Subject Recruitment Approvals Group
The following is an ongoing draft of a proposed Wikimedia process. The proposal is still in development and under discussion.
The Subject Recruitment Approvals Group (SRAG) is a community organized discussion group tasked vetting and assisting academic research that requires the recruitment of Wikimedia project users. The group directs the operations of SOME SYSTEM that would contact Wikipedia users who match the selection criteria.
SRAG was formed to balance two goals:
- To enable researchers recruite research subjects from Wikimedia projects
- Protect Wikimedia project users from unnecessary disruption to their work
Wikimedia projects support various mechanisms for contacting users, but the use of these mechanisms must be in line with the appropriate meta level policies/guidelines such as the External links policy as well as the project level policies/guidelines such as en:Wikipedia:Canvassing and en:Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines. Researchers who contact users without understanding and abiding by the relevant norms are likely to be rejected by the community.
Researchers interested in recruiting participants from Wikimedia projects are encourages to apply to the Subject Recruitment Approvals Group to help ensure that their intended research abides by the applicable policies/guidelines and that their work does not receive a negative response from the community.
Researchers may apply to the Subject Recruitment Approvals Group for assistance with recruiting subjects via this form:
After an application is filed, it will be reviewed by community discussion (any interested person is welcome to participate constructively). User from the relevant communities should be canvassed to participate in the discussion. During this time, modifications can be made to the application to add information or address concerns that are raised. Whether or not an application is approved will depend on the consensus of those participating in the discussion. Consensus should be called by an uninvolved editor and should take into account the above requirements, relevant policies and guidelines, and discussion of the application.
If an application is approved via consensus, the approved application will be moved to the list of approved applications, and SRAG members will aid the researcher in configuring the sampling parameters to create a sample of Wikipedia users and make recruitment postings through SOMETHING/SOMEONE.
If denied via consensus, the researcher(s) may resubmit an application with modifications. Previously denied applications that are resubmitted without material changes may be summarily rejected.
Approval or rejection by SRAG does not necessarily signify approval or rejection by the relevant communities. Researchers should view SRAG approval as a accreditation that will help them gain local approval and stay any push-back from the relevant communities.
Once a study has been approved, the recruitment of subjects will operate as follows:
- Researchers create a random sample of editors that they would accept as subjects.
- SOMETHING/SOMEONE posts a recruitment message to the talk pages of/sends an email to users in the sample.
- Recipients of the recruitment message decide whether or not they wish to participate.
Changes to approved studies
Should a researcher wish to modify a study after approval, whether or not the study needs to be resubmitted to SRAG for approval depends on the sampling requirements of the modified study. If the modification does not affect the sampling requirements and recruitment messages have already been posted to subjects, no further interaction with SRAG is necessary. If recruitment messages have not yet been sent, or the modification requires the recruitment of a different subset of users than the original study, the application should be resubmitted and reviewed again.
In order for SRAG to ensure quality discussions for every proposed recruitment, a group of regular discussants is maintained. These discussants hold no official title or increased pull in the outcome of discussions; they are simply editors with the time and interest in keeping SRAG working. The interest group, like WikiProject members, will be responsible for the janitorial functions of SRAG and expected to participate in discussions.
For each new proposed recruitment, the interest group should be notified via talk page posting (unless otherwise specified). The interest group is open to anyone interested in participating; especially useful are editors who:
- have an understanding of the scientific method and/or experience in the design and implementation of research studies; and/or
- who are familiar with Wikipedia's policies, guidelines, culture and norms
If you'd like to be included in the interest group, please add your name to the appropriate list below:
Contact me for every request
Contact me only when there are not enough participants
Don't contact me, but I'll be around