Worst. Survey. Ever.

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Re: Worst. Survey. Ever.

Thomas Dalton
2008/11/6 Carl Beckhorn <[hidden email]>:

> On Wed, Nov 05, 2008 at 11:41:38PM +0100, Martijn Hoekstra wrote:
>> I don't know about the creators of the survey, but to tell you the
>> truth, I had never expected that people don't know the ISO code of
>> their own currency. It's something I assume that they never expected
>> it either, how common or uncommon it might be.
>
> My theory is that it's related to international travel. I'm sure that
> the main place I've seen ISO currency codes is in lists of exchange
> rates (see http://www.xe.com/ucc/).  Editors who never travel
> internationally are less likely to need to check exchange rates.

Exchange rates and plane tickets. You're probably right that people
that don't either travel or pay close attention to financial news
probably won't see ISO currency codes very often.

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Re: Worst. Survey. Ever.

Jim-60
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
Eric,
In my opinion this survey highlights one of the issues that I have with the
wikimedia foundation __a failure to collaborate - utilize wikipedians and
wikipedia__

By this I mean a failure to use the talented people that are part of the
community and failure to use wikipedia as a resource to find those people. I
would expect before taking on a survey like this one (assuming it was WMF
driven), or permitting a survey to be taken with its blessing (assuming it
was UMU driven), that several questions would be asked.
* What is the purpose of this survey
* Look inward - how can wikipedia and wikipedians be used as a resource on
this project
* Are there contributors/volunteers who have surveying expertise
* How do we identify those volunteers without skewing the survey results
* Are we using open source technology - in less than 5 minutes I found
limesurvey which appears to be a well written (although the forward back
buttons don't work), has buttons on every page and a resume later option -
and is superior to the software used for the UMU survey
* Is the open source technology well done - if not - what are other options

The same could be said of the recent donation banner - there are many
wikipedians - people invested in the success of wikipedia that have
non-profit and fund-raising expertise that could have been tapped to help
design, share best practices etc. The comments by the guy from
soschildren.org seem to be things we should have known beforehand.

I think this survey - at least for me - hurt the goodwill I feel for the WMF
because it was disrespectful of my time, and showed serious technology
defects that I will obviously make the results less than accurate. In other
words my level of trust in WMF has deteriorated.

Using the collabortive/expertise process is less difficult than it would
seem. I have had times where I have found wikipedians who could answer
esoteric questions by reading the wikipedia article, looking at the history
and emailing a few to see if they could help me interpret, understand a
difficult concept. My feeling is that if I can demonstrate a rudimentary
understanding of the subject matter (as gleaned from wikipedia) and can ask
intelligent questions, I will probably find someone who can help me get my
specific question answered.

This would be even more effective if used by the WMF - I know that if I got
an email from anyone with a wikimedia.org email address (especially if it
was a name I recognized - like Erik, Sue, Brion, Cary, Jay, etc) telling me
they noticed I contributed to page widget and that they needed a few people
with widget expertise, could I help, I'd help in a heartbeat because I would
see that contribution as being valuable, just like I see my edits as being a
valuable contribution.

Jim

On Sat, Nov 1, 2008 at 10:45 AM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2008/11/1 Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>:
> > You don't need someone that's good at designing surveys (well you do,
> > but not to spot most of these problems), you just need to try the
> > survey out on a few people first.
>
> The survey was tried out on a group of testers and translators. You
> only get so much useful feedback - the feedback that we're getting
> from actually running the survey is much more detailed and valuable
> for future surveys.
>
> > I was under the impression it was done with the support of experts -
> > if that's the case, pick better experts next time!
>
> It was developed by the UNU-Merit Collaborative Creativity Group, who
> have developed and run in-depth, multilingual surveys on the free
> software movement, probably one of the most comparable specialized
> communities. It's a first run, and the results will be imperfect and
> need to be interpreted very carefully -- but we'll get some basic,
> useful data, and we have a huge amount of feedback that will help with
> the design of future surveys. I don't think we could have done much
> better, especially given that the only resources we spent on this
> project are staff time to shepherd it.
> --
> Erik Möller
> Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
>
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Re: Worst. Survey. Ever.

