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Task force/Community Health/Former administrators survey

From Strategic Planning


On the Movement Priorities Talk Page it was decided that it would be useful to ask former project administrators why they stopped contributing. Task force/Community Health/Former contributors survey was used as a model for this survey. User:Noraft and User:Randomran are driving the development of this survey.


The goal of this research is to get broad, qualitative information about why administrators are leaving. This is not a quantitative study involving thousands of users. Rather it's a study to record descriptive observations of what is happening with administrators who leave Wikipedia (and other WMF properties).

Components of Research

  1. Online survey: There will be an online survey (via an online survey tool). We will post a link to this survey at TBD locations on strategy.wiki. User:Eekim has also said that the Foundation could arrange to help us contact previous administrators and ask them to complete the online survey.
  2. Real-time interview: We will also reach out to former administrators and chat with them in real-time (e.g., Skype, IRC). The goal here is to be able to dig deeper and allow the richness of a real-time conversation give more texture to our understanding of abandonment. While we will ask the same basic set of questions across interviews for consistency, we expect these interviews to be a lot more unstructured.

Who We're Targeting

  1. Administrators on Wikipedia and other WMF projects that have "left" their projects. "Leaving" will be defined as either (1) publicly stating that they are leaving on their talk pages, and not having edited since; or (2) not having edited in more than six months.

Survey Questions

1. Contribution background

  • What username(s) did you use on the English Wikipedia? (If you do not wish to provide your username, please answer the following questions instead. If you provide your username, skip to Section #2 below)
  • When did you start editing (month/year)?
  • When did you become an administrator (month/year)?
  • When was your last edit (month/year)?
  • As an active administrator, roughly how many edits did you make in a typical month?
    • 0-99
    • 100-999
    • 1000+
  • And how many admin actions per month?
    • 0
    • 1-9
    • 10-99
    • 100-999
    • 1000+
  • Thinking broadly about Wiki-contributions before and after adminship:
    • What did you do (and enjoy doing) before RFA?
    • What did you do (and enjoy doing) after RFA?
    • How would you describe the change (if any) that RFA made to your editing?
  • What was your activity level and involvement like across other wikis?

2. Why did you start editing Wikipedia? (select up to three reasons)

  • I saw a typo or small error and wanted to fix it
  • There was information that I wanted to add
  • I like the idea of volunteering to share knowledge
  • I enjoy researching and writing
  • I was assigned to do it (e.g., by work or school)
  • I wanted to test Wikipedia to see if it was really open for anyone to edit
  • Friends of mine were doing it
  • Other (please specify)

3. Why did you become an administrator? (select all that apply)

  • I enjoy leadership roles
  • Other users urged me to participate and help out
  • I became more interested in community issues than just building articles
  • Being labeled an admin seemed like a good way to reflect my experience level
  • I wanted more influence over the project, to improve it
  • I was fighting vandalism, and thought admin tools could help
  • I was interested in deletion discussions, and thought admin tools could help
  • I was assisting with disputes or incivility, and thought admin tools could help
  • Other (please specify)

4. Why did you stop contributing to Wikipedia? (select all that apply)

  • I was drawn into other commitments (e.g. new job, new hobbies, started a family).
  • I had contributed enough as an editor/administrator based my interest level.
  • Writing an encyclopedic article is difficult and/or time consuming.
  • Editing and maintaining multiple articles takes too much time for me.
  • I felt that I was often working alone, with little feedback or support.
  • I found the atmosphere unpleasant.
  • Some editors made Wikipedia a difficult place to work.
  • Being an administrator was too difficult and/or time consuming.
  • Other (please specify)
  • I haven’t stopped contributing.

5. At the time of your last edit, did you personally feel like you still had a lot to add to the encyclopedia? (1 = Not much to contribute, 5 = A lot to contribute)

6. What were your most rewarding experiences with Wikipedia? Why were they rewarding?

  • (open answer)

7. What were your worst experiences with Wikipedia? (Remember, all answers will be kept anonymous and no action will be taken. Don't mention names if you prefer not to. This is for survey purposes only.)

  • (open answer)

8. How was your experience as an administrator different from your experience as an editor? Was it better or worse?

  • (open answer)

9. Did the community have an impact on your decision to leave?

  • Yes. I asked for help, but did not receive the help that I needed.
  • Yes. I did not receive much feedback or appreciation for my work.
  • Yes. I was warned or sanctioned and decided to leave.
  • Yes. It took too much time to discuss content and build support for changes.
  • Yes. Several editors were rude to either me or my peers.
  • Yes. Several editors were too stubborn and/or difficult to work with.
  • Yes. My work kept on being undone.
  • Yes. Problems with the community made it difficult to be an administrator.
  • No. The community was not a major reason in my decision to stop contributing.
  • No. I haven’t stopped contributing.
  • Other (Please specify)

10. Did your work as an administrator impact on your decision to stop contributing?

  • Yes. Administrator duties pulled me away from editing and building articles.
  • Yes. Administrator duties were too much work.
  • Yes. There was too much vandalism.
  • Yes. Frequent requests from other editors were very demanding.
  • Yes. I felt that I was often working alone, with little feedback or support.
  • Yes. There were too many conflicts and disputes.
  • Yes. A particular conflict seemed to continue or repeat with no resolution.
  • Yes. Some issues were resolved arbitrarily or inconsistently.
  • No. My work as an administrator was not a major reason in my decision to stop contributing.
  • No. I haven’t stopped contributing.
  • Other (Please specify)

10. Please read the following statements and select all that you believe are TRUE.

  • I stopped contributing because of something that happened in my life: it had nothing much to do with Wikipedia.
  • I regret that I had to stop editing Wikipedia.
  • When I think back on my time editing Wikipedia, I feel anger, frustration, or other unpleasant emotions.
  • I would (or do) tell my friends to consider editing Wikipedia.
  • I will never edit Wikipedia again.
  • I hope one day to edit again, if changes in my personal or work circumstances make that possible for me.
  • I hope one day to edit again, if changes at Wikipedia make that possible for me.
  • Administrator duties stopped me from spending significant time on building articles.
  • I underwent multiple Requests for Adminship before I was accepted.
  • Other editors made it difficult for my Request for Adminship to be accepted.
  • After I became an admin, I spent significantly less time building articles
  • After I became an admin, I spent significantly more time on Wikipedia overall
  • I feel that Wikipedia is changing for the worse.
  • I had administrator duties on multiple Wikimedia projects.
  • Before leaving Wikipedia, I reduced my admin work and continued for a while as a regular editor.

12. On a scale of 1-5, how likely are you to start contributing again? (1=Never, 5=Definitely, it's just a matter of time)

13. Is there anything else you feel we should know in relation to your experience of Wikipedia/Wikimedia, as an editor, administrator, or in any other way? (open)

14. Would you be willing to have someone contact you for a 10-minute phone call or online chat to further discuss your experience with Wikipedia?