Welcoming Newbies = Improving retention?

Comments about LibriVox? Suggestions to improve things? News?
Cori
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Post by Cori » July 14th, 2013, 2:51 pm

I reckon we had similar retention rates back in 2005, when projects were coordinated by the BC listing out the chapters in the first post and editing in people's names as they claimed. When the files were sent by YouSendIt and there was a panic if they were auto-deleted before someone had downloaded them. When disclaimers were a bit random as long as the basic elements were included. When ID3 tags, mono, 5/10 seconds silence were all nice to haves. When instructional videos were nothing but a glint in Phil's innocent eye. When it was possible to read all the posts in all the forums every day -- and certainly response turnaround times for any question were very quick then!

What I mean is ... I 100% agree with streamlining process, continuing to look for ways to improve, embracing new approaches and abandoning stuff that doesn't work. But I don't agree that any of the issues raised above are fully solvable problems. I don't think LibriVox is for everyone, and that's not a bad thing, there are a lot of other ways to enjoy books, spread knowledge, volunteer, share, and generally make the world a better place. Let's not lose the fun aspect of this. :lol:
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

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Post by carolb » July 14th, 2013, 2:55 pm

Everything 'they' would find in a tutorial is within their welcome e-mail. If it is too much trouble to check out the links therein, they would surely not want to be faffing around in a tutorial set up. :|

As Ruth said, 'we all learned it' - and those who want to will as well.

Carol

ccfpcl
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Post by ccfpcl » July 14th, 2013, 3:50 pm

I'd just like to chip in in support of Todd's suggestion of a survey of 'lapsed' readers - albeit a "very small one"!

We can all speculate enthusiastically about the causes of lapse and invent potential solutions, but nothing beats a few facts to ensure that the limited energy of the core team is focused on the right issues.

I'd even be willing to help administer such a thing, if that were useful

Cheers, Chris

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Post by lubee930 » July 14th, 2013, 3:56 pm

Lynnet wrote:
lubee930 wrote: I have to say, had it not been for Phil's videos when I was a beginner, I would never have been able to figure out how to record and edit (and they are wonderful for learning LV procedures as well). Otherwise I would have given up. I know that there is a link to them at the bottom of the Welcome Email, but I can't think of any other simple, no-cost tweak that would be more helpful to newcomers than to make those videos way easier to spot. And I would strongly recommend them to new members at the top of every Welcome Email--I think that they are that beneficial for newcomers.
Or do what I did... pick one of Phil's projects for a first project :wink: He definitely talked me through that first one, referring me to his videos, stroking my ego, etc. He probably regrets it now :lol: But I learned a lot from him, not just about recording but also about working with new readers.
Amen, Lynne--Phil is a wonderful ambassador for this website! I've read multiple sections in 4 of his projects I think so far, and he has been so helpful to me in all of them. :)
Kind regards,
Lucretia

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Post by lubee930 » July 14th, 2013, 4:09 pm

ccfpcl wrote:We can all speculate enthusiastically about the causes of lapse and invent potential solutions, but nothing beats a few facts to ensure that the limited energy of the core team is focused on the right issues.
Rare to see such thoughtful common sense, Chris--excellent comment! :)
Kind regards,
Lucretia

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Post by lubee930 » July 14th, 2013, 4:14 pm

carolb wrote:Everything 'they' would find in a tutorial is within their welcome e-mail. If it is too much trouble to check out the links therein, they would surely not want to be faffing around in a tutorial set up. :|
As Ruth said, 'we all learned it' - and those who want to will as well.
Carol
Yes, Carol--we all learned it, so maintaining the status quo is certainly an option. LibriVox works extraordinarily well in lots of ways. :)
Kind regards,
Lucretia

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Post by Lynnet » July 14th, 2013, 4:46 pm

lubee930 wrote:
carolb wrote:Everything 'they' would find in a tutorial is within their welcome e-mail. If it is too much trouble to check out the links therein, they would surely not want to be faffing around in a tutorial set up. :|
As Ruth said, 'we all learned it' - and those who want to will as well.
Carol
Yes, Carol--we all learned it, so maintaining the status quo is certainly an option. LibriVox works extraordinarily well in lots of ways. :)
But, at the same time, surely it is healthy to discuss things that some people see as a problem, suggesting 'fixes' which may or may not be the answer, and sharing ideas. No one is saying either something has to be changed, nor that everything is perfect. Changes are occurring all the time in all walks of life. We may not always like them, but we can't say "This is how we've always done it, so this is the way we will always do it".

