Below I've pasted text from a discussion I started on the Village pump. Feel free to continue the discussion here so as to not have a long discussion there. Ask questions or leave feedback. Thanks! --Dakhma (talk) 17:57, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Participate in my research project on collaborative writing(?)

Members of the WoWWiki community are invited to participate in a research study about the collaborative writing on My hope is to work closely with the community to accurately describe patterns collaborative writing activities such as reading and responding, collecting and recollecting information, and writing and revising on WoWWiki.

Much of what I'll be looking at will be interactions on article discussion pages and the Village Pump, and I hope to follow up that research with interviews about your experiences contributing to the wiki.

  • I highly value receiving feedback from the community, so I'm happy to respond to any questions or comments here or via email @ hunter dot rik at gmail dot com.

[Update: I was lucky enough to get a BlizzCon ticket, so if you're going, I'd love to hear about your experiences related to WoWWiki.]

  • I also have 3 surveys you are invited to take which will take about 5 minutes, each, to complete. They are linked from my website.
  • You can also learn more about me and my research here.

[Update: There's a PDF of the proposal available at the url. Feel free to download, look it over, leave feedback there or here. Tell me if I have anything wrong! ;)]

Thanks! Dakhma (talk) 21:15, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Not to dishearten or stop you, but research studies on WoWWiki seem to have a bad reputation. They are often possible attempts to collect e-mail addresses from WoWWikians, odd or just sarcastic.--SWM2448 21:55, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
I took all 3 surveys. They probably take less than 5 minutes each (unless you're writing an essay for each answer). I'd also like to point out that self-selecting studies are some of the weakest type and they lack credibility in my mind. Still, the surveys are easy. --Gengar orange 22x22.png Fandyllic (talk · contr) 3:12 PM PST 4 Aug 2008
Couldn't care less the effectiveness of this, but i took all 3 surveys, as it takes no time at all when bored. -- Zeal (T/C)  23:27, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the heads-up, SWM2448. I'm hoping my level of disclosure regarding my study with assuage any fears of the community. First, the surveys are on SurveyMonkey and don't require any sort of registration. (Fandyllic, great point. I'm not looking to generate any generalizability out of the data. But I'm thinking the surveys are a quick and dirty way to get a feeling for the ways people are feeling and thinking of their participation on WoWWiki. And, maybe the results will give me a bit more to go on when/if I get the chance to interview WoWWikians. At the end of the day, I do feel the responses received are important -- I'll share them with the community -- but validity regarding any hypotheses isn't what I'm after. Hope that explanation helps?) Back to SWM2448 -- I do not see myself collecting anyone's email address; rather, (though a time for email exchanges may come) my plan is to for interviews via chat or even Skype or f2f -- for instance, I want to snag one of those Blizzcon tickets and maybe I could talk to any WoWWikians who will also be there. Further, I've posted links to my personal site, which has information on who I am, what I do, and where I am. Please don't spam me. ;)
Basically, while I haven't been a WoWWiki contributor in the past, I have been an extensive user since I started playing WoW in 2005, and I wouldn't want to do anything to hurt the community. In fact, I plan to share much of my research as it's in progress for the community to see -- especially the survey results and giving any interviewees final approval on transcripts on interviews. Additionally, I'm doing discourse analysis of article discussion pages and Village Pump discussion, and my analysis requires the input of the community to tell me where I got something just plain wrong.
Thanks to those who have taken the surveys so far! Dakhma (talk) 01:01, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
I can vouch for Dakhma by the way - he contacted me a while back about this, and chatted with us on IRC yesterday. Kirkburn  talk  contr 10:43, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
I've actually been watching your work for a while (it cropped up on Google while I was hunting fruitlessly for references for Wikipedia), and was pleased to see a flash presentation on it. I didn't want to disturb (poison?) the research, as at the time you seemed to be outside looking in. But now that you want feedback... :) --Sky (t · c · w) 08:04, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
A couple minor corrections I'd like to make:
  • In 1.4: "While WoWWiki is still managed by lead adminis-trators from before the move to Wikia, WoWWiki is now an ad supported site and is “run” by Wikia. " — WoWWiki, for the most part, has always had advertisements, only they were Google text in the sidebar rather than the headers, skyscrapers, and blocks that we're served now by Wikia.
  • Another: "WoWHead" is actually "Wowhead" and not the more common but wrong "WoWHead".
  • In section 2.1, you have a typo "limited review [of] some of the" and "the history [of] collaborative writing and writing". Missing two "of"s in there where I bracketed them. There's another "of" missing in the second sentence after that... The draft might be of benefit with a fine-toothed comb copyedit for missing words, as the rest of your writing seems thought out and deliberate, whereas those mistakes seem to be of the mindless sort that most writers (typers!) make. --Sky (t · c · w) 08:42, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback Sky! I want to get the history of the wiki correct, so those details will help (and I'll surely need more help in the future). And you're right about the copyediting; it's always hard to catch everything yourself -- another reason why collaborative sites like WoWWiki are awesome. Dakhma (talk) 14:39, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Should we move feedback about your project to your talk page, Dakhma? Then you wouldn't have to filter all the other Village pump changes. You could also make a subpage like User talk:Dakhma/Proposal feedback and just watch that page.
Great idea! I'll get on that right away. -- Dakhma (talk) 18:44, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Anyway, here is some feedback after reading some of your very academical draft:
