On Wednesday, the Wikimedia Foundation will launch its first semi-annual survey (2011) of Wikipedia editors. A notification will be sent through Wikipedia to all registered editors, as everyone is eligible to participate. The Foundation urges feedback and participation as a way to get your voice heard. For more information, you can read the FAQ we’ve posted detailing the survey.

Using our community’s help, the survey was translated into 21 languages in addition to English, including: Chinese (traditional, Hong Kong), Chinese (simplified), Serbian, Russian, Portuguese, Polish, Dutch, Macedonian, Italian, Hungarian, Croatian, Hebrew, French, Finnish, Spanish, German, Danish, Welsh, Catalan, Bulgarian and Arabic. The Foundation will conduct the survey in languages for which translations are available, and for the remainder of Wikipedia language projects the survey will be available in English. With the exception of the UNU-Merit survey, this is the first time the foundation will conduct a survey of Wikipedia editors, with plans to continue surveying systematically and regularly from this point forward. A retooled version of the survey will debut in late 2011.

The current survey is being conducted with the following goals in mind:

  • Create a demographic profile of contributors to Wikipedia: We will collect data on age, gender, education, employment history, etc. This will help us refresh the data from the UNU-Merit editor survey data, and we are hoping that the use of cookies within the central notice will ensure that the survey is not biased towards more frequent editors. It is imperative to use this technique to ensure we collect reliable and valid demographic data.
  • Create an online technology ecology of contributors: We will collect data to understand what other online activities contributors pursue, as well as how contributing to Wikipedia fits into their specific online technology ecology.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of both editing activities and histories of contributors: This will allow the foundation to segment editors based on tenure and editing activities.
  • Understand editor interactions: The survey features a section designed to gain insight on interactions between editors. The foundation will use the data to inform interventions and increase editor retention. As we found in the editor trends study, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to retain and recruit new editors, and we are interested in hearing from editors about their experiences with their peers.
  • Perceived discrimination and its effects: The survey aims to understand whether editors perceive any kind of discrimination based on gender, race, nationality etc. The data collected will help the foundation inform interventions to increase retention and diversity.
  • Funding and feedback about chapters and foundation: Lastly, we will gather data to understand who supports the foundation through funding, and elicit feedback from editors about both chapters and the foundation in order to increase engagement.

We’re looking forward to participation from editors all around the world while the survey is active. Please spread the word, and thanks for taking the time to contribute your views!

Mani Pande, Head of Global Development Research