The idea of gaining some feedback as to why people leave is a good one. Of course, this isn't for everyone... but even if they say "I thought I'd try it but decided I'd rather be shooting hoops with my kids", that's still useful information. Just because we can't fix that, doesn't mean it isn't good to know. On the other hand, "lack of support", "slow turnaround", "confusing technical details", "nothing I was interested in reading" - these are all fixable.
Lynne

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Post by RuthieG » July 15th, 2013, 12:18 am

ccfpcl wrote:I'd just like to chip in in support of Todd's suggestion of a survey of 'lapsed' readers - albeit a "very small one"!

We can all speculate enthusiastically about the causes of lapse and invent potential solutions, but nothing beats a few facts to ensure that the limited energy of the core team is focused on the right issues.

I'd even be willing to help administer such a thing, if that were useful

Cheers, Chris
Indeed, it sounds a good idea. Not quite sure how you would go about doing it.

There are currently 100 readers who are have claimed a section but have not yet produced a recording. These may be people who have just claimed a section this week. They may or may not have done a test recording to check their specs. I have no record of the many hundreds who claimed a section and never recorded it, so that their claim was subsequently removed and the section orphaned.

There are 1924 readers who have recorded one section. Again, they may be people who have just started and will continue to record, or people who recorded one section and vanished. My guess is that some of these will have recorded the Weekly or Fortnightly Poetry only, which is quite a different kettle of fish from recording a chapter of a book. I suspect that when a lot of people realise that editing takes longer than recording, they either don't have the time or inclination to continue. Here's a random look at 10 of these:

1. 1:20 poem 2011
2. 26:11 book chapter 2011
3. 0:46 Weekly Poetry 2011
4. 1:33 poem 2011
5. 7:43 story 2009
6. 29:43 non-fiction collection, essay 2009
7. 28:32 short scifi story 2008
8. 3:27 poem 2008
9. 1:23 German poem 2008
10. 5:53 book chapter 2007

Then there are countless people who submit a test recording, get simple step-by-step advice on how to get the specs right, increase volume, reduce background noise etc. and then either a) don't even return to read that advice or b) do return, make their corrections, get OK'd, and THEN vanish. About 3 people a day submit test recordings, sometimes more, rarely fewer.

Ruth
My LV catalogue page | RuthieG's CataBlog of recordings | Tweet: @RuthGolding

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Post by annise » July 15th, 2013, 12:34 am

I suppose another approach would be to ask people when they have submitted their first recording what they had found difficult - they may be more likely to respond. I don't know how you would keep track of them though.

I'm sure editing is a big shock to many people - but really it is an essential part of the process if people want results they can be proud of

Anne

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Post by ccfpcl » July 15th, 2013, 9:32 am

RuthieG wrote:
Indeed, it sounds a good idea. Not quite sure how you would go about doing it.

There are currently 100 readers who are have claimed a section but have not yet produced a recording. These may be people who have just claimed a section this week. They may or may not have done a test recording to check their specs. I have no record of the many hundreds who claimed a section and never recorded it, so that their claim was subsequently removed and the section orphaned.

There are 1924 readers who have recorded one section. Again, they may be people who have just started and will continue to record, or people who recorded one section and vanished. My guess is that some of these will have recorded the Weekly or Fortnightly Poetry only, which is quite a different kettle of fish from recording a chapter of a book. I suspect that when a lot of people realise that editing takes longer than recording, they either don't have the time or inclination to continue. Here's a random look at 10 of these:

1. 1:20 poem 2011
2. 26:11 book chapter 2011
3. 0:46 Weekly Poetry 2011
4. 1:33 poem 2011
5. 7:43 story 2009
6. 29:43 non-fiction collection, essay 2009
7. 28:32 short scifi story 2008
8. 3:27 poem 2008
9. 1:23 German poem 2008
10. 5:53 book chapter 2007

Then there are countless people who submit a test recording, get simple step-by-step advice on how to get the specs right, increase volume, reduce background noise etc. and then either a) don't even return to read that advice or b) do return, make their corrections, get OK'd, and THEN vanish. About 3 people a day submit test recordings, sometimes more, rarely fewer.

