Wikipedia, I often wonder what would have happened it today, and if I would have stuck with the project after). But the solution to that is to stop biting, not discourage them from trying. More to the point, removing the link to YFA isn't going to discourage new editors from trying to create new articles, it's just going to make it harder for them to find guidance. Hence lower quality articles, hence more biting, hence less new editors sticking with it. People are always going to want to create articles, we need to embrace that and make it as easy as possible. – Joe (talk) 07:41, 1 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Listed: at: mw:Talk:Growth, WT:AFD, and Wikipedia:Education noticeboard. Mathglot (talk) 20:48, 1 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support as nom, subject to change based on hearing more hard evidence or expert opinion about this. Mathglot (talk) 20:52, 1 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Nope. It is not so hard to write Wikipedia articles, and it is foolish to hope that people don't create bad articles after you make it harder to find an essay about best practices. Intentionally hiding information from people is bad. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 03:53, 2 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • I sort-of support doing this as a temporary action for the time being, while I am also in favor of improving our guidance pages for first articles. In other words, I basically favor including links to those pages, but removing the links until such time as the pages have been improved, and then (and only then) restoring the links. I think we need to make access to good advice easy, because a lot of new users are going to start new articles no matter what we tell them, but I also oppose making it easy for them to find misleading advice. Our guidance for your first new article should feature prominent warnings about what you should not screw up, and that explain why your draft was definitely going to be declined and what you need to do differently. There's a learning curve, and we should be up-front about that. I'm all in favor of making it easy to find that information. But until that is the information that users will find, it's better not to direct them to something that is misleadingly cheery. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:58, 2 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. The best thing to do is to point new users who want to create an article to a page saying in large bold text, "please don't." The help page is written for a new user who wants to create an article, isn't it? How else would a new user stumble upon it if not directly linked to? I was originally in support, but there needs to be something to tell them to "not, please and thank you". I wonder how many new users who create poor articles are because they read that page? I believe that those poorly-made articles by new users are from those who skipped on the introductions, anyway, so would this fix any amount of poorly-created articles? SWinxy (talk) 12:07, 3 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose - People appear to want editors to be able to create articles without ever having gone through a learning process first - which involves trying and failing! FOARP (talk) 14:13, 3 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose - Pointing people who want to create articles, as many new editors do, toward helpful information on doing so hits me instinctively as a good thing. To conquer that instinct, I would need some actual evidence, which would not be "articles by new users tend to fail" but "people who have been given this link are more like to create new articles as those who have not been given the link, but are just as likely to have their article fail." Otherwise, the link is not the problem. If the link is taking someone who was going to create an article anyway and increasing the odds that what they create is viable or at least salvageable, then it's a good thing. (It is a fair better path than what I would suspect leads to many problem articles, which is someone typing "My uncle Sam-Bob" into the search field, snd getting a result that reads "We don't have an article called My uncle Sam-Bob but here's a nice candy-colored link which will leap your right into an editor where you can create one.") -- Nat Gertler (talk) 16:04, 3 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Initial weak oppose: I often pick a welcome template with WP:YFA in it when a user describes interest in creating an article, or has created a draft, and {{First article}} feels too specific. It feels important in {{welcome-COI}} in particular, as the first thing many COI editors do is create an article. Blanket removing it, by my first instinct, seems like a bad idea. However, I haven't read this discussion and the points brought up, so I may change my mind. Skarmory (talk • contribs) 18:22, 3 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. I think the premise that "these links are creating false hopes, getting newbies in trouble" is flawed. I think the problem is that newbies find that Help:Your first article is TL;DR or if they do read it they simply choose to ignore some of its advice. For example, it says that non-notable topics are a thing to avoid. Despite that advice, they create their article about a non-notable topic anyway. Maybe they think it actually is notable. But how did Help:Your first article give them false hopes? They got themselves in trouble by disregarding it, not by following it. More of the WP:JOBS in the Task Center are said to be suitable for intermediate or advanced editors than not, so that doesn't seem like a great place to point newbies to either. – wbm1058 (talk) 13:53, 4 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. Lumping all new editors as "people who can't create new articles because you are new" is wrong. There are many misconceptions that only some people can edit Wikipedia, removing this from the welcome template would only enforce the wrong idea that only "elite few" can create the article. We should be focusing on better experiences