discussion about wikipedia surveys

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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Pine W
You're welcome, J-Mo.

I think it would help if there was a Board resolution authorizing the existence of RCom and outlining its scope and membership. For example, the membership might be something like 9 members with 3 WMF researchers, 3 content volunteers, 2 outside researchers, and 1 member of the WMF Board, plus 6 hours a week of WMF administrative support for handling routine questions and organizing documentation for quick Committee review. Would you, Aaron or Phoebe like to draft something for the Board to consider, or does that need to go through the ED first? I agree with other commentators that having RCOM exist without a clear charter and regular public updates of its membership and work should be remedied, and I think setting up some procedures for how consultations happen could address the issue of people personally approaching you and asking for advice about research projects.

Pine


On Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 4:49 PM, Jonathan Morgan <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 7:50 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
If RCOM needs more volunteer Wikimedians, the alive and well IEG Committee includes a Research Working Group that reviews grant proposals for WMF funding through the IEG program, so RCOM could reach out to IEGCom. I'm on IEGCom and the RWG but I can't speak for RCOM. (:

Thanks, Pine. I'll likely hold you to that offer ;)
 

On Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 3:10 PM, Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]> wrote:

I guess I was not so much thinking of an general invitation to the R&D Showcase but a specific “expectation” (albeit couched as an invitation) on those given permission to recruit via WMF channels to give a few short (or long as appropriate to the stage of their research) talks on their project. Ditto research projects supported through IEG or similar.

 

I agree that OpenSym is available as a research conference but it is not run by our community and therefore doesn’t help to create a sense of community with the researchers in question. Wikimania is run by our community but isn’t a research conference (would not count as a publication for academic purposes). But I don’t know if it’s realistic to try to establish another conference in terms of the volunteer effort to run it.

 

Kerry

 


From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Aaron Halfaker
Sent: Friday, 18 July 2014 1:45 AM


To: Research into Wikimedia content and communities
Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] discussion about wikipedia surveys

 

 

 

Kerry said:

Because of the criticism of “not giving back”, could we perhaps do things to try to make the researcher feel part of the community to make “giving back” more likely? For example, could we give them a slot every now and again to talk about their project in the R&D Showcase? Encourage them to be on this mailing list. Are we at a point where it might make sense to organise a Wikipedia research conference to help build a research community? Just thinking aloud here …

 

This is a bit different than the main topic, so I wanted to break it out into another reply.   

 

We just had Nate Matias[0] from the MIT media lab present on his work at the last showcase[1].  We also just sent out a survey about the showcase that includes a call for recommended speakers at future showcases[2].  As for a Wikipedia research conference, see OpenSym[3] (formerly WikiSym) and Wikimania[4] (not as researchy, but a great venue to maximize wiki research impact). 

 

 

On Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 8:30 AM, Aaron Halfaker <[hidden email]> wrote:

Aaron, when I read that it is active because I had heard from others in your team about a year or two ago that this wasn't going to be the vehicle for obtaining permission going forward and that a new, more lightweight process was being designed.

 

1) If anyone told you that we are no longer active, they were wrong.

2) The "lightweight" process you refer to is what I linked to in enwiki in my previous response.  See again: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research_recruitment

 

Generally, there seems to be a misconception that RCom == paid WMF activities.  While RCom involves a relationship with the Wikimedia Foundation, our activities as part of RCom are 100% volunteer and open to participation from other Wikipedians (seriously, let me know if you want to help out!), and as such, our backlog tends to suffer when our available volunteer time does.  FWIW, I became involved in this work as a volunteer (before I started working with the WMF).  With that in mind, it seems like we are not discussing RCom itself which is mostly inactive -- so much as we are discussing the subject recruitment review process which is still active.  Let me state this clearly: If you send an email to me or Dario about a research project that you would like reviewed, we will help you coordinate a review.  Our job as review coordinators is to make sure that the study is adequately documented and that Wikipedians and other researchers are pulled in to discuss the material.  We don't just welcome broad involvement -- we need it!  We all suffer from the lack of it.  Please show up help us!

 

To give you some context on the current stats and situation, I should probably give a bit of history.  I've been working to improve subject recruitment review -- with the goal of improving interactions between researchers and Wikipedians -- for years.  Let me first say that I'm game to make this better.  In my experience, the biggest issue to documenting the a review/endorsement/whatever process that I have come across is this: there seems to be a lot of people who feel that minimizing process description provides power and adaptability to intended processes[1].  It's these people that I've regularly battled in my frequent efforts to increase the formalization around the subject recruitment proposal vetting process (e.g. SRAG had a structured appeals process and stated timelines).  The result of these battles is the severely under-documented process "described" in meta:R:FAQ.

 

Here's some links to my previous work on subject recruitment process that will show these old discussions about process creep

·  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Subject_Recruitment_Approvals_Group

o https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Subject_Recruitment_Approvals_Group

·  https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Research&oldid=354600173

o https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Research/Archive_1

o https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Research/Archive_2 -- Note that this was actually an enwiki policy for about 5 hours before the RfC was overturned due to too few editors being involved in the straw poll.

For new work, see my current (but stalled for about 1.5 years) push for a structured process on English Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research_recruitment  See also the checklist I have been working on with Lane. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research_recruitment/Wikipedian_checklist

 

When you review these docs and the corresponding conversations, please keep in mind that I was a new Wikipedian for the development of WP:SRAG and WP:Research, so I made some really critical mistakes -- like taking hyperbolic criticism of the proposals personally. :\ 

 

So what now?  Well, in the meantime, if you let me know about some subject recruitment you want to do, I'll help you find someone to coordinate a review that fits within the process described in the RCom docs.  In the short term, are any of you folks interested in going through some iterations of the new WP:Research_recruitment policy doc?  

 

-Aaron

 

On Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 2:38 AM, Heather Ford <[hidden email]> wrote:

Agree with Kerry that we really need to have a more flexible process that speaks to the main problem that (I think) RCOM was started to solve i.e. that Wikipedians were getting tired of being continually contacted by researchers to fill out *surveys*. I'm not sure where feelings are about that right now (I certainly haven't seen a huge amount of surveys myself) but I guess the big question right now is whether RCOM is actually active or not. I must say that I was surprised, Aaron, when I read that it is active because I had heard from others in your team about a year or two ago that this wasn't going to be the vehicle for obtaining permission going forward and that a new, more lightweight process was being designed. As Nathan discusses on the Wikimedia-l list, there aren't many indications that RCOM is still active. Perhaps there has been a recent decision to resuscitate it? If that's the case, let us know about it :) And then we can discuss what needs to happen to build a good process. 

 

One immediate requirement that I've been talking to others about is finding ways of making the case to the WMF as a group of researchers for the anonymization of country level data, for example. I've spoken to a few researchers (and I myself made a request about a year ago that hasn't been responded to) and it seems like some work is required by the foundation to do this anonymisation but that there are a few of us who would be really keen to use this data to produce research very valuable to Wikipedia - especially from smaller language versions/developing countries. Having an official process that assesses how worthwhile this investment of time would be to the Foundation would be a great idea, I think, but right now there seems to be a general focus on the research that the Foundation does itself rather than enabling researchers outside. I know how busy Aaron and Dario (and others in the team) are so perhaps this requires a new position to coordinate between researchers and Foundation resources?

 

Anyway, I think the big question right now is whether there are any plans for RCOM that have been made by the research team and the only people who can answer that are folks in the research team :)

 

Best,

Heather.


 

On 17 July 2014 08:49, Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]> wrote:

Yes, I meant the community/communities of WMF. But the authority of the community derives from WMF, which chooses to delegate such matters. I think that “advise” is a good word to use.

 

Kerry

 

 


From: Amir E. Aharoni [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Thursday, 17 July 2014 5:37 PM
To: [hidden email]; Research into Wikimedia content and communities


Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] discussion about wikipedia surveys

 

> WMF does not "own" me as a contributor; it does not decide who can and cannot recruit me for whatever purposes.

I don't think that it really should be about WMF. The WMF shouldn't enforce anything. The community can formulate good practices for researchers and _advise_ community members not to cooperate with researchers who don't follow these practices. Not much more is needed.



--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore

 

2014-07-17 8:24 GMT+03:00 Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>:

Just saying here what I already put on the Talk page:

 

I am a little bothered by the opening sentence "This page documents the process that researchers must follow before asking Wikipedia contributors to participate in research studies such as surveys, interviews and experiments."

WMF does not "own" me as a contributor; it does not decide who can and cannot recruit me for whatever purposes. What WMF does own is its communication channels to me as a contributor and WMF has a right to control what occurs on those channels. Also I think WMF probably should be concerned about both its readers and its contributors being recruited through its channels (as either might be being recruited). I think this distinction should be made, e.g.

"This page documents the process that researchers must follow if they wish to use Wikipedia's (WMF's?) communication channels to recruit people to participate in research studies such as surveys, interviews and experiments. Communication channels include its mailing lists, its Project pages, Talk pages, and User Talk pages [and whatever else I've forgotten]." 

 

If researchers want to recruit WPians via non-WMF means, I don’t think it’s any business of WMF’s. An example might be a researcher who wanted to contact WPians via chapters or thorgs; I would leave it for the chapter/thorg to decide if they wanted to assist the researcher via their communication channels.

 

Of course, the practical reality of it is that some researchers (oblivious of WMF’s concerns in relation to recruitment of WPians to research projects) will simply use WMF’s channels without asking nicely first. Obviously we can remove such requests on-wiki and follow up any email requests with the commentary that this was not an approved request. In my category of [whatever else I’ve forgotten], I guess there are things like Facebook groups and any other social media presence.

