How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

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How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Joseph Reagle

A handful of students in a class I teach hadn't realized that the Wikipedia
was 1) user written, 2) editable, or 3) discussable. They never even tried
the tabs at the top, so a student put the question to me in class today:
how many of those that access a page access its discussion page? On
#wikipedia folks noted that such a feature is possible with Wikimedia but
disabled and any such statistics are hard to get since there's so much and
can hurt performance if enabled.

Any other thoughts?
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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Mathias Schindler-2
On 11/28/06, Joseph Reagle <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> A handful of students in a class I teach hadn't realized that the Wikipedia
> was 1) user written, 2) editable, or 3) discussable. They never even tried
> the tabs at the top, so a student put the question to me in class today:
> how many of those that access a page access its discussion page? On
> #wikipedia folks noted that such a feature is possible with Wikimedia but
> disabled and any such statistics are hard to get since there's so much and
> can hurt performance if enabled.
>

http://hemlock.knams.wikimedia.org/~leon/stats/wikicharts/index.php?lang=en&wiki=enwiki&ns=Talk&limit=100&month=11%2F2006&mode=view

may give a very very weak indication that the talk pages are almost
never accessed - compared to wikipedia articles itself.
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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Nicholas Moreau
According to Wikicharts, only talk:Main page ranks in the top 1000
pages on Wikipedia. It's at #588.

On 11/28/06, Mathias Schindler <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 11/28/06, Joseph Reagle <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > A handful of students in a class I teach hadn't realized that the Wikipedia
> > was 1) user written, 2) editable, or 3) discussable. They never even tried
> > the tabs at the top, so a student put the question to me in class today:
> > how many of those that access a page access its discussion page? On
> > #wikipedia folks noted that such a feature is possible with Wikimedia but
> > disabled and any such statistics are hard to get since there's so much and
> > can hurt performance if enabled.
> http://hemlock.knams.wikimedia.org/~leon/stats/wikicharts/index.php?lang=en&wiki=enwiki&ns=Talk&limit=100&month=11%2F2006&mode=view
>
> may give a very very weak indication that the talk pages are almost
> never accessed - compared to wikipedia articles itself.
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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Piotr Konieczny-2
In reply to this post by Joseph Reagle
Joseph Reagle wrote:

> A handful of students in a class I teach hadn't realized that the Wikipedia
> was 1) user written, 2) editable, or 3) discussable. They never even tried
> the tabs at the top, so a student put the question to me in class today:
> how many of those that access a page access its discussion page? On
> #wikipedia folks noted that such a feature is possible with Wikimedia but
> disabled and any such statistics are hard to get since there's so much and
> can hurt performance if enabled.
>
> Any other thoughts?

Will it really hurt us if we enable those statistics? Or is this just
one of those 'wiki-urban-mythgs'?

And yes, it's just one more thing we don't know about ourselves... I
wonder if I should send another 'status enquiry' about the GUS :> It
looks less and less likely we will do it this year :(

--
Piotr Konieczny

"Be seeing you, Commander."
        -- Bester to Sinclair in Babylon 5:"Mind War"
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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Brion Vibber
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Hash: SHA1

Piotr Konieczny wrote:

> Joseph Reagle wrote:
>
>> A handful of students in a class I teach hadn't realized that the Wikipedia
>> was 1) user written, 2) editable, or 3) discussable. They never even tried
>> the tabs at the top, so a student put the question to me in class today:
>> how many of those that access a page access its discussion page? On
>> #wikipedia folks noted that such a feature is possible with Wikimedia but
>> disabled and any such statistics are hard to get since there's so much and
>> can hurt performance if enabled.
>>
>> Any other thoughts?
>
> Will it really hurt us if we enable those statistics? Or is this just
> one of those 'wiki-urban-mythgs'?

20k extra writes per second to the database? Yeah, that'd hurt us.

- -- brion vibber (brion @ pobox.com)
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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Jeremy Tobacman

20k extra writes per second to the database? Yeah, that'd hurt us.

How about a very small sample?  Would an extra 40 (~=1/512) writes per second be more feasible?

Jeremy  


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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Josef Kolbitsch
In reply to this post by Joseph Reagle
On 28 Nov 2006 at 22:47 Joseph Reagle wrote:
> A handful of students in a class I teach hadn't realized that the
> Wikipedia
> was 1) user written, 2) editable, or 3) discussable.