at AFC or YFA. Or better yet, less-bitey AFD and CSD. As experienced editors, we should change our behaviors toward the newcomers, not steer newcomers away from things they could create. ✠ SunDawn ✠ (contact) 01:41, 5 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. We can't change the fact that some people become editors here because they want to create a new article. Nor should we want to. For one thing, we can't know all the notable topics we don't yet have articles on, because new topics constantly arise and because of systemic bias. "The encyclopedia is pretty much complete" is a pernicious meme. For another, we need new editors who want to help us build the encyclopedia. So for those new editors who do want to write articles, we should link to guidance. In general, I dislike the slimming down of the welcome templates; we have a daunting amount of PAG, but providing links so people can look things up is far better than pretending it's just a matter of internalizing 5 principles or something. And less condescending. And a more realistic introduction to our reading-and-discussion-based processes. But this particular excision would IMO involve more loss than gain even though it would admittedly only affect a subset of welcomed editors. Yngvadottir (talk) 03:17, 5 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. Wikipedia has moved on and I suspect the majority of new editors' first articles these days get speedied. They should be guided towards something lower risk. Stifle (talk) 07:32, 5 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    @Stifle: It would be interesting know what your definition of most is and whether this statement is true. Based on my AfC experience, I estimate new editors are successful with their new articles about 20% of the time. ~Kvng (talk) 19:23, 7 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    And that's the ones that made it to AfC - we're not seeing the ones that get made once a user is autoconfirmed or ones that don't get draftified. I expect few new editors' first articles are speedied, since NPP tends to draftify ones that have even a bare hope of someday being wikipedia articles. -- asilvering (talk) 02:21, 10 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    I did not use the word "most" so I cannot answer that question. "The majority", which I did use, has a clear definition. Stifle (talk) 08:12, 10 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    @Stifle: the majority of new editors' first articles these days get speedied. Those that get speedied or PRODded or AFD'd undergo those processes because their bad. Improve YFA instead. I have reviewed 51 Afc drafts (not counting comments), and accepted 13. That's 34%, slightly over one third. Clearly, there is still hope. You also say that they should be guided towards something lower risk. Why? There's no need to mollycoddle them. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 12:41, 20 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose but add warning akin to Tamzin's - As others have said, many come here because they want to write an article. It's why I did, and I imagine quite a number of us. And I, like so many, crashed and burned in the process. The issue is that removing the advice won't eliminate the desire, it'll just mean they have no help. So the best route for both newcomers and the project is to help them find the advice, while discouraging them as much as possible from leaping in headfirst to article-writing. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:15, 6 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose per Captain Jack Sparrow. Are we going to have a Streisand effect? Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 22:37, 6 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose because many users register an account for the purpose of creating an article, and Help:Your first article gives advice on that matter, which includes necessary cautions such as "first learn more about how Wikipedia works" and "Do not copy content from other websites". SilkTork (talk) 11:21, 9 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. Having had some time to climb down from my initial stance of horrified neutrality, I believe this proposal represents a good-faith effort to resolve a genuine problem. And I agree with many supporters here that Wikipedia's broken notability system is at fault for the truly godawful experience that we are providing to many new editors. I disagree, however, that there is a material difference between article creation and editing. Rather, it appears to me that this amounts to a proposal to turn off the lights on the "anyone can edit" sign. I don't think that's the right move. Instead of turning off the welcome sign, let's get rid of these self-imposed barbed-wire fences, reform notability, and restore the new user experience to the welcoming one that many of us can still remember. -- Visviva (talk) 04:10, 10 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    Honestly, the single quickest and easiest way to improve the new user experience across the board might be a box at the top of Special:CreateAccount reading Note: Wikipedia is not for promotion. If you are here to create an article promoting yourself, your business, or your work, you have misunderstood us and will experience frustration. An idea unlikely to get any traction, but getting the message across to the brand builders before they get rebuffed by our systems, wear down the editors onboarding newcomers, and take up space and energy and reduce AGF for the people who are here to build an encyclopaedia. Folly Mox (talk) 06:01, 10 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, but support @Tamzin's proposal. A sizeable percent of new users on Wikipedia create their accounts for the express purpose of creating an article, so therefore simply removing this resource will not stop them from creating an article, it will just prevent them from creating better articles. :3 F4U (they/it) 00:09, 11 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, because as others have mentioned, it doesn't stop bad articles from being