Forum:New user recruitment and retention

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New user recruitment and retention is at a rate of about 1.5 users a year (active/contributing). This is a fraction of what it used to be. I'm very curious what users think might be the reason our recruitment and retention of new users is so very very low. --ShabiDOO 22:44, March 15, 2014 (UTC)

I greet more like 1.5 users a week who go on to do great stuff. Many don't stick around, as many from 2009 haven't stuck around, and virtually no one from 2005 is still here. You get an article featured, or get into the Hall Of Shame, then suddenly Facebook and Twitter spring up and you pursue different things. (I anticipate the alternate view, "Spike drove everyone away when he deleted my article about bowel movements.")
Indeed we are not social enough to make this the Home On The Web for many people. Part is lack of critical mass. Part is the lack of soap operas that used to make checking in daily obligatory. Part has been the disrepair of some of our institutions, such as periodic awards, but Anton199 and others are working to reinvigorate those. ScottPat has stepped up over the months as a one-man welcoming committee, Barbariandude thanked me recently for a warm welcome, and Berek has been welcomed by fellow Scots I have put him in touch with.
But we have not had a writing competition in a while; that attracted a lot of people (including Op). Spıke Ѧ 23:09 15-Mar-14

Puppy on recruitment versus retention

There are two very distinct questions here, and wrapping them into the one question is counter-productive, as it will lead more to finger pointing (IMHO) than actually working towards a solution. Recruitment and retention are two very different things.

RL examples that I'll steal from work. I manage two teams comprising between 25-30 staff at any given time. I work in an industry that traditionally has a high turn-over. My role comprises part of the recruitment of staff, but only in that I make the decisions as to who gets employed. The recruitment itself is done by another arm of the organisation, whose role it is to get the word out in numerous formats that we are looking for people.

The bigger part of my role is retention, which is done by trying to keep staff satisfaction at its maximum. I do that by being extremely sexy, but also by ensuring staff have adequate training, recognition, and support. (Monetary reward is also good, but is governed for the most part by budgetary constraints, so not completely within my grasp.)

This place is much the same. We recruit by getting our name out there. Solutions on how to increase this are not my strong suit, but there is an idea or two that I think could work, but requires substantially more effort than what I have time to do personally.

We retain by:

  • Recognition - WotM, NotM, MOOU, etc. These could use more attention from the community here as a whole, but not much needs to be changed here.
  • Support - Welcome committee, BGBU, and generally giving constructive feedback to new users. I was once a member of another site (a forum, in fact) that had a paid staff member who did this constantly. Given our budget of $0, probably not a viable option here.
We also have AAN, but that has always been, IMO, done backwards. Expecting a noob to trawl through our pages to finally find the right page, discover who is willing to adopt, putting themselves out there to be adopted, being rejected (or ignored), and starting again is asking a lot of someone who has little investment in the site. An experienced member going to a noob and saying “hey - I'n here for you” makes much more sense.
  • Training - at the moment we have fuck all. HTBFANJS is a start in writing comedy, but wiki coding tips are almost non-existent. PEE review is usually stalled to the point of frozen, and that is one of our best tools.
I've always thought removing the restriction on a review prior to being able to self-nominate for VFH was a bad idea (again IMO). Encouraging people to add things to PEE also encourages them to PEE in return. When I started here UU was a gun at reviews, and Chief took on that mantle effectively as well. I ended up being in the top ten purely because I would add my stuff to the queue, get tired of waiting for feedback, and then thin out the queue so my requests were towards the top. PEE lite is a great start, but this still needs attention.

Going back to recruitment - not much more we can do externally as we're already fairly high up in Page rank. What I was thinking was along the lines of, who have a link in their info bar about “write for us”. Something similar would be more attractive to turn site visitors into editors as well.

Pulling apart Bizzeebeever's sharing widget, and moving the sharing links to the sidebar (or somewhere we here they are visible) would also be more appropriate than what we have now.

And ages ago I suggested an external email newsletter as an option (rather than just USP internally). Getting an email every month or so that says “we're here, and we have funny” may encourage people, once they have come, to come back. It would require a little help from Wikia to get that rolling - but only a little, and nothing outside of what they do for almost every wiki so far. ScottPat and Anton did a lot to get USP back to life. Extending that idea is more work, but viable.

Okay - TL;DR stops here.                               Puppy's talk page05:06 am 16 Mar 2014

Thank you, Puppy, for taking time to state all this! The suggestions here are very concise and important!

  • The newsletter idea seems great. And yes, we will probably need Wikia's help to do something about it. I think that if such a system was set up, it should relate to the UnSignpost, so readers know where to find news and what's happening. But UnSignpost also needs attention. Your post made me think of a way to reorganise some parts of its main page, so they are updated automatically. A news system should tell news.
  • Spike also noticed that we need a guide for wiki coding. Important point, I think, as many new users need help with that. Also, the {{Writing funny stuff}} template was a very good idea but the welcome message, even though very long, still does not show all of the important projects and pages a user might need. I think we need to make it short and concise.

I answered only some of the points but all of what you said was very relevant and needs work. If I have time, I will try to work on the USP. See you soon! Anton (talk) 12:38, March 16, 2014 (UTC)

It may be too much to hope for an Uncyclopedia RSS feed to alert subscribers to new developments. At the moment, even our podcast of UnNews Audio is in stasis. Spıke Ѧ 13:25 16-Mar-14
I agree rentention is the key to maintaining a website. It is something that at least Spike and myself were doing before the schism with new users, encouraging the noobs who looked the most promising. Sometimes a new user wants to be left alone and just do their own thing here, others become like hyperactive bunnies. We also have users who come by every few months. --LaurelsRomArtus*Imperator ITRA (Orate) ® 10:47, March 17, 2014 (UTC)
HYPERACTIVE BUNNY ALERT!!!! Sir ScottPat (converse) White Ensign Scotland Flag 1 Compassrose VFH UnS NotM WotM WotY 19:25, March 22, 2014 (UTC)

Any user retention would be a good thing...

The methods of retention that have grown organically with the site have always stood us in good stead, and will continue to mold the community. The elephant in the room is that a huge section of our regular users got up and left, and now everything is judged against how it was before including the question of how quickly we can get back to that sort of level. The short answer is, it'll take time.

Most wiki sites (indeed most groups in general) revolve around a small core of people doing the bulk of the janitorial work, and with the best will in the world sometimes our actions (often done for the right reasons) are interpreted in a negative light. There is no training in how to be an admin, just as there is no training in how to contribute to the site, other than learning by example. The best advice offered was the one that remains the most valid - don't be a dick.

The one area that hasn't changed post-schism is that the levels of new drive-by contributors remain fairly regular. We're so used to thinking of "the community" as the same names we see day after day (punctuated every so often by the addition of a new and exciting regular user) but the random IP guy and the "I've made three edits and one of those was to create a username but now I'm going to disappear" guy are important too, who knows what they might end producing on the site when they get their act together. Given time, and it WILL take time, some of these guys, probably with some help from the more regular contributors, will write some of the funniest stuff you'll read this year, or next year, or maybe the year after. -- Sir Mhaille Icons-flag-gb (talk to me)

Stop talking so much sense, damn your sexy eyes. --UU - natter UU Manhole 10:05, Mar 29
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