I have been doing research on Wikipedia for about 2.5 years, and I have
met many users of Wikipedia that had no idea that it was not authored
by experts and that the information provided might actually be
incorrect. Therefore I am planning to do a questionnaire on the
"Awareness of Wikipedia's Concept" (or something like that). I have
been putting this off because I am too busy at work at the moment.
However, if time permits I will go ahead, do it, and make the results
publicly available.

The questions I have been thinking about are rather simple (and I would
like to keep it simple; comments appreciated):

(1) On the person:

    - Male/Female
    - Age
    - Education
    - Computer literacy

(2) On Wikipedia:

    - Do you know Wikipedia?
       - Do you use Wikipedia?
          - How often do you use Wikipedia?
          - You find an error in Wikipedia and would really like to have
it corrected. What would you do? (Is this a leading question?)


Any comments?


Cheers,
Josef.

--
Josef Kolbitsch
Graz University of Technology
Steyrergasse 30, 8010 Graz | Phone: +43-316-873 6889

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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Mathias Schindler-2
On 11/30/06, Josef Kolbitsch <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I have been doing research on Wikipedia for about 2.5 years, and I have
> met many users of Wikipedia that had no idea that it was not authored
> by experts

The aspect that is differenciating between Wikipedia and, hmm, let's
say Britannica is not the question of experts editing. At Wikipedia,
experts are editing without payment and secondly, the expert does not
have to prove his skills before he/she is granted write access  to
Wikipedia. In the past years of my work, I have met quite a lot of
people who don't have the slightest idea how traditional encyclopedias
are written.


> and that the information provided might actually be
> incorrect. Therefore I am planning to do a questionnaire on the
> "Awareness of Wikipedia's Concept" (or something like that).
[...]
> Any comments?

Sounds like a great idea and I would love to see the results. It might
be useful to see if the people answering the questionaire show any
"Awareness of the concept of an encyclopedia" at all and the reality
of traditional style encyclopedias at the market.

Have fun,
Mathias
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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Joachim Schroer
Dear all,

2006/11/30, Mathias Schindler <[hidden email]>:
> and that the information provided might actually be
> incorrect. Therefore I am planning to do a questionnaire on the
> "Awareness of Wikipedia's Concept" (or something like that).
[...]
> Any comments?

Sounds like a great idea and I would love to see the results. It might
be useful to see if the people answering the questionaire show any
"Awareness of the concept of an encyclopedia" at all and the reality
of traditional style encyclopedias at the market.

we included a number of these and related questions in our current (German) survey of Wikipedia readers/visitors [1, 2], although we do not ask about other encyclopedias. The survey is available here (thanks to Jakob Voss!):

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Umfragen/Leserumfrage

I'm afraid, however, that our own resources in recruiting a representative sample of readers are somewhat limited. Any help is greatly appreciated... ;-)

Best wishes from Wuerzburg,

Joachim

[1] http://article.gmane.org/gmane.science.linguistics.wikipedia.research/123/
[2] http://article.gmane.org/gmane.science.linguistics.wikipedia.deutsch/17765/

--
Joachim Schroer, Dipl.-Psych.
University of Wuerzburg
Department of Psychology II, Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Roentgenring 10
97070 Wuerzburg
Germany

Phone: +49 931 31 6062
Fax: +49 931 31 6063
http://www.psychologie.uni-wuerzburg.de/ao/staff/schroer.php
[hidden email]
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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Andrea Forte
One approach to the problem of finding a representative sample of ALL
Wikipedia readers *cough* is to perhaps target some smaller
populations that you are interested in. If I were reviewing a paper, I
would be quite skeptical of claims about "Wikipedia readers" because
how people understand information, the Internet, and collaborative
technologies is culturally constructed.

It seems more relevant anyhow to be able to say, for example, we think
this is how middle-class secondary school students in the US and
England are thinking about Wikipedia. Or this is how professional
journalists in Germany are thinking about Wikipedia. More targeted
sampling provides purchase for interpreting the results in a
culturally relevant fashion.

