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Research:Gender micro-survey

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This page documents a completed research project.

In order to know what impact VisualEditor might have on the gender diversity of the new editor population of Wikipedia, we'll be running a series of short micro-surveys to new account holders.

Research questions[edit]

  1. How many male-identified or female-identified people register an account on English Wikipedia?
  2. How might the launch of VisualEditor as the default editing interface change the gender demographics of new accounts and new editors?

Methods and timeline[edit]

What a "micro-survey" is

A "micro-survey" is a single question survey, delivered via the guided tour extension.

Comparison to other methods

Compared to a micro-survey, other methods for identifying gender trends have significant biases or lack of detail, which make it difficult to accurately identify trends in gender among new Wikipedians. Overall population surveys such as the annual Editor Survey do not effectively target new account holders and often skew heavily toward responses from a relatively tiny subset of the population, primarily very active editors. Likewise, the gender preference already available in Special:Preferences samples only a very small number of new or active users. The public nature of the preference may also actively discourage women from sharing it, even if they are aware of the option.

Survey one: English Wikipedias[edit]

From July 1 to July 11, we'll be delivering a microsurvey to find out how many male- or female-identified users there are among newly registered English Wikipedians. We will then be able to establish a baseline for comparison and see if there are differences in how male or female-identified accounts edit, especially via VisualEditor vs. the legacy wikitext editor.

This survey is presented as a single overlay immediately after registration, with a prompt to select one of three options:

  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. Prefer not to say

Users may also close the survey overlay without answering by clicking the X, ESC, or clicking outside. The choice by the user will be logged by Schema:GenderSurvey.

Screenshot 2013-07-01 of the survey

Survey two: Other Wikipedias[edit]

From July 11 to July 31, we conducted the same survey on French, German, Polish, and Italian Wikipedias. In this round, we ran the survey for two weeks: the first week will be pre-launch of VisualEditor on these wikis, and the second consecutive week will align with turning on VE for all registered editors. One exception in this case was German Wikipedia, where VisualEditor was made opt-in again based on community feedback.

The only interface difference for this survey round is that, rather than having the disclaimer present on a separate page, the translated version was included in full. This may slightly lower response rates due to adding cognitive overhead for readers of the survey.

French version of the survey 2013-07-11


Survey One: English Wikipedia[edit]

English Wikipedia: survey responses
Response Unique users % of total
Male 21,591 67%
Female 7,137 22%
Prefer not to say 3,471 11%
Total 32,199 n/a