Grants:IEG/Ghana Editor Study

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statusnot selected
Ghana Editor Study
summaryA study of different groups of Ghanaian Wikipedia editors to assess their motivations (or the lack of it).
strategic priorityincreasing participation
amount5,255 USD
project managerNkansahrexford
community organizerDin-nani1
this project needs...
created on22:57, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
2015 round 2

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

WMF have so far conducted three general user surveys (2011, 2011 and 2012) to gather statistics about the needs of editors in order to better understand the factors that motivate or inhibit them from contributing towards Wikipedia. Trends might have significantly shifted by now. The bigger problem however is that, by looking at data that is influenced by “highly uneven geographies of participation"[1][2], biases tend to arise that render recommendations futile when implemented in severely underrepresented parts of the world.

The last major attempt to address this issue was the Global South User Survey in 2014. Even so, only Egypt and the most active contributors (who may actually not be adding anything new[3]) in Sub-Saharan Africa were included. Furthermore, respondents were merely presented with predefined answers to choose from and nothing at all is yet known about the "not-so-active contributors" and initiates who have up to present not taken the next step. There is a need to assess a wider array of interventions that can possibly increase (or at least maintain) the activity of editors in the sub-Saharan regions by asking questions about why they register low or dwindling levels of participation, or even stop contributing entirely. Perhaps, besides the already assumed "internet connectivity problem", characteristics (or innate qualities) of their society or culture may provide us with interesting insights about their editing behaviors.

What is your solution?[edit]

A research study of five different groups of editors about reasons (beyond internet connection) that push them to edit Wikipedia (and what will encourage them further) as well as factors that inhibit those who have stopped editing "or are less frequent" (and what can bring them back). The study will further engage "low but steady" contributors as well as beneficiaries of WMGUG outreach projects and edit-a-tons. The study will be a one-on-one in-depth informal interview with subjects who will have the rare opportunity to express themselves in their native Ghanaian languages. Depending on budget, location and preferences of the subjects, video or telephone interviews may be arranged for some of them. In short, the different groups to be interviewed along with their peculiar questions are as follows:

Active contributors[edit]

  • Why do you keep contributing to Wikimedia Foundation Project website(s)?
  • How long have you been active?
  • How did you get started editing Wikipedia?
  • Are there times you edit more than other times (if so why is that)?
  • Is there something missing, that if present, could make you contribute more?
  • Is there something that could make you stop contributing to WMF websites?
  • Do you gain any personal benefits (personal, academic, etc) from contributing to WMF websites?
  • Do you feel you are accomplishing something?
  • Have you ever considered to stop contributing?
  • Do you find contributing easy or difficult? Anyway, please explain why.

Former editors who have stopped editing[edit]

  • Why did you stop editing/contributing?
  • Is there something that one could do to return you to contributing?
  • Do you still rely on Wikimedia Foundation websites in your research and education?
  • Have you considered resuming active contribution?
  • Would you readily encourage a 'newbie' to contribute?
  • How many hours could you spend when you were active?
  • Can you describe what your editing pattern was, i.e. when were your peak and low times

Former active editors who now register reduced/decreased activity[edit]

  • You register reduced/decreased activity recently. Why is that?
  • Is there something someone could do to help you resume more/increased activity? (What different can be done to get you started again)
  • Did you in the past receive any form of support from WMF or the community?

Editors who (consistently) register low activity[edit]

  • Are there gaps on Wikipedia (that need to be filled)?
  • Low but fairly consistent edits, do you see yourself leaving the project sometime, or increasing your edit count.

Those who never took off at all after benefiting from WMGUG outreach programs[edit]

  • What hinders you from contributing?
  • How did you become involved in a WMGUG program?
  • What expectations did you have when you attended the event?
  • What perception of Wikipedia did you have before you attended the event? Did that change after the event?
  • How will you assess the program, was it interesting, informative, … ?
  • Do you feel there was something about the program which wasn’t done right, and might have discouraged you from joining the community
  • In your opinion, would you have become interested in contributing to Wikipedia if it was conducted differently?
  • Can you place a finger on a strong reason why you aren’t able to contribute?

