Subject Recruitment Approvals Group/Requests

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In order to apply for approval, the researcher will need a registered account. Applications must be from a registered account to provide a place for other editors to contact the researcher through the MediaWiki system, and to make it more clear when the researcher participates in discussions about their application. If the researcher has an account with a history of positive contributions/interactions, using that account to submit the application is preferable. The researcher should also make a best effort towards becoming familiar with the relevant policies and guidelines.

Instructions for researchers


All matters pertaining to a Subject Recruitment Request for Approval are open for discussion, but all approved recruitment must meet the following set of requirements:

  • The research must have merit, as deemed by the Wikipedia community. The benefits of performing the research will influence the approved sample size.
  • The nature of the study is adequately disclosed. All information that would be important to possible participants has been made public. Adequate information may not mean complete information.
  • The study will respect the preferences of community members and Wikipedia policy. The study will not unnecessarily make life difficult for community members – participating or not. The study must also respect the policies of Wikipedia and not cause undue harm to the system.
  • Results must be made freely available. The results of the study must be made available to the Wikipedia community within one year of completion.
    • It is possible to petition SRAG for an extension to the one year timeframe.

Current requests[edit]



Contact Information
  • Real name: Aaron Halfaker
  • Wikipedia account: EpochFail
  • Affiliation: University of Minnesota, College of Science and Engineering, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, GroupLens Research
Previous work
  • Halfaker, A.; et al. (2009). "A jury of your peers: Quality experience and Ownership in Wikipedia". WikiSym: 1–10. ISBN 978-1-60558-730-1. doi:10.1145/1641309.1641332. 
  • Panciera, K.; et al. "Wikipedians Are Born, Not Made". Proc. GROUP 2009 (ACM Press): 51–60. 

A user script modification was designed for use in the English Wikipedia. It logs when users interact with it. We will use this logged information along with the publicly available history of article revisions to determine if the script is useful/solves the problems it was designed to.

Institutional review board approval
Possible harms to Wikipedia/Wikipedians

No appreciable foreseeable risk of harm to participants since no private data will be collected or stored in any way. If any results are directly published, any reference to a real Wikipedia user will be removed or anonymized.

Recruitment message text

You've been randomly selected to participate in a non-profit/academic study of an experimental interface modification for Wikipedia. This modification comes in the form of a user script modification that called HAPPI. The script adds a couple of new controls that will appear over the edit pane when you edit articles. These controls will allow you to toggle the highlighting of text while you edit it based on how that text has survived the history of an article. If you'd like to give it a try, please see the documentation page and consent form for more information.

User sample criteria

150 editors bracketed by experience.

  • 40 editors with edits < 10
  • 30 editors with 10 <= edits < 100
  • 30 editors with 100 <= edits < 1000
  • 30 editors with 1000 <= edits < 10000
  • 20 editors with 10000 < edits
Publication of results

A major conference of the Association for Computing Machinery or the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.


I'm concerned that your recruitment message doesn't give a clear message about what to do. Josh Parris 05:14, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

You're also missing a cut-off date. When will the tool become non-functional? Josh Parris 06:01, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Your harms section doesn't disclose how much additional bandwidth is consumed. Josh Parris 04:17, 27 December 2009 (UTC)