Research:Asking anonymous editors to register/Study 3

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This will be the the third study asking anonymous editors to register.

User experience[edit]

See the full design documentation on mediawiki.org.

Methodology[edit]

In this study, we will compare two versions of the mid-edit workflow to pre-edit v2 from study 2 and a control.

  1. A control, in which an anonymous (IP) editor see no differences -- represents the current user experience where no calls to action appear before a user registers.
  2. A pre-edit v2 call to action which is triggered by an anonymous editor clicking any of the edit buttons on an article that emphasizes the optional nature of registration and renders "continue editing" as a button.
  3. A mid-edit (sign-up primary) call to action which is triggered by an anonymous editor clicking the "save" button in the edit form that emphasizes "sign-up" over "continue anonymously".
  4. A mid-edit (balanced) call to action which is triggered by an anonymous editor clicking the "save" button in the edit form that does not emphasize "sign-up" over "continue anonymously".

Research questions[edit]

RQ 1: Why was there still a decrease in productivity when "continue editing" was made more prominent?[edit]

Rationale: Any interruption has the potential to disrupt a workflow. Interruptions that occur right before an edit is could have a very high potential to disrupt productivity. The interruption that pre-edit v1/v2 raised right before saving an edit could explain the productivity decrease we saw in study #2 -- regardless of the content of that interruption. If this is true, moving the interruption after the edit is made in the workflow should reduce the decrease in productivity.

Hypothesis 1.1: Users in the mid-edit conditions will be more productive than users in the pre-edit v2 condition.

Rationale: As was stated in study #2, we suspect that some anonymous editors will refuse to register an account and that relegating the option to continue anonymously to second-class status might demotivate these editors from continuing their legitimate work.

Hypothesis 1.2: Users in the balanced mid-edit condition will be more productive than users in the signup mid-edit condition.


RQ 2: How does the mid-edit intervention affect the activation and retention of users?[edit]

Rationale: Making a change to a wiki page takes time and energy. Behavioral economics has identified a common pattern whereby people who invest in something will be likely to want to complete the investment even in the case of set backs (see en:sunk cost for a discussion). If users who have completed making their changes and are ready to save feel invested in their work, an interruption should be less likely to deter them from completing the task that they started. This means that users should be less likely to abandon an edit in the mid-edit conditions (where they have already invested time) than the pre-edit condition (where they have yet to invest time).

Hypothesis 2.1: Users in the mid-edit conditions will have a higher edit completion rate than users in the pre-edit v2 condition.

Rationale: In addition to greater privacy protections, we believe that users who register accounts show public commitment and interest in editing Wikipedia. This, plus additional tools for retaining users like notifications, will lead to greater contributions over time by users who register in our experimental conditions.

Hypothesis 2.2: Editors who register using the CTAs will have a greater retention rate than those who contribute anonymously.