Wikipedia talk:Teahouse/Host lounge

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Please take a moment...[edit] stop by I JethroBT's talk and offer him some congrats on his successful RfA. It will be nice to have one of our own in the ranks of the mopkeepers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by John from Idegon (talkcontribs) 04:14, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Inactive hosts and bot signatures[edit]

Moved here from the Questions page DES (talk) 22:59, 1 October 2015 (UTC) [1] it looks like User:Soni has not edited in several months. What is the process for ensuring that welcome messages are not given "by" inactive editors? -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 18:53, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

I'm not sure, TRPoD. I suspect one would have to take his name off the list of hosts. Today is honestly the first time that I realized that invites were being auto-sent in the "name" of various hosts. DES (talk) 21:31, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
I haven't been answering queries here for very long and maybe it's just a temporary thing, but quite a few of the hosts listed at Wikipedia:Teahouse/Hosts don't actually seem to be active on this page. Cordless Larry (talk) 21:45, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
Quite correct. I just scanned though the list, and I see maybe 15 that I recognize as fairly frequent posters here over say the last three months, and perhaps another 10 that I recall as having posted here at all in the last 6-9 months. Aside from this "signing" thing and any possible confusion it may cause, i don't see any major harm in it. If a formerly active host doesn't post here, no one is likely to look up his or her Teahouse profile. Perhaps that practice of having a host "sign" a bot-generated message should be re-thought. DES (talk) 22:00, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I don't think it's a problem in and of itself, but combined with the bot signing in their names, it could become an issue. Cordless Larry (talk) 22:02, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

End of moved text DES (talk) 22:59, 1 October 2015 (UTC) ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I moved the thread here because it didn't really fit on the questions page, this is about how the Teahouse is/should be run. I am inclined to think that putting a host's name on a bot-delivered message is a bad idea, particualrly now that so many hosts are listed but apparently inactive, at least as hosts. Does anyone think differently? @TheRedPenOfDoom, Cordless Larry, Fuhghettaboutit, GrammarFascist, PrimeHunter, Yunshui, and Cullen328: DES (talk) 23:14, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

For those not aware Wikipedia:Teahouse/Hosts/Database reports/Automated invites indicates that all automated Teahouse invitatiosn sent by User:HostBot are "signed" with the name of a Teahouse host, apparently limited to a list on that page. The list currently includes 15 names, most of whom are not currently active in answering Teahouse questions, and have not been for some time. DES (talk) 23:19, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

It seems that User:Jtmorgan maintains HostBot. I am pinging him or her to this discussion. DES (talk) 23:22, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

