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Snuggle is a discontinued, browser-based newcomer observation and support system. Snuggle was designed to allow Wikipedian mentors to observe the activities of recently registered editors and separate good newcomers (good-faith and productive) from the bad ones (bad-faith and vandals).

This tool was designed in response to a 2009 study that demonstrated a decline in newcomer retention in Wikipedia[1][2] due to an increasingly negative environment for desirable newcomers[3][4] and that Wikipedia's current socialization systems doesn't work because mentors don't find newcomers when they most need help.[5][6] Snuggle was designed to help experienced Wikipedians identify desirable newcomers who are editing in good faith and help them dodge Wikipedia's sharper corners.

User interface[edit]

Further information:

Snuggle's user interface runs entirely within a browser window. A user browser provides a list of newcomers, with an interactive visualization of their activities over time (see Figure 3) and a summary of messages that have been posted on the newcomers' user talk pages. Using Snuggle, you can quickly review the activities of a list of recent newly registered user accounts and sort them into good-faith newcomers who should be supported and bad-faith newcomers who ought to be ignored or sent to WP:AIV. You can also perform some relevant actions that affect the wiki such as sending a message, posting an invitation to the WP:Teahouse or reporting the user to WP:AIV (see Figure 2).

A: Tabs allow access to lists of newcomers: unsorted, good-faith, ambiguous and bad-faith. See D.
B: Talk page summary. Header text is displayed with an icon describing the content. From the figure to the right:

W = welcome template
csd = Criteria for speedy deletion
V1 = Vandalism warning (level 1)
del = Article proposed for deletion
  = non-templated discussion
  = non-templated discussion

C: Newcomer metadata -- data and statistics about this user.
D: Categorization systems allows you to mark newcomers as "good-faith", "ambiguous" or "bad-faith".
E: Column of usernames.
F: Interactive plot of user contributions. See Figure 3.
G: Talk page icons. See B.

Snuggle UI.png

Figure 1: The Snuggle user-interface with relevant components called out.


Figure 2: The User Menu. Snuggle provides a menu for interacting with newcomers. Currently, the system allows you to send a message (post on the User_talk page), post an invite to the WP:Teahouse or report abuse to the Administrators.
Figure 3: Interactive contributions graph. Interactive plot of contributions made by the new editor in the first 30 days since registration. Each block represents a revision colored by namespace(e.g. Articles, Talk,User, User_talk, etc.). As demonstrated in the screenshot, revisions can be selected to get a pop-over with the details (page title, comment and diff). Reverted edits are noted with a red dot in the middle of the block (e.g.  · ). Self reverts have a hollow dot.

Snuggle is 100% free, open-source software, the source code is available under the MIT license[7]. It's built on top of a python-based server back-end with an HTML/Javascript/CSS front-end. You can find the repository and issue tracker on GitHub.

Status updates[edit]

  • 2012-09-15: HTML mockup of UI produced ([1])
  • 2012-10-02: Synchronizer tracking recentchanges on English Wikipedia
  • 2012-12-01: Newcomer desirability prediction system proof of concept based on scores generated by WP:STiki.
  • 2012-01-02: Integration with Wikipedia's authentication system
  • 2013-01-03: User action menu released
  • 2013-01-04: IRC demo & feedback session at 1700 UTC/11AM CST in #wikimedia-office
  • 2013-01-10: Demonstration to the Wikimedia Foundation
  • 2013-03-07: User actions menu implemented
  • 2013-04-25: Intelligent newcomer desirability ranking algorithm
  • 2013-05-02: Configuration overhaul. Preliminary multi-lingual support.
  • 2013-05-10: API support for synchronization.
  • 2013-05-25: Configurable user actions
  • 2013-05-27: i18n support added
  • 2013-05-31: 1.0rc1 released on the WMF labs cluster
  • 2013-06-06: New instance set at
  • 2013-06-10: Welcome screen with recent activity
  • 2013-06-12: Version 1.1 released
  • 2013-06-14: Sign-up list notified of release. Snuggle is officially live!

Road map[edit]

See also issue and feature tracking.

  • 2013-07-17: IRC mentor discussion in #wikimedia-office connect at 1600 UTC;
  • August 9th: Present @ Wikimania in Hong Kong
  • September 18th: Full project report to be published on meta

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  1. ^ Wikimedia Foundation, The Editor Trends Study.
  2. ^ Suh, Bongwon; Convertino, Gregorio; Chi, Ed H.; Pirolli, Peter (2009). "The singularity is not near: slowing growth of Wikipedia". WikiSym '09. ACM. doi:10.1145/1641309.1641322.
  3. ^ Halfaker, A., Geiger, R. S., Morgan, J., & Riedl, J. (in-press). The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System: How Wikipedia's reaction to sudden popularity is causing its decline. American Behavioral Scientist.
  4. ^ Halfaker, A., Kids these days: The quality of new Wikipedia editors over time, Wikimedia Blog. March 27th, 2012.
  5. ^ Musicant, David R.; Ren, Yuqing; Johnson, James A.; Riedl, John (2011). "Mentoring in Wikipedia: a clash of cultures". WikiSym '11. ACM: 173–182. doi:10.1145/2038558.2038586.
  6. ^ Note that Musicant et al., 2011 was written before WP:Teahouse
  7. ^ LICENSE