 

Also to be practical, if WMF is to have a process to vet research surveys, I think it has to be sufficiently fast and not be overly demanding to avoid the possibility of the researcher giving up (“too hard to deal with these people”) and simply spamming email, project pages, social media in the hope of recruiting some participants regardless. That is, if we make it too slow/hard to do the right thing, we effectively encourage doing the wrong thing. Also, what value-add can we give them to reward those who do the right thing? It’s nice to have a carrot as well as a stick when it comes to onerous processes J

 

Because of the criticism of “not giving back”, could we perhaps do things to try to make the researcher feel part of the community to make “giving back” more likely? For example, could we give them a slot every now and again to talk about their project in the R&D Showcase? Encourage them to be on this mailing list. Are we at a point where it might make sense to organise a Wikipedia research conference to help build a research community? Just thinking aloud here …

 

Kerry

 

 


From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Aaron Halfaker
Sent: Thursday, 17 July 2014 6:59 AM
To: Research into Wikimedia content and communities
Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] discussion about wikipedia surveys

 

RCOM review is still alive and looking for new reviewers (really, coordinators).  Researchers can be directed to me or Dario ([hidden email]) to be assigned a reviewer.  There is also a proposed policy on enwiki that could use some eyeballs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research_recruitment

 

On Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 11:16 AM, Federico Leva (Nemo) <[hidden email]> wrote:

phoebe ayers, 16/07/2014 19:21:

> (Personally, I think the answer should be to resuscitate RCOM, but
> that's easy to say and harder to do!)

IMHO in the meanwhile the most useful thing folks can do is subscribing
to the feed of new research pages:
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:NewPages&feed=atom&hidebots=1&hideredirs=1&limit=500&offset=&namespace=202>
It's easier to build a functioning RCOM out of an active community of
"reviewers", than the other way round.

Nemo

_______________________________________________
Wiki-research-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l

 


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https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l

 


_______________________________________________
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--
Jonathan T. Morgan
Learning Strategist
Wikimedia Foundation


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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Heather Ford-3
+1!



On 19 July 2014 08:37, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
You're welcome, J-Mo.

I think it would help if there was a Board resolution authorizing the existence of RCom and outlining its scope and membership. For example, the membership might be something like 9 members with 3 WMF researchers, 3 content volunteers, 2 outside researchers, and 1 member of the WMF Board, plus 6 hours a week of WMF administrative support for handling routine questions and organizing documentation for quick Committee review. Would you, Aaron or Phoebe like to draft something for the Board to consider, or does that need to go through the ED first? I agree with other commentators that having RCOM exist without a clear charter and regular public updates of its membership and work should be remedied, and I think setting up some procedures for how consultations happen could address the issue of people personally approaching you and asking for advice about research projects.

Pine


On Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 4:49 PM, Jonathan Morgan <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 7:50 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
If RCOM needs more volunteer Wikimedians, the alive and well IEG Committee includes a Research Working Group that reviews grant proposals for WMF funding through the IEG program, so RCOM could reach out to IEGCom. I'm on IEGCom and the RWG but I can't speak for RCOM. (:

Thanks, Pine. I'll likely hold you to that offer ;)
 

On Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 3:10 PM, Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]> wrote:

I guess I was not so much thinking of an general invitation to the R&D Showcase but a specific “expectation” (albeit couched as an invitation) on those given permission to recruit via WMF channels to give a few short (or long as appropriate to the stage of their research) talks on their project. Ditto research projects supported through IEG or similar.

 

I agree that OpenSym is available as a research conference but it is not run by our community and therefore doesn’t help to create a sense of community with the researchers in question. Wikimania is run by our community but isn’t a research conference (would not count as a publication for academic purposes). But I don’t know if it’s realistic to try to establish another conference in terms of the volunteer effort to run it.

 

Kerry

 


From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Aaron Halfaker
Sent: Friday, 18 July 2014 1:45 AM


To: Research into Wikimedia content and communities
Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] discussion about wikipedia surveys

 

 

 

Kerry said:

Because of the criticism of “not giving back”, could we perhaps do things to try to make the researcher feel part of the community to make “giving back” more likely? For example, could we give them a slot every now and again to talk about their project in the R&D Showcase? Encourage them to be on this mailing list. Are we at a point where it might make sense to organise a Wikipedia research conference to help build a research community? Just thinking aloud here …

 

This is a bit different than the main topic, so I wanted to break it out into another reply.   

 

We just had Nate Matias[0] from the MIT media lab present on his work at the last showcase[1].  We also just sent out a survey about the showcase that includes a call for recommended speakers at future showcases[2].  As for a Wikipedia research conference, see OpenSym[3] (formerly WikiSym) and Wikimania[4] (not as researchy, but a great venue to maximize wiki research impact). 

 

 

On Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 8:30 AM, Aaron Halfaker <[hidden email]> wrote:

Aaron, when I read that it is active because I had heard from others in your team about a year or two ago that this wasn't going to be the vehicle for obtaining permission going forward and that a new, more lightweight process was being designed.

 

1) If anyone told you that we are no longer active, they were wrong.

2) The "lightweight" process you refer to is what I linked to in enwiki in my previous response.  See again: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research_recruitment

 

Generally, there seems to be a misconception that RCom == paid WMF activities.  While RCom involves a relationship with the Wikimedia Foundation, our activities as part of RCom are 100% volunteer and open to participation from other Wikipedians (seriously, let me know if you want to help out!), and as such, our backlog tends to suffer when our available volunteer time does.  FWIW, I became involved in this work as a volunteer (before I started working with the WMF).  With that in mind, it seems like we are not discussing RCom itself which is mostly inactive -- so much as we are discussing the subject recruitment review process which is still active.  Let me state this clearly: If you send an email to me or Dario about a research project that you would like reviewed, we will help you coordinate a review.  Our job as review coordinators is to make sure that the study is adequately documented and that Wikipedians and other researchers are pulled in to discuss the material.  We don't just welcome broad involvement -- we need it!  We all suffer from the lack of it.  Please show up help us!

 

To give you some context on the current stats and situation, I should probably give a bit of history.  I've been working to improve subject recruitment review -- with the goal of improving interactions between researchers and Wikipedians -- for years.  Let me first say that I'm game to make this better.  In my experience, the biggest issue to documenting the a review/endorsement/whatever process that I have come across is this: there seems to be a lot of people who feel that minimizing process description provides power and adaptability to intended processes[1].  It's these people that I've regularly battled in my frequent efforts to increase the formalization around the subject recruitment proposal vetting process (e.g. SRAG had a structured appeals process and stated timelines).  The result of these battles is the severely under-documented process "described" in meta:R:FAQ.

 

Here's some links to my previous work on subject recruitment process that will show these old discussions about process creep

·  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Subject_Recruitment_Approvals_Group

o https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Subject_Recruitment_Approvals_Group

·  https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Research&oldid=354600173

o https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Research/Archive_1

o https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Research/Archive_2 -- Note that this was actually an enwiki policy for about 5 hours before the RfC was overturned due to too few editors being involved in the straw poll.

For new work, see my current (but stalled for about 1.5 years) push for a structured process on English Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research_recruitment  See also the checklist I have been working on with Lane. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research_recruitment/Wikipedian_checklist

 

When you review these docs and the corresponding conversations, please keep in mind that I was a new Wikipedian for the development of WP:SRAG and WP:Research, so I made some really critical mistakes -- like taking hyperbolic criticism of the proposals personally. :\ 

 

So what now?  Well, in the meantime, if you let me know about some subject recruitment you want to do, I'll help you find someone to coordinate a review that fits within the process described in the RCom docs.  In the short term, are any of you folks interested in going through some iterations of the new WP:Research_recruitment policy doc?  

 

-Aaron

 

On Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 2:38 AM, Heather Ford <[hidden email]> wrote:

Agree with Kerry that we really need to have a more flexible process that speaks to the main problem that (I think) RCOM was started to solve i.e. that Wikipedians were getting tired of being continually contacted by researchers to fill out *surveys*. I'm not sure where feelings are about that right now (I certainly haven't seen a huge amount of surveys myself) but I guess the big question right now is whether RCOM is actually active or not. I must say that I was surprised, Aaron, when I read that it is active because I had heard from others in your team about a year or two ago that this wasn't going to be the vehicle for obtaining permission going forward and that a new, more lightweight process was being designed. As Nathan discusses on the Wikimedia-l list, there aren't many indications that RCOM is still active. Perhaps there has been a recent decision to resuscitate it? If that's the case, let us know about it :) And then we can discuss what needs to happen to build a good process. 

 

One immediate requirement that I've been talking to others about is finding ways of making the case to the WMF as a group of researchers for the anonymization of country level data, for example. I've spoken to a few researchers (and I myself made a request about a year ago that hasn't been responded to) and it seems like some work is required by the foundation to do this anonymisation but that there are a few of us who would be really keen to use this data to produce research very valuable to Wikipedia - especially from smaller language versions/developing countries. Having an official process that assesses how worthwhile this investment of time would be to the Foundation would be a great idea, I think, but right now there seems to be a general focus on the research that the Foundation does itself rather than enabling researchers outside. I know how busy Aaron and Dario (and others in the team) are so perhaps this requires a new position to coordinate between researchers and Foundation resources?

 

Anyway, I think the big question right now is whether there are any plans for RCOM that have been made by the research team and the only people who can answer that are folks in the research team :)

 

Best,

Heather.


 

On 17 July 2014 08:49, Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]> wrote:

Yes, I meant the community/communities of WMF. But the authority of the community derives from WMF, which chooses to delegate such matters. I think that “advise” is a good word to use.

 

Kerry

 

 


From: Amir E. Aharoni [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Thursday, 17 July 2014 5:37 PM
To: [hidden email]; Research into Wikimedia content and communities


Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] discussion about wikipedia surveys

 

> WMF does not "own" me as a contributor; it does not decide who can and cannot recruit me for whatever purposes.