Ruth
annise wrote:I suppose another approach would be to ask people when they have submitted their first recording what they had found difficult - they may be more likely to respond. I don't know how you would keep track of them though

Anne
I don't understand enough of the systems to know what we can and can't track, but it sounds like there should be enough in here to do a useful survey. It's just like analysing a sales conversion 'waterfall' - you look at each stage in the process and try to establish what the main causes of defection are. Thus:

1. Claim but no test recording
2. Test recording but no claim
3. Claim(s) but no upload
4. Only 1 upload (after a reasonable period)
etc

If we can identify a reasonable chunk of users in each category we can presumably survey them. Also a survey after first upload sounds like a good idea (as long as we don't scare people off!).

At the risk of being accused of being as subjective as the rest of you ( :lol: ) my gut tells me that 1 & 2 are likely to be technical reasons, so 3, 4 and beyond are probably more interesting.

We have #3 (100 currently) It should be easy to screen out the still-active subset based on elapsed time since claim.

We have #4 (1924 currently). Same comment here. If we pick those whose upload was (say) 1-4 months ago, we would avoid potentially active users and those who would not want to be bothered by us. In selecting a subset to survey, we can chose a spread of those with small uploads (eg poetry) vs substantial ones and see if there's any difference in responses.

Our first upload survey could go to the subset of the 1924 who uploaded in the last week/fortnight (depending on volume).

In order to make the results easy to analyse, it would be best to identify a list of probable causes for people to select from, but include an 'other' choice with space for a text response. Also worth giving text option for things like 'technical difficulties' so we can pinpoint the problems.

There are lots of people that will run surveys like this for you, based on a list of email addresses, (e.g. SurveyMonkey) so it should be easy enough to set up.

Cheers, Chris.

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Post by lezer » July 15th, 2013, 9:54 am

I suspect that in category 2. there are also people who never plan to record for LV but just use our super-friendly test-recording surroundings to get their recording set-up optimal for free for their own podcasts or other projects or whatever - but perhaps that is my suspicious mind...

This is all run by volunteers, so if there's a person who is really passionate about this issue, he/she could perhaps volunteer to come up with something?

(The Mellon Grant project upgrade is getting very near so behind the scenes at the administrative side everything is VERY hectic at the moment with database transfer and overhaul of 7000 projects and 6000 author entries etc)
Anna

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Post by Darvinia » July 15th, 2013, 10:35 am

annise wrote:I'm sure editing is a big shock to many people - but really it is an essential part of the process if people want results they can be proud of

Anne
I have encountered this a few times. People have said "how hard can reading aloud into a mic be?" and are under the impression that is all they have to do. They believe the editing is done by others after they upload the recording.
Bev

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"Everybody's got a mountain to climb" - Dickey Betts
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Cori
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Post by Cori » July 15th, 2013, 1:06 pm

ccfpcl wrote:1. Claim but no test recording
2. Test recording but no claim
3. Claim(s) but no upload
4. Only 1 upload (after a reasonable period)
I'd like to see a 2 survey first. Because, if we are being utilised by a significant percentage of people for their own ends, perhaps we could revisit how we tackle tests, as in that case, it's a lot of time and goodwill being used up for non-LV reasons. However, it's very possible it's letting newcomers find out early that they don't really have the time for their own editing, or hadn't realised recording takes longer than it sounds ... in which case it's probably well worth the effort. Especially if the number of orphaned claims has gone down in parallel (which would make sense.)

If someone non-admin wanted to send a few PMs, I'd love to know what we can find out. I'm leery of spamming people (so wouldn't be keen on using admin powers to email) and I'm not sure of the boundary between interest and harassment for 3s and 4s. The 2s seem a clearer case for asking to see what we can improve. I can see why 1s, 3s and 4s might happen. But I'd've thought that having surmounted the test hurdle, something like a weekly poetry wouldn't be a huuuuge barrier to cross, even if after that, people aren't really all that into listening to the sound of their own voice. ;)
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

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Post by MaryAnnSpiegel » July 15th, 2013, 1:21 pm

How about using Survey Monkey? Drafting questions will be important so that the phrasing of the question doesn't influence the results and so that the results are meaningful against what you are trying to measure. But done well, it's better than free form Q&A.

MaryAnn

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Post by silverquill » August 3rd, 2013, 10:50 pm

This thread seems to be mostly among BCs and MCs, so I hope it's okay to pop in with a few comments. I've read this thread all the way through, and found it most fascinating. In the FWIW category . . .

I'm only about two months into LV, so these are really newbie comments.

What I wish I had known when I started, or what I've discovered.