created. Not all new Wikipedians are oblivious. Many have been reading Wikipedia since they learned how to read and are familiar with the style and the general vibe of what is supposed to have an article, even if they've never read a policy. My first edit was creating an article [1]. Also, I would wager that almost no one actually reads all of the welcome message, and fewer click on the links, and even fewer read the links, and by the time you get to the number of users actually making any new articles at all based off of the welcome message (much less destructive new articles) it is probably a non-issue. Chamaemelum (talk) 07:47, 12 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose No, it is not "acknowledged that writing an article is an advanced task for experienced editors". This is quite false as many/most editathons usually have the goal of teaching new recruits how to get an article started on the same day. All you really need for this is a good source or two and any person with a college-level education should be quite capable of taking it from there. Andrew🐉(talk) 10:34, 15 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose broadly removing all links to YFA in welcome templates, but I support general rewording on a template-by-template basis to encourage new editors who don't have a goal in mind to start off smaller. As others have noted, many new editors explicitly have the goal of article creation, and YFA is a resource for those editors. For new editors who don't know where to start, I agree that welcome templates should give options other than just "go make brand new articles." I support the improvements Folly Mox, Tamzin, and others have suggested making instead of wholesale removing these links from welcome templates. Dylnuge (TalkEdits) 17:52, 15 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, there have been many interesting points above, but I tend to agree with the view that including it serves as an indicator, rather than it just being there to help those who would create articles anyway. Workflows should be intuitive, and including this in the initial welcome suggests the reader should follow it as part of their initial welcome. On revisions, I would also support rewriting. In that rewriting I would suggest shifting around the tone of YFA to be less WP:OWNy. Experienced editors no doubt understand what the language is meant to say, but it's not until the final section that the "your your your" language gets the "Others can freely contribute to the article when it has been saved. The creator does not have special rights to control the later content. See Wikipedia:Ownership of articles" addendum. Such a rewrite might help with a few misunderstandings, such as users concerned their work is being edited, and users who might be unaware they can go and change 'someone else's' article. CMD (talk) 07:05, 17 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    @Chipmunkdavis: Have a look at User:Houseblaster/YFA draft, and/or its Talk page. Your contributions would be welcome. Mathglot (talk) 08:33, 17 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. New editors want to create new articles. Is this a good idea? Maybe not, but the people here should note that it's generally mostly problem editors (e.g. The ones that get blocked for COI) that will be visible to those maintaining the encyclopedia, because a good first article doesn't need someone else to immediately draftify/AfD/tag/etc it. I don't believe the case that "new editors don't create good articles" is based on sound logic; people whose drafts are accepted or understand the feedback they've been given don't go to the AfC help desk to complain. It's survivor bias and all that.
Additionally, someone brought up the stat that 26% of new editors want to create a new article. Many of them are probably going to do it anyways, and helpful links will reduce the chance people languish in draftspace. Chess (talk) (please Reply to icon mention me on reply) 18:34, 17 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, editors and Jimbo 20 years ago would be mortified if they knew we are even contemplating about this. The important thing about the link is signalling to new users "someday, you can join in our ranks, and you can make new articles as well". Most people IRL thought that they couldn't contribute to Wikipedia, and removing the link from the invite would just validate their belief even further. I'm far more concerned about our apathy towards goodwilling new contributors here and I have to say that this change if implemented will represent a big regression of our "anyone can edit" principle, the one that in which Wikipedia itself was founded by. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 16:47, 18 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Believe it or not, but Wikipedia is not done. We need to be encouraging more people to learn how to create an article, not hiding it. Steven Walling • talk 07:56, 20 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, kind of I like the general idea behind this, but I think the discussion should be - in terms of what templates display, what would most help a new editor to Wikipedia? Including advice on how to create an article makes sense, but not necessarily always. SportingFlyer T·C 13:27, 20 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. I'm not all that convinced by the underlying premise that creating an article is such an "advanced" task: I suspect that with the right guidance, it's well within the capabilities of most new auto-confirmed users. And considering there is a wealth of potential negative knock-on effects of the proposal (many detailed above)--not the least of which is possible impacts to new user recruitment at a time where those figures already pretty bleak--I can't say as the cost-benefit of such a change looks good to me. And as a broader, community philosophy matter, I feel like there is already a trend towards less accessibility with regard to basic editorial tools. I understand where these calls come from, but I think they often miss the forest for the trees and, for various reasons, would not prove to be beneficial to the longterm health of the community or project--this one included, imo. SnowRise let's rap 08:01, 21 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]


