Wikipedia editors do it for fun: First results of our 2011 editor survey

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Wikipedia only exists because thousands of people volunteer their time everyday to create, improve and maintain it. Many people ask: “who are these people?” and “why do they do it?” In April 2011, the Wikimedia Foundation conducted a survey of our editors around the globe.  The survey was available in 22 languages (thanks to the work of volunteer translators) and was completed by over 5,000 editors.  The aim of the survey was to better understand who the editors are?  What motivates them? What their experience is like? What their needs are?
It was really interesting to see who the editor community is, as this was our most comprehensive survey of editors.

WP Editor survey demographic breakdown

As has been discussed recently, it is an important priority for the Wikimedia movement to progressively add diversity to our community.  We have set targets in our strategy for greater participation of women and for rapid growth in the Global South.  These actions seek to both increase the size of the community (our goal is to grow to 200,000 by 2015) and to bring important new knowledge to our projects.
With all of the options people have for occupying their time online and offline, we always wonder: why do people edit Wikipedia?  One of the major answers: Editing Wikipedia is both fun in its own right and it feels really good sharing knowledge with the rest of humanity.   Few, if any, people do this because it is part of their job or they are seeking some sort of personal benefit.

This is something anyone can do, after all Wikipedia is the encyclopedia anyone can edit.

Mani Pande, Head of Global Development Research
(This is the first in a new series of blog post where we will share insights from the April 2011 Editors Survey.  We will be releasing the data, report, and more insights over the next two months)

Archive notice: This is an archived post from, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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[…] answer to this question we’ll find from the Wikipedia itself, mainly from their last survey conducted on 5000 editors, so the average Wikipedia editor is a man that is in its 40′s and […]

I’m a bit disappointed : big survey, lots of figures, but nothing as to giving some meaning to the results. If you cannot get assistance from researchers to problematize and test hypothesese, make at least some effort to answer clear questions “are wikipedians more educated than the general population ?”, “what are the biases of this study ?”, “how does it compare to previous studies and results ?”…

[…] 维基百科对全球5000名编辑做了问卷调查,从发布的数据发现,男人在编辑群体中占有绝对主导地位,变性人也做了自己的贡献。从年龄构成来看,很惊讶的发现,40岁以上的编辑近3成(猜想这些人之中应该很少有中国人),看来年轻人在维基百科编辑群中并不是优势群体:)。教育背景,大学本科以上学历占一半以上,还有很大的发展空间,有这样一个拥有良好教育背景的编辑团队,维基百科的条目的质量会越来越好。 这些编辑多数都有一个共同的特点,他们乐于奉献的自己的时间和智慧,有肯为他人服务的精神,并向往自由和民主。 此条目发表在 忙里偷闲 分类目录,贴了 wikipedia, 维基百科, 编辑 标签。将固定链接加入收藏夹。 ← 维基百科观察(7):移动客户端应用 […]

[…] Wikimedia surveyed 5,000 Wikipedia editors in 22 languages to find out what makes them tick.  Turns out, they have a LOT in common with the people at your B2B company.  In fact, the top three reasons — four if you’ve got a healthy corporate culture — perfectly mirror a company’s social media goals and policies. Read the full report here. […]

I find this exciting because the top 3 (maybe even 4) reasons for why people contribute perfectly align with the goals of most corporations. That means they’ll be more willing to let their expert employees contribute their technical knowledge and enrich everyone. (Of course in line with Wikipedia’s policies, not to mention those at companies meant to protect secrets, yadda, yadda, yadda.)

This survey was really a disaster: There was no simple plain hyperlink to access it, it needed JavaScript and Cookie stuff, the link appeared only once a day, no static link anywhere, not working with all web browsers, many people could not participiate because of such stupid technical reasons. There was a question if you are an IP-user, but for IP user it was not possible to access the survey. Bad translations… The survey should not have started under that conditions.

I’d be interested in seeing the education breakdown of the editors we have who are over 21. I’d strongly suspect that there will be a high correlation between the 27% in the 12 – 21 age groups and the 39% whose highest educational level so far is Primary or Secondary. Of course I’m hoping that the 13% of our editors who are currently 12 – 17 years old will all get degrees in the next ten years, but I suspect next to none of them have so far. So amongst our editors who are 18 or over over 70% are… Read more »

[…] week we released the very first insights from the recent semi-annual survey of Wikipedia editors.  This week […]

How do you do?
We are Akita of the new comer.
It is Japanese.
Immediately, it is but as for Wiki, the basics are English and as for the people in the other? country, the person who can use English doesn’t connect with the world of? probably about how many there are because the people whom English can not talk to create Wiki by the independent language.
When it should improve there
It is thought of.

[…] Wikipedię. Ankietę, dostępną w 22 językach wypełniło ponad 5 tys. osób. Niedawno opublikowano jej wyniki. Interesująco przedstawiają się dane dotyczące motywacji osób, które tworzą i edytują […]

[…] studies in question are discussed in this Wall Street Journal article and this WMF blog post respectively, and as Kohs says, shows the number of female participants dropping over 4 percent in […]

[…] Wikipedia editors do it for fun: First results of our 2011 editor survey   […]