I don't think that it really should be about WMF. The WMF shouldn't enforce anything. The community can formulate good practices for researchers and _advise_ community members not to cooperate with researchers who don't follow these practices. Not much more is needed.



--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore

 

2014-07-17 8:24 GMT+03:00 Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>:

Just saying here what I already put on the Talk page:

 

I am a little bothered by the opening sentence "This page documents the process that researchers must follow before asking Wikipedia contributors to participate in research studies such as surveys, interviews and experiments."

WMF does not "own" me as a contributor; it does not decide who can and cannot recruit me for whatever purposes. What WMF does own is its communication channels to me as a contributor and WMF has a right to control what occurs on those channels. Also I think WMF probably should be concerned about both its readers and its contributors being recruited through its channels (as either might be being recruited). I think this distinction should be made, e.g.

"This page documents the process that researchers must follow if they wish to use Wikipedia's (WMF's?) communication channels to recruit people to participate in research studies such as surveys, interviews and experiments. Communication channels include its mailing lists, its Project pages, Talk pages, and User Talk pages [and whatever else I've forgotten]." 

 

If researchers want to recruit WPians via non-WMF means, I don’t think it’s any business of WMF’s. An example might be a researcher who wanted to contact WPians via chapters or thorgs; I would leave it for the chapter/thorg to decide if they wanted to assist the researcher via their communication channels.

 

Of course, the practical reality of it is that some researchers (oblivious of WMF’s concerns in relation to recruitment of WPians to research projects) will simply use WMF’s channels without asking nicely first. Obviously we can remove such requests on-wiki and follow up any email requests with the commentary that this was not an approved request. In my category of [whatever else I’ve forgotten], I guess there are things like Facebook groups and any other social media presence.

 

Also to be practical, if WMF is to have a process to vet research surveys, I think it has to be sufficiently fast and not be overly demanding to avoid the possibility of the researcher giving up (“too hard to deal with these people”) and simply spamming email, project pages, social media in the hope of recruiting some participants regardless. That is, if we make it too slow/hard to do the right thing, we effectively encourage doing the wrong thing. Also, what value-add can we give them to reward those who do the right thing? It’s nice to have a carrot as well as a stick when it comes to onerous processes J

 

Because of the criticism of “not giving back”, could we perhaps do things to try to make the researcher feel part of the community to make “giving back” more likely? For example, could we give them a slot every now and again to talk about their project in the R&D Showcase? Encourage them to be on this mailing list. Are we at a point where it might make sense to organise a Wikipedia research conference to help build a research community? Just thinking aloud here …

 

Kerry

 

 


From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Aaron Halfaker
Sent: Thursday, 17 July 2014 6:59 AM
To: Research into Wikimedia content and communities
Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] discussion about wikipedia surveys

 

RCOM review is still alive and looking for new reviewers (really, coordinators).  Researchers can be directed to me or Dario ([hidden email]) to be assigned a reviewer.  There is also a proposed policy on enwiki that could use some eyeballs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research_recruitment

 

On Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 11:16 AM, Federico Leva (Nemo) <[hidden email]> wrote:

phoebe ayers, 16/07/2014 19:21:

> (Personally, I think the answer should be to resuscitate RCOM, but
> that's easy to say and harder to do!)

IMHO in the meanwhile the most useful thing folks can do is subscribing
to the feed of new research pages:
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:NewPages&feed=atom&hidebots=1&hideredirs=1&limit=500&offset=&namespace=202>
It's easier to build a functioning RCOM out of an active community of
"reviewers", than the other way round.

Nemo

_______________________________________________
Wiki-research-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l

 


_______________________________________________
Wiki-research-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l

 


_______________________________________________
Wiki-research-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l

 


_______________________________________________
Wiki-research-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l

 


_______________________________________________
Wiki-research-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wiki-research-l

 


_______________________________________________
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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Piotr Konieczny-2
In reply to this post by Aaron Halfaker-3
[rant - tl;dr]

Ugh, another new instruction creep with an anti-research bent to boot. Thanks, Aaron, for linking it here, as this is the first time I've heard of this - now I actually get to oppose this on record before this is archived :>

That was first third of the problem with RCOM in the first place: next to nobody knew (or knows) about it. When we still get many studies about Wikipedia who clearly display the fact that the researchers fail at basic lit review not citing any prior studies, to expect that most would try to (and be able to) find such pages is nothing but an exercise in bureaucratizing the project. The second third of the problem is that all such policies, if implemented, would make research much more difficult; anytime you add some reviewers to the mix, you add the risk of having good project rejected because of reviewers IDONTLIKEIT, and with the new proposal idea of letting complete amateurs be the reviewers... Fortunately, this doesn't fix the third compound problem of RCOM, which is that a) it had no real power to enforce anything it required and b) next to nobody wanted to invest time into doing the work, because it's a waste of time: non-productive work (not contributing to building an encyclopedia) that very, very few people in our community care about., and that adds an unimportant line to one's professional CV. RCOM is dying of inactivity and of being not needed, we should officially retire it instead of trying to clone it on Wikipedia.

[/rant]

Don't get me wrong, at first RCOM was a nice and noble idea. A guideline page for researchers is helpful, I do like the idea of trying to list and categorize ongoing research (https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Projects), it provides some useful links to data, FAQ and such. However, as in many other places on Wikipedia, this turned into an unnecessary instruction creep, which I very strongly oppose .

A while ago I've contributed to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ethically_researching_Wikipedia
It's a simple page, the gist of which is that any professional scholar who is researching Wikipedia should already be familiar with their professional codes of ethics, which in turn are perfectly sufficient to protect Wikipedia and its volunteers and users from any abuses. It also doesn't require any policing from the community outside normal scope. Any (extremely rare - can anyone even cite one?) disruptive experiments which breach the professional codes of ethics in the first place should result in bans and WMF official complains. Outside that, Wikipedians can deal with survey/interview requests like everyone else - ignore them if they don't like them. No special body to police researchers is needed. No approval body is needed for anything outside WMF grants, which WMF and/or the existing grant structure can handle.

What we need is for someone to review all research-related pages on Wikipedia and meta, merge any similar ones, and that's it. In other words, we need to condolence and organize the sprawl mess that research pages have become, not to add to them.

--
Piotr Konieczny, PhD
http://hanyang.academia.edu/PiotrKonieczny
http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=gdV8_AEAAAAJ
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Piotrus
On 7/17/2014 05:58, Aaron Halfaker wrote:
RCOM review is still alive and looking for new reviewers (really, coordinators).  Researchers can be directed to me or Dario ([hidden email]) to be assigned a reviewer.  There is also a proposed policy on enwiki that could use some eyeballs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research_recruitment


On Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 11:16 AM, Federico Leva (Nemo) <[hidden email]> wrote:
phoebe ayers, 16/07/2014 19:21:
> (Personally, I think the answer should be to resuscitate RCOM, but
> that's easy to say and harder to do!)

IMHO in the meanwhile the most useful thing folks can do is subscribing
to the feed of new research pages:
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:NewPages&feed=atom&hidebots=1&hideredirs=1&limit=500&offset=&namespace=202>
It's easier to build a functioning RCOM out of an active community of
"reviewers", than the other way round.

Nemo

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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Piotr Konieczny-2
In reply to this post by Heather Ford-3
With the disclaimer that I've carried out surveys myself in the past, I want to strongly dispute the claim that " Wikipedians were getting tired of being continually contacted by researchers to fill out *surveys*". As an editor who is in the Top 100 most active Wikipedians, I'd think I'd get to see an above average number of requests, where I don't think I get asked more than once a year. Maybe twice, in a "good" year, with half not even on my talk page but something I see at WikiProjects I frequent.

Even Heather says "I certainly haven't seen a huge amount of surveys myself". I don't think anyone has seen any significant amount of surveys (and what would be "huge"? would even getting one request a month be too much, really?).

It is my belief that this type of discussion is driven by a very tiny and completely unrepresentative group of editors who dislike science/research and are very vocal about it (i.e. Wikipedia equivalent of anti-vaccination activists), in other words people who may not get more than one or two survey requests per year but for whom it is an occasion to write long rants about how researchers are wasting everyone's time. Seeing as not taking part in a survey takes a few seconds of reading and forgetting about an invitation, I think that much more time is wasted by giving any attention to such complains in the first place.

Until such a time that someone can show that researchers are indeed affecting the work of volunteers in any meaningful way (as in, imposing on them more than asking for few seconds-a minute or two each year, collectively) I believe this discussion is a storm in a teacup and, indeed, a waste of our time.

--
Piotr Konieczny, PhD
http://hanyang.academia.edu/PiotrKonieczny
http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=gdV8_AEAAAAJ
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Piotrus
On 7/17/2014 18:38, Heather Ford wrote:
Agree with Kerry that we really need to have a more flexible process that speaks to the main problem that (I think) RCOM was started to solve i.e. that Wikipedians were getting tired of being continually contacted by researchers to fill out *surveys*. I'm not sure where feelings are about that right now (I certainly haven't seen a huge amount of surveys myself) but I guess the big question right now is whether RCOM is actually active or not. I must say that I was surprised, Aaron, when I read that it is active because I had heard from others in your team about a year or two ago that this wasn't going to be the vehicle for obtaining permission going forward and that a new, more lightweight process was being designed. As Nathan discusses on the Wikimedia-l list, there aren't many indications that RCOM is still active. Perhaps there has been a recent decision to resuscitate it? If that's the case, let us know about it :) And then we can discuss what needs to happen to build a good process. 

One immediate requirement that I've been talking to others about is finding ways of making the case to the WMF as a group of researchers for the anonymization of country level data, for example. I've spoken to a few researchers (and I myself made a request about a year ago that hasn't been responded to) and it seems like some work is required by the foundation to do this anonymisation but that there are a few of us who would be really keen to use this data to produce research very valuable to Wikipedia - especially from smaller language versions/developing countries. Having an official process that assesses how worthwhile this investment of time would be to the Foundation would be a great idea, I think, but right now there seems to be a general focus on the research that the Foundation does itself rather than enabling researchers outside. I know how busy Aaron and Dario (and others in the team) are so perhaps this requires a new position to coordinate between researchers and Foundation resources?