Hosts come and go, and I think that it is far better to have an invitation signed by an active host than an inactive one. I am not a programmer, but I am aware that the bot that changes host photos/images at the Teahouse questions page detects which hosts are active and never shows an inactive host. Perhaps some talented "code monkey" could generate invitation signatures the same way, instead of working from a static list. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 23:27, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
Like Cordless Larry, DES, I haven't been answering questions at the Teahouse for very long (though it's become something I do on nearly a daily basis). The only real problem I can see with bots signing inactive hosts' names to the messages left on new users' pages welcoming them to the Teahouse is that a new user seeing such a message might go to the named host's user/talk page and leave a message there asking for help, especially if there's language on the host's page encouraging newbie questions. And if the host in question is inactive on Wikipedia, not just at the Teahouse, it's not optimal for new users seeking help to be made to feel ignored. What technical solutions to the issue are possible, though, I have no idea. —GrammarFascist contribstalk 23:30, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
There's something unseemly about anyone getting a message posing as a personal invite from a human being that is really a bot, but much more so where the actual person supposedly inviting is not in some way informed of each invite they gave. (Are they?) The fact only three or four names on that list appear to be semi-regular contributors would be a problem even if I thought doing this was a good idea.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 23:31, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, that is my feeling as well. I think it would be better to remove the fake host from the bot message. Maybe there could be a daily opt in with a "please welcome X people in my name today" . -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 23:40, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
To clarify, by "daily opt in" I was not recommending a daily post on the potential host greeters talk page but a page where the host greeter could go each day they felt welcoming and click a "send X welcome invites in my name". -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:49, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
The bot is not leaving a message on the talk page of the host who is named on the message, and I don't think anythign it does would trigger a notification. Indeed given that up to 100 invitations are attributed to no more than 15 hosts, any such messages or notifications would soon become onerous, I suspect. Since the page linked above says that when tested this "personal touch" made no significant difference in outcomes, why retain it? DES (talk) 23:44, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
See Special:Contributions/HostBot to see what messages the Bot is sending. DES (talk) 23:48, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/HostBot 2 for the original bot approval, which discussed this isue quite breifly, but didn't really consider the long-term consequences, it seems to me. DES (talk) 00:20, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, you're right; what use in a user being told their name has been faked this week to [insert 700 names]. I skimmed the approval discussion it but didn't find where the bot posting from the list users is even mentioned (the only thing I saw related was just an opposite notion, which I am in agreement with: "We intend to adjust the language of the invite template so that new users are aware that it was delivered by a bot, not a human." Okay I;ve just looked at the actual message it's all backwards. Yes they sign for the person, then there's the message "This message was delivered automatically by your robot friend" If I was new here and got this message, I'd really be scratching my head. It's an automated message, but signed by someone but then says its from a robot, and then the robot says it's a friend? That reminds me of all those insurance commercials, the ones leaving ashes in your mouth, where the whole message is We Care About You! to convince they are the opposite of what they are. The bot should say it's an automated message, not then say something implicitly empty and false, and then say something about the Teahouse being populated by friendly humans.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 02:25, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
If I got a daily message asking me to invite 15 (arbitrary number) new editors to the Teahouse, with a button that took me to their user (or talk) page, then another button that sent an invitation message that I could personalize as I saw fit, then that would be a good thing, in my opinion. Teahouse answers should always be individually personalized, though. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 06:28, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
I've not got much to add to the above, other than to say that I wouldn't be happy for a bot to sign in my name without having personal control over its actions. Cordless Larry (talk) 06:50, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
I quite like Cullen's idea of an invitation to post an invitation, although it could become rather onerous as a manual task. Failing that, I see nothing wrong with having a bot deliver the messages as a bot; it seems rather pointless to randomly append someone's name to what is obviously an auto-generated message. I'd support a move to take personal signatures off the invitation and just leave it as a bot invite. Yunshui  06:54, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Fuhghettaboutit:, I was referring to the comment that read "The 0.6% difference between the response rates isn't statistically significant, so essentially any difference either way is probably random variation. Additional experimentation (with a larger sample, or a greater degree of personalization in the 'treatment' template) could determine differently, but it's not my highest priority as a researcher. I personally think that--assuming we don't feel the need to test out new and fascinating permutations on personalization--future invites should contain a host name. It just seems nicer to provide invitees with a personal point of contact. Don't you think? Jmorgan (WMF) (talk) 6:37 pm, 2 October 2012, Tuesday (UTC−4)" and the response to that comment. @Cullen328:, if I read things correctly, that sort of approach -- have a script generate a list of new users to invite, then allow humans to actually deliver the invitations -- was tried when the Teahouse was new, and the result was that many people on the list were never invited. I suspect that would happen again, and I don't see that much value in a human acting as a tool for a bot, just so that we can say that a human was involved. @Yunshui: I agree, we should take the names of human hosts off the messages, and otherwise leave the system unchanged. DES (talk) 13:05, 2 October 2015 (UTC) @Yunshui: Re-pinging due to typo. DES (talk) 13:06, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

