User:Piotrus/Research/Reasons for non-participation in the 2012 SOPA vote


==About your (non)participation in the January 2012 SOPA vote== Hi. I am Piotr Konieczny ([[User:Piotrus]]), you may know me as an active content creator (see my userpage), but I am also a professional researcher of Wikipedia. Recently I published a paper (downloadable [ here]) on reasons editors participated in Wikipedia's biggest vote to date (January 2012 [[WP:SOPA]]). I am now developing a supplementary paper, which analyzes why many editors ''did not'' take part in that vote. Which is where you come in :) You are a highly active Wikipedian, and you were active back during the January 2012 discussion/voting for the SOPA, yet you did not chose to participate in said vote. I'd appreciate it if you could tell me why was that so? For your convenience, I prepared [ a short survey at meta], which should not take more than a minute of your time. I would dearly appreciate you taking this minute; not only as a Wikipedia researcher but as a fellow content creator and concerned member of the community (I believe your answers may help us eventually improve our policies and thus, the project's governance). PS. If you chose to reply here (on your userpage), please [[WP:ECHO]] me. Thank you! --~~~~


Question 1. I did not vote in the January WP:SOPA vote because:

a) I was not aware it was taking place; (go to Question 2)
b) I did not consider the matter important enough to warrant spending time to participate in the vote/discussion; (skip Question 2; go to Question 4)
c) the vote/discussion was already shaping towards my preferred outcome, so I felt there's no need for me to add my vote/opinion; (skip Question 2; go to Question 4)
d) the vote/discussion was shaping towards an outcome I disagreed with by such a far margin that I did not think it would be worth my time to vote/comment; (skip Question 2; go to Question 4)
e) by the time I saw the vote, so many people were voting that I did not believe my vote/comment would have any significance; (skip Question 2; go to Question 3)
f) other (please elaborate); (skip Question 2; go to Question 4)

Question 2. (Answer only if you replied 1a). If I was aware that the SOPA vote was taking place I would have most likely:

a) supported some form of the protest action;
b) opposed the protest action;
c) still not voted, because;
c1) I did not consider the matter important enough to warrant spending time to participate in the vote/discussion;
c2) the vote was already shaping towards my preferred outcome, so I would've felt there's no need for me to add my vote/opinion;
c3) the vote/discussion was shaping towards an outcome I disagreed with by such a far margin (~80% participants supported taking the protest action) that I would not think it would be worth my time to vote/comment;
d) other (please elaborate)

Question 3. (Answer only if you replied 1e, otherwise proceed to Question 4). But if you were to cast your vote, you'd have most likely: a) supported the protest action b) opposed the protest action

Question 4. Do you think that the SOPA vote was adequately advertised (announced) to the community? If not, how do you think it should have been advertised (announced)?

Question 5. Do you think that, in general, issues of significant importance to the community are adequately advertised (announced)? If not, how do you think they should be advertised (announced)?

How to respondEdit

For those of you, dear respondents, who would like to have their responses to the above made public, I suggest posting them below. Otherwise, you are welcome to email me. If you chose to email me, I'll treat your responses as confidential.

Suggest copyable template for public responses:

===Responses by ... ===






Public responsesEdit

Responses by BoleynEdit

Q1: f, but the answer is I didn't want to spend a lot of time researching it in order to give a meaningful response, as there were a lot of issues involved. When I log on to Wikipedia, I know what I want to work on, and I tend to ignore the requests for comments on the political issues.



Q4: I cant remember, but I think these things are usually well-advertised

Q5: Yes, they are adequately advertised

Responses by Rich FarmbroughEdit

Q1: It was not clear to me, and it still is not clear, which outcome was preferable. While SOPA/PIPA might have well presented problems, even existential ones, there are also risks associated with an amorphous community becoming activist outside its key mission. After the event there are indications that Google manoeuvred us into supporting their position.



Q4: I don't know.

