[Foundation-l] Attribution survey, first results

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Tue Mar 3 04:17:58 UTC 2009

Hello all,

as some of you may have seen, I've run a small survey over the
weekend, scattered via a 5% site-notice on the English Wikipedia for
signed in users. The result is a self-selected sample of authors. I'll
publish the full anonymous raw data later this week, and I also intend
to run it on the German Wikipedia to get some comparative data. Please
note that I'll probably turn off the English version before doing so,
so if you feel you still want to take the survey yourself, you can do
so at: http://survey.wikimedia.org/index.php?sid=69514

We have 570 complete responses so far, of which only 1.23% have stated
that they do not edit. On a 5 point scale where 5 represents multiple
hours of editing per week 45.79% have answered 5, 18.60% have answered
4, 19.12% have answered 3, and 13.33% have answered 2.

The key piece of data is that 80.89% of respondents have answered as
their first option that either no credit is needed (12.11%), credit
can be given to the community (27.37%), credit can be given by linking
to the article (30.18%), or by linking to the version history

Most frequently ranked last is no credit (45.79%) and a full list of
authors (33.51%). Many people also left choice comments regarding the
notion of a full list of authors. Most frequently ranked
second-to-last is "link online, full list of authors offline". Only
4.38% ranked "link to the article" last or second-to-last.

IMO these results demonstrate a fairly strong and shared understanding
in the community of the tension between freedom to re-use and author
credit, while also showing that a simple solution, such as credit by
linking in all cases, would probably be acceptable to the largest
number of contributors. However, I'll leave further interpretation of
the results for later. Part of the reason that I want to run the
survey in the German Wikipedia is that I anticipate we might see
significantly different opinions there, due to a historically stronger
emphasis on author credit. But we'll see. :-)

More soon,
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

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