What evidence can we bring to bear?[edit]

I've been following all the comments with great interest. What almost all the comments seem to have in common, regardless whether they are in support or in opposition to the proposal, is that they are almost all based on what we think happens, or what we imagine ought to happen, or how hard we imagine writing a new article is (or isn't) for a new editor, but not a lot of hard evidence, and very little appeal to policy or guidelines, or at least, how best to follow them. I'm guessing that the WP:AFC or Growth team folks are perhaps best placed to provide some concrete data on this topic; or at least, opinions based on experience in looking directly at new users and the content they create. So, I'd like to hear more from them, especially if there are some statistics or other data they can share. Two other project areas that occur to me that could be helpful to get this Rfc more on track, are the regulars at WP:AFD, and those at Wikipedia Education. I'm also interested in hearing from anyone about how to tie the !votes and commentary into something more policy- and evidence-based. Mathglot (talk) 20:20, 1 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]

As none of the welcome messages under consideration are left for users by default (at least as far as I'm aware), it would be very helpful to know how often each template has been deployed over the last 12 months. If they're not that frequently used, and are only left because an editor explicitly wants to leave that template, this mass eradication of all 'Your First Article' links from those infrequently-used templates seems unwarranted and extremely heavy-handed. So let's have some figures! Nick Moyes (talk) 20:56, 1 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not sure how the information you propose to collect would help us resolve this issue, even if it were available now. In those cases where there is a problem, if there's a fix available, why wouldn't we use it? Nothing wrong with making an improvement even if it improves only a minority of cases; minor problems deserve fixes, too. I don't get how it would be unwarranted, or what the connection would be to frequency of use. Mathglot (talk) 01:00, 3 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
My view is that there is not an issue; you've just made it one. You seem determined to sweep away all YFA links from every welcome template, whether rarely used, or otherwise. I find this unacceptable - especially for those templates related to the Teahouse, so would like to know how well-used all these non-standard welcome templates are that you propose to clean out of the YFA guidance link.
If they're being auto-added by bots to thousands of newcomers, that might be one thing. But if they're occasionally being manually allocated by editors because they want to provide more links than the standard default template currently offers (perhaps after prior engagement at a help forum, as TH hosts sometimes do) that's another thing entirely. That information would help us decide how much of an issue (or a non-issue) your proposal really is. Nick Moyes (talk) 10:19, 3 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
More data is always helpful, but this is a bit of an odd comment given that many of those who have already commented above have extensive direct experience in new editor-facing venues like AfC, NPP, the Teahouse, etc. I'm not sure why you would conclude that "almost all" are imagining things? – Joe (talk) 11:26, 3 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Not to mention that the third pillar is "the free encyclopedia anyone can edit", so very many of the comments above are indeed referring to policy. -- asilvering (talk) 17:02, 3 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
There's this 2017 study the Growth team did. It was limited in scope to Korea and the Czech Republic, and is now several years out of date, but the fundamental findings probably haven't changed too significantly. Of note, it said (pp 23–24) the biggest challenges newcomers face in content creation are:
  • Verifiability and citations (including NOR)
  • Notability (calling out specifically how it's not synonymous with popularity, and how people assume Wikipedia has articles about everything)
  • Encyclopedic style and NPOV
  • Copyright, especially for images
New Editor Experiences: Summary of Findings from Korean and Czech Wikipedia (PDF), August 2017.
mw:Growth#Challenges lists their top concerns, some of which seem to be rooted in or confirmed by the 2017 study.
I'm sure someone could run some numbers on AfC draft decline rate, NPP draftification rate and the associated reasons, to get some firmer and more current data. Folly Mox (talk) 10:30, 4 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
One reason I'd be sceptical of studies of other Wikipedias, or indeed on enwiki before 2017, is WP:ACPERM. My experience (which I've heard echoed from many NPPers who were around back then) was that restricting creations to autoconfirmed massively reduced the number of really bad new articles written by people who either didn't understand what Wikipedia was or weren't here in good faith. – Joe (talk) 11:47, 4 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Hello everyone
I got the invite to comment from @Mathglot, and as the conversations cite Growth work, I'd like to provide some context and help to this conversation.
A piece of information the Growth team hasn't yet published is the number of responses to the welcome survey. This survey is shown to all new accounts just after the registration process. You can have a look at this survey at Special:WelcomeSurvey.
For all wikis where we collect data, between 25% and 30% of new accounts select "To create a new Wikipedia article" as their answer to the question "Why did you create your account today?". I don't have access to the data for English Wikipedia but it should be between these values as well.