Q5: In general a better notification and consultation system is needed. Examples which have not been notified are introduction of super-protect, media viewer, visual editor, site re-design. These should all have merited a site banner to logged-in users at the very least.

Responses by AlansohnEdit

Q1: C - I thought that the approach was correct, if imperfect, and the discussions that were taking place appeared to me to be generating far more heat than light. While I may be a comparatively more active participant, I didn't feel that my arbitrary ranking gave my voice any greater worth nor did I think that it would have impacted the result in any meaningful way given the direction it was heading.



Q4: The internal notification could have been better, but there was enough buzz internally and in the media to attract my interest to lurk in the discussions, even if I didn't participate.

Q5: We seem to use banner messages as our notification method of choice. It sometimes seems a bit overused, but this is an example of where it could have been effective. A better way to distinguish between the importance of different messages would be helpful as the alarm sounds the same regardless of a vote on an image of the year or a discussion of a more existential issue like SOPA.

Responses by Carlossuarez46Edit

Q1: I wasn't aware - I tend not to pay much attention on these sorts of issues. My bad, I guess.

Q2: I'm not sure - would the media have covered a WP blackout for a day? Would the "real world" have cared enough to galvanize them to petition the decision makers. I generally have a "meh" attitude toward politics: money talks in a way nothing else does.


Q4: Not really - I don't seem to recall it as a banner, like steward elections or photo contests.

Q5: It depends on what one considers important to the community. Elections of community leaders, money raising, wiki-meetups, and photo contests are widely announced. Including banners that appear on each page until you dismiss them. I'm not entirely sure that the community has entrusted anyone with looking after external matters that may be "important" to the community (as a whole, a portion of it? some of it). We're very good at arranging the deck chairs to optimize the passenger's enjoyment - trusting that someone else is looking for icebergs.

Responses by KwamikagamiEdit




Q4:don't know

Q5:don't know

Responses by Chris the spellerEdit

Q1: a



Q4: I don't know

Q5: I don't know

Responses by BrownHairedGirlEdit

Q1: a) - I didn't know the vote was taking place

Q2: d) no idea. I'd have to study the proposal to know

Q3: [not applicable]

Q4: No idea. I wasn't around to watch

Q5: I dunno. Haven't thought about that

Responses by FortDJ33Edit

Q1: B - While I'm sure that I received the invitation to vote before, I tend to just concentrate on my areas of interest in Wikipedia.



Q4: Not sure - I suppose a banner ad or a proposal on my Watchlist page would have gotten my attention.

Q5: Same as above.

Responses by MagioladitisEdit

Q1: e + The fact that if someone wants to really participate in a discussion like this and not only vote, they have to invest a lot of time.


Q3: Most probably a

Q4: I think it was advertised enough. I do not usually follow long discussions but this vote certainly caught my attention.

Q5: I don't know.

Responses by AboutmoviesEdit

Q1: d, I think. I vaguely recall discussing it, but I'm not sure if I simply missed the vote or just saw it was going to be a blackout no matter what.

Q2: b


Q4: Do not recall, this was three years ago.

Q5: No. We get too many notices at the top to where they become background noise we ignore.

Responses by GrutnessEdit

Q1: a - this is the first I've heard of it.

Q2: a


Q4: no - though this was a while back and I don't recall what, if anything, was done to advertise it.

Q5: no - there's a lot of clutter with banner notices, which tend to get ignored. You have the email addresses of all registered users - surely a mass email posting would be a better way to attract attention.

Responses by NyttendEdit

Q1: D

Q2: N/A

Q3: N/A

Q4: I don't know

Q5: Generally, yes. There are exceptions, but since you probably only have room for "yes" and "no", put me in as a "yes".

Responses by GilliamEdit

Q1: (a) I was not directly aware of the vote, or if I was have since blocked it out.

Q2: (d) I tend to stay out of the political side of Wikipedia, preferring to express myself in article creation/expansion or controlling vandalism.


