Wikipedia talk:Subject Recruitment Approvals Group

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Is Wikipedian mandatory?[edit]

You've got a Wikipedian? column, but over on Wikipedia:Subject Recruitment Approvals Group/Requests you twice demand the user be a registered account holder in good standing. Josh Parris 04:58, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

It is preferable that the researcher's account have a history, but it is by no means a requirement. And, as we discussed before, this may or may not be necessary anymore with SRAG. As with everything else right now, it's open to opinions. -- PiperNigrum (hail|scan) 15:44, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
The "Wikipedian?" column is for SRAG members. I don't think it is unreasonable to ask researchers who want to interact with users on Wikipedia to register an account. --EpochFail(talk|work) 21:06, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Based on the text at Wikipedia:Subject Recruitment Approvals Group/Requests
Applications must be from a registered account to provide a place for other editors to contact the researcher through Wikipedia, and to make it clearer when the researcher participates in discussions about their application.
I think it would be best to remove this column. Josh Parris 02:21, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand how/why you are interrelating the applying researcher's need for an account with members of SRAG who are Wikipedians. These are two separate items to me:
  • Researchers who are applying to SRAG for approval of recruitment should have a Wikipedia account.
  • Members of SRAG can either be researchers (knowledge of research methods), Wikipedians (knowledge of Wikipedia's culture), or both.
-- PiperNigrum (hail|scan) 15:08, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
How will someone without an account participate in SRAG? Josh Parris 15:10, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
If they don't have an account, their participation would be related to commenting in the public discussions of recruitment applications. It doesn't make sense for them to be SRAG members (similarly, I see no IP addresses as members of the Bot Approval Group), and they cannot be people who submit recruitment applications. -- PiperNigrum (hail|scan) 21:35, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

Member List[edit]

So, these are the SRAG members, right?

And they're the people who can close a discussion and assert consensus?

What if, as a function of how the discussion is closed, the bot just starts up and does its thing? Then no-one would need "control" over the bot, the bot would watch what SRAG members did, and if they did something that meant "this study is now good to go", the bot would charge off into the distance, spitting messages all over talk pages. Throttled, perhaps.

Would that be bad? Josh Parris 06:32, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure how having the bot reacting to a SRAG member "doing something" is any different from that member having control over the bot. --EpochFail(talk|work) 20:57, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. Josh Parris 02:21, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Members of SRAG are comprised of two (non-mutually exclusive) categories of people: researchers, who have a deep understanding of the scientific method and experience in the design and implementation of research studies and Wikipedians, who are members of the community that have a history of constructive contributions to Wikipedia, and are familiar with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines.

This needs re-writing to something more like

Members of SRAG are expected to have either a deep understanding of the scientific method and experience in the design and implementation of research studies; or be editors of good standing, very familiar with Wikipedia's policies, guidelines, culture and norms.

Josh Parris 02:21, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm liking the phrasing of your suggestion better than what we currently have. But, the current language mirrors the words used to label the two columns of the membership table, and their meanings might seem less clear if paired with the suggested phrasing. -- PiperNigrum (hail|scan) 15:14, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps that's the problem: the membership table. Emulating the BAG is wonderful and all, but I don't see what those columns mean in this context. Josh Parris 00:39, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
They are meant to be a way to identify whether the SRAG member has knowledge of researching, knowledge of Wikipedia, or both. This is for various reasons from having a quick way to see the makeup of SRAG to see if there are sufficient number of members with knowledge of one area or another, to determining whether you are asking a question of the right person (ie, not asking a Wikipedia culture question to someone who only knows about research methods). -- PiperNigrum (hail|scan) 15:52, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
So what's the recruiter column for, I thought all of SRAG were empowered to control the bot? Josh Parris 17:32, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
When we started looking into using a bot, we were under the impression that the bot could only have one operator. While there is a multi-operator bot policy, we were still picturing a subset (say, 3-4 out of 8-9 SRAG members) would operate the bot. My memory of the reasoning for this is a bit hazy, perhaps EpochFail remembers. -- PiperNigrum (hail|scan) 21:29, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
One responsible person for the bot, but as per my comments above, you have it monitoring these pages and kick off in response to the closing (etc) of an application. No need to disclose here who is responsible for the bot's activities, although they might get a bit of hate mail because of "them annoying messages that just won't stop". Josh Parris 03:07, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
We are required by the bot policy to disclose who is operating the bot on each posting it makes. See operator disclosure in the section I linked to. --EpochFail(talk|work) 22:31, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps we could drop the columns, go with information in the notes instead. Josh Parris 03:07, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure how this would solve any of the problems you've brought up. Could you please explain? --EpochFail(talk|work) 22:31, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Is it clearer after an edit? Josh Parris 10:47, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes it is. I like this style and think we should stick with it. --EpochFail(talk|work) 17:21, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Bot design[edit]