What follows is my personal comment based on my experience observing all Wikipedias facing the same issues. Don't take it for something else than a personal point of view regarding the question, and a way for you to feed your thoughts. :)
As you have an important number of new account that come to create articles, locking the door might not be efficient. It would just displace the problem. Closing that door could increase the number of questions regarding article creation asked to the Teahouse, to the Help desk or to mentors (side note: please join). It means more work for these users.
If the goal is to prevent SPAs coming with promotional purposes to create articles, we all know that they will always find a way to publish articles. Blocking the path of all users will certainly reduce the number of SPA attempts to create articles, but also the number of "good" article coming from users willing to help.
It could be much more beneficial to tell the truth: creating an article is difficult and is clearly not a good first task task for someone who just created an account. As a mentor at fr.wp, I use the metaphor "it is like starting alpinism by climbing the Everest"; a quite clear and persuasive comparison. At the moment, the real difficulty of a first article is shown at WP:FIRST in a green side comment. (BTW, green that conveys the idea of "all is good". Changing the color might not be the best option, but changing the location could be more beneficial.)
Also, the number of newcomers who don't know that they can edit and improve existing articles is surprisingly high. "They are someone else's work" they say, so they prefer to add "their" work to the encyclopedia. Growth tasks encourage them to edit other articles for this reason.
It could be beneficial to encourage newcomers to learn how Wikipedia works using Growth homepage. At least, good faith users who want to improve Wikipedia will follow this path. These users are the potential future of Wikipedia, hence retaining them is important, and Growth provides them more in-context guidance than other tools. SPAs will detour or abandon.
If I had a voice to this conversation, I would suggest to replace either the link to WP:FIRST or the content of WP:FIRST with:
  1. a clear warning regarding the real difficulty of a first article
  2. how improving existing contents is the best way to learn the ropes.
  3. The rest of the page should be a second step, for the ones who just want to create an article.
Hope this helps, Trizek (WMF) (talk) 15:23, 4 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
As someone new enough to have been in one of the early growth homepage rollouts, I second this. The growth homepage is pretty neat. :) -- asilvering (talk) 16:11, 4 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Many thanks for this thoughtful piece. Clearly (at least for me) while it greatly affects those at the "coal face" and disappointed new editors, we need to take a panoramic view of these big issues. Esowteric + Talk + Breadcrumbs 16:19, 4 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Indeed; very helpful, thanks, Trizek! Mathglot (talk) 16:52, 4 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Trizek (WMF), can you fix the link to [[Special:WelcomeSurvey]] above? I tried to fix it with mw:Special:WelcomeSurvey or m:Special:WelcomeSurvey, but neither one of those goes anywhere. Thanks, Mathglot (talk) 23:31, 4 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Mathglot: When I visit Special:WelcomeSurvey it says To enable the newcomer homepage, visit your "Newcomer editor features" settings in Preferences. If I do that, it works. – Joe (talk) 03:53, 5 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Joe, thanks; I must have it turned off; will adjust. Mathglot (talk) 04:12, 5 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Turning the homepage in your preferences will allow you to visit the survey, but also to visit the homepage itself. This way, you can discover the different tools newcomers have to start editing. Trizek_(WMF) (talk) 13:13, 5 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Trizek (WMF) Helpful comments- thank you. As an alpinist myself, I prefer to use a more relatable metaphor: that of saying to a new user that learning to edit Wikipedia is akin to learning to drive a car. You would never expect to set off up the motorway at 80 miles per hour on your first time behind the wheel, and not expect to crash! Nick Moyes (talk) 22:37, 19 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]

side-benefits of this discussion[edit]

(edit conflict)As a side issue: it seems like there are a lot of passionate opinions about this on all sides, but unless I miss my guess, there is little passion about the narrow proposal topic of Welcome template content, which in isolation is a pretty dry and technical niche of the encyclopedia. I think the passion exhibited here about the Welcome template is in reality a proxy for the passion that people feel about how best to support new users at Wikipedia, and I think what unites every commenter so far no matter where they come down on their !vote, is a desire to encourage new editors; we're just not sure how best to do that. I hope if this Rfc and discussion achieve anything (even if there's a no-consensus outcome here), it is that it demonstrates the breadth and depth of interest in the topic of supporting new users, and creating new content. And I hope there will be a cross-pollination from this discussion to other projects and teams that are concerned primarily or secondarily with that issue, and to the extent that that occurs, I think that will be a worthy outcome. Mathglot (talk) 21:04, 1 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]

