Research:Anonymous editor acquisition

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Research project
Anonymous editor acquisition
Main contact Growth team
WMF contact Steven Walling
Start 2013-09
Status in progress Icon 66 percent.png
Open access This project has open access publications
WMF support
Wikimedia research projects Wikimedia research projects

This research page documents attempts to grow the Wikipedia community by encouraging current or potential anonymous editors to register accounts.

Rationale[edit]

Previous research (circa 2011) has suggested that monthly anonymous editing is in greater decline than monthly edits by registered users, but that it still accounts for 20-30% of contributions to English Wikipedia.[1] This large group of editors is a cohort we know very little about. In fact, we don't even really know how many there are, their experience level, and so on. Some may be registered Wikipedians who choose log out, others may be first-time editors exploring things, and still more might be people who actively decline to sign up. We do know that many currently active community members began by editing anonymously,[2][3] which suggests it is a key method for attracting new Wikipedians. Our project will examine anonymous contributions with that goal in mind.

Research questions[edit]

In rough order of priority:

  1. Volume. How many anonymous editors are there every month on Wikipedia, and how much do they contribute?[4]
  2. Impact. What is the quality of anonymous contributions? Are their revert rates higher or lower than newly-registered users?
  3. Motivation. What keeps anonymous editors from registering? Some hypothesis to verify:
    • How aware are anonymous editors of the potential benefits to registering an account?
    • How aware are anonymous editors of the personal information required for creating an account?
    • How many actively choose to stay anonymous? How many have registered an account they choose not to use or cannot access?
  4. Experience. Unlike registered users, where we can use edit counts as a proxy for experience, anonymous users (esp. those on shared IPs) may be of any experience level.
    • How many anonymous editors are first-time contributors?

Methodology[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Research:Anonymous edits, 2011
  2. 2011 Editor Survey results
  3. Research:Account creation campaigns/Anonymous editors
  4. Currently neither the Wikimedia Report Card nor stats.wikimedia.org provide any information about anonymous editors over time.