An interesting idea, and if it reduces the survey load on the community
that would be good.  But one should never survey for the sake of it.  Any
proposed survey question should be able to meet the test "What will you do
with the answer to this question?"  In my experience, the response to that
is often "We want to understand X,Y or Z".  That's not a good response: it
should always be about what will happen in the real world as a result of
that understanding.


On Sat, Feb 25, 2017 at 2:18 AM, Bill Takatoshi <>

> Over the past few weeks I have been discussing how to correct the lack
> of information about community opinion and the disadvantages of
> relying on opt-in (RFCs or less formal "speak up and stick your neck
> out") methods for addressing the problem with Foundation staff, other
> community members, and outside researchers experienced with surveying
> wikipedians. A number of themes are apparent, most prominently that I
> should, "collectively propose and work to develop additional systems,"
> as one Foundation staffer put it.
> So to get that ball rolling, I propose a monthly survey of editing
> community members as follows:
> (1) Anyone may suggest a topic or subject area to be included, for
> each of the top 20 largest language editions of Wikipedia by number of
> active editors, by sending email to an independent, outside firm
> experienced with surveying community members. All such emails will
> have their sender and other identifying information removed and then
> will be posted in a public location on the web for review by anyone
> interested.
> (2) Each month, the independent firm will pick the top five most
> popular topics to be included in each language's Wikipedia community
> survey, and will compose two to five opinion questions on each of
> those topics, with the goal of producing a neutral opinion
> questionnaire with about twenty likert and multiple choice tally
> questions. Every question will have an "other" option when
> appropriate, enabling a fill-in-the-blank opportunity when selected.
> (3) All questions will be clearly indicated as entirely optional. Each
> survey will conclude with demographic questions asking the
> respondents' age, sex, education, household income, and household
> composition, in compliance with the instructions at
> along with
> state-level geographic location, estimated hours spent editing over
> the past month, and the date each respondent started editing.
> (4) When each month's survey is ready, the independent firm will use
> the Recent Changes history for one day randomly selected from the past
> two weeks to select 1,000 users with contribution histories of at
> least 100 edits and going back at least one year, and who have email
> enabled, and send a link to a Qualtrics survey questionnaire to each
> of those 20,000 users. I believe this step can be efficiently
> automated, but bot approval will be necessary at least for the final
> step of sending the survey email text and links.
> (5) The email will indicate that the survey will be open for two
> weeks. At the end of the two week period, the raw Qualtrics results,
> expected margins or error, and any significant cross-tabulations
> information apparent in the data will be made public at a new web page
> for each language each month, all linked from a static URL where
> highlights from the results will also be summarized in paragraph form.
> I would be thrilled to learn what you think of this proposal. I hope
> the Foundation will consider funding such a regular opinion survey,
> and I certainly hope they will help with implementing the technical
> aspects, but if not, I am willing to pass the hat in the form of a
> GoFundMe or similar.
> Finally, it seems to me that more than a few of the nagging
> controversial questions concerning the Draft Code of Conduct for
> Technical Spaces, a subject of ongoing apparent acrimony on this list
> recently, could easily benefit from such a facility, were it
> available.
> -Will
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