Research:Formerly active editors survey


This page is an incomplete draft of a research project.
Information is incomplete and is likely to change substantially before the project starts.

Non active users are an interesting target for the Wikimedia projects.


A survey should be proposed addressing users with considerable amount of edits (e.g. >1000), unblocked, that have quit editing. Leaving a message in their talks, if they have an email contact, should be a good starting point.

Automatically detect these users should be useful in general. Local wikis have partial lists of "Missing Wikipedians" (see d:Q10956757) that require constant maintenance and are often uncomplete. Automatic lists would be very useful, not only for sending a survey message but also a welcoming message when they are back.

The survey should be addressed to two classes of users: those who have quit a project they were consistently involved but are still globally active somewhere else, and those who are not active anymore. The SUL finalization process should help to correctly separate these two classes of users.

Inactivity can be defined as a complete stop (zero) or a sharp reduction (few dozens) of the number of edits in the previous year(s). It is a simple treshold that in turn defines the nuber of surveys that can be performed. We can, if need be, organize different rounds focusing on different group starting from completely inactive users.

Questions for both classes (globally and not globally active)Edit


  • what was your main username?
  • did you have:
    • an email contact
    • an IRC contact
  • how long have you been an active editor?
  • how many edits did you have on the project when you stopped editing?
  • why did you start to edit a wiki project
    • you simply started editing an article you were reading
    • you were curios about the wiki system in general and you wanted to understand more
    • you focused your attention on a specific article or gruop of articles cited on a blog or a newspaper
    • you knew another active user in real life
    • you were part of a group or an institution that organized some wiki initiatives
    • you took part in a wiki loves monument initiative
  • were you more involved in article-related edits or in "service" tasks?
  • did you have any flag at the time?
  • before you quit, were you proposed for or did you request a flag that you didn't obtain?
  • before you quit, were you affected by block or was your conduct publicly questioned?
  • before you quit, did you personally know or did you exchange private e-mails with some of the others users on the platform?
  • was there some change in your life around the time you got inactive and if yes, which?
    • education (e.g. graduation, exams, new cycle)
    • work (e.g. first job, new job, end of job)
    • functional (e.g. location, devices, networking, sources)
    • health (e.g. accidents, deseases)
    • family or sentimental (e.g. relationships, newborns, deaths)
    • interests (e.g. new hobby)
    • volunteer causes (e.g. volunteering elsewhere)


  • did you edit as unregistered user after your account got inactive?
  • did you left because you had a feeling that things were changing in a direction you didn't like or because they weren't changing at all and you had the idea the situation was a "dead end"?
  • do you think you definetly left the project, or do you plan/foresee to contribute again in the future?
    • if you definetly left, was this also your feeling at the time or you were more optimistic about coming back?
  • in your opinion, is the area of the wiki where you were more active getting worse after you got inactive?
  • do you know other users who left the project as you did? Are you in contact with them?
  • what kept you active, when you were? [options: motives from literature, for comparison]
  • what could have kept you active? [free text answer]
  • what could make you active again?
    • changes in my life
    • changes in how the project is managed or in the people
    • possibility to contribute in different ways
    • different or better technical support
    • different or better social/personal/moral support

Demographic questions for comparisonEdit


Questions for globally active users that abandoned a local projectEdit

  • did you leave because you thought that the project you were active was almost useless or deserved to be closed?
  • Are you still active on another project? If yes, why?
    • Just for a change or to cover different areas of knowledge
    • I can have a bigger impact
    • I'm more free
    • It's more fun
    • I like fellow editors more
    • Specific aspects of their interface suits me more
    • The other project doesn't deserve me
    • ...
  • Are you active (more than one option is possible)
    • on a different project, in the same langage
    • on the same project, in a different language
    • on a multicultural platform



See alsoEdit