Monday, December 11, 2006

A Few of My Thoughts on the Wikipedia Survey

I recently released the results from the survey we took on Wikipedia. Creating surveys is tricky. You can't just slap a few questions together and send them out. This survey is a good example of why survey creation is harder than it seems.

For example, while 16 people said they have used Wikipedia as the "sole source to answer a customer's question", 30 people said they have found answers to customers questions on Wikipedia that they could not find elsewhere. If you could not find an answer elsewhere, was Wikipedia not your only source? Perhaps there was some level of intention included here (I did not intend to use Wikipedia as the sole source...).

Another example is question number 4, "If you have used Wikipedia to answer a customer's question, did you offer the customer an explanation of Wikipedia's nature as an open-content, collaboratively-authored encyclopedia?"

Out of 80 returns, 32 people answered "Yes", 37 people answered "No".

Due to the beginning of the question ("If you have used Wikipedia to answer a customer's question..."), by answering the question, a person admitted that they have used Wikipedia to answer a customer's question. And 69 out of 80 people answered the question.

However, looking at the other questions, 64 people have not used Wikipedia as the sole source. Thirty-Five people have not even used Wikipedia as a "starting point". And 50 people have not found answers on Wikipedia that they could not find elsewhere.

It appears people who have never used Wikipedia selected No to this question, thereby making it appear that nearly half of the time Wikipedia is used, we are not providing a disclaimer to its unique environment.

Compare 32 (the number of people who provided a disclaimer) to 16, 45, and 30 (the number of people who have used Wikipedia in some fashion) and you realize that we are indeed giving customers a brief description of Wikipedia's structure.

We could talk more about Wikipedia (and we will), but this is good for now.

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