@Mathglot I think your proposal has actually managed to annoy quite a lot of users who had to invest a fair bit of time and effort to stop a rather daft proposal of yours being globally implemented across a suite of not very often-used templates. TBH: I did not find that at all helpful, and you have gone down in my estimation for putting such a proposal forward. But, yes, I do agree with you that there are a lot of passionate people who dearly want to make the newcomer experience of editing Wikipedia more effective in whatever way the can. So it's good we can agree on that. Nick Moyes (talk) 22:45, 19 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
The proposal is well-meant, and I brought it here in good faith to get a sense of community opinion, which seems exactly the kind of think talk pages (and Rfc's) are about. But I get it: you find the proposal "annoy[ing]", "daft", and "not... helpful". Is that equivalent to saying you "oppose it"? What about the other 21 supporters (to 28 oppose), have they all gone down in your estimation, too? As far as what counts as "rarely used", I'm not really sure, but {{Welcome to Wikipedia}} has 17,000 uses, {{Welcome-retro}} = 7,000, {{Welcome-belated}} = 10,000, {{Welcome-cookie}} = 15,000, and {{Welcome-COI}} has 31,000. Perhaps I should have worked out these numbers beforehand and included them at the top of section to provide an idea of the scope of the issue, so that users could've made a more informed decision about whether it was worth their time to respond or not, but I didn't think it was needed at the time. And I value and very much appreciate all the responses and suggestions, regardless whether they agree with my position or not; I'm not here to "win", but to do the right thing by the encyclopedia, and I think we are achieving that, so that is still a "win" in my book. Mathglot (talk) 03:33, 20 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose and improve YFA. I strongly agree with RudolfRed that if a problem exists, we should look at trying to improve and fix instead of nuking it. InvadingInvader (userpage, talk) 19:09, 26 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Autosigning again[edit]

Is there a technical reason that some templates require signing and some don't? I'm still fairly new to to wikipedia, and I like the idea of welcoming people that I noticed did something good. But the fact that some templates need signing and some don't seems completely arbitrary. I saw in the archives this message [2] but there was no follow-up discussion. Am I missing something? (EDIT: and to top it off I forgot to sign this) Closhund/talk/ 03:44, 11 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]

@Closhund, are you talking about welcome templates instructing new editors about signing (which is what the prior conversation was alluding to) or about the templates themselves needing to be signed or not? On the latter, it's just natural variation as the templates were built. It'd probably make it easier for automated welcoming tools like Twinkle if everything was standardized to either autosign or not, but also it's probably not worth the effort it'd take to try to make that standardization happen. I know that user warnings are supposed to not autosign, and welcome templates are perhaps similar. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 03:49, 11 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]
The latter. I was not aware the the prior conversation was not about that (it's frustrating finding links in archives, my bad). Just whether the ~~~~ needs to be applied after the the template. If it's not the worth the effort, then okay. But I feel like it's a weird source of variation, and I don't *think* it would be hard to make them align. It's definitely something that I've found annoying even using these templates by hand. Closhund/talk/ 04:44, 11 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]
There are a lot of things on Wikipedia that are fairly arbitrary/non-standardized, just because wikis grow so organically. Putting things in order is also a very Wikipedian impulse, though. The challenge that I can imagine is that I could see some editors wanting all templates to autosign because it allows signatures within the box/other formatting things (see, for instance, {{Welcoming}}, one of my favorite welcome templates) whereas others not wanting autosign to align with user warnings. That could lead to a lack of consensus. And then if consensus is achieved, various tools would need to be modified to adjust to the new state so that they don't end up signing twice/not at all, and some tools have more maintainers than others.
Taking the longest-term view, we do want to eventually synchronize things like this as much as possible, so I don't want to totally discourage you from taking it on. But it seems likely to be a fairly difficult task in relation to how much good it'd achieve. As a lesser step, improving welcome template documentation to make it clearer which autosign and which don't might be an area that could use improvement. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 05:11, 11 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Newcomer homepage discussion at Growth Team talk[edit]

Members of the Welcoming Committee may be interested in this discussion about the interaction of the Welcoming committee with the plans for the Wikipedia Growth Team, in particular the "Newcomer homepage". Mathglot (talk) 02:54, 15 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]