Wikipedia talk:Help desk

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May be a blip in questions about VisualEditor[edit]

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to make sure you all heard about User:EpochFail's upcoming A/B test for newly registered users. The idea is to see whether offering VisualEditor to them changes their chance of becoming productive editors (more on the project page at Meta). They had some problems with the logging software a little while ago, so this test is actually going to start with a pre-test on 21 May 2015 (probably starting at 15:00 UTC, but the time may change) to find out whether the fixes actually fixed the problem. Assuming that everything's working, they'll do the proper one-week study at a later date.

If the Help Desk gets questions about VisualEditor, then it mostly works like Google Docs or Microsoft Word; mw:Help:VisualEditor/User guide might be useful. If you haven't used it for a while, then you might consider going to Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-betafeatures and opting in. It's much faster and more stable than it used to be, and the automatic ref-filling mw:Citoid system is pretty awesome for some of our most commonly cited sources. If you see problems during this test, please let me know! {{Ping}} me, leave a note on my talk page, post bugs at WP:VEF, whatever works for you. Nominally, my role in this test is to find new problems in VisualEditor, but I want to know about any kind of problem at all that you think is unusual or might be related. Thanks, Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 06:34, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

The one-week "real" test is supposed to have just started. I hear that last weeks' test of the testing software exposed a pair of bugs in the logging systems, but that they weren't serious. As always, if you see weirdness or can't answer a question, feel free to talk to me directly. Thanks for your help. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 03:45, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

It looks like I forgot to tell you that the results from this study were posted last week; sorry about that. You can read the results at m:Research:VisualEditor's effect on newly registered editors/May 2015 study. The WP:TLDR is that everything is approximately equal, except that users of VisualEditor are slightly less likely to be reverted. One of the interesting things we learned: a lot of editors who had access to both VisualEditor and the wikitext editor played around a bit with each, and then chose the one that they wanted to use to make their edit.

There's also a related proposal at the Village Pump to give new users both editors, and let them choose which one to use. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:58, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

Removal of Question from Help Desk Because Asked and Answered[edit]

Is it permitted to remove a question from the Help Desk because the question has been answered? Most editors who ask a question leave the question standing and let the bot archive it. Occasionally the editor who asks a question then removes it after it has been answered, thinking that this is useful or simplifies maintenance. My own thinking is that removing the question prevents the possibility that someone else might offer more or different advice. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:10, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

I restored a question that had been removed and cautioned the editor, who has in turn rebuked me, so my question is to the other Help Desk regular editors. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:10, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

I am not asking about the removal of troll questions, which is differently controversial (but provokes more controversy at the Reference Desk than here). Robert McClenon (talk) 21:10, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

I agree that removing an answered question is unhelpful, as then it doesn't get archived, and users with similar questions can't find it by using the archive search (though I'm not sure how much use that gets anyway). However, using the level 2 deletion warning template on the userpage of a person who was acting in good faith seems a little bitey. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 21:19, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Okay. If this happens again, I will use a Level 1 with an explanation. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:41, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Co-op officially open, looking for mentors[edit]

Co-op logo.svg

Hey Help Desk participants. Back in March-April 2015, a small team of us ran a pilot for a mentorship space for newer editors called the the Co-op. The work for the space was funded by an IEG grant from the WMF. After some analysis and tweaks to the space post-pilot, we are officially open this week, and we're looking for additional mentors. Our final report is still being reviewed by the WMF, but it is more or less done, and you are welcome to check it out. Here are some of our more prominent findings:

  1. Editors who engaged with a mentor remained active longer, edited more articles, and made substantially more edits overall than editors who were not mentored.
  2. Editors waited far less time for a mentor thanks to our matching system. Getting matched with an editor took less than five minutes, thanks to the use of HostBot. Waiting times for a mentor to actually contact an editor took less than a day, but was as low as an hour or two.
  3. A minority of experienced editors sought out mentorship despite not receiving an invitation during our pilot. These editors may have gotten the most out of mentorship, as they interacted more frequently with their mentor and in more complex topics compared to newer editors.