1. How much FUN this was going to be.
2. How much WORK this was going to be
3. How easy it would be to get totally hooked
4. How educational this would be
5. How wonderfully nice and helpful LV people are
6, How difficult it would be to find a quiet place to record,.
7. How difficult it really is to produce a "clean" recording.
8. How long it would take to edit recordings
9. How challenging the technical side in general would be
10 How to find the information needed along the way.

Since the latter part of this thread has dealt with the retention of readers (and I do think that is perhaps the most critical issue) here are my insights based on my own experience.

1. There is no substitute for, nor way to create, the inner motivation to do what we do It is this that keeps me going. The exact motivation is different for each person.
2. Personal encouragement along the way has been important in keeping me going, however.
3. While there is a wealth of information for volunteers, it is often difficult to find. The videos seemed to be hiding most of the time. It takes a lot of time and patience to piece everything together.
4. Even with all of the wikis, FAQs and videos, there were some surprises. The biggest I think was the process of editing. This can be daunting the first few times out.
5. Having been a volunteer in many capacities, and having supervised volunteers, the same principles apply here. I think number one is encouragement and recognition. Oh, did I say that already?

To expand on these points.

1. If a survey is done, an understanding of what first attracts people to LV, and what motivates them to stay is important. What message can we put forth that would attract and connect with those motivations? Perhaps some promotional material, even videos, could be produced to attract readers. Many ways to promote on the internet, etc.

2. Many people have commented on the importance of giving new recorders encouragement. This cannot be underestimated. I don't think any kind of structured mentor system is necessary, but perhaps it ought to be part of a BC's
"job description" to provide this extra TLC whenever new readers show up. The welcome is very warm here, but it could be even better. I think this extends to DPL's, too! After all, they are the first ones to give feedback. A DPL needs to be more than a technician, but also to be partner with the BC in the ":shepherding" of the project. At least that's what I try to do. (Something to add to a "What Do DPL's Do?" wiki).

Also in this regard, it might be helpful to have a more useful way to track one's achievements. I'm not sure what would work Even for those of us who aren't primarily motivated by stats, they are still fun. I keep my own spreadsheet, so I can tell you exactly what my personal stats are. And, it is the only way to track what I'm doing as a DPL! (Except I was surprised to see my name in the catalog as a DPL when that first project made it!)

3. Probably a total reorganization of the volunteer info needs to be done at some point. And, I know there will be a lot of new stuff coming out soon! I would like to see a tutorial on "Recording from beginning to end" Step-by-step from setting up one's recording space, through editing, and final submission, PL feedback, and completion, and beyond to final cataloging. (And who is doing what in the process).. Anything that can be done to lower the learning curve.

A final word about completion of projects. First, I found the process of finding projects very confusing. There are so many places to look. And the subject tags are confusing. Finally, I realized the best place to pick up new things seemed to be in the Launchpad, This is especially true if one wants to be DPL. (I hope the whole orientation to PL and DPL will be changed, because it doesn't really work now the way it is described). Anyway, I think this may be a barrier for new readers - finding and claiming sections, especially ones that are personally attractive to them.

Other things that helped me -- links to projects in signatures! Great idea. And the "Help Our Senior Projects" thread.

Ultimately, I think it is the responsibility of the BC to promote the completion of the project! Encouragement, dealing with issues, tracking "claims" and following up. People often seem to respond to a suggestion to claim another section after submitting the initial commitment. Is it considered bad etiquette to recruit? Say, drop a PM to someone you think might be interested and ask them to record a section?

I don't think that there is a problem in having a lot of open projects. I suppose the MCs are already the gatekeepers of this in a way. I just see a lot of obscure stuff that I think has a more limited appeal. That is partly due to the antiquity of PD material, but some projects will just have a more difficult time attracting readers than others--no getting around that. I think most new readers respond better when there is a wider variety of projects to choose from. Here maybe a mentor type thing could help all of those new test recorders pick a section and get started. Someone who would say, "What are you interested in? Can I help you find something to get you started?" Maybe we could have an ongoing group project, say quarterly, for first recordings? New people could get plugged into that just to get their feet wet and get their first feedback. Just a thought.

Is there anyway to track the stats on how long projects take, both group and solo? How long did Faust take?

Well, I hope to be here for the long haul, God willing, In my two months I've got 86 sections completed (not all are listed yet) and over 50 hrs. of PL in (Yeah, feast or famine). Looking forward to some solo projects, and BCing some group projects. Who knows what else down the line?

~Larry (silvequill)

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