@DESiegel: Thank you! I missed that in my skim. If not clear, I too support continued use of the Bot, but removal of the host names, and urge removal of the strikingly disingenuous "your robot friend".--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 17:05, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
The technical discussion has been interesting, if partly over my head. I think I will cast my vote with @Yunshui:, @DESiegel: and @Fuhghettaboutit:, in favor of allowing the bot to continue distributing invitations but without making reference to Teahouse hosts in the bot's message. (I'm not strongly opposed to the "your robot friend" part, but I'm not strongly in favor of it either.)
At the same time, @Cullen328:'s idea to have an opt-in for hosts to send personal invites could be useful for some of us. As I understand it, the bot will only invite a maximum of 100 new users a day; if there were a list somewhere of identified new users that the bot didn't invite due to having hit the 100-user limit, I'd probably visit that page at least occasionally to send personal, human-delivered invitations from. I don't know if there would be technical issues with marking those users off as already invited so the bot didn't just re-invite them the next day, though. —GrammarFascist contribstalk 18:40, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
I also support the bot continuing, but without a host's name at the end of the message. I'm agnostic about "your robot friend". Cordless Larry (talk) 18:53, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
GrammarFascist, according to the pages linked above, if there is any link to the Teahouse (such as a manual invite or a welcome version including a teahouse link) then the bot skips that user, and it only considers very recently created users in any case. User:Jtmorgan indicated that he maintains a db table that lists users invited and users skipped. I haven't checked if this is still being kept up to date. Before the bot did invites it created a daily list of users suitable for invitation, I suppose such a list, sans any actually invited, could be created. I'm not sure how many new users who qualify by the current criteria there are left after 100 invites, during the tests the bot did not reach the maximum of 100 users/day before running out of eligible new users, according to statements made in the bot approval application linked above. DES (talk) 19:13, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
  • support continued use of Welcome bot. remove specific name of a random ghost sender. I wouldn't use "your robot friend", but i think that falls into the bot owners purview and if they want to keep it, it am not opposed. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:55, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
  • comment Hi everyone. I'm glad this is being discussed--it's useful to re-evaluate the decisions that were made... wow, some more than 3 years ago now. Here's a little background: The inviter list (people whose names appear on the invites) contains only names of people who have explicitly asked to have their names included on Teahouse invites. I manually update the inviter list, adding and removing peoples' names when they request it, or if someone alerts me that they should no longer be listed for other reasons. I did that most recently in August[2]. I also occasionally (but perhaps not frequently enough, based on what I'm hearing on this thread) post to this page to check whether people still want their names included on the list. I did this most recently in December 2014. The on-wiki list reflects the actual list, which is stored here in the HostBot code repo. I wrap inviter names in the {{noping}} template so that the invite doesn't generate an @mention. Originally, I didn't use noping, but inviters were soon overwhelmed with the number of mentions they received, so I changed it. I personally still think it's better to have a name attached to each invite, but the current workflow is hard to maintain manually: I can't manually add/remove people from the list every time they take a wikibreak, or a host break. Here are some options that we could implement:
  1. keep hostnames on the invites (status quo), but make it easier for hosts to inspect the current inviter list and tell me when to add/remove names. Perhaps post a banner at the top of this page informing hosts of the list, and how to request changes?
  2. keep hostnames on the invite list, but only include the names of hosts who are currently active on the Teahouse. Maintain a manual opt-in list, so that hosts who are active but do NOT want their names on invites aren't included. Maintaining this list will still require periodic check-ins (natural host attrition will cause the number of active hosts on any static list to shrink over time).
  3. stop inviting people via bot. I don't recommend this, for reasons identified by other hosts above: it's really, really hard to maintain a high enough volume of invites to keep the Teahouse active if we rely solely on a manual approach.

For those hosts who want to supplement the bot-driven invites by manually inviting good-faith new editors that the bot missed, I recommend using Snuggle, a tool that algorithmically identifies motivated, promising new editors and allows you to easily send them a Teahouse invite (as well as other messages). I'm happy to implement whatever solution consensus supports. Cheers, Jtmorgan (talk) 19:51, 4 October 2015 (UTC)