Based on our results, the Co-op seems to have a lot of benefits for newer editors. But our mentorship space will not work if we lack mentors. If you enjoy helping new editors here at the Help Desk, mentoring is probably right up your alley. While mentoring does require some time and effort, our findings from the Co-op suggest that such effort has a beneficial impact on newer editors, and even on experienced ones. If you're interested in becoming a mentor, please consider joining us. Thanks, I, JethroBT drop me a line 21:05, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia-en-help (IRC) needs you![edit]

Hi all helpers. If you enjoy helping new users, consider coming over to the IRC help channel #wikipedia-en-help (#wikipedia-en-help connect) to help new users in a live chat! We're in need of more helpers, particularly in the region of midnight to midday UTC, as many users are coming in to the channel to look for help and not getting it because no one is around. If you think you'd be interested you can just connect using that link (you may also want to join #wikipedia-en-helpers connect), and if you want to stick around with an identifier for you as a helper, apply for a cloak :) Thanks, Sam Walton (talk) 11:13, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

Samwalton9, I am put off by the confusing technicalities involved in setting up and using IRC. --Fauzan✆ talk✉ mail 12:28, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
@Fauzan: I can sympathise, I don't think we should be using IRC for this, but unfortunately it's the best available option right now. Would it help if I made a "becoming a live help helper" guide regarding how to set up an IRC client and register for a cloak etc.? Sam Walton (talk) 12:44, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
Sure! A better help guide is needed. --Fauzan✆ talk✉ mail 14:28, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
I'll put something together :) Sam Walton (talk) 16:31, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
@Fauzan: I've put together an IRC set up guide at User:Samwalton9/Live help guide. I think between that, Wikipedia:IRC/wikipedia-en-help, and Wikipedia:IRC it should make sense now. Let me know if not though. Sam Walton (talk) 17:20, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
We're still really in need of more helpers, I'd say there are less than 5 to 10 active helpers, and there's usually no one helping between roughly midnight and midday UTC leaving loads of users without help. Sam Walton (talk) 16:57, 12 August 2015 (UTC)

Deletion of articles referred to in questions here[edit]

Often when a link to an article is posted on the help desk I find that the same article is nominated for deletion shortly thereafter. This happens even when the article has survived on Wikipedia for many years without challenge, for example Lynn_Walsh, an article that has been around for eight years and has suddenly been nominated for deletion shortly after an editor posted about it here.

I am not sure about the causality in this particular case, however I wonder if there is something we should do to bring this general phenomenon to the attention of those who innocently ask questions here? Ottawahitech (talk) 15:14, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

Just because an article has existed for some time, does not mean that it *should*. Many small and obscure articles are poorly watched, and especially if little is happening, may get little attention. In particular articles from the early days of Wikipedia tended to receive less scrutiny at creation. And yes, when attention is called to it, people will look at it, and if it shouldn't exist, it may well (and should!) get nominated for deletion. I'd also point out that nobody owns an article, nor does any topic deserve an article unless it meets the notability criteria. Rwessel (talk) 16:00, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
There are several hundred thousand of articles in WP accepted in earlier years when the standards were lower that we need to either upgrade or remove. It will take years, but work on them as I see them. There is a possibility that when one article has problems, related articles might also, and if I have time, I try to check them. DGG ( talk ) 22:43, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
I realize I am more inclusionist than most here, but I still believe it is disingenuous not to tell users of the helpdesk that when they ask for help they are opening their articles to the scrutiny of delitionists. If the word gets around, many will simply stop asking for help. Just my $.02. Ottawahitech (talk) 23:26, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
Yet anything that might cause an editor to look at a page could trigger the scrutiny leading to an PROD or AfD. And anyone looking at a page might see and fix some other problem as well. Do we really need to warn users that if they ask for help with a page, that someone might actually look at that page? Rwessel (talk) 04:43, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
I think that it is good that occasionally articles get nominated for deletion from here. It means that there are some diligent Wikipedians here who nominate things that need nominating. I don't see any need for a warning, but I wouldn't object to a warning. Does anyone think that there should be a warning? Robert McClenon (talk) 08:29, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
No, per Rwessel. ―Mandruss  10:32, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
Since everyone here seems to think article deletion is a good thing, I thought i would pull out some recent deletion "discussions" to illustrate that deletion processes are not much different than playing Russian roulette.
Picked (mostly) at random from top of:WikiProject Medicine and wproj Canada alerts
Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Canadian Burn Foundation
Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Logistics Health Incorporated
Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Mad Bomber Society
Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Las Brisas condominium

Ottawahitech (talk)