Wikimedia Nederland surveys among editors and readers of Wikipedia

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Wikimedia Nederland surveys among editors and readers of Wikipedia

Sandra Rientjes  - Wikimedia Nederland
-Apologies for cross-posting-

In June, two surveys were carried out at the request of Wikimedia Nederland: one among editors of the Dutch language Wikipedia, and one among the general public (the users of Wikipedia).

The first results of these surveys are now available.  Below you will find summaries of the main results, and links to the full reports.

Both surveys provide interesting insights - also in the light of the ongoing discussion about community health.  The challenge for Wikimedia Nederland now will be to use these to develop better community support and outreach programmes.

After the summer break, WMNL is planning a discussion with the community to decide just that.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about these surveys.

A.   Survey among editors - summary of results  (link to full report)

New editors: A large majority of editors recognizes the importance of a continuous influx of new editors and feels that new editors are welcome. To ensure that new editors will not drop out, care and guidance of newbies must be improved.

Diversity: Only 11% of the respondents are women. Everyone recognizes, to a greater or lesser extent, the disadvantages of limited diversity among the editors. There is large support for the theory that low participation of women negatively affects the coverage of topics in Wikipedia. The atmosphere on Wikipedia is most often cited as a cause for low participation of women; women mention it much more often as a cause than men.

Work Atmosphere: Opinions are divided about the work atmosphere on the Dutch Wikipedia. However, there are more editors dissatisfied with the atmosphere than satisfied. The atmosphere is most frequently characterized as quarrelsome and distrustful, and quite often also as constructive and aggressive. A large group of editors on the Dutch Wikipedia has on occasion been approached in a manner that they considered inappropriate; a small group admits to having approached others in an inappropriate manner themselves.

Conflicts and Conflict Resolution: The number of conflicts is seen as high by the editors. Two in five editors state that in the past six months they have been involved in a situation that felt like a conflict.There are different opinions on the resolution of the conflicts. There are more editors who indicate that conflicts are only sometimes or (almost) never solved in a good way, than those who say this usually or always happens in a good way. What is also striking is that a fairly large group has no opinion on the number of conflicts and/or solution thereof.

Egos and stubbornness are considered to play a major role in the emergence of conflict. Rules/guidelines and moderation by trained people are often put forward as a solution.

Communication: The dialogue (communication) between editors is fragmented across many channels and occurs in particular via talk pages. The editors rarely communicate with each outside of Wikipedia, either in person or online via social media. Wikimedia mailing lists, blogs, newsletters or notice pages are not frequently read, and attendance of Wikimedia-organized events in the Netherlands or abroad is limited.

Wikimedia Nederland: A large majority of respondents is familiar with Wikimedia Nederland and about a quarter of the respondents is currently also a member. (This is not representative of the overall population of editors - we estimate 10% of active edtiors are members) Generally, the respondents are satisfied with the (kind of) work WMNL does.


B. Survey among readers (users) of Wikipedia - summary of results  (link to full report)

Knowledge and use of Wikipedia are high, as is satisfaction.

·         Knowledge of Wikipedia and the number of users of Wikipedia have increased significantly in recent years (2013-2015). Four in five Dutch people now know about, and use, Wikipedia.

·         Levels/frequency of use of Wikipedia have not increased. It is possible that new users use Wikipedia less intensively.

·         More than one tenth of Dutch people said they had installed the Wikipedia app. That is a very high number.

·         In general terms, a large majority thought the articles were very readable and easy to use. The number of people who thought this was slightly down on 2013.


Awareness of matters relating to Wikipedia is falling

·         These are matters such as: the fact that everybody can post and edit articles, that all text and photos are freely available and that Wikipedia does not have any profit motive.

·         This may also be linked to the arrival of new users who, for the time being, may be less well-informed.Slight increase in willingness to contribute

·         There was a slight increase in the willingness to contribute between 2013 and 2015. The main reasons people would not wish to write or edit an article continue to be that people are not interested and/or would not know what to write about.


Sandra Rientjes
Directeur/Executive Director Wikimedia Nederland

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