We're drifting into bot specification territory here, so I figure I'd start by slitting this out and then we can move this off elsewhere as needed.

I think we should have a subset of SRAG members have control over the bot for a few reasons:

  • Not everyone in SRAG will have the understanding required for operating the bot or even want to.
  • Operating the bot will be a burden. I can imagine that some people just don't want the responsibility.
  • More than one person in control of the bot helps mitigate the effect of having that person take an announced/unannounced wiki-break.
  • Multiple owners are possible under the bot policy.
  • The list of people who have control over the bot is also the list of members that researchers can contact once their application has been approved. I imagine that this will not be necessary in many cases since some of the SRAG members participating in discussion will likely have access to the bot, but in the cases where this isn't true, it might be nice to know who has the capability to get the work done.

With all of that in mind, I'd be fine with dropping the "researcher" and "wikipedian" columns since they don't have very strict definitions. --EpochFail(talk|work) 19:41, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Let me distinguish first between the bot operator, and and SRAG. The bot operator is responsible for the actions of the bot where they fall outside of the approved design, the bot's talk page typcially redirects to this person's talk page. The difficulty I see with multiple operators is the "operator verification" part: signing in each edit; I don't perceive that SRAG members would want to do that; it might colour the recruitment message (for example).
For this bot, I think we can design it so that a list of approved people can cause the bot to do things, but keep this bot "under the control" of another, disinterested party such as the developer of the bot. So, when a certain template is placed by certain people on an approval, the bot will respond by doing it's thing; it would be running 24/7, waiting.
We should consider some options to counteract wikibreaks, perhaps multiple approved bots (but then we'd have a bot naming issue).
You originally said there may be no difference between operating the bot to do things via commands and the bot just taking off and doing them, does that comment still apply with your statement of "Operating the bot will be a burden. I can imagine that some people just don't want the responsibility."? Josh Parris
Anyone who has the ability to operate a bot is responsible for that bot's edits. Why don't we leave the bot authentication process up to the developer? If I were designing this myself, I'd perform operator verification via a web interface that requires authentication credentials (ie. username and password).
As far as identifying the current operator (operator verification), the bot can add a link to their user in the edit summaries.
I never intended to suggest that this bot would be capable of performing any action without operator input. I do not draw the distinction between operating the bot via wiki edits, web interface or otherwise. Either way, the bot is operating in response to operator commands. --EpochFail(talk|work) 22:23, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Okay, that's clear to me.
What good is a SRAG member (beyond what they could do as a non-SRAG member) if they can't/won't run the bot? Josh Parris 10:47, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
A SRAG member, I would assume, would be a regular participant in recruitment application discussions. For comparison, BAG members are not given special powers. They have simply voiced their interest in being part of the group that regularly makes decisions about proposed bots and have been accepted by the BAG community. Why should SRAG be any different? --EpochFail(talk|work) 17:20, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
BAG members do have super-powers, they are authorized by the community to close and declare consensus on BRFAs. A wandering bureaucrat then whacks the bot flag on bot accounts when they notice (or are informed of) this decision. SRAG members will have similar powers, in that they are authorized by the community to close and declare consensus on SRRFAs. Then something happens, and the messages are/aren't sent out.
Which leads me to think, this implies that all the information required to send out the messages, invitation group size and sample criteria, text and everything needs to be known before an application can be closed; any one of these factors could lead to community objections.Josh Parris 01:53, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Content move[edit]

