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Wikipedia planning to survey its members to figure out why they post

Wikipedia contributors go under the microscope with an upcoming survey from the service's creators.

In the next several months Wikipedians, or the authors of the content found on Wikipediawill be the subject of a worldwide survey to find out about people's posting habits on the immensely popular online encyclopedia.

The Wikimedia foundation, which operates Wikipedia is employing Netherlands-based UNU-MERIT to conduct the research that aims to figure out not only who Wikipedians are, but how much they're contributing to the site. The survey is also designed to find out why people are coming to Wikipedia, and the identify the types of users who go from casual browsers to site contributors.

User identity goes farther than just browsing habits, though. The survey's creators are trying to unearth the real identities of Wikipedia authors, something that Wikipedia alternative Citizendium has already solved by requiring