Grants talk:Project/University of Virginia/Machine learning to predict Wikimedia user blocks/Final

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Comments from I JethroBT (WMF)[edit]

@Bluerasberry: Hi Lane, and thanks for this final report on you and your team's machine learning research on user blocks on English Wikipedia. I am approving this report with the following comments:

  • Thanks for providing a wide array of resources stemming from this research-- in addition to the technical and research papers, you've provided a recorded presentation outlining the work, papers providing some insight into ethical considerations stemming from the research, slides, and engagement with the English Wikipedia community.
  • One important value of this work is that it helps build a foundation for how machine learning research on user blocks needs to be conducted, in addition to more general research using these techniques. You've also drawn attention to some important obstacles in policy and technical systems you have run into that need to be addressed to support more effective and accessible research in this area. I also want to echo your point that there is a need to broaden what Wikimedia projects we analyze in this work, but that there are limitations in documentation and data related to blocks and conduct on other projects that can make this challenging.
  • An interesting area of future exploration for this project is to assess what kinds of blocks might be best benefit from automated moderation tools developed through machine learning research, given the aforementioned obstacles.
  • One final comment on your goal to collect lists of community ethical concerns-- I think the idea for the research team to prepare essays is an interesting alternative, and allowed for your team to bring in and apply perspectives from existing research. However, it will be crucial for future work in this direction for researchers to be working closely with administrators who would make use of these automated tools, and the communities where they would operate.

Thanks to you and your team for your hard work initiating this exploration into user blocks on English Wikipedia, and for your recommendations for next steps in this area of research. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 18:28, 19 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Bluerasberry: Regarding the budget section, there are some requests I have that I'll be following up with you and Claudia over e-mail about. Thanks, I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 21:14, 19 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Please make sure to archive the code somewhere stable. GitHub users and repositories vanish all the time. Given you already use Zenodo, it will be trivial to archive the repository there. If you've already done so, great! Nemo 19:38, 22 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]