  • Under 1.4 What is WoWWiki?, you say WoWWiki is the largest fan produced wiki. Unfortunately, this isn't true. The largest fan produced wiki by article count is Wookieepedia. You also have a footnote: In May 2007, WoWWiki was moved to the wikifarm Wikia. This move meant that all members of Wikia wikis are effectively members of WoWWiki. This is reversed, This move meant all members of WoWWiki are effectively members of Wikia, not the reverse.
Right on the number of articles compared to Wookipedia. Meant to change that! Memebership: That's a question I have, still. The number I cite was the pre-Wikia number. On the Project:About the wiki page, however, there were several hundred thousand (literally overnight). I may have this wrong, but I think Kirkurn said on IRC that this number represents all Wikia members; they are essentially registered users of WoWWiki.? -- Dakhma (talk) 18:44, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
    • I also want to point out that several of the admins at WoWWiki have historically tried to avoid using Wikipedia too much as a model for many of the reasons you cite in your section 2.4 The problem of consensus in collaborative learning and writing groups. We make this distinction clearly in WoWWiki:About: WoWWiki is not a copy of Wikipedia — we do many things differently.
Thanks. I'll work on clearing those distinctions up, though your help will surely be needed as to where similarities end. Many of my readers will have some familiarity with Wikipedia, so I trying framing my discussion on those terms. -- Dakhma (talk) 18:44, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Under 1.4.1 What Need Does WoWWiki Serve?, you talk about the need for WoWWiki. Although it has morphed into a general purpose resource, it originally started as a repository for undocumented API and AddOn program info around the AddOn collection called Cosmos. Alexander Yoshi was one of Cosmos' main developers. If you look at the early history of this page you can see edits by WoWWiki-Vladimir which is one of the users that Rustak morphed into when WoWWiki was merged into the larger Wikia universe along with WoWWiki-Rustak. This kind of historical background may not be necessary to add, but you seem to spend alot of time talking about the distinctions between Allakhazam, Thottbot, and Wowhead which are largely not true. All those DBs share most of the things you suggest make them different. They all catalog game stuff via data uploads, allow picture uploads, and comment threads about stuff. The main distinction between these DB sites and WoWWiki is the greater ability in a wiki to format and synthesize isolated unit info (item, quest, object, NPCs, etc.) together and easily navigate between their relationships. Also, the wiki doesn't have as enforced a structure, so thematic changes can happen without taking the site down (DBs generally require underlying code changes to change format presentation).
  • Under 2.5 Studying an Online Collaborative Writing Group, you mention the use of IRC and suggest that IRC conversations are recorded. While IRC conversations can be recorded and may be automatically archived, there is no sure way to know if this is systematically being done. So, many IRC conversations are actually more like watercooler talk and may be essentially "off the record" when compared to in-wiki discussions.
I thought all the IRC chat was recorded and archived here. And I'll look over section 1.4.1. And, what I was trying to capture is that WoWWiki is different from these other DBs because users actually write/add information in an active fashion rather than a through a more passive uploading of info. This 'active' work is also more significant than submitting collected info and images. WoWWikians craft articles. Does that make sense or am I still getting it wrong? -- Dakhma (talk) 18:44, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
  • In 3.2.1 Selection of Talk Pages, you talk about the PLAYXPERT article as being listed #1 in a list. You should probably make some adjustments in your analysis or pick a different example. Appearance in this list does not indicate priority, but merely a list from which articles are selected at random (you should confirm with Kirkburn). Also, there may have been economic incentives for this article appearing at all. I don't think it was chosen by the community at all. Often the criteria for selecting stuff is developed after an initial list. The WoWWiki policies developed this way, but now we have a more rigorous process for adopting policies.
I looked through the voting for FAs, and there were discussions for many, though none that I could find for PLAYXPERT. I wasn't sure if the numbering represented a ranking. Sky2042 cleared that up, yesterday(?). Anyway, most of the FAs seemed to become FAs through a transparent process, though there is a question from another user about PLAYXPERT: Wowpedia talk:Featured article/Articles. In some cases, the articles don't seem to be selected just on how "good" the are, but also if they are of interest to players -- which seems reasonable. -- Dakhma (talk) 18:44, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Overall, your proposal impresses me with the attempt at trying to analyze something in a semi-scientific way that seems so subjective. --Gengar orange 22x22.png Fandyllic (talk · contr) 4:04 PM PST 14 Aug 2008
Thanks for your feedback! Should I copy and paste all this discussion to my user page, with a note to add any new feedback there? -- Dakhma (talk) 18:44, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I took your surveys. I'm somewhat interested in your project because I'm in the early stages of my own research project. Different topic - mine will be focusing on social interactions within virtual worlds (WoW being a popular example of a virtual world). It sounds like our methodology will be very similar however - survey (using surveymonkey) with some more detailed personal interviews. At any rate, I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about my experience editing here. And I'd love to hear from you if you have any advice regarding your experience with the research process. -- Mordsith - (talk|contr) 07:28, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for the very late response, Mordsith. Since I collected my data, which changed to doing discourse analysis of talk pages for character, policy, and guideline articles rather than any interviews (at this time), I been cloistered. No WoWWiki or IRC. If you have any questions, though, I'm happy to address them as well as I can. I'd also direct you the GLS group here, at UW-Madison—a group of educational researchers who have done a lot of research in virtual worlds, especially Constance Steinkuehler. Dakhma (talk) 16:43, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
No problem on the delayed response. I completely understand the need to focus on your work. Thanks for the links! I'll check them out. -- Mordsith - (talk|contr) 19:17, 22 July 2009 (UTC)