Marc Riddell
on 11/6/08 10:34 AM, Jim at [hidden email] wrote:

> Eric,
> In my opinion this survey highlights one of the issues that I have with the
> wikimedia foundation __a failure to collaborate - utilize wikipedians and
> wikipedia__
>
> By this I mean a failure to use the talented people that are part of the
> community and failure to use wikipedia as a resource to find those people.

Jim,

What an incredibly astute and very accurate observation. I will be very
interested in the response.

Marc Riddell

>
> On Sat, Nov 1, 2008 at 10:45 AM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> 2008/11/1 Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>:
>>> You don't need someone that's good at designing surveys (well you do,
>>> but not to spot most of these problems), you just need to try the
>>> survey out on a few people first.
>>
>> The survey was tried out on a group of testers and translators. You
>> only get so much useful feedback - the feedback that we're getting
>> from actually running the survey is much more detailed and valuable
>> for future surveys.
>>
>>> I was under the impression it was done with the support of experts -
>>> if that's the case, pick better experts next time!
>>
>> It was developed by the UNU-Merit Collaborative Creativity Group, who
>> have developed and run in-depth, multilingual surveys on the free
>> software movement, probably one of the most comparable specialized
>> communities. It's a first run, and the results will be imperfect and
>> need to be interpreted very carefully -- but we'll get some basic,
>> useful data, and we have a huge amount of feedback that will help with
>> the design of future surveys. I don't think we could have done much
>> better, especially given that the only resources we spent on this
>> project are staff time to shepherd it.
>> --
>> Erik Möller
>> Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation
>>
>> Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
>>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l


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Re: Worst. Survey. Ever.

Thomas Dalton
2008/11/6 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:

> on 11/6/08 10:34 AM, Jim at [hidden email] wrote:
>
>> Eric,
>> In my opinion this survey highlights one of the issues that I have with the
>> wikimedia foundation __a failure to collaborate - utilize wikipedians and
>> wikipedia__
>>
>> By this I mean a failure to use the talented people that are part of the
>> community and failure to use wikipedia as a resource to find those people.
>
> Jim,
>
> What an incredibly astute and very accurate observation. I will be very
> interested in the response.

Likewise. It does, indeed, seem to be a recurring feature of the WMF's
mistakes. (I should clarify, I think most of what they do is great,
but there are things that aren't so good and most of them seem to boil
down to not consulting the community so that problems could be spotted
and fixed before they actually become problematic.)

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Re: Worst. Survey. Ever.

Jim-60
On Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 11:16 AM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> 2008/11/6 Marc Riddell <[hidden email]>:
> > on 11/6/08 10:34 AM, Jim at [hidden email] wrote:
> >
> >> Eric,
> >> In my opinion this survey highlights one of the issues that I have with
> the
> >> wikimedia foundation __a failure to collaborate - utilize wikipedians
> and
> >> wikipedia__
> >>
> >> By this I mean a failure to use the talented people that are part of the
> >> community and failure to use wikipedia as a resource to find those
> people.
> >
> > Jim,
> >
> > What an incredibly astute and very accurate observation. I will be very
> > interested in the response.
>
> Likewise. It does, indeed, seem to be a recurring feature of the WMF's
> mistakes. (I should clarify, I think most of what they do is great,
> but there are things that aren't so good and most of them seem to boil
> down to not consulting the community so that problems could be spotted
> and fixed before they actually become problematic.)
>

I should also clarify that I think the WMF is awesome! The good far
outweighs the bad, and, in the past, I have felt that most of the criticisms
of the foundation (executive leadership, transparency, etc) where impatient
as they were the result of a fast-growing organization that was doing well
considering the difficulties and challenges that it faced.

I would just like to see the foundation leverage the efforts
and willingness of its volunteers to give of their time and talents in new
ways i.e. in ways other than 1) helping new users and solving problems
(OTRS), 2) build documents and content (Wikipedia and its progeny) and 3)
programing code (Wikimedia and its extensions).