Anyway, I think the big question right now is whether there are any plans for RCOM that have been made by the research team and the only people who can answer that are folks in the research team :)

Best,
Heather.



On 17 July 2014 08:49, Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]> wrote:

Yes, I meant the community/communities of WMF. But the authority of the community derives from WMF, which chooses to delegate such matters. I think that “advise” is a good word to use.

 

Kerry

 

 


From: Amir E. Aharoni [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Thursday, 17 July 2014 5:37 PM
To: [hidden email]; Research into Wikimedia content and communities


Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] discussion about wikipedia surveys

 

> WMF does not "own" me as a contributor; it does not decide who can and cannot recruit me for whatever purposes.

I don't think that it really should be about WMF. The WMF shouldn't enforce anything. The community can formulate good practices for researchers and _advise_ community members not to cooperate with researchers who don't follow these practices. Not much more is needed.



--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore

 

2014-07-17 8:24 GMT+03:00 Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>:

Just saying here what I already put on the Talk page:

 

I am a little bothered by the opening sentence "This page documents the process that researchers must follow before asking Wikipedia contributors to participate in research studies such as surveys, interviews and experiments."

WMF does not "own" me as a contributor; it does not decide who can and cannot recruit me for whatever purposes. What WMF does own is its communication channels to me as a contributor and WMF has a right to control what occurs on those channels. Also I think WMF probably should be concerned about both its readers and its contributors being recruited through its channels (as either might be being recruited). I think this distinction should be made, e.g.

"This page documents the process that researchers must follow if they wish to use Wikipedia's (WMF's?) communication channels to recruit people to participate in research studies such as surveys, interviews and experiments. Communication channels include its mailing lists, its Project pages, Talk pages, and User Talk pages [and whatever else I've forgotten]." 

 

If researchers want to recruit WPians via non-WMF means, I don’t think it’s any business of WMF’s. An example might be a researcher who wanted to contact WPians via chapters or thorgs; I would leave it for the chapter/thorg to decide if they wanted to assist the researcher via their communication channels.

 

Of course, the practical reality of it is that some researchers (oblivious of WMF’s concerns in relation to recruitment of WPians to research projects) will simply use WMF’s channels without asking nicely first. Obviously we can remove such requests on-wiki and follow up any email requests with the commentary that this was not an approved request. In my category of [whatever else I’ve forgotten], I guess there are things like Facebook groups and any other social media presence.

 

Also to be practical, if WMF is to have a process to vet research surveys, I think it has to be sufficiently fast and not be overly demanding to avoid the possibility of the researcher giving up (“too hard to deal with these people”) and simply spamming email, project pages, social media in the hope of recruiting some participants regardless. That is, if we make it too slow/hard to do the right thing, we effectively encourage doing the wrong thing. Also, what value-add can we give them to reward those who do the right thing? It’s nice to have a carrot as well as a stick when it comes to onerous processes J

 

Because of the criticism of “not giving back”, could we perhaps do things to try to make the researcher feel part of the community to make “giving back” more likely? For example, could we give them a slot every now and again to talk about their project in the R&D Showcase? Encourage them to be on this mailing list. Are we at a point where it might make sense to organise a Wikipedia research conference to help build a research community? Just thinking aloud here …

 

Kerry

 

 


From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Aaron Halfaker
Sent: Thursday, 17 July 2014 6:59 AM
To: Research into Wikimedia content and communities
Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] discussion about wikipedia surveys

 

RCOM review is still alive and looking for new reviewers (really, coordinators).  Researchers can be directed to me or Dario ([hidden email]) to be assigned a reviewer.  There is also a proposed policy on enwiki that could use some eyeballs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research_recruitment

 

On Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 11:16 AM, Federico Leva (Nemo) <[hidden email]> wrote:

phoebe ayers, 16/07/2014 19:21:

> (Personally, I think the answer should be to resuscitate RCOM, but
> that's easy to say and harder to do!)

IMHO in the meanwhile the most useful thing folks can do is subscribing
to the feed of new research pages:
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:NewPages&feed=atom&hidebots=1&hideredirs=1&limit=500&offset=&namespace=202>
It's easier to build a functioning RCOM out of an active community of
"reviewers", than the other way round.

Nemo

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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Piotr Konieczny-2
In reply to this post by phoebe ayers-3
"it was difficult for contributors to tell if a survey was ethical, vetted"

Now, that's a problem of bad research design. Survey design 101 requires that an invitation to the survey briefly discusses those issues. It all boils down to the fact that many lazy or inadequately trained researchers don't bother to do what is described at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ethically_researching_Wikipedia#Surveys_and_interviews

It is, unfortunately, not in our power to educate those researchers. RCOM cannot do it, because most researchers will never find out it exists, and will send invitations to their surveys or such ignoring any required (or recommended) processes.

There's only one way that a body like RCOM could try to have some real influence among serious Wikipedia researchers who at least have a decent chance to finding out that it exists and what it does (like those of us here). That is, if it had a carrot to go with the stick of (what, exactly, I am still not sure - ban researchers accounts if they don't follow RCOM procedure? Or just frown at them at WikiSym?). The carrot could be a friendly user interface that would give a researcher an easy way to sample population and send surveys to it, in exchange of jumping through the hoops of whatever RCOM procedure creep becomes. People may consider signing up for RCOM review or such if RCOM gives them something of value in return. Until this happens, I don't except RCOM will become more useful or visible than it has been for the past few years; in fact I am predicting the continuation of its decline, as more and more people realize its a toothless and basically unnecessary body.

--
Piotr Konieczny, PhD
http://hanyang.academia.edu/PiotrKonieczny
http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=gdV8_AEAAAAJ
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Piotrus
On 7/18/2014 01:55, phoebe ayers wrote:

On Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 2:38 AM, Heather Ford <[hidden email]> wrote:
Agree with Kerry that we really need to have a more flexible process that speaks to the main problem that (I think) RCOM was started to solve i.e. that Wikipedians were getting tired of being continually contacted by researchers to fill out *surveys*.


That's correct, afaik that was the original motivation, along with some of the concerns that Lane/Nathan raised in the other list -- i.e. that it was difficult for contributors to tell if a survey was ethical, vetted, etc. Frankly, I think some long-term contributors just felt jaded -- for a while it seemed there were lots of surveys and studies to try to find out things that seemed intuitively obvious if you were a participant in the community. I think Heather is right that it seems like there have been fewer surveys in recent years, for whatever reason.

Part of the problem is a somewhat subtle demographic one: while contributors to Wikipedia do turn over, so newer contributors will not necessarily have seen lots of surveys, very heavy editors and admins (who are often easier to identify) tend to be long-term participants who might have been surveyed many times. Additionally, the people who follow mailing lists, social media, etc. (or at least the people who speak up on those channels) skew towards very-long-term contributors who have strong opinions and have seen it all before. So, if you advertise your survey on the mailing list, that's the population you get, and that's the feedback you get. (But it's a catch-22; there's not really other obvious mass channels).

Anyway, this is a hard problem without super-obvious solutions, and not one that there's a lot of models for -- very few online projects are simultaneously as open with their data and as interesting for research purposes!

best,
Phoebe


--
* I use this address for lists; send personal messages to phoebe.ayers <at> gmail.com *


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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Piotr Konieczny-2
In reply to this post by Heather Ford-3
"- developing community guidelines for the representation of editors' identities in research (similar, perhaps to the AOIR guidelines [2]); 
- finding ways of making responsible requests to the WMF for data that they hold that might benefit research outside the WMF;  
- developing opportunities for researchers to collaborate and share what they're doing with the wider research community (as Kerry suggests). "

Some good ideas here. The first point can be clarified in the ethically researching Wikipedia page. The second point is something that RCOM could do, if it focused more on helping researchers. Third idea is related to the fact that too many researchers don't know about this listerv or other (or any) Wikipedia/meta research pages. As I said two posts before or so, we should reorganize all research pages, creating a well-linked and non-duplicating best practices/list of structure a bit similar to the Wikipedia Global Education program, then try to advertise it to all all past and present researchers of Wikipedia.

--
Piotr Konieczny, PhD
http://hanyang.academia.edu/PiotrKonieczny
http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=gdV8_AEAAAAJ
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Piotrus
On 7/18/2014 17:07, Heather Ford wrote:
On 17 July 2014 17:55, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]> wrote:

Part of the problem is a somewhat subtle demographic one: while contributors to Wikipedia do turn over, so newer contributors will not necessarily have seen lots of surveys, very heavy editors and admins (who are often easier to identify) tend to be long-term participants who might have been surveyed many times. Additionally, the people who follow mailing lists, social media, etc. (or at least the people who speak up on those channels) skew towards very-long-term contributors who have strong opinions and have seen it all before. So, if you advertise your survey on the mailing list, that's the population you get, and that's the feedback you get. (But it's a catch-22; there's not really other obvious mass channels).

This is a really important insight, thanks for sharing it, Phoebe. It's important to work out what the problem is that we're trying to solve before we try solving it! If the key problem here is that Wikipedians need to be protected from researchers constantly surveying them, and actually the wide-ranging surveys are really rare these days, then maybe the problem is with heavy editors and admins being constantly 'surveyed' (although I'm guessing that this is not the only research method being used as I talk about below). 

Does anyone know whether this is actually a problem with editors these days? I know that I have interviewed a bunch of editors over the years without RCOM approval (some with RCOM approval) and I have only had good experiences. Sure there were people who didn't want to be interviewed, but they just ignored my requests - I'm not sure that they would say that they were bothered enough that an entire process needed to be developed to approve projects. 

