Jimbo started polling Facebook users as to their thoughts on adverts on Wikipedia and posted the results on foundation-l. You can run them too, although it costs 25 USD. Consider it a donation and post your results here, or post polling ideas in the future polls section as Jimbo has said he will pay for them. While these polls have some value, the following criticisms have been made:

  • The sample size is too small.
  • Facebook is almost 2/3 female[1]
  • Asking about adverts on Wikipedia on a site which shows adverts is unscientific.
  • Special:Search on Wikipedia gets hundreds of millions of page views a month. Rather than sampling 100s of facebook users, we could sample hundreds of thousands of actual Wikipedia users (for free).
  • Some of the questions are loaded.
  • The questions are poorly written.

Future polls


Jimbo plans to pay for more of these polls. Post your polling ideas here.

What is Wikipedia?


62% of respondents are extremely confused as to what Wikipedia is, thinking it's either a business, a government project, funded by Jimbo himself or they've never even heard of it, whereas 36% realize it's a charity. Males are far more aware than women that Wikipedia is a Charity. Women overwhelmingly tend to think that Jimbo runs Wikipedia. The oldest demographic, 35-49 year olds, are evenly split between not knowing what Wikipedia is, thinking it's a business and recognizing it as a charity. 13-17 year olds, the youngest sampled, are the most aware that it is a charity.

File:Facebook wikipedia poll 2.png

Does Wikipedia show adverts?


This is a sterile question intended to elucidate whether people are even aware as to whether there are adverts on Wikipedia. Men are split 50/50 as to whether there are adverts, whereas women are better informed, with 60% knowing there are no adverts. 75% of people in the 25-34 demographic know that there are no adverts, whereas it's a 50/50 split for everyone else.

File:Facebook wikipedia poll.png

Should Wikipedia show adverts?


Generally agreed to be a confusing question. 26% of people think that no adverts should be shown on Wikipedia under any circumstances and 38% think that adverts are a good idea as long as 80 million dollars will be donated to African schools. Using the money just to upgrade Wikipedia's technological infrastructure, or just to improve article quality is not as popular. 23% supported using the money for all of the above.

File:Facebook wikipdia poll 3.png

Numbers of users for and against ads on the English Wikipedia.


Notes from various editors:

1. This count represents only the users who are the most passionate about their beliefs on advertising on Wikipedia, and feel the need to express them using userboxes. It is not a random sample, it is self-selected. The data was garnered from the number of people that have opted to include one of several available templates on their user page. The intention of the count is to demonstrate that there are several hundred active Wikipedia editors who are against advertising, but does not accurately represent the views of our readership or the more loosely knit community of editors. This is a count of transcluded userboxes.
2. Nearly all the people who put up the userboxes against ads did so years ago. This was before there was any serious discussion about alternatives to mandatory ads in articles. These alternatives include optional ads; search-related ads, and searchbar contracts. See: en:Wikipedia:Advertisements#Income from search tools on wikipedia pages.
3. For years no one made pro-ad categories, projects, or userboxes.

Userbox count as of March 30, 2008:


As of March 30, 2008:

  • 866 (37+444+385): no ads
  • 13 (7+6): optional ads:
  • 5: ads on search tools
  • 12: forced ads

There is some duplication since some users put more than one userbox on their user pages and user talk pages.

In a category deletion discussion the closing admin pointed out the invalidity of counting the userboxes or category members as a measure of opinion. See: en:Wikipedia:User categories for discussion/Archive/December 2007#Wikimedia and advertising

3 categories concerning ads were deleted, and their talk pages were archived. Proposals and archived talk pages were consolidated here: en:Wikipedia:Advertisements. Here are the deleted categories:

Category:Wikipedians against advertisements
Category:Wikipedians for optional advertisements
Category:Wikipedians who think that the Wikimedia Foundation should use advertising

Wikiprojects existed before the categories. There was never a WikiProject for optional ads, nor search-related ads. The category for optional ads was created years after the ad controversy peaked, and after most people added userboxes against ads, or joined the category against ads. So the pie chart is not representative of current opinions concerning ads since there has been little discussion of optional ads and search-related ads/revenue.



See also