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Research:Committee/Areas of interest/Subject recruitment

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How to submit a request for subject recruitment


Please refer to these instructions



How will researchers reach potential subjects? So far, we've discussed:

  • Talk page: good for researching experienced editors since it fits within community norms. Not as good for researching new editors as new editors may not be aware that they even have talk pages. Aaron's SubjectRecruitmentBot
    • When messaging several hundreds/thousands of users, depending on factors such as the wiki size, message content, bot flag of the account used, local community sentiment etc., some users and administrators on some wikis will dislike the mass of edits. (The Swedish Wikipedia is known to be particularly restrictive place and provides several samples of heated discussions on the topic.)
  • Email: good for researching novice editors, probably not as good for researching experienced editors. Used for Former Contributors Survey. Open question (as described in Mani's mail) is what percentage of registered users actually have email addresses.
  • Central message notice (or something similar): good for reaching a broad base of users (including readers), though UNU-Merit survey had a disproportionately high percentage of users from Russia



Each method should have a way for users to opt-out of receiving future communications for the same topic/project.

The typical way to do so is demonstrated by the long-standing Wikimedia nomail list, where users can add their username to be excluded from emails on one topic (WMF elections). A link is included in each such email.



How do we target users to ensure:

  • Researchers reach the right users for the study (e.g., to minimize bias that would be detrimental to the research)
  • Editors don't get bombarded with survey requests



How will approvals be granted for survey projects? Aaron has been working on SRAG, a community-involved approvals group approach. This group would have purview over not only activities of the SubjectRecruitmentBot, but also other methods of contacting users.

Survey software

Tracked in Phabricator:
Task T94807

What software would researchers use to conduct surveys? Examples of future options:

English Wikipedia Attempt


en:WP:Research and en:WP:SRAG are the product of the efforts the some of the research community to draft policy with the English Wikipedia community that simultaneously satisfied two goals:

  • Create an official mechanism for mass subject recruitment to take place
  • Protect the community (and individuals) from the disruption that mass recruitment could cause

Along with these two official documents, a few essays were drafted with the intention that they be used as tool for educating Wikipedians:



See also