Q4: No opinion

Q5: I believe the banner notices are mostly effective in soliciting votes in issues of major importance. However, too much input can result in no consensus.

Responses by werldwaydEdit

Q1: (f) I am disenchanted with Wikipedia / Wikimedia discussions and usually shy away from them. I prefer to do editing on articles rather than follow discussions. I participated in some for a while, but not any more.



Q4: I was certainly aware and took note of this issue. I even went in to see some of the discussion going on personally.

Q5: The best way is to send one-line reminders in our talk inbox to lead to page where such important discussions are being held. In similar fashion to what you did here to ask my opinion for example.

Responses by Dale ArnettEdit

Q1: (f) It's kind of complicated, but to try to put it in a nutshell: I'm on the autism spectrum, which (among other things) means I tend to live in my own world and can get easily distracted from outside issues.



Q4: I was aware of it, and I recall being involved in a few discussions.

Q5: Don't really have an opinion... though now that I think of it, Werld's idea of one-liners in our talk inbox, with a link to the discussion location, sounds like the best.

Responses by GoingBattyEdit

Q1: (f) Hard to remember my state of mind from three years ago, but I'll guess that I didn't feel that I was knowledgable enough on the topic to contribute in a way that others would find meaningful, and that my time would be better spent making my gnomish edits (even when the site was blacked out).

Q4: What is "the community"? Very active editors? Occasional editors? Readers? It was advertised well enough for me.

Q5: Again, what is "the community"? Issues of significant importance to editors could be very different than issues for readers? (e.g. changes to the intricacies of citation template syntax versus when the site will be unavailable). The information is out there if you choose to invest the time to visit the Village Pumps and read The Signpost and Tech News (and first find out these things exist).


Responses by BearcatEdit

Q1: F. As a Canadian, I wasn't particularly knowledgeable about SOPA. I knew it existed, certainly, but I didn't feel like I knew enough to have anything of value to contribute to the discussion.

Q4: I do feel like some things are inadequately advertised or promoted, but have no grand insight on how we can improve on that.

Response by DrmiesEdit

Q1. F. I was aware, I suppose, but I am not knowledgeable enough to understand what kind of stake I might have in the matter.

Q4. Sure, I suppose I knew this.

Q5. There are lots of things that go on at a higher level that I don't know about. Some of the places that are used, I believe, for public announcements, are not the ones I frequent, like the Village Pump. What ever the next highest level is, that level should maybe find a core group of (in this case) active editors on en-wiki who can, creatively and variegatedly, advertise whatever needs advertising.

Responses by John CarterEdit

Q1: F, I think. I seem to remember being aware of the situation, but in general don't think that I am necessarily qualified to speak on matters relating to ongoing legislation, which get incredibly complicated, and probably thought think at the time it was either not worth the time to go through thinking of all the possible outcomes, or that even if it was worth the time I would necessarily get results I would think fit to announce based on that thought.

Q4: I think I remember it, like I said above.

Q5: For issues of this type, which often involve lots of arguments on all sides and an almost staggering number of possible outcomes, if the opportunity exists, I would myself most like to see where possible some detailed "pro" and "con" editorials in advance of the vote, maybe in succeeding issues of the Signpost. In rush jobs, of course, that would be problematic. But better announcing of such votes in as many venues as reasonable is probably in general a good idea.

Responses by TbhotchEdit

Q1: A

Q2: A


Q4: I can't remember. I assume a message appeared at my watchlist, but I tend to close them as they appear, because as these messages appear I misclick (like another "diff" or even "rollback") because the message itself pushes down the links.

Q5: I guess so, I haven't been active recently. But some kind of widely visible message can help (like those of the WMF donation or the Wikimedia Commons Featured Picture of the Year messages).

Responses by ArmbrustEdit

Q1: b, mostly because I'm not interested in the politics of the United States

Q2: -

Q3: -

Q4: I don't remember where it was advertisted, but the high participation probably means that it was adequate.

Q5: No idea.