An experiment on decision making open to Wikipedians

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Berkman Center logoSciences Po logo A team of researchers at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and Sciences Po Paris, led by Professor Yann Algan and Wikimania 2011 keynote speaker Professor Yochai Benkler, invites English Wikipedia contributors to participate in an interactive online experiment on decision making. The goal of this study is to better understand the dynamics of interactions and behavior in online social spaces. The project has been reviewed by the Wikimedia Research Committee and extensively discussed on the English Wikipedia Administrators’ noticeboard. The Wikimedia Foundation is happy to support this project which we believe will help advance research on our community.
Starting today, logged-in eligible editors will receive an invitation to participate in this study via a CentralNotice banner. To reduce banner overload, the invitation banner has been coded so as to be displayed only to a sample of English Wikipedia contributors meeting eligibility conditions for this study. If you are among the editors selected for this study, please consider participating. If you disable the banner, it will not be displayed to you anymore.
The survey takes about 25 minutes to complete. It combines a series of interactive experiments on decision making with questions about attitudes and practices. Based on their decisions and those of other participants in the study, participants will earn money that they can then choose to donate to the International Committee of the Red Cross or the Wikimedia Foundation if they so wish.
The data collected by this study is subject to European privacy protection protocols and will be used for research purposes only. All research outputs and data, while preserving full anonymity of participants, will be made available under an open access license. The research team will present its findings at a Wikimania conference.
Dario Taraborelli, Senior Research Analyst, Strategy

Note: in order not to influence other participants and ensure the validity of the study, the Team would like to request participants not to post any comments that discuss the actual content of the survey on this page. The research team is happy to receive your comments and answer any questions you may have at

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

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It will be interesting to see this report published. In fact I saw a really good Whitepaper today on decision-making on – interesting read.

It was an interesting exercise 🙂
Now, two questions:
1. Link to admin noticeboard discussion?
2. Are the donations tax-deductible?

I wanted to click on the banner, but accidentally clicked on the X instead. Silly me. Is there any way to get the banner back so that I can participate? Thanks. 🙂

I canceled the questionnaire immediately when it became mandatory to establish a paypal account before the actual questions even began. I don’t have one and I certainly don’t want one, not even paypal knowing any of my e-mail-addresses. I consider paypal not to be a serious or even acceptable partner for financial transactions and binding this research on an account with them is a no-go for me.

I loved doing that study! It’s so interestingly tricky, a mind challenging puzzle! And I love those decision making tricky tests! I want some more, much more! <3

In the night from 8 to 9 December 2011, I won 50 $ in 25 minutes. With a little logic, a little maths and a little luck. :‑) It was easy and fun, thank you. From Wikipedia, I had followed the banner that recruited for the experiment by Harvard / Sciences Po and I did the experiment on collaboration, altruism and egoism.
But since then, I did not receive any e-mail from Paypal. When will I receive the money and how ?
Thanks, and keep up the good work !

Hello again,
By the way, in several menus, I encountered an irritating thing. The experiment asks me different countries of origin, and each time the list contains first “United States” and then, from A to Z, all the other countries of the world. There must be some letter in the country name “United States” that makes it come alphabetically before “Armenia”, a phenomenon which I am very curious about.

Is there any way to participate as banner was disabled?