In the interim, please note that Lightbreather has been banned by the Arbitration Committee, so should be removed immediately. You can add my name if you wish. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 20:41, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
Hi Cullen. Sorry, Lightbreather was removed, and their name hasn't appeared on any invites since the diff in question. I just forgot to check my code changes into the repo. Repo updated now. Jtmorgan (talk) 21:11, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
Jtmorgan You don't mention the option of "Continue to invite people by bot, but don't include any individual host name with the bot invites". Is there a technical problem with this option? It seems to be the one most favored in this discussion. Frankly, I have a problem with messages being sent in the name of users who haven't specifically authorized those specific messages, even if they have authorized such messages in general. Moreover, I think many users, or at least some users, will spot this as probably not truly an individual interaction, and that will actually hurt our image, and be seriously counterproductive. I think it is both better in principle and better in effect to be upfront that the invite is automated, but the messages at the Teahouse itself are from actual experienced editors.
If we must, or if consensus favors, having an individual editor's name on each invite, then I suggest your option 2, with "active" being defined as "has made at least three posts to the Teahouse Questions page in the last 7 days" (or more strictly if others wish). If it can't be defined that strictly without a lot of work, I think that is added evidence for removing all host names from invites. DES (talk) 21:38, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
And by the way, many thanks for implementing and running HostBot, I do NOT want it to seem that we (or at least I) are ungrateful for the assistance the bot provides. DES (talk) 21:38, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
Lightbreather is still listed at Wikipedia:Teahouse/Host landing#Lightbreather (and possibly elsewhere). Since she can't remove herself, should someone do that for her? --Boson (talk) 09:45, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Boson, thanks for pointing it out. I've removed that section. Nthep (talk) 10:19, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
DESiegel, Yeah, I'm fine with removing all names if consensus favors that solution (tho my !vote will be to keep names). But before we make that change, I'd like to get the input a majority of the hosts who have self-selected onto that list. This talkpage is not usually very active, so they might not all be aware of this thread. Could you ping them? And: thanks for the clarification I assure you I do not feel like anything about this discussion makes me feel like anyone's being ungrateful :) Anyway, running the bot doesn't take too much time these days--most of the heavy lifting was done long ago. Implementing your "only include recently active hosts" solution won't be too difficult. Maintaining an opt in list as hosts come and go will probably take a little more time than the current solution, tho. I assume not every active host will want their name included on invites. Cheers, Jtmorgan (talk) 20:36, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Very well. What do any of you who signed up to have your names used on invites think? And should i make this a formal RfC to draw wider attention? @Rosiestep, Jtmorgan, MissVain, AmaryllisGardener, Doctree, Osarius, and Nathan2055: DES (talk) 22:00, 5 October 2015 (UTC) @Soni, Samwalton9, Worm That Turned, 78.26, ChamithN, Dathus, and Naypta: DES (talk) 22:06, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
That red link should be Missvain. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 22:52, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
I don't really care if my username is used or not. It's fine with me. I don't respond as a host that often these days, but, I do monitor the forum. I'd like to not be removed as an active host, if possible. Missvain (talk) 23:24, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
If you want to remove my name, you can. I check WP every day, but I don't edit every day. --AmaryllisGardener talk 23:29, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
I've never been super active answering questions at the Teahouse. My primary role since the start-up days has always been "friendly inviter". And I still perform that task from time to time the old-fashioned manual way. If you'd prefer to remove my name from the bot messages, I'm ok with that, but I'd like to remain on as an active host and I'll continue inviting newbies along the way. --Rosiestep (talk) 02:27, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I remain active even though it's now rare for me to be the first to answer a question. Often I add another alternative as the fourth or fifth down. I keep WP:Teahouse/Questions watchlisted and check frequently but I don't post if a question is already answered adequately. I like that the bot adds a personal touch by appending my signature occasionally. A few new users have even come to my talk page. Scrub out the few who are totally inactive or should be removed for another reason but keep the personal touch of a signature. Take care all, DocTree (ʞlɐʇ·ʇuoɔ) WER 18:52, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