I think the top half of the page Applying for approval section ought to be migrated to Wikipedia:Subject Recruitment Approvals Group/Requests Josh Parris 01:59, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

In fact, I think it so much I've gone ahead and done it. Josh Parris 02:05, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Why? I'm confused about your motivation for moving these sections of text. --EpochFail(talk|work)
Because none of it is about the SRAG, it's about applying for SRAG approval. Josh Parris 07:17, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
I see the section in question as relating to the policy of approval, and as such belongs on the SRAG policy page, rather than the page where requests are submitted and kept. We would want to point people who are interested at WP:SRAG, which should give them information about recruitment. With pretty much the only thing there now being a list of members, it's not looking like a policy. -- PiperNigrum (hail|scan) 15:52, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Bot policy is separate from WP:BAG; that's where I took my lead from. I didn't think it was up to the SRAG to dictate policy, only mediate on it, to judge the community's informed opinion. Josh Parris 00:54, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
I thought that WP:SRAG would not be official Wikipedia policy, but instead it would describe processes internal to SRAG. The WP:Research should dictate that SRAG's existence, its responsibilities and its capabilities whereas WP:SRAG is where SRAG can dictate the specific details of its operation unnecessary to WP:Research. --EpochFail(talk|work) 16:17, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
So WP:Research is the equivalent of Wikipedia:Bot policy? Josh Parris 09:36, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
For a very loose definition of equivalence. --EpochFail(talk|work) 15:49, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

"Applying for approval"[edit]

A couple of flaws here. The project page says,

"All research studies that require subjects from Wikipedia must be approved before they can recruit users. A researcher recruiting subjects without seeking approval from SRAG will expose themselves to administrative discipline for disruptive editing.
"In order to apply for approval, the researcher will need a registered Wikipedia account. Applications that are not made from a registered account will be denied. It is preferable that the researcher's account have a prior history of positive contributions/interactions within Wikipedia, and is familiar with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines."
  1. The first paragraf should be worded more precisely. Researchers are physically able to contact potential subjects without going through WP. For example, some people here use their real names, etc.
  2. Requiring researchers to generally participate in WP has at least the potential of introducing bias into a study. Maurreen (talk) 22:07, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Concerning the two points:
  1. The policy refers to recruitment via requests posted on talk pages, and yes, that should be made more clear here as it is on WP:Research. If researchers recruit subjects outside of this method (ie, by contacting them in person, via phone, email, IM, postal mail, etc) that is beyond the scope of SRAG.
  2. Participation in Wikipedia is not required, but preferable. Having an account serves as a point of contact on-Wiki for the researcher. A history of prior positive contributions would serve to show commitment and interest in Wikipedia (and avoid the sillyness of "who is this noob" syndrome). Also, researchers should already know enough not to participate in their own studies, but in any event, it is not SRAG's job to critique their study and methods – there are IRBs for that purpose. SRAG determines if it's something that is worth allowing recruitment for on Wikipedia.
-- PiperNigrum (hail|scan) 20:37, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the change. Maurreen (talk) 06:59, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Signing up[edit]

Can I join? I am a long time contributor to Wikipedia, mainly WikiProject Medicine. I am active at the science reference desk. My biggest contribution is the featured article "Lung cancer". I am a pulmonologist and I have previously undertaken research. Axl ¤ [Talk] 18:30, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

As soon as we figure out how to get this approved as a guideline (and stay approved), I'll ping your talk page. In the meantime, we could use your input at Wikipedia_talk:Research for ideas on how to properly implement the policy change. --EpochFail(talk|work) 18:29, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Okay, thanks. Axl ¤ [Talk] 20:33, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Trial run[edit]

Active editors/editors interested in becoming SRAG members once we go live, it appears that an application has already been submitted. From conversations with the other interested parties I am aware of, it appears that we are all in favor of letting this application be a trial run for SRAG's processes. In the meantime, I've...

