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Hey everyone, my name is TwoBearsHigh-Fiving, but you can call me Ryan, TwoBears, or as some have taken to calling me, Burrs.
I'm very excited to be doing this guest blog. I'd like to talk a bit about something that I feel is a huge part of the Wikia community, and that's welcoming guests.
Every single one of us was new at some time, and there are certain things we remember about our first days at Wikia, good and bad. When I started out over at the Fallout Wiki, I was immediately drawn in by how kind some of the users were. How you treat a newcomer can be a huge game changer in what kind of user they become. Here are some tips on how you can be extra welcoming:
- If you see a user make a mistake on their very first edit, instead of pointing it out and leaving it at that, take the opportunity to introduce yourself. You can undo the incorrect edit, and leave them a message on their wall. Introduce yourself, link to some editing resources, rules, and if you're up to it, offer to answer any questions they may have. They'll look over their first edit being undone and move forward.
- Be forgiving. It can be difficult to keep up with an inexperienced editor at times, but you have to sympathize. Offer to meet them in chat, if your wiki has one, so you can discuss their edits and help them out. Always assume good faith, and try to help them learn from their experiences.
- Be a mentor. On the Fallout Wiki, we have something called the "New User Network". We pair up experienced editors with new ones who are interested and let the new guys learn from the veterans. If you'd like, make a program like this similar for your community, or offer to take in a mentee.
- Get newcomers involved in the community. Act as an icebreaker and introduce a new member. You can do this in chat, so they can ease more into the conversation and talk a bit more about themselves.
- Projects. Projects are a great way to get familiar with the editing process, since there's a specific objective in mind. If there's a newcomer who just isn't sure where to start, direct them to an ongoing project. Or if there are none, give them a simple task that will get them acclimated (e.g., fixing links to disambiguation pages, capitalizing proper nouns).
It's not hard to be a good Welcome Wagon. Just be kind, understanding, and most importantly, a friend. After I started at Wikia, I didn't know how to sign my name for a whole week! But I had a great community, so I learned quickly and soon found a new place to call home.
How do you welcome new members to your community? What was your first experience on Wikia? Let us know in the comments below.
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