As I see, it it's the exact opposite of a personal touch; it's a clearly fake personal touch, and as such, one that is far colder and offputting than letting the bot be a bot.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 04:08, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
Including other hosts' names on the invites also reduces the traffic to my own talkpage, and introduces newbies to the some of the people behind the Teahouse. A lot of invitees post messages to my talkpage, because HostBot's talkpage redirects to mine. Often, these messages are just people saying "thanks for the invite", which is obviously great to hear. Other times, for whatever reason, invitees ask good-faith questions on my talkpage instead of at the Teahouse. Unfortunately, I'm not as active on wiki as most of the other hosts on the inviter list, so these requests may not get responded to in a timely fashion, and that's a shame. I don't think that giving those invitees an additional, personal point of contact--a real human who really does want to help new editors--to turn to if they feel more comfortable reaching out personally rather than publicly on the Teahouse (again, for whatever reason), is fake, cold, or offputting. And I haven't heard anything from that newcomers who post to my talkpage that would suggest otherwise. Jtmorgan (talk) 20:03, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
Hmm. If the alternative to the bot 'signing' with Teahouse hosts' names is for it to have just a signature that's going to dump a lot of traffic to Jtmorgan's talk page, that seems less than optimal. @Cordless Larry, Cullen328, DESiegel, Fuhghettaboutit, TheRedPenOfDoom, and Yunshui: (I think that's everyone who expressed opposition to the pseudo-personal invitations) What would you think of keeping the host names on the invites, but changing the wording so it's no longer masquerading poorly as a personal invitation? Something like, "The Teahouse is a friendly place to learn about editing Wikipedia, staffed by hosts who are available to answer questions. $name is one of the Teahouse hosts; you could also ask them questions at [[User talk:$name|their Talk page]]." Thoughts? —GrammarFascist contribstalk 18:37, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
I like that as an alternative. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 19:11, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
So do I. That would seem to serve all the positive values of the personal welcome without the possible downsides noted above. DES (talk) 19:29, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
That's fine by me too, although I should say that I'm not officially a host. I wouldn't be willing to sign up to be a host if the bot was going to sign in my name, but I'd be OK doing so under this proposed arrangement. Cordless Larry (talk) 21:54, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
As I understand it, the existing bot setup uses "inviter" names only from a separate list where people specifically opt-in for this purpose, i would assume this alternate solution would do the same. It would be nice if it could also check for some recent activity by the "inviter" either on the Teahouse or on Wikipedia generally before using the name, so we don't direct newbies to the talk page of someone on wiki-break. But I don't know if this is feasible without excessive work by the bot or the bot maintainer. Jtmorgan, would that be workable? say at least N posts in the past week, where N is some small number such as 3? DES (talk) 22:16, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
Happy to set that up. Might take me a week or two to get to it, but as long as a little lag time isn't a big deal, consider it done. Jtmorgan (talk) 22:20, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
I also like this solution. Cordless Larry and others: if this solution is implemented, ping me on my talkpage and I'll add your name to the list of 'direct contacts' who appear on the invite. Jtmorgan (talk) 22:07, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
Here's the template, btw, when the time comes. I can't edit it myself. Jtmorgan (talk) 22:10, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Did anything get changed as a result of this discussion? I still see signs that people are getting confused. Cordless Larry (talk) 22:48, 27 November 2015 (UTC)

New research on the impact of the Teahouse (or, why your work matters)[edit]

Hi all, I wanted to share some research that EpochFail and I are doing on the impact of the Teahouse on the retention of new editors. We recently presented our initial findings during the October Research Showcase (slides, video). Basically, we've found that new editors who are invited to the Teahouse are approximately 15% more likely than a control group (new editors who did not receive a Teahouse invite) to still be editing Wikipedia 3 weeks to 6 months later. This is especially encouraging because it's the strongest positive evidence either of us have seen for any new editor engagement initiative on English Wikipedia, from Adopt-a-User to GettingStarted. There are still a lot of questions that we'd like to dig into more deeply, and I'll post updates here as we continue with this research over the next couple months. But I wanted to let you all know the exciting news, and thank you for all your hard work. By participating on the Teahouse, you are helping train the next generation of Wikipedians and ensure the future of the project. Cheers, Jtmorgan (talk) 20:55, 31 October 2015 (UTC)

That's great (and also interesting) news, Jtmorgan! I've seen plenty of anecdotal evidence of Teahouse interaction correlating with editor retention, but as we all know the plural of anecdote is not data. Thanks for sharing, and please keep us apprised of your findings. —GrammarFascist contribstalk 23:59, 31 October 2015 (UTC)

New to Wikipedia TeaHouse... was sent an invite but don't really know what to do or how to do it[edit]

Hi there. My user name is Swadyaha I've chosen. I have a real name as well and edited my first Wikipedia article yesterday. I'm intrigued with the way things seem set up and don't quite catch the gist of it yet, but feel interested to try. Will try to return to the TeaHouse frequently to see if any communication with anyone results. Am glad that folks here are into knowledge and objective, impartial articles. Have much to learn, have autism, so learn slow. Have a great day and wonderful life, everyone! Swadyaha November 7, 2015 9:31pm — Preceding unsigned comment added by Swadyaha (talkcontribs) 05:31, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

Welcome, Swadyaha, and thanks for your message. If you have any questions as you go about learning about Wikipedia, the place to ask them is at Wikipedia:Teahouse/Questions. Good luck! Cordless Larry (talk) 09:08, 8 November 2015 (UTC)