> With a brief discussion about preserving privacy in aggregate data,
> randomizing test and control samples, and a tweak to allow web forms
> on pages that are aware of your wikipedia userid, we could have a
> simple projects-wide survey completed within a month. Let's make this
> a priority and make such a thing happen -- then figure out how to
> optimize future iterations.
> The latest discussions on meta are here:
SJ, great to hear you welcome the survey. After Wikimania 2005 the project
because I had too many other WM obligations and a not so good winter
Wikimania 2006 gave the project new elan and now someone else will code it.
Technical design has started but needs some more work:
I'll make a mockup input script for the form generator.
Programming will start in a reasonable time frame, see Kevin's earlier post.
I'm not so sure this takes only one month :(
Best after single login is active, in a few weeks time?
2 Anonimisation of results
May need some more thinking, this is sensitive matter
We had a heated debate about this in Frankfurt, we'll probably get into
when we have a proof of concept, and more people show up to give feedback.
3 Translation issues
A Mediawiki wide survey needs to be held in many languages to reduce bias
where opinions are asked.
4 Results should be script-processable, e.g. no free format feedback.
Thus all answers should be on a numeric scale or predefined
(e.g. country numbers instead of country names in all esoteric languages
that no script can handle)
Because of 3 a survey form needs to be built dynamically.
No English/German/Japanese/etc texts intermingled with PHP script.
That would be a maintenance nightmare.
Depending on how much time the programmer can spend on the project, we could
probably show an alpha version about 4 weeks after he starts.
Then start major discussion on final questions (this will work better when
people see a alpha version to play with),
and finally freeze questions and invite translators.
I would be happy if we did a major survey in November/December.
Please don't ask for quick hacks. I know all this sounds like an invitation
for some self-proclaimed code magician to make something barely functional
in a weekend, pronounce the job done and then leave the 'dirty details'
(usually 80% of what needs to be done) for others to clean up. I'd rather
see to it that the first version is usable and a good platform for future
reuse and extension.
Erik Zachte :)
A number of Wikipedians have advocated for a user survey for a very
long time. Erik Zachte has been the most vocal and persistent.
Realizing a user survey was one of the top items on the agenda of the
Wikimedia research network before it stopped holding meetings. It has
been the subject of long debates and conversations on IRC, has come up
this summer in Special Projects Committee discussions, and has been
the bugbear of dozens of student and professorial research projects.
Today I attended the wrapup discussion of a three-day conference on
open content and public broadcasting, with gathered luminaries from
WGBH, PBS, the Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting, Yale law school, the Federation of American Scientists,
and so forth. Of great relevance to them : good information on the
demographics of Wikipedians, segmented by activity in various areas of
the community and the projects. Are we dominated by people with no
full-time jobs and no children? The question was not posed to me, but
I could not have answered with certainty.
Noone outside of the projects can run a survey that ties reliably to
user login authentication. Important sociology and technology
projects going on every month, talks given by Wikipedians and
Wikimedians every week, and literally thousands of third parties
making decisions about communities and creativity, wish they could be
informed by the results of such surveys.
With a brief discussion about preserving privacy in aggregate data,
randomizing test and control samples, and a tweak to allow web forms
on pages that are aware of your wikipedia userid, we could have a
simple projects-wide survey completed within a month. Let's make this
a priority and make such a thing happen -- then figure out how to
optimize future iterations.
The latest discussions on meta are here:
I recall other pages on en:wp and other language wp's that are not
currently linked from there; if you were part of one of those efforts,
please add a link to your work.
ps - while looking for the link to the user survey on meta, I ran
across this: a poll applet that seems to be working as of last month.
(thread 2 in a 3-thread microseries. see also
I'm looking for people with multiple Web presence. By multiple I mean that
you have more than a single homepage/blog/wiki user page/etc.
So - if you are willing to share your list of urls - by sending them to me
(just the urls - I don't need a lot more).
A url should be hosted on a different host for each "presence".
I want to study and compare such multiple entities.
Einat Amitay, PhD.
Information Retrieval Group
IBM Research Lab in Haifa, Israel
> So I would like to ask if any of you, especially those who promised
> help with implementation during Wikimania, have been giving
> it some further thought? Every day, we are loosing more
> opportunities to learn about who we are... I think it's a shame.
I talked to Kevin after Wikimania. Kevin gave me the name of an
who did other wiki related work and is eager to contribute,
but not available till late September.
I also briefly talked about the project with the Special Projects Committee
and got an informal approval from Anthere.
So it is not forgotten. I think we can expect more interest and feedback
from the community
when we have a demo survey form in PHP version with at least two languages
(at least two to demonstrate language dependant issues,
e.g. behind the scenes the form should process index numbers not texts,
like an index number in a country dropdown box, not country names etc).
The technical implementation is not trivial at all and will take time and
For one, authentication will be so much easier after single signon which is
not live yet.
Two weeks ago I attended WikiSym 2006, the Second Symposium on Wikis, in
Odense, Denmark. Finally here is a short report on what was relevant to
me and maybe relevant for Wikimedia, Wikimedians, and Wikipedia research
(that's the reason for crossposting).
With me there were some (but little) Wikimedians, so Sj and
Brion Vibber. Participants (around 70) were scientist and community
leaders or very active community members from different wikis, for
instance Sunir (Meatball), Evan (Wikitravel), and Angela (Wikia).
Compared to Wikimania WikiSym is both more academic and more broad in
terms of wiki communities, while Wikimania is very centered to Wikipedia
(and other Wikimedia communities) and free content. To my impression
many people forget about the rich world of wikis beside Wikipedia or
even think Wiki=Wikipedia. Some argued at WikiSym that Wikipedia may
kill other Wikis because of that - there is no other Wiki of its size
Anyway - there is a large overlap between Wikimedia world and Wiki world
in general. Sj and me agreed upon that the place for academic,
peer-reviewed Wikipedia research is better WikiSym and not Wikimania, so
both should collaborate, for instance asking academic Wikimedia
submission to better submit at WikiSym instead.
Max Völkel has also written a short report about WikiSym at the swikg
mailing list for the Semantic Wiki community - he compared WikiSym
and and the first workshop on Semantic Wikis at the European Semantic
Web Conference - the latter is even more academic to his impression. But
WikiSym was a real place where science and practise meet.
There were a lot of "open space sessions" with many discussions, for
instance about the future of wikis in general, and interoperability
between wikis. Have a look at the proceedings at
Some more reports are at
in the symposium wiki - many particpants took notes there to document
the sessions (yes, it's a wiki although it does not look like MediaWiki ;-)
The workshop on Wikipedia Research was very fruitful and I only got
positive feedback. If your interested in Wikipedia research you should
definitely have a look at the slides:
I'm looking forward to WikiSym 2007 which will probably be in Montreal
(as far as I remember, no guarantee)!