I think part of the problem here is that there is a bias towards particular types of research projects in the way that RCOM was designed. I do both quantitative and qualitative research on WP and the quantitative research nowadays focuses mostly on capturing large-scale user actions using the API or the dumps - I have a feeling that's why there are fewer surveys these days - more researchers are using the data to conduct research and (right now) that doesn't require any permissions beyond what is required by uni ethics board (and all the problems that come with that!).

The projects I do as a qualitative researcher tend to be exploratory. I will interview people on skype, for example, about their work on particular articles before I know that I have a project. I could certainly develop a proposal to RCOM but it would be so wide-ranging that I'm unsure what the actual benefit was. I think that a much bigger problem is actually developing community guidelines around ethical treatment of subjects who don't often realise that their comments and interactions can be legally (but, I believe not necessarily ethically) used without their permission (I wrote something about my thoughts on this here [1]). 

Basically, I think that we need to reassess what kinds of problems are the most important ones right now that we want to solve rather than resuscitating a process that was designed to address a specific type of problem that was prevalent a long time ago. The new problems that I see right now that a research community is best placed to solve are things like:

- developing community guidelines for the representation of editors' identities in research (similar, perhaps to the AOIR guidelines [2]); 
- finding ways of making responsible requests to the WMF for data that they hold that might benefit research outside the WMF;  
- developing opportunities for researchers to collaborate and share what they're doing with the wider research community (as Kerry suggests). 


Best,
Heather.

 

Anyway, this is a hard problem without super-obvious solutions, and not one that there's a lot of models for -- very few online projects are simultaneously as open with their data and as interesting for research purposes!

best,
Phoebe


--
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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Piotr Konieczny-2
In reply to this post by Jonathan Morgan
Good points. Which is why I suggest refocusing RCOM from trying to address the rants of few malcontents about "too many surveys" (read: more than 0) to doing something more useful for the research community (and Wikipedia one). Reorganize research pages. Advertise the existence of the reorganized site. Develop tools to make research into Wikipedia easier, and/or pressure WMF to develop those tools (and once we have such tools they can be used as a carrot to tempt people into registering their research programs on meta or such).

--
Piotr Konieczny, PhD
http://hanyang.academia.edu/PiotrKonieczny
http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=gdV8_AEAAAAJ
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Piotrus
On 7/18/2014 06:37, Jonathan Morgan wrote:


First, I wanted to highlight the important issue that Heather raises here, because although it's a separate issue, it's an important one:

On Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 2:38 AM, Heather Ford <[hidden email]> wrote:
...

One immediate requirement that I've been talking to others about is finding ways of making the case to the WMF as a group of researchers for the anonymization of country level data, for example. I've spoken to a few researchers (and I myself made a request about a year ago that hasn't been responded to) and it seems like some work is required by the foundation to do this anonymisation but that there are a few of us who would be really keen to use this data to produce research very valuable to Wikipedia - especially from smaller language versions/developing countries. Having an official process that assesses how worthwhile this investment of time would be to the Foundation would be a great idea, I think, but right now there seems to be a general focus on the research that the Foundation does itself rather than enabling researchers outside. I know how busy Aaron and Dario (and others in the team) are so perhaps this requires a new position to coordinate between researchers and Foundation resources?

Anyway, I think the big question right now is whether there are any plans for RCOM that have been made by the research team and the only people who can answer that are folks in the research team :)

Best,
Heather.



As a community-run group, RCOM doesn't have any role in making non-public data available to researchers. However, Aaron and I are putting together a proposal for a workshop that would address issues like this. That's work we're doing in an official capacity, as opposed to the RCOM work, which is volunteer.

On RCOM more generally... I think clarifying the role of the committee, and getting a larger and more diverse set of people involved, might help make RCOM work. But as Aaron can attest, it is difficult to get people to agree on what RCOMs role should be, let alone get them to work for RCOM.

I've been involved with RCOM for a while, albeit not very actively. Unfortunately, I think that the fact that the only people who "review" requests happen to be* WMF staffers contributes to confusion about RCOM's role and it's authority. IMO, if RCOM or any other subject recruitment review process is to succeed, we need:
  • more wiki-researchers who are willing to regularly participate in both peer review and in developing better process guidelines and standards (it's really just Aaron right now)
  • more Wikipedians who are willing to do the same
  • some degree of buy-in from the Wikimedia community as a whole. RCOM needs legitimacy. But where, and from whom? Subject recruitment is a global concern, but the proposed subject recruitment process is focused on en-wiki (mostly because that's where most of the relevant research activities that we are aware of are happening). How to make RCOM more global?
RCOM is in a tough spot right now. We can't force researchers to submit their proposals, or abide by the suggestions/recommendations/decisions/whatever that result from their review. But because we look like an official body, it's easy to blame us for failing to prevent disruptive research (if you're a community member), for "rubber stamping" research that we like (ditto), or for drowning research in red tape (if you're a wiki-researcher). 


- J

*we were wiki-researchers first!


 


On 17 July 2014 08:49, Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]> wrote:

Yes, I meant the community/communities of WMF. But the authority of the community derives from WMF, which chooses to delegate such matters. I think that “advise” is a good word to use.

 

Kerry

 

 


From: Amir E. Aharoni [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Thursday, 17 July 2014 5:37 PM
To: [hidden email]; Research into Wikimedia content and communities


Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] discussion about wikipedia surveys

 

> WMF does not "own" me as a contributor; it does not decide who can and cannot recruit me for whatever purposes.

I don't think that it really should be about WMF. The WMF shouldn't enforce anything. The community can formulate good practices for researchers and _advise_ community members not to cooperate with researchers who don't follow these practices. Not much more is needed.



--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore

 

2014-07-17 8:24 GMT+03:00 Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>:

Just saying here what I already put on the Talk page:

 

I am a little bothered by the opening sentence "This page documents the process that researchers must follow before asking Wikipedia contributors to participate in research studies such as surveys, interviews and experiments."

WMF does not "own" me as a contributor; it does not decide who can and cannot recruit me for whatever purposes. What WMF does own is its communication channels to me as a contributor and WMF has a right to control what occurs on those channels. Also I think WMF probably should be concerned about both its readers and its contributors being recruited through its channels (as either might be being recruited). I think this distinction should be made, e.g.

"This page documents the process that researchers must follow if they wish to use Wikipedia's (WMF's?) communication channels to recruit people to participate in research studies such as surveys, interviews and experiments. Communication channels include its mailing lists, its Project pages, Talk pages, and User Talk pages [and whatever else I've forgotten]." 

 

If researchers want to recruit WPians via non-WMF means, I don’t think it’s any business of WMF’s. An example might be a researcher who wanted to contact WPians via chapters or thorgs; I would leave it for the chapter/thorg to decide if they wanted to assist the researcher via their communication channels.

 

Of course, the practical reality of it is that some researchers (oblivious of WMF’s concerns in relation to recruitment of WPians to research projects) will simply use WMF’s channels without asking nicely first. Obviously we can remove such requests on-wiki and follow up any email requests with the commentary that this was not an approved request. In my category of [whatever else I’ve forgotten], I guess there are things like Facebook groups and any other social media presence.

 

Also to be practical, if WMF is to have a process to vet research surveys, I think it has to be sufficiently fast and not be overly demanding to avoid the possibility of the researcher giving up (“too hard to deal with these people”) and simply spamming email, project pages, social media in the hope of recruiting some participants regardless. That is, if we make it too slow/hard to do the right thing, we effectively encourage doing the wrong thing. Also, what value-add can we give them to reward those who do the right thing? It’s nice to have a carrot as well as a stick when it comes to onerous processes J

 

Because of the criticism of “not giving back”, could we perhaps do things to try to make the researcher feel part of the community to make “giving back” more likely? For example, could we give them a slot every now and again to talk about their project in the R&D Showcase? Encourage them to be on this mailing list. Are we at a point where it might make sense to organise a Wikipedia research conference to help build a research community? Just thinking aloud here …

 

Kerry

 

 


From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Aaron Halfaker
Sent: Thursday, 17 July 2014 6:59 AM
To: Research into Wikimedia content and communities
Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] discussion about wikipedia surveys

 

RCOM review is still alive and looking for new reviewers (really, coordinators).  Researchers can be directed to me or Dario ([hidden email]) to be assigned a reviewer.  There is also a proposed policy on enwiki that could use some eyeballs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research_recruitment

 

On Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 11:16 AM, Federico Leva (Nemo) <[hidden email]> wrote:

phoebe ayers, 16/07/2014 19:21:

> (Personally, I think the answer should be to resuscitate RCOM, but
> that's easy to say and harder to do!)

IMHO in the meanwhile the most useful thing folks can do is subscribing
to the feed of new research pages:
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:NewPages&feed=atom&hidebots=1&hideredirs=1&limit=500&offset=&namespace=202>
It's easier to build a functioning RCOM out of an active community of
"reviewers", than the other way round.

Nemo

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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Piotr Konieczny-2
In reply to this post by Federico Leva (Nemo)
Yep. One of the things that ruffled my feathers about RCOM from early on
was that without any official community or WMF support, it (or some of
its members, perhaps not expressing themselves clearly) gave the
impression that it holds (or should, or want) the power to decide what
can and cannot be researched with regards to Wikipedia. So, at least as
far as I am concerned, instead of looking like a
best-practices-we-want-to-help body, it started to look like
IRB/Godking-wannabe, offering nothing but promising to contribute to
instruction/procedure creep.