This is especially important as the foundation develops a professional
staff. Before if something was to get done it was by volunteers (and usually
quite a few of them) who had contributed to the project and were deeply
vested in its success. Now they can be done as a job assignment, and it will
become increasingly possible to have projects taken on by a smaller group of
people (school projects, dissertations/thesis in addition to employees) who
now have a way(through responsive foundation employees) to communicate and
get permission/access to the appropriate information but may not have had
the shared collaborative giving process of actually editing the encyclopedia
in their spare time (between work/family/school/other responsibilities).
Nothing can substitute for the experiences of making a few hundred  edits on
Wikipedia for understanding the perspective, the diversity of ideas, the
shared values, etc.

Jim
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Re: Worst. Survey. Ever.

Aryeh Gregor
In reply to this post by Martijn Hoekstra
On Sat, Nov 1, 2008 at 11:47 AM, Michael Bimmler <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Come on, every bank statement of yours will tell you the ISO code of
> the currency your account is in, you will probably find it on every
> magazine that you read and so on and so on. Please don't tell me that
> this is such an academic thing...

On Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 7:02 PM, Elias Friedman <[hidden email]> wrote:
> You've never gotten anything from  Canada and had to compare Canadian
> dollars (CAD) to United States dollars (USD)? Also the "$" symbol stands for
> pesos as well as dollars- and a few other currencies too (check the [[$]]
> article). The survey is intended for a worldwide audience- you can't expect
> them to cater to just us from the US.

On Wed, Nov 5, 2008 at 5:41 PM, Martijn Hoekstra
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> I don't know about the creators of the survey, but to tell you the
> truth, I had never expected that people don't know the ISO code of
> their own currency. It's something I assume that they never expected
> it either, how common or uncommon it might be.

People often complain about Americocentrism, but Eurocentrism can be
just as much of a problem.  America has close to four times the
population of the most populous European nation, and 18 times the land
area of the largest Western European nation.  We're a lot more
self-sufficient than any European nation, and *definitely* more than a
small place like the Netherlands.  Most Americans do not have frequent
contact with anything relating to other countries.  Most rarely buy
things from Canada or Mexico.  Most rarely travel to Canada or Mexico.
 Most rarely speak to people from Canada or Mexico, except immigrants
and tourists who typically do their best to accommodate themselves to
us.

Most Americans have little to no *reason* to know about non-American
currency, units of measurement, languages, systems of writing, ideas,
cultural concepts, or anything else.  This is not because we're
arrogant and think we're better than everyone else (although some of
us do, of course).  It's because of simple geographic and demographic
reality.  Most Europeans are living with foreigners close by on all
sides.  Americans are not.  This fact needs to be respected by
Europeans who are trying to make an international product, just as
much as Americans doing the same need to do things as Europeans
expect.

Put simply, if you're going to conduct a survey that includes a lot of
Americans, you'd better make sure you have plenty of American input in
the survey creation.  You can't test it on Dutch people and expect
that a simple translation will work fine for Americans.  Not that I'm
saying that's what happened here, but "I wouldn't have expected them
to think of it" isn't an excuse for a serious survey.  They're not
supposed to *think* of it, they're supposed to *observe* it during
usability testing.

I definitely know my currency code -- but only because I've read a lot
of Wikipedia articles and it's come up in a few, probably due to
British or other non-American influence.  I've never seen it anywhere
within America.  It might have been on plane tickets, but I think I've
taken four plane flights in my life, and only two were international.
I wouldn't expect almost any American to be able to easily come up
with "USD".  Likewise I doubt almost any American would be sure of his
language code, and the country code might pose no problem only because
it's so obvious.

(Disclaimer: Yes, some Americans have plenty of contact with people
from other countries, and obviously there are many exceptions to all
of the above.  If you're reading this, ipso facto you're most likely
accustomed to reading a fairly international mailing list and using a
fairly international encyclopedia, so the above might not apply to you
personally.  It doesn't apply to me, in fact: I had no problem with
the Eurocentrism issues in the survey, although all the other problems
did really annoy me.)

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Re: Worst. Survey. Ever.

Thomas Dalton
>  They're not
> supposed to *think* of it, they're supposed to *observe* it during
> usability testing.

Agreed. I think this all boils down to insufficient testing.

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