Andrea


On 11/30/06, Joachim Schroer <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Dear all,
>
> 2006/11/30, Mathias Schindler <[hidden email]>:
> > > and that the information provided might actually be
> > > incorrect. Therefore I am planning to do a questionnaire on the
> > > "Awareness of Wikipedia's Concept" (or something like that).
> > [...]
> > > Any comments?
> >
> > Sounds like a great idea and I would love to see the results. It might
> > be useful to see if the people answering the questionaire show any
> > "Awareness of the concept of an encyclopedia" at all and the reality
> > of traditional style encyclopedias at the market.
>
> we included a number of these and related questions in our current (German)
> survey of Wikipedia readers/visitors [1, 2], although we do not ask about
> other encyclopedias. The survey is available here (thanks to Jakob Voss!):
>
> http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Umfragen/Leserumfrage
>
> I'm afraid, however, that our own resources in recruiting a representative
> sample of readers are somewhat limited. Any help is greatly appreciated...
> ;-)
>
> Best wishes from Wuerzburg,
>
> Joachim
>
> [1]
> http://article.gmane.org/gmane.science.linguistics.wikipedia.research/123/
> [2]
> http://article.gmane.org/gmane.science.linguistics.wikipedia.deutsch/17765/
>
> --
> Joachim Schroer, Dipl.-Psych.
> University of Wuerzburg
> Department of Psychology II, Industrial and Organizational Psychology
> Roentgenring 10
> 97070 Wuerzburg
> Germany
>
> Phone: +49 931 31 6062
> Fax: +49 931 31 6063
> http://www.psychologie.uni-wuerzburg.de/ao/staff/schroer.php
> [hidden email]
> _______________________________________________
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
>
>
>
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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Joseph Reagle
On Thursday 30 November 2006 07:51, Andrea Forte wrote:
> One approach to the problem of finding a representative sample of ALL
> Wikipedia readers *cough* is to perhaps target some smaller
> populations that you are interested in.

This issue and the sheer size of WP prompted me to consider looking at
smaller communities on the WP. However, my efforts weren't terribly
productive.

[[ http://reagle.org/joseph/2005/ethno/leadership.html

In this time I also sought out and considered "small neighborhoods" of
articles and collaborators, eventually settling upon the corpus of Harry
Potter pages given the project's coherence, liveliness and my own, earlier,
experience of advocating for a reform in how readers should be warned of
the possibility of spoilers (i.e., having a plot of a new book spoiled when
consulting a Harry Potter article).

On a suggestion, I developed a brief questionnaire to engage with editors of
the Harry Potter Project pages but, as expected, received few responses.
Open content communities are, presently, often studied (with similar
questionnaires) and participants might have little interest in taking time
away from their actual (volunteer) work to respond to yet another. (As a
participant, I have never responded to such a questionnaire.) Contacting
actual participants can be difficult as well, as Lorenzon (2005)
noted: "Many editors have their own user page which give information about
them but few give out their real names and contact information." I made my
solicitation on the Talk page for the Project as well as the Talk pages of
a handful of prominent editors, without much success. Additionally, because
most all the discourse is public and the community is otherwise so
reflective, there is an abundance of existing data situated in actual
practice. This is not to say such research discussions are not useful; once
I developed my questions I was interested in receiving answers and the
single response was informative. Fortunately, while responses to
questionnaires can be hard to obtain, I also do not think them necessary to
understand this community. Instead, one must follow (or even engage) in the
practice: "A culture is expressed (or constituted) only by the actions and
words of its members and must be interpreted by, not given to, a field
worker" (Van Maanen 1988).


]]
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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Andrea Forte
Different research approaches draw from different epistemological
assumptions that may render their methodologies difficult to
understand for people from outside the "camp." Clearly, Joseph and I
are both strongly influenced by anthropological approaches; however, I
also think that pluralism can be a strength within a research
community, so I would not encourage those who enjoy survey research to
abandon it. Instead, try to understand the strengths and limitations
of this particular instrument in contributing to a wider research
agenda that hopefully includes a wider repertoire of methods. :-)

For example, ethnomethodology suggests that individual's accounts of
their own behavior are socially situated... so any interviewee is
obviously engaged in a process of accounting for their behavior in an
"artificial" context, that is: making it intelligible to the
interviewer. But that doesn't mean that I discount interview data. On
the contrary, I depend on it heavily in my work because it also
provides me with important information. I try very hard to understand
the limitations of the method, so I am not blind to interviewees
efforts to "give me what I want" and I generally use interviewing as
one part of a larger research strategy that also includes participant
and non-participant observation.