--

Piotr Konieczny, PhD
http://hanyang.academia.edu/PiotrKonieczny
http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=gdV8_AEAAAAJ
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Piotrus

On 7/18/2014 15:36, Federico Leva (Nemo) wrote:

> Jonathan Morgan, 17/07/2014 23:37:
>> But because we /look like /an official body, it's easy to blame us for
>> failing to prevent disruptive research (if you're a community member),
>> for "rubber stamping" research that we like (ditto), or for drowning
>> research in red tape (if you're a wiki-researcher).
> RCOM doesn't *look like* an official body, it claims to be one. With its
> current structure, it looks like a WMF staff committee.
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Wikimedia_Committees#Staff_committees
>
> If you don't want it to look official, it's easy: call it "interest
> group", add a "draft" template, add a "under pilot" warning, call it a
> subcommittee of the communications committee (a rather common format).
>
> Nemo
>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Piotr Konieczny-2
In reply to this post by Aaron Halfaker-2
"We regularly see requests to survey the most active Wikipedians about their motivations to edit."

As I am in the top 100 most active Wikipedians, unless I am an outlier for some reason, very few of those projects come to fruition, as I get no more than 1-2 requests a year, at most.

"See this proposal[1] for an example of a study that was halted in review due to the disruption it would have caused."

So, they would ask 500 people to take part in a 10 minute survey. A bit long, but... so  what? I expect they'd get a response ratio of about 10%, so they should contact the Top 5000. Still not seeing a problem. Those who don't want, don't take part in the survey. It would be nice if the researchers promised to do something constructive like improve Wikipedia content, give out random prizes to contributors, or such to "give back" to the community. Perhaps an idea to add to best practices, but... where's that disruption? What am I missing?

--
Piotr Konieczny, PhD
http://hanyang.academia.edu/PiotrKonieczny
http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=gdV8_AEAAAAJ
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Piotrus
On 7/19/2014 02:59, Aaron Halfaker wrote:
Does anyone know whether this is actually a problem with editors these days?

Yes.  We regularly see requests to survey the most active Wikipedians about their motivations to edit.  These requests are problematic for some very obvious reasons.  See this proposal[1] for an example of a study that was halted in review due to the disruption it would have caused.

The projects I do as a qualitative researcher tend to be exploratory. I will interview people on skype, for example, about their work on particular articles before I know that I have a project.
  
Do you document your study on wiki and ask for feedback about disruption before moving forward?  Regardless of the process around it, I think we might all agree that is good behavior for any research activity.  This might be obvious to you as someone who has been doing ethnographic work in Wikimedia communities for a long time, but it is apprently less obvious to more junior wiki researchers.   

This good-faith documentation and discussion describes the whole RCom subject recruitment process.  You refer to RCom as "heavy weight", but as far as I can tell, the weight is entirely on the RCom coordinator -- a burden I'll gladly accept to help good research take place without disruption.  Researchers should have already documented their research and prepared themselves to discuss the work with their subjects before they arrive. 

I don't know of a single study that has passed stalled in RCom's process that has resulted in substantial disruption or stalled for more than two weeks.  I welcome you to provide counter examples.  

I don't think [the CSCW workshop proposal] addresses the issue unless there's something I'm missing (like an invitation, for example!

One of the ways that researchers can be supported is through groups that help them socialize their research activities with community members (and minimize disruption for community members).  Despite the tone of this conversation, we have been highly successful in this regard.  

I think it would be nice if you could offer an invitation to the researchers on this list

That's the plan.  We're just getting to a point where we have a solid idea of what we want to accomplish.  An announcement will come soon.  

Basically, I think that we need to reassess what kinds of problems are the most important ones right now that we want to solve rather than resuscitating a process that was designed to address a specific type of problem that was prevalent a long time ago

As I pointed out previously, the subject recruitment process is alive and does not need to be "resuscitated ".  It is also solving a relevant problem.  I welcome Lane Rasberry (if he has time) to share his substantial concerns about undocumented, undiscussed research taking place on-wiki.  


-Aaron 


On Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 1:27 AM, Heather Ford <[hidden email]> wrote:

On 17 July 2014 22:37, Jonathan Morgan <[hidden email]> wrote:

First, I wanted to highlight the important issue that Heather raises here, because although it's a separate issue, it's an important one:

On Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 2:38 AM, Heather Ford <[hidden email]> wrote:
...


One immediate requirement that I've been talking to others about is finding ways of making the case to the WMF as a group of researchers for the anonymization of country level data, for example. I've spoken to a few researchers (and I myself made a request about a year ago that hasn't been responded to) and it seems like some work is required by the foundation to do this anonymisation but that there are a few of us who would be really keen to use this data to produce research very valuable to Wikipedia - especially from smaller language versions/developing countries. Having an official process that assesses how worthwhile this investment of time would be to the Foundation would be a great idea, I think, but right now there seems to be a general focus on the research that the Foundation does itself rather than enabling researchers outside. I know how busy Aaron and Dario (and others in the team) are so perhaps this requires a new position to coordinate between researchers and Foundation resources?

As a community-run group, RCOM doesn't have any role in making non-public data available to researchers. However, Aaron and I are putting together a proposal for a workshop that would address issues like this. That's work we're doing in an official capacity, as opposed to the RCOM work, which is volunteer.

Jonathan, it looks like this will be a great workshop and I think CSCW is a great venue! but I don't think it addresses the issue unless there's something I'm missing (like an invitation, for example! ;) I see that the workshop is forward-facing but its aim seems to be to work with a bunch of different communities like Reddit and GalaxyZoo. What we need are better channels as Wikipedia researchers to communicate our needs as researchers operating outside the WMF. And preferably in a way that doesn't require us to have to travel to Canada to a workshop to do it!

And, I offered it as a joke but it reminds me of a small, subtle point, I think it would be nice if you could offer an invitation to the researchers on this list to join the workshop and/or workshop planning when you advertise the work you're doing on this. I know it's a wiki and anyone could probably join, but I feel like there is enormous possibility for the group represented here to feel involved and recognised, and I, for one, would like to be invited sometimes.. to the fun stuff, that is, not just the hard, arduous stuff :) 

Best,
Heather.

 

On RCOM more generally... I think clarifying the role of the committee, and getting a larger and more diverse set of people involved, might help make RCOM work. But as Aaron can attest, it is difficult to get people to agree on what RCOMs role should be, let alone get them to work for RCOM.

I've been involved with RCOM for a while, albeit not very actively. Unfortunately, I think that the fact that the only people who "review" requests happen to be* WMF staffers contributes to confusion about RCOM's role and it's authority. IMO, if RCOM or any other subject recruitment review process is to succeed, we need:
  • more wiki-researchers who are willing to regularly participate in both peer review and in developing better process guidelines and standards (it's really just Aaron right now)
  • more Wikipedians who are willing to do the same
  • some degree of buy-in from the Wikimedia community as a whole. RCOM needs legitimacy. But where, and from whom? Subject recruitment is a global concern, but the proposed subject recruitment process is focused on en-wiki (mostly because that's where most of the relevant research activities that we are aware of are happening). How to make RCOM more global?
RCOM is in a tough spot right now. We can't force researchers to submit their proposals, or abide by the suggestions/recommendations/decisions/whatever that result from their review. But because we look like an official body, it's easy to blame us for failing to prevent disruptive research (if you're a community member), for "rubber stamping" research that we like (ditto), or for drowning research in red tape (if you're a wiki-researcher). 


- J

*we were wiki-researchers first!


 


On 17 July 2014 08:49, Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]> wrote:

Yes, I meant the community/communities of WMF. But the authority of the community derives from WMF, which chooses to delegate such matters. I think that “advise” is a good word to use.

 

Kerry

 

 


From: Amir E. Aharoni [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Thursday, 17 July 2014 5:37 PM
To: [hidden email]; Research into Wikimedia content and communities


Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] discussion about wikipedia surveys

 

> WMF does not "own" me as a contributor; it does not decide who can and cannot recruit me for whatever purposes.

I don't think that it really should be about WMF. The WMF shouldn't enforce anything. The community can formulate good practices for researchers and _advise_ community members not to cooperate with researchers who don't follow these practices. Not much more is needed.



--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore

 

2014-07-17 8:24 GMT+03:00 Kerry Raymond <[hidden email]>:

Just saying here what I already put on the Talk page:

 

I am a little bothered by the opening sentence "This page documents the process that researchers must follow before asking Wikipedia contributors to participate in research studies such as surveys, interviews and experiments."

WMF does not "own" me as a contributor; it does not decide who can and cannot recruit me for whatever purposes. What WMF does own is its communication channels to me as a contributor and WMF has a right to control what occurs on those channels. Also I think WMF probably should be concerned about both its readers and its contributors being recruited through its channels (as either might be being recruited). I think this distinction should be made, e.g.

"This page documents the process that researchers must follow if they wish to use Wikipedia's (WMF's?) communication channels to recruit people to participate in research studies such as surveys, interviews and experiments. Communication channels include its mailing lists, its Project pages, Talk pages, and User Talk pages [and whatever else I've forgotten]." 

 

If researchers want to recruit WPians via non-WMF means, I don’t think it’s any business of WMF’s. An example might be a researcher who wanted to contact WPians via chapters or thorgs; I would leave it for the chapter/thorg to decide if they wanted to assist the researcher via their communication channels.

 

Of course, the practical reality of it is that some researchers (oblivious of WMF’s concerns in relation to recruitment of WPians to research projects) will simply use WMF’s channels without asking nicely first. Obviously we can remove such requests on-wiki and follow up any email requests with the commentary that this was not an approved request. In my category of [whatever else I’ve forgotten], I guess there are things like Facebook groups and any other social media presence.