  • Invited Axl to add him/herself to SRAG for the trial run
  • Posted on Jojoona's talk page and sent an email via Special:EmailUser to let him/her know that this is a trial run.
  • Posted on the talk pages of the other active editors I'm aware of (PiperNigrum and Josh Parris) about this thread.

I'll post an update if I hear back from Jojoona via email or talk page. --EpochFail(talk|work) 16:26, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Jojoona just got back to me. It looks like we are good to go. --EpochFail(talk|work) 14:03, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Where should we be advertising for this? Wikipedia:WikiProject_Politics? WP:VPM? Does BAG do any canvassing for their discussions? --EpochFail(talk|work) 15:11, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
At BAG we ask applicants to widely advertise bot proposals we think may ruffle feathers; where that is depends on what feathers we expect to get ruffled.Josh Parris 14:47, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
I suppose I'd think that this proposal is not likely to ruffle many feathers, but I'm leaning towards posting on WP:VPM. What do you think? --EpochFail(talk|work) 20:44, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by "advertising". Are you intending to recruit more reviewers? If the BAG isn't already aware of SRAG, they need to be made aware. Presumably they have already endorsed the SubjectRecruitmentBot? It certainly wouldn't do any harm to inform village pump of the activity here, but I suspect that most of them wouldn't be very interested. Axl ¤ [Talk] 09:05, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, it looks like BAG have not approved the SubjectRecruitmentBot yet. EpochFail, have you (or anyone else) informed BAG? Axl ¤ [Talk] 09:09, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
As with most consensus-seeking discussions on Wikipedia, there should be input from the community about the proposed recruitment. One of the aims of doing this is to show that there is wider community acceptance and participation rather than the decision being made only by a small group. As for SubjectRecruitmentBot, we have not reached the stage of creating and approving the bot. That was the step for after WP:Research and WP:SRAG were approved as policy and the recruitment process was started. -- PiperNigrum (hail|scan) 14:47, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Okay, thanks PiperNigrum. Village pump looks fine to start with. Axl ¤ [Talk] 10:07, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

The community has not approved this trial. Only WP:BAG can approve mass messaging. I have proposed here the already-discussed idea to let BAG approve those requests individually. Cenarium (talk) 18:28, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

The community does not need to approve of having a discussion about a research project. The trial was proposed and agreed upon by active contributors of WP:Research. No "mass postings" are intended to be made. The bot will not need to be run. --EpochFail(talk|work) 18:35, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Membership of SRAG[edit]

The purpose of SRAG and WP:Research as I understand it, would be to guide and assist researchers in interacting with the Wikipedia community when recruiting subjects and doing research. I am unclear why those who wish to get involved in SRAG would need to WP:Canvass the community. Very few areas of Wikipedia require the approval or consent of the community, and those that do - such as Adminship - are because those roles carry extra software tools. Membership of SRAG does not require extra software tools, and is an advisory role, as such membership should be open, as other such roles within Wikipedia are open. Those who put themselves forward would be self-selecting as people with some interest and/or experience in research and/or Wikipedia processes.

The more open and welcoming that SRAG itself it, the more likely it is to be welcomed by the Wikipedia community. The more people involved in SRAG the richer the range of guidance and advise that it will be able to give. SilkTork *YES! 11:44, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

A new newsletter directory is out![edit]

A new Newsletter directory has been created to replace the old, out-of-date one. If your WikiProject and its taskforces have newsletters (even inactive ones), or if you know of a missing newsletter (including from sister projects like WikiSpecies), please include it in the directory! The template can be a bit tricky, so if you need help, just post the newsletter on the template's talk page and someone will add it for you.

– Sent on behalf of Headbomb. 03:11, 11 April 2019 (UTC)