andrea


On 11/30/06, Joseph Reagle <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Thursday 30 November 2006 07:51, Andrea Forte wrote:
> > One approach to the problem of finding a representative sample of ALL
> > Wikipedia readers *cough* is to perhaps target some smaller
> > populations that you are interested in.
>
> This issue and the sheer size of WP prompted me to consider looking at
> smaller communities on the WP. However, my efforts weren't terribly
> productive.
>
> [[ http://reagle.org/joseph/2005/ethno/leadership.html
>
> In this time I also sought out and considered "small neighborhoods" of
> articles and collaborators, eventually settling upon the corpus of Harry
> Potter pages given the project's coherence, liveliness and my own, earlier,
> experience of advocating for a reform in how readers should be warned of
> the possibility of spoilers (i.e., having a plot of a new book spoiled when
> consulting a Harry Potter article).
>
> On a suggestion, I developed a brief questionnaire to engage with editors of
> the Harry Potter Project pages but, as expected, received few responses.
> Open content communities are, presently, often studied (with similar
> questionnaires) and participants might have little interest in taking time
> away from their actual (volunteer) work to respond to yet another. (As a
> participant, I have never responded to such a questionnaire.) Contacting
> actual participants can be difficult as well, as Lorenzon (2005)
> noted: "Many editors have their own user page which give information about
> them but few give out their real names and contact information." I made my
> solicitation on the Talk page for the Project as well as the Talk pages of
> a handful of prominent editors, without much success. Additionally, because
> most all the discourse is public and the community is otherwise so
> reflective, there is an abundance of existing data situated in actual
> practice. This is not to say such research discussions are not useful; once
> I developed my questions I was interested in receiving answers and the
> single response was informative. Fortunately, while responses to
> questionnaires can be hard to obtain, I also do not think them necessary to
> understand this community. Instead, one must follow (or even engage) in the
> practice: "A culture is expressed (or constituted) only by the actions and
> words of its members and must be interpreted by, not given to, a field
> worker" (Van Maanen 1988).
>
>
> ]]
> _______________________________________________
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
>
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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Joseph Reagle
On Thursday 30 November 2006 09:09, Andrea Forte wrote:
> understand for people from outside the "camp." Clearly, Joseph and I
> are both strongly influenced by anthropological approaches; however, I
> also think that pluralism can be a strength within a research
> community, so I would not encourage those who enjoy survey research to
> abandon it.

Just to be clear, neither would I! I have participated in survey research in
the past, aware of its limitations [1], and would like to see a good job
done up in the Wikipedia case. However, it is a very hard problem and
(fortunately?) not central to my present project. But the question remains,
how do we move beyond the many small self-selecting surveys bouncing around
towards something more robust? In my e-mail, I was pointing out that
perhaps getting a representative sample of all of Wikipedia is an
impossible goal, and perhaps we can focus on specific "local" communities.
But maybe not! It'd be great to have something on the scale of Ghosh et al.
(2002) on FLOSS which had 2784 (self-selected) respondents, a portion of
which (487) validated/confirmed [2].

[1]
http://reagle.org/joseph/2005/06/search.cgi?query=Cranor%2C_Reagle_and_Ackerman_1999bcu
[2] http://www.infonomics.nl/FLOSS/report/FLOSS-Final4a.htm
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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

Joseph Reagle
In reply to this post by Josef Kolbitsch
On Wednesday 29 November 2006 19:44, Josef Kolbitsch wrote:
> "Awareness of Wikipedia's Concept" (or something like that). I have

Not commenting on the questionnaire, but I did want to point out that if
many people don't know the basics about WP, perhaps more should be done in
the header of the main body of articles to introduce them to this user
editable encyclopedia.
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Re: How many know that WP is editable anddiscussable?

alain_desilets
How about going back to the good old big fat Edit button that used to be
on the original C2 wiki implementation? And how about putting that
button both at the top and and the bottom of the pages, and in the case
of WP, beside each section header?

If the ability to edit a page is so central to a wiki, then maybe the
button or link you click on to edit should be given more screen real
estate.

Alain


> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email]
> [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of
> Joseph Reagle
> Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 9:11 AM
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] How many know that WP is
> editable anddiscussable?
>
>
> On Wednesday 29 November 2006 19:44, Josef Kolbitsch wrote:
> > "Awareness of Wikipedia's Concept" (or something like that). I have
>
> Not commenting on the questionnaire, but I did want to point
> out that if
> many people don't know the basics about WP, perhaps more
> should be done in
> the header of the main body of articles to introduce them to
> this user
> editable encyclopedia. _______________________________________________
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l
>
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Re: How many know that WP is editable anddiscussable?