 

Also to be practical, if WMF is to have a process to vet research surveys, I think it has to be sufficiently fast and not be overly demanding to avoid the possibility of the researcher giving up (“too hard to deal with these people”) and simply spamming email, project pages, social media in the hope of recruiting some participants regardless. That is, if we make it too slow/hard to do the right thing, we effectively encourage doing the wrong thing. Also, what value-add can we give them to reward those who do the right thing? It’s nice to have a carrot as well as a stick when it comes to onerous processes J

 

Because of the criticism of “not giving back”, could we perhaps do things to try to make the researcher feel part of the community to make “giving back” more likely? For example, could we give them a slot every now and again to talk about their project in the R&D Showcase? Encourage them to be on this mailing list. Are we at a point where it might make sense to organise a Wikipedia research conference to help build a research community? Just thinking aloud here …

 

Kerry

 

 


From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Aaron Halfaker
Sent: Thursday, 17 July 2014 6:59 AM
To: Research into Wikimedia content and communities
Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] discussion about wikipedia surveys

 

RCOM review is still alive and looking for new reviewers (really, coordinators).  Researchers can be directed to me or Dario ([hidden email]) to be assigned a reviewer.  There is also a proposed policy on enwiki that could use some eyeballs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research_recruitment

 

On Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 11:16 AM, Federico Leva (Nemo) <[hidden email]> wrote:

phoebe ayers, 16/07/2014 19:21:

> (Personally, I think the answer should be to resuscitate RCOM, but
> that's easy to say and harder to do!)

IMHO in the meanwhile the most useful thing folks can do is subscribing
to the feed of new research pages:
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:NewPages&feed=atom&hidebots=1&hideredirs=1&limit=500&offset=&namespace=202>
It's easier to build a functioning RCOM out of an active community of
"reviewers", than the other way round.

Nemo

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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Pine W
In reply to this post by Piotr Konieczny-2

The good and bad news is that the status quo with RCOM is likely to remain unless someone in WMF, the Board, or the community is interested enough in addressing the situation to put in some effort to make RCOM a functioning organization.

At the moment I have the impression that WMF researchers are absorbing most of the work that RCOM and some dedicated RCOM admin support could do, like help with lit review and prevent outside researchers from using WMF databases in ways that compromise user privacy. My perception is that the current situation is inefficient for WMF and for outside researchers who want to do good work with WMF  or community resources, and also that RCOM lacks the resources to respond in timely ways to requests for help with outside research that could benefit Wikimedia. So, I there are reasons to changs the status quo, and I hope WMF or the Board would be interested in something like the proposal I made previously.

Phoebe, what do you think?

Pine


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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Heather Ford-3
+1 on Piotr's comments. 

And very, very happy to hear about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ethically_researching_Wikipedia -- I think this is definitely the way to go: developing guidelines that we *regularly point people to* when they have questions etc. And maybe something that we as a group can work on in the coming months. 

I'll reiterate my suggestions for goals here and add some of Piotr's and others' comments: 

1. developing ethical research guidelines for Wikipedia research
- by building on the WP:Ethically_researching_Wikipedia page and regularly pointing people to it

2. finding ways of making responsible requests to the WMF for data that they hold that might benefit research outside the WMF
- through an official process with guidelines from the WMF on response times/ viable requests etc.

3. developing opportunities for researchers to collaborate and share what they're doing with the wider research community
- reorganising the research hub and pointing to best case practices etc (similar to the WP Global Education program, as Piotr suggests)
- actively recruiting WP researchers to join this list and visit the research hub
- some other regular way of involving researchers such as inviting them to showcase their work and have it recognised on the list, on the hub etc 
- recognising outstanding research (through a prize perhaps as Aaron suggested)

Looking forward to hearing Phoebe's suggestions!

Best,
Heather.




On 29 July 2014 09:04, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

The good and bad news is that the status quo with RCOM is likely to remain unless someone in WMF, the Board, or the community is interested enough in addressing the situation to put in some effort to make RCOM a functioning organization.

At the moment I have the impression that WMF researchers are absorbing most of the work that RCOM and some dedicated RCOM admin support could do, like help with lit review and prevent outside researchers from using WMF databases in ways that compromise user privacy. My perception is that the current situation is inefficient for WMF and for outside researchers who want to do good work with WMF  or community resources, and also that RCOM lacks the resources to respond in timely ways to requests for help with outside research that could benefit Wikimedia. So, I there are reasons to changs the status quo, and I hope WMF or the Board would be interested in something like the proposal I made previously.

Phoebe, what do you think?

Pine


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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Aaron Halfaker-2
I don't think that it is appropriate that those who benefit from deregulation (e.g.  No oversight for running surveys.  No formalized community review process.) make the decisions about what is worth regulating.  You'll notice that the proposed policy that Poitr calls "instruction creep" basically states that you do three things:

1. Document your research.  Specifically, your methods of recruitment, consent process, data storage and publication strategy.
2. Discuss your research -- with Wikipedians to make sure that you won't cause a disruption
3. Proceed as consensus emerges.  

We all seem to agree that this is good practice.  Where is the rest of the "instruction creep"?  Where is the anti-researcher bend?  

Poitr, you speculate about potential problems like people just coming to say "IDONTLIKEIT", but I have yet to see that happen in RCOM's process despite the fact that we invite editors from the population being sampled to the conversation.  Even if it was true, I think that if some of your potential participants don't like what you are doing, you ought to address their concerns.  

I'm all for developing guidelines (note that Ethically researching Wikipedia IS NOT a guideline).  I've wrote my fair share of essays to help researchers & Wikipedians find their way around research projects in Wikipedia.  E.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research and and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EpochFail/Don%27t_bite_the_researchers.  However, I've watched good research projects fail because researchers didn't have the wikipedian backgrounds that you guys do (Heather and Poitr).  See some examples of (IRB approved) studies running into project-halting difficulties: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Research#Examples_of_unmediated_interactions  These examples are what got me to start working on developing a process in the first place.

If you really think that documenting your research and having a discussion about it is too much instruction, then maybe you shouldn't be allowed to contact Wikipedians.  If you do think that every research project that does recruitment should be documented and discussed, why not just say so?

-Aaron


On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 3:50 AM, Heather Ford <[hidden email]> wrote:
+1 on Piotr's comments. 

And very, very happy to hear about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ethically_researching_Wikipedia -- I think this is definitely the way to go: developing guidelines that we *regularly point people to* when they have questions etc. And maybe something that we as a group can work on in the coming months. 

I'll reiterate my suggestions for goals here and add some of Piotr's and others' comments: 

1. developing ethical research guidelines for Wikipedia research
- by building on the WP:Ethically_researching_Wikipedia page and regularly pointing people to it

2. finding ways of making responsible requests to the WMF for data that they hold that might benefit research outside the WMF
- through an official process with guidelines from the WMF on response times/ viable requests etc.

3. developing opportunities for researchers to collaborate and share what they're doing with the wider research community
- reorganising the research hub and pointing to best case practices etc (similar to the WP Global Education program, as Piotr suggests)
- actively recruiting WP researchers to join this list and visit the research hub
- some other regular way of involving researchers such as inviting them to showcase their work and have it recognised on the list, on the hub etc 
- recognising outstanding research (through a prize perhaps as Aaron suggested)

Looking forward to hearing Phoebe's suggestions!

Best,
Heather.

On 29 July 2014 09:04, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

The good and bad news is that the status quo with RCOM is likely to remain unless someone in WMF, the Board, or the community is interested enough in addressing the situation to put in some effort to make RCOM a functioning organization.

At the moment I have the impression that WMF researchers are absorbing most of the work that RCOM and some dedicated RCOM admin support could do, like help with lit review and prevent outside researchers from using WMF databases in ways that compromise user privacy. My perception is that the current situation is inefficient for WMF and for outside researchers who want to do good work with WMF  or community resources, and also that RCOM lacks the resources to respond in timely ways to requests for help with outside research that could benefit Wikimedia. So, I there are reasons to changs the status quo, and I hope WMF or the Board would be interested in something like the proposal I made previously.

Phoebe, what do you think?

Pine


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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Aaron Halfaker-2
Re. RCOM and review processes, these are two different things.   RCOM is an old, defunct WMF sanctioned working group of staff, researchers and Wikipedians.  If we want to revive RCOM, it seems like this should be discussed in another thread.  


On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 8:26 AM, Aaron Halfaker <[hidden email]> wrote:
I don't think that it is appropriate that those who benefit from deregulation (e.g.  No oversight for running surveys.  No formalized community review process.) make the decisions about what is worth regulating.  You'll notice that the proposed policy that Poitr calls "instruction creep" basically states that you do three things:

1. Document your research.  Specifically, your methods of recruitment, consent process, data storage and publication strategy.
2. Discuss your research -- with Wikipedians to make sure that you won't cause a disruption
3. Proceed as consensus emerges.  

We all seem to agree that this is good practice.  Where is the rest of the "instruction creep"?  Where is the anti-researcher bend?  

Poitr, you speculate about potential problems like people just coming to say "IDONTLIKEIT", but I have yet to see that happen in RCOM's process despite the fact that we invite editors from the population being sampled to the conversation.  Even if it was true, I think that if some of your potential participants don't like what you are doing, you ought to address their concerns.  

I'm all for developing guidelines (note that Ethically researching Wikipedia IS NOT a guideline).  I've wrote my fair share of essays to help researchers & Wikipedians find their way around research projects in Wikipedia.  E.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Research and and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EpochFail/Don%27t_bite_the_researchers.  However, I've watched good research projects fail because researchers didn't have the wikipedian backgrounds that you guys do (Heather and Poitr).  See some examples of (IRB approved) studies running into project-halting difficulties: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Research#Examples_of_unmediated_interactions  These examples are what got me to start working on developing a process in the first place.

If you really think that documenting your research and having a discussion about it is too much instruction, then maybe you shouldn't be allowed to contact Wikipedians.  If you do think that every research project that does recruitment should be documented and discussed, why not just say so?

-Aaron


On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 3:50 AM, Heather Ford <[hidden email]> wrote:
+1 on Piotr's comments. 

