On Sat, Dec 30, 2017 at 8:08 AM, John Erling Blad <jeb...@gmail.com> wrote:
> As I recall, communication with newcomers by templates was found to be a
> negative factor.

The results from past research are Not easy to summarize, and
definitely not that simple, because of all the varying factors in both
the templates and the research projects.
E.g. message-length/-linkcount/-tone/-formatting (all of which slowly
change over the years), the reason/timing for receiving a welcome
(account-creation, first-edit, random edit, time-after-event), whether
anything else was communicated around the same time (e.g. additional
warning templates) on the same page or elsewhere, whether the welcome
was personalized at all, what username it was signed with (a human
name in my language, a funny avatar name, a generic bot-name, etc),
etc -- all of which can be different (subtly or significantly) at
every project and every instance).
Some relevant links include:
but there are many more formal and informal attempts to understand and
improve it all (from Enwiki's Teahouse initiatives, to all the
scattered multilingual template_talk and wikiproject discussions (from
Q6137590, to all the topic-specific wikiprojects)).

TL;DR: Onboarding is complicated.
Many people are helped by welcome messages.
Many welcome messages are (or were) imperfect (too
I do not know if there is any specific research that focuses purely on
the timing (whether it is best to send at account-creation, after
first-edit, after human-review of an edit, whilst the user is
logged-in or offline, etc), but I agree it might be useful.

Here are some of the other research projects that look at welcome
templates as one of the factors, but not the primary focus,

Lastly, regarding the specific instance of Arwiki
- it's better than nothing, because some people will Not edit until
given some encouragement, and some people like to read the rules
before they start something.
- It would be good if the bot could distinguish between
accounts-made-locally (i.e. likely to be able to read Arabic) vs
accounts-attached-via-Single-User-Login (and to only send those latter
accounts a welcome message, after they've made 1 edit locally). I
don't know if that is currently possible or feasible.


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