Conducting the Survey[edit]

The team for the project are no survey design experts, and as such, the team will have the survey design reviewed by WMF staff who have this expertise before the surveys are conducted. Our expertise we will offer is the local knowledge about the Wikimedian and Ghanaian communities.

Project goals[edit]

  • Identify patterns or characteristics in a potential Ghanaian Wikipedian; as a result, WMGUG (Wikimedia Ghana User Group) will now focus their outreach programs in the future on these kinds of people to maximize impact, and save efforts and resources. e.g., particular occupations, levels of education, nature of family, location, gender, early stage editing patterns, etc
  • The project would begin a process by which WMGUG will now have a central location to document participants of their outreach programs, so they can identify, monitor, and follow up on them
  • Data collected would make it possible to gauge the nature of diversity in the Ghanaian community, e.g, gender
  • Data collected would give us insights about activity on local Ghanaian language Wikipedias (and incubator)
  • Identify overlooked factors (if they exist) that inhibit former editors from resuming contribution, and make recommendations about what can entice them back to editing once again
  • Identify overlooked factors (if they exist) that inhibit those who have been initiated from taking off, and make recommendations about how they (the outreach beneficiaries) could have been approached differently
  • Identify overlooked factors (if they exist) that motivate people to remain active on the project, and make recommendations about how that enthusiasm can be maintained/sustained
  • The project would expand the horizon of neglected areas (if they exist) to look into when designing general WMF surveys or research studies. It would further provide a fundament for future research into communities that usually turn fewer participants in general surveys

Get involved[edit]


  • Project manager Ensure the smooth running of the project Nkansahrexford (talk) 13:59, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Volunteer Will help with publicity. Enock4seth (talk) 07:54, 20 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Researcher I would like to gather and analyze data from various contributors and non-participants in order to address the issue. Aside this I can also provide substantial advice to further tackle the problem. Neltic (talk) 18:10, 20 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Volunteer By whatever means in my capacity to provide any kind of support to the research team Gramalow (talk) 21:20, 20 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Community organizer I can assist in finding past WmGhana outreach participants Din-nani1 (talk) 22:37, 24 September 2015 (UTC)


Do you think this project should be selected for an Individual Engagement Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the talk page of this proposal).

  • Community member: add your name and rationale here.
  • This research really is going to show us what we need to fill the gaps. Enock4seth (talk) 07:57, 20 September 2015 (UTC)
  • This research will help the Ghana Chapter Identify and focus on getting the right people in the community to help.

Jaward (talk) 19:14, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

Project plan[edit]


The nature of in-depth two way discussions with study subjects limits the project to Ghanaian editors only. The structure of their society and culture closely parallel that of their neighbors in the sub-Saharan region. As such, conclusions drawn will not only influence the Ghanaian community to begin gathering organized data, or to better understand their editors needs, or to conduct informed outreach programs in the future, but can be useful in designing larger Global South editor studies.


Our project will be carried out in three phases although some of the tasks may be executed concurrently; the first phase will involve identifying, documenting and contacting (inviting) our study participants. In the second phase, interviews will be conducted, transcribed and the data prepared for analysis. The last phase will involve analysis and communicating our findings to the community. We estimate to use four months to complete the entire project.


Total amount requested[edit]

Budget breakdown[edit]
# Phase Description Estimated Hours Cost/hr Total
1 A(Document) Produce Ghanaian contributors' list 4 12 48
2 A(Document) Produce list of past WMGUG outreach programs and their beneficiaries and Organize list by Type of Editor (activity level) 10 12 120
4 A(Document) Contact and arrange meeting with study subjects 5 12 60
6 B(Engage) Interview subjects: 2 hours max per each interview 100 12 1,200
7 B(Engage) Transcribe interview: 3 hours max per interview 150 12 1800
8 B(Engage) Extract and prepare data 30 12 240
9 C(Discover) Research 30 12 600
10 C(Discover) Communicate and promote findings (e.g. blog) 6 12 72
11 Transportation and/or Phone call Meeting interviewees or communicating with. If need to meet in person, travel cost will be taken from this. Otherwise, will use as phone call cost 80
Total 335 4,340

The budget is split into three buckets to be distributed among each team. Teams will take responsibility of splitting the work hours among themselves, with a 'bottom-liner' for each position, to assume responsibility for the team's completion.