And very, very happy to hear about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ethically_researching_Wikipedia -- I think this is definitely the way to go: developing guidelines that we *regularly point people to* when they have questions etc. And maybe something that we as a group can work on in the coming months. 

I'll reiterate my suggestions for goals here and add some of Piotr's and others' comments: 

1. developing ethical research guidelines for Wikipedia research
- by building on the WP:Ethically_researching_Wikipedia page and regularly pointing people to it

2. finding ways of making responsible requests to the WMF for data that they hold that might benefit research outside the WMF
- through an official process with guidelines from the WMF on response times/ viable requests etc.

3. developing opportunities for researchers to collaborate and share what they're doing with the wider research community
- reorganising the research hub and pointing to best case practices etc (similar to the WP Global Education program, as Piotr suggests)
- actively recruiting WP researchers to join this list and visit the research hub
- some other regular way of involving researchers such as inviting them to showcase their work and have it recognised on the list, on the hub etc 
- recognising outstanding research (through a prize perhaps as Aaron suggested)

Looking forward to hearing Phoebe's suggestions!

Best,
Heather.

On 29 July 2014 09:04, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

The good and bad news is that the status quo with RCOM is likely to remain unless someone in WMF, the Board, or the community is interested enough in addressing the situation to put in some effort to make RCOM a functioning organization.

At the moment I have the impression that WMF researchers are absorbing most of the work that RCOM and some dedicated RCOM admin support could do, like help with lit review and prevent outside researchers from using WMF databases in ways that compromise user privacy. My perception is that the current situation is inefficient for WMF and for outside researchers who want to do good work with WMF  or community resources, and also that RCOM lacks the resources to respond in timely ways to requests for help with outside research that could benefit Wikimedia. So, I there are reasons to changs the status quo, and I hope WMF or the Board would be interested in something like the proposal I made previously.

Phoebe, what do you think?

Pine


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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Nathan Awrich
Hi Aaron, what's the source of authority for RCOM (or its members acting independently) to perform a review procedure and claim it is required? 


On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 9:27 AM, Aaron Halfaker <[hidden email]> wrote:
Re. RCOM and review processes, these are two different things.   RCOM is an old, defunct WMF sanctioned working group of staff, researchers and Wikipedians.  If we want to revive RCOM, it seems like this should be discussed in another thread.  


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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Aaron Halfaker-2
I don't believe there is any claim of authority for RCOM.  At least I was not involved in making claims that it is required and I do not see it as such.  In fact, I have argued in the past that studies run by Wikipedians won't gain much from the process[1]. However, I do recommend that academics -- especially those who do not otherwise engage with Wikipedians -- to work with an RCOM member to coordinate a review in order to ensure that you won't see massive push-back when you start recruiting on Wikipedia -- as studies tended to see when they were run before the process.  


On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 8:35 AM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Aaron, what's the source of authority for RCOM (or its members acting independently) to perform a review procedure and claim it is required? 



On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 9:27 AM, Aaron Halfaker <[hidden email]> wrote:
Re. RCOM and review processes, these are two different things.   RCOM is an old, defunct WMF sanctioned working group of staff, researchers and Wikipedians.  If we want to revive RCOM, it seems like this should be discussed in another thread.  


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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Nathan Awrich
Thanks. Can you explain why you continue to solicit submissions for your review, and promise a 1-2 week turn around time, when it appears that the review process rarely occurs and many (if not most) submissions are not reviewed? 


On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 9:42 AM, Aaron Halfaker <[hidden email]> wrote:
I don't believe there is any claim of authority for RCOM.  At least I was not involved in making claims that it is required and I do not see it as such.  In fact, I have argued in the past that studies run by Wikipedians won't gain much from the process[1]. However, I do recommend that academics -- especially those who do not otherwise engage with Wikipedians -- to work with an RCOM member to coordinate a review in order to ensure that you won't see massive push-back when you start recruiting on Wikipedia -- as studies tended to see when they were run before the process.  


On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 8:35 AM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Aaron, what's the source of authority for RCOM (or its members acting independently) to perform a review procedure and claim it is required? 



On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 9:27 AM, Aaron Halfaker <[hidden email]> wrote:
Re. RCOM and review processes, these are two different things.   RCOM is an old, defunct WMF sanctioned working group of staff, researchers and Wikipedians.  If we want to revive RCOM, it seems like this should be discussed in another thread.  


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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Aaron Halfaker-2
The review process occurs in all instances where review coordination is requested (by emailing me or DarTar).  There's only been one case where a review took more than 2 weeks and that was because the researcher didn't respond to requests for more information quickly.  

Nathan, I think you are mistakenly thinking that all research needs to be reviewed.  Only research that involves the recruitment of Wikipedians as subjects is intended to be reviewed via RCOM's process.  Only those studies that request it will be reviewed.

-Aaron



On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 8:59 AM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thanks. Can you explain why you continue to solicit submissions for your review, and promise a 1-2 week turn around time, when it appears that the review process rarely occurs and many (if not most) submissions are not reviewed? 


On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 9:42 AM, Aaron Halfaker <[hidden email]> wrote:
I don't believe there is any claim of authority for RCOM.  At least I was not involved in making claims that it is required and I do not see it as such.  In fact, I have argued in the past that studies run by Wikipedians won't gain much from the process[1]. However, I do recommend that academics -- especially those who do not otherwise engage with Wikipedians -- to work with an RCOM member to coordinate a review in order to ensure that you won't see massive push-back when you start recruiting on Wikipedia -- as studies tended to see when they were run before the process.  


On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 8:35 AM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Aaron, what's the source of authority for RCOM (or its members acting independently) to perform a review procedure and claim it is required? 



On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 9:27 AM, Aaron Halfaker <[hidden email]> wrote:
Re. RCOM and review processes, these are two different things.   RCOM is an old, defunct WMF sanctioned working group of staff, researchers and Wikipedians.  If we want to revive RCOM, it seems like this should be discussed in another thread.  


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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Nathan Awrich



On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 10:11 AM, Aaron Halfaker <[hidden email]> wrote:
The review process occurs in all instances where review coordination is requested (by emailing me or DarTar).  There's only been one case where a review took more than 2 weeks and that was because the researcher didn't respond to requests for more information quickly.  

Nathan, I think you are mistakenly thinking that all research needs to be reviewed.  Only research that involves the recruitment of Wikipedians as subjects is intended to be reviewed via RCOM's process.  Only those studies that request it will be reviewed.

-Aaron




Thanks, perhaps the confusion exists because there is so much apparent infrastructure around the review process (including a big button that creates a research project page, ostensibly to facilitate a review). It might also be that communication from the former RCOM's members is misleading; in one e-mail in this thread you say RCOM is defunct, and in another you suggest that research recruiting Wikipedians needs RCOM's review. 

Either there is an RCOM and it functions effectively, or nothing should or must rely on a defunct committee to complete a defunct process. If the committee is indeed defunct, then messaging around the review process should be adjusted to make it clear that it is voluntary, and there are only two reviewers acting on their own initiative. Your insistence on having it both ways is leading to confusion, not just from me but on the part of people proposing research projects and expecting comment from "RCOM."


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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Aaron Halfaker-2
RCOM is not functioning as a complete group anymore.  However, we split into sub-committees while we were still a functioning group.  The subject recruitment sub-committee and newsletter sub-committees are performing vital functions still. 

I never stated that research recruiting needs RCOM approval.  I definitely said that it "ought to" have RCOM approval.  There are also more than two "review coordinators" (not not "reviewers") -- it's just that DarTar and I have accepted the burden of distributing work.  When people are busy, we often coordinate the reviews ourselves. 

I welcome your edits to make it clear that review is optional.  As you might imagine, I have plenty of work to do and I appreciate your good-faith collaboration on improving our research documentation. 

-Aaron 


On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 9:21 AM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:



On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 10:11 AM, Aaron Halfaker <[hidden email]> wrote:
The review process occurs in all instances where review coordination is requested (by emailing me or DarTar).  There's only been one case where a review took more than 2 weeks and that was because the researcher didn't respond to requests for more information quickly.  

Nathan, I think you are mistakenly thinking that all research needs to be reviewed.  Only research that involves the recruitment of Wikipedians as subjects is intended to be reviewed via RCOM's process.  Only those studies that request it will be reviewed.

-Aaron




Thanks, perhaps the confusion exists because there is so much apparent infrastructure around the review process (including a big button that creates a research project page, ostensibly to facilitate a review). It might also be that communication from the former RCOM's members is misleading; in one e-mail in this thread you say RCOM is defunct, and in another you suggest that research recruiting Wikipedians needs RCOM's review. 

Either there is an RCOM and it functions effectively, or nothing should or must rely on a defunct committee to complete a defunct process. If the committee is indeed defunct, then messaging around the review process should be adjusted to make it clear that it is voluntary, and there are only two reviewers acting on their own initiative. Your insistence on having it both ways is leading to confusion, not just from me but on the part of people proposing research projects and expecting comment from "RCOM."


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Re: discussion about wikipedia surveys

Nathan Awrich



On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 10:25 AM, Aaron Halfaker <[hidden email]> wrote:
RCOM is not functioning as a complete group anymore.  However, we split into sub-committees while we were still a functioning group.  The subject recruitment sub-committee and newsletter sub-committees are performing vital functions still. 

I never stated that research recruiting needs RCOM approval.  I definitely said that it "ought to" have RCOM approval.  There are also more than two "review coordinators" (not not "reviewers") -- it's just that DarTar and I have accepted the burden of distributing work.  When people are busy, we often coordinate the reviews ourselves. 

I welcome your edits to make it clear that review is optional.  As you might imagine, I have plenty of work to do and I appreciate your good-faith collaboration on improving our research documentation. 

-Aaron 



Thanks for that information. As time permits I'll make some clarifications in the documentation. 


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