Finding and interviewing ex-editors
Thanks to Eekim for introducing me to this thread. I think it’s great that there are folks in the community who are keen on the idea of getting a better understanding of why contributors leave. I think the people on this thread have a good understanding of the pitfalls of doing research like this (e.g., representativeness of sample), so I’m not overly worried about us misinterpreting the information that comes back. I do think a meaningful distinction to make is very active contributor vs. someone who might have made a handful of edits and then left. My guess is that the reasons for leaving would be different for these two groups so it’s probably worth treating them separately.
I think the idea of contacting these users directly (vs. say an online survey) is a good one. This allows us to keep the questions open ended and not presume answers. We may not be able to contact as many users, but I think we'll get more textured information. I do think we should ask a set of questions which are consistent across each group. This will help us calibrate the data. But we should also stay flexible. I’m sure these conversations will lead us down unexpected paths, which is a very good thing. We can also do an online survey, but I think the objectives would be different.