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This document is intended to answer some questions that you may have about the 2008 survey of readers and contributors. The survey is now closed, so unfortunately if you haven't already participated, your opinion, while still valued, cannot be taken into account. Feel free to add any new questions to this page, or to the discussion page.
Please be aware that this survey leads you off the Wikipedia website.
- 1 Who is running this survey?
- 2 How does the survey benefit Wikipedia contributors and the Wikimedia Foundation?
- 3 What about privacy?
- 4 How do I take the survey? Is there a click start somewhere?
- 5 Do I need to provide my user name?
- 6 How long is the survey going to run?
- 7 When will the result be available? Can I see the report?
- 8 What does "formal training" mean?
- 9 Is there a difference between "author" and "editor" in the first question?
- 10 I don't like this survey. Will there be better surveys in the future?
- 11 Can I translate the survey so that it is made available for Wikipedians in other Wikipedias?
- 12 Several people have reported the survey doesn't work on Internet Explorer 7. Why is this?
- 13 More information
Who is running this survey?
The survey was developed by UNU-Merit (see website United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research and Training Center) together with the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization behind Wikipedia. It was translated into 20 languages by Wikimedia volunteers. The Collaborative Creativity Group investigates the socio-economics of collaboration across all domains such as free content and innovation in collaborative communities. The CCG has run several international surveys on free software, for example, the international study FLOSS World
With the exception of project management, Wikimedia has spent no money on the development of this survey. UNU-Merit's research interests are purely scientific in nature, and the "quid pro quo" amounts to both parties contributing to the questionnaire to meet their respective research interests.
How does the survey benefit Wikipedia contributors and the Wikimedia Foundation?
The survey will allow the Wikimedia Foundation to understand who our readers and contributors are, why they come to Wikipedia, and how they use it. The survey will help WMF to find the best ways to engage new and existing contributors.
For the first time, we will be able to answer more specifically questions such as:
- "How many older users are editing Wikipedia?"
- "Are Wikipedia writers primarily young male students?"
- "What do people think about the quality of Wikipedia?"
- "Do readers know that the Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit?"
- "Why do people stop contributing?"
What about privacy?
All personal data we obtain from the survey will be treated as strictly confidential and will not be passed on to parties outside the research team without permission. Personal data is only relevant for us in order to validate the results of the survey. We are not interested in individual profiles. Therefore, publications based on the survey results will not allow the reader to identify individual Wikipedia contributors or readers. All data will be carefully anonymized prior to publication (which includes removal of personal information and, for small data-sets, can mean removing specific answers, aggregating data, or turning specific numbers into approximates).
Personally identifying data will be deleted within one year after the publication of the results, with the exception of data about participants who agree to participate in follow-up studies.
How do I take the survey? Is there a click start somewhere?
The survey is closed. As long as the survey was active, there was a link at the top of this and any other Wikipedia page. The survey was also accessible via this link.
Do I need to provide my user name?
No. The user name is optional, and you do not need to provide it if you prefer not to.
How long is the survey going to run?
The survey was expected to run until November 3, 2008. However, due to recent events, the survey run for sometime longer.
When will the result be available? Can I see the report?
First results are expected within eight weeks after the conclusion date. UNU-Merit will make anonymized research data available under the CC-BY license, and its own analysis under the CC-BY-SA license. Results will be publicized both on the Wikimedia blog and on the foundation-l mailing list.
Update: preeliminary results are available.
What does "formal training" mean?
The term "formal training" refers to the measurable formal education by recognized educational entities by the government. Examples would be, kindergarten or nursery, primary school, junior high school or middle school, high school or secondary school, college, university, and vocational school.
No. The two choices will be interpreted identically.
I don't like this survey. Will there be better surveys in the future?
This is the first international Wikimedia survey. As such, it is likely to have lots of room for improvement. We appreciate feedback on the discussion page, especially regarding issues that will affect the interpretation of the results. You can also e-mail the survey team at info(at)wikipediastudy(dot)org.
We hope we will have more surveys in the future, including drill-down surveys on specific topics.
Can I translate the survey so that it is made available for Wikipedians in other Wikipedias?
The survey was translated by volunteers into 20 languages. We won't add any additional languages this time around, but we definitely plan to survey more languages in future follow-up surveys.
Several people have reported the survey doesn't work on Internet Explorer 7. Why is this?
If Temporary Internet Files setting is set at "Never" (Tools -> Internet Options -> General -> Browsing History -> Settings -> Temporary Internet Files), the page sometimes gets stuck. Please change the setting to "Automatically" and try again. Please see the discussion at the talk page.
- m:Research:UNU-MERIT Wikipedia survey. Documentation on meta.wikimedia.org
- Original Wikimedia Foundation Press Release
- Website of the UNU-Merit Collaborative Creativity Group
- Wikipedia Survey – First Results Working Draft Version 0.3, 9 April 2009.
- General User Survey on meta.wikimedia.org
- final results published on March 2010