Nicholas Moreau
Granted, a frequent complaint among readers is how "cluttered" the
articles look with wikilinks. Add in extra confusing things, and
casual readers may get freaked out and leave.

Personally, I don't think changing the visual look of Wikipedia will help any.

Nick



On 12/13/06, Desilets, Alain <[hidden email]> wrote:

> How about going back to the good old big fat Edit button that used to be
> on the original C2 wiki implementation? And how about putting that
> button both at the top and and the bottom of the pages, and in the case
> of WP, beside each section header?
>
> If the ability to edit a page is so central to a wiki, then maybe the
> button or link you click on to edit should be given more screen real
> estate.
>
> Alain
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Re: How many know that WP is editable and discussable?

mapocathy
In reply to this post by Andrea Forte
Based on the current discussion we're talking about at least two things here,

(1) The public perception on the 'editability' of Wikipedia

Regarding that I agree with Joseph that there are quite a few number of people whom never noticed that WP can be edited, not limiting to undergraduate students, but even some professors.  I found this (heuristically) particularly pronounced among the less internet-savvy group.  This leads to the second issue,

(2) A public perception survey

Agree with Andrea, it is currently quite impossible to do a representative research on WP.  Hence it would be more worthwhile to perform target-group research.  However, as we previously discussed in Frankfurt as well in Boston, we might somehow need to consider a centralized pool of research resources.  Like what Joseph said, it is very hard to get users to respond to ad hoc research questionnaires - a lot of people just dismiss the yet another questionnaire on Wikipedia.  If we ever pull together enough effort to start on some more structured and apparently (/cough cough) reputable research, and perhaps leave the research data available to researchers by request, it may significantly increase the quality of research on WP.  Of course, the issue of privacy is touchy...

/headache

Andrea Forte wrote
One approach to the problem of finding a representative sample of ALL
Wikipedia readers *cough* is to perhaps target some smaller
populations that you are interested in. If I were reviewing a paper, I
would be quite skeptical of claims about "Wikipedia readers" because
how people understand information, the Internet, and collaborative
technologies is culturally constructed.

It seems more relevant anyhow to be able to say, for example, we think
this is how middle-class secondary school students in the US and
England are thinking about Wikipedia. Or this is how professional
journalists in Germany are thinking about Wikipedia. More targeted
sampling provides purchase for interpreting the results in a
culturally relevant fashion.

Andrea


On 11/30/06, Joachim Schroer <joachim.schroer@googlemail.com> wrote:
> Dear all,
>
> 2006/11/30, Mathias Schindler <mathias.schindler@gmail.com>:
> > > and that the information provided might actually be
> > > incorrect. Therefore I am planning to do a questionnaire on the
> > > "Awareness of Wikipedia's Concept" (or something like that).
> > [...]
> > > Any comments?
> >
> > Sounds like a great idea and I would love to see the results. It might
> > be useful to see if the people answering the questionaire show any
> > "Awareness of the concept of an encyclopedia" at all and the reality
> > of traditional style encyclopedias at the market.
>
> we included a number of these and related questions in our current (German)
> survey of Wikipedia readers/visitors [1, 2], although we do not ask about
> other encyclopedias. The survey is available here (thanks to Jakob Voss!):
>
> http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Umfragen/Leserumfrage
>
> I'm afraid, however, that our own resources in recruiting a representative
> sample of readers are somewhat limited. Any help is greatly appreciated...
> ;-)
>
> Best wishes from Wuerzburg,
>
> Joachim
>
> [1]
> http://article.gmane.org/gmane.science.linguistics.wikipedia.research/123/
> [2]
> http://article.gmane.org/gmane.science.linguistics.wikipedia.deutsch/17765/
>
> --
> Joachim Schroer, Dipl.-Psych.
> University of Wuerzburg
> Department of Psychology II, Industrial and Organizational Psychology
> Roentgenring 10
> 97070 Wuerzburg
> Germany
>
> Phone: +49 931 31 6062
> Fax: +49 931 31 6063
> http://www.psychologie.uni-wuerzburg.de/ao/staff/schroer.php
> schroer@psychologie.uni-wuerzurg.de
> _______________________________________________
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
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>
>
>
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