  • Grand Total: 355 hours = 4,340 USD

Intended impact[edit]

Target audience[edit]

Our target audience are

  • Wikimedia Ghana User group
  • General community of editors in Ghana
  • Anyone who is interested in the various attempts to increase editor activity in the Global South

Community engagement[edit]

We will involve the community in different ways to:

  • Put together list of outreach programs and their beneficiaries undertaken by the Ghanaian community members.
  • Find interview participants (who are Ghanaian editors through e.g. their contacts; non-wikimedia communities, family, friends, etc.).
  • Review interview design questions.

Fit with strategy[edit]

WMF's new Global South strategy identifies the need to amplify "missing important voices" from low participating geographies. Collecting data is always a first step to understanding their perspective.[4]


  • Editor retention initiatives: Report from the study will provide thorough insights (beyond the internet connectivity problem) about factors that influence editors' motivations and/or restrict/discourage them from editing
  • Increasing participation: Recommendations from the study will outline the peculiar ways the different types of editors can be nudged to increase their participation
  • Formal documentation: Documentation will provide the WMGUG with a central location where they can continuously add up to, or build a database of participants they engage in their outreach programs, and likely follow up on them (their progress) if need be
  • Assess WMGUG's outreach programs: The study will begin a means of continued assessment of WMGUG’s outreach programs' likely impact and effectiveness, i.e. which projects reached how many people, and how many ended up as Wikipedians, and how much are their respective activity levels. These questions will enable the development of mentorship and follow-up plans.
  • Born Wikipedians:[5] Documentation will be used by WMGUG to identify characteristics related to the different Editor Types in their community, allowing them to begin focusing their efforts and resources in outreach on specific group of people or individuals
  • Future studies: Will serve as a general framework for future research into similar communities and potentially reveal erstwhile overlooked variables.

Measures of success[edit]

Need target-setting tips? Note: in addition to your project-specific measures of success, you will also be asked to report on some Global Metrics at the end of your final report. Please keep this in mind as you plan, and we'll support you as you begin your project.

  • 50+ one-on-one/telephone/video in-depth interviews
  • Report be published on commons
  • Results be publicized throughout the Wikimedia community; by guest posting at and to relevant listserves
  • Release of anonymized dataset to enable others to do their own analysis
  • Provide kit for researchers interested in exploring emerging communities
  • Easy-to-obtain comprehensive database of
    • Ghanaian editors
    • WMGUG outreach events
    • Beneficiaries of WMGUG outreach events
  • An adjusted/codified criteria for WMGUG to use in their future recruitment processes

Community Notification[edit]

Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?


  1. Mark Graham, Ralph K Straumann, Bernie Hogan. "Digital Divisions of Labour and Informational Magnetism: Mapping Participation in Wikipedia". Social Science Research Network. 
  2. "There are More Wikipedia Editors from the Netherlands than All of Africa". Motherboard. 8 September 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015. 
  3. Aaron Swartz (September 4, 2006). "Who Writes Wikipedia?". Retrieved September 19, 2015. 
  4. Asaf Bartov (2013). WMF's New Global South Strategy (PDF). Wikimania. Hong Kong: Wikimedia Foundation. p. 21. Retrieved September 17, 2015.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (|date= suggested) (help)
  5. Katherine Panciera, Aaron Halfaker, Loren Terveen (13 May 2009). "Wikipedians Are Born, Not Made: A Study of Power Editors on Wikipedia" (PDF). GroupLens Research. ACM New York. pp. 51–60. Retrieved September 18, 2015.