[Wikimedia-l] "Big data" benefits and limitations (relevance: WMF editor engagement, fundraising, and HR practices)

Richard Farmbrough richard at farmbrough.co.uk
Mon Jan 14 09:38:07 UTC 2013

Yes there is some data on templating in a research paper somewhere, and 
some more on a/b template runs. But the solution is not trivial.  I have 
stuck up for a few editors who appear to be children, suggesting that we 
treat them a little more gently, only to be told that they are in fact 
trolls, pretending to be children, pretending to create obvious socks...

When I joined Wikipedia I was constantly being surprised (and delighted) 
by the unwillingness to block, the willingness to unblock, the IAR ethos 
when something did something obviously good that broke a rule.  I get 
the feeling that many admins still have the same /attitude/ they are 
just to weary to AGF.  UNblock is pretty much always "standard offer or 
nothing" - even people who say  "I see what I did was wrong but.." end 
up with their talk page access removed, or giving up.  This is not about 
the vandalism only accounts, this is people who do something stupid, and 
something in good faith, or make a mistake.  They may well not be ready 
to edit for a few years, but we are building up a resentment about 
Wikipedia that is visible in every comments section of every article 
about Wikipedia "I tired to edit once and it got reverted".   Of course 
there will always be some who won't engage with discussion, but 
fundamentally we should be able to engage these people, rather than 
alienate them.

On 03/01/2013 10:01, Thomas Morton wrote:
> It might help; often it is surprising how statistical analysis can 
> help narrow the focus of such efforts. For example; it is taken as a 
> given that incivility drives away new users, but do we have hard 
> statistical evidence to back that up? And if that is a true situation, 
> can we identify specifically what uncivil things are driving the most 
> editors away (rudeness, templating, etc.). Although please lets do it 
> without words like "big data", which makes me squirm :P Tom 

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