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Research:New Page Patrol survey

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This page documents a completed research project.

Key Personnel

  • Howie Fung, Senior Product Manager, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Oliver Keyes, Community Liason, Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
  • User:Kudpung, editor, English Wikipedia

Project Summary


User:Kudpung approached the Wikimedia Foundation asking for technical and legal support to conduct a survey covering New Page Patrollers on the English-language Wikipedia. This was to build a better profile of their experience, contributions and identity in order to gauge the appropriateness of creating a new userright, granted to high-quality patrollers, which would permit them to patrol articles. This would conversely reduce the ability of inexperienced or incompetent patrollers to tag pages, and in doing so, hopefully reduce the number of incorrect tags. It would also open up the possibility of some sort of formal or semi-formal "training" for new page patrollers, to improve their accuracy when it comes to tagging. The Foundation accepted this, and is providing ongoing technical and legal support, both to gain a better understanding of who patrollers are and what they do, and to use this understanding in the design of the new "Zoom" Special:NewPages interface and future features aimed at New Page patrollers.



The survey was distributed via talkpage messages to those users on the English-language Wikipedia who had been identified as New Page Patrollers with more than 10 patrol actions in the past 12 months, along with others who actively described themselves as patrollers. This came to 3,937 potential respondents, identified through:

  1. A script ran by User:Snottywong to identify those individuals with more than 10 patrols in the last 12 months (2,504)
  2. Those users who have New Page Patroller userboxes (1,300)
  3. Those users with Twinkle-based New Page Patroller userboxes (133)

1,252 responses were eventually received. Of these, 230 were removed as too incomplete to be useful, clear duplications, or obviously inaccurate results (the 10 year old from Africa with a PhD being a classic example) leaving us with 1,022 results. It was then discovered that Snottywong's initial script had been inaccurate; instead of producing a list of every user who had patrolled more than 10 pages in 2011, it had produced a list containing these users, and also anyone who had created more than 10 new pages in that period (including, say, talkpages) while in possession of the "autopatrolled" userright. Similarly, it would also include those who had patrolled 1 page while creating 9, 2 while creating 8, so on and so forth.

Because of the absence of usernames for most respondents, this error could not be entirely corrected. For those participants who had provided usernames it was possible to correctly identify the number of patrol actions they had undertaken and eliminate those who had done none, or very few. This came to 43 individuals, leaving us with 979. However, with the inability to check the number of patrols that those participants without usernames had undertaken, we were forced to exclude them entirely - this resulted in the removal of 665 names. A further check, removing those users more than two standard deviations out from the norm and a couple of clearly incorrect entries, led to five more removals, resulting in a final pool of 309 survey entries.

While this is noticeably smaller than the initial pool of potential respondents (3,937) it is important to note that, as said, errors in gathering this pool made it noticeably larger than the actual number of patrollers. This means that the 309 entries represent a greater proportion of patrollers overall than is readily apparent. In addition, the data from those 309 respondents was compared to the data from the pool of 1,022, with no great statistical variation, reinforcing the position that these 309 respondents adequately represent new page patrollers as a whole - or at least, adequately represent those patrollers who chose to respond to the survey.



Wikimedia Policies, Ethics, and Human Subjects Protection


Benefits for the Wikimedia community


Time Line


No set deadline.



See Research:New_Page_Patrol_survey/WMF_report

See also

  • New Page Triage: a new WMF project for triaging "New Pages" and supporting the workflow of New Page Patrollers.



See infobox.