Wikipedia only exists because thousands of people volunteer their time everyday to create, improve and maintain it. Many people ask: “who are these people?” and “why do they do it?” In April 2011, the Wikimedia Foundation conducted a survey of our editors around the globe.  The survey was available in 22 languages (thanks to the work of volunteer translators) and was completed by over 5,000 editors.  The aim of the survey was to better understand who the editors are?  What motivates them? What their experience is like? What their needs are?

It was really interesting to see who the editor community is, as this was our most comprehensive survey of editors.

WP Editor survey demographic breakdown

As has been discussed recently, it is an important priority for the Wikimedia movement to progressively add diversity to our community.  We have set targets in our strategy for greater participation of women and for rapid growth in the Global South.  These actions seek to both increase the size of the community (our goal is to grow to 200,000 by 2015) and to bring important new knowledge to our projects.

With all of the options people have for occupying their time online and offline, we always wonder: why do people edit Wikipedia?  One of the major answers: Editing Wikipedia is both fun in its own right and it feels really good sharing knowledge with the rest of humanity.   Few, if any, people do this because it is part of their job or they are seeking some sort of personal benefit.


This is something anyone can do, after all Wikipedia is the encyclopedia anyone can edit.

Mani Pande, Head of Global Development Research

(This is the first in a new series of blog post where we will share insights from the April 2011 Editors Survey.  We will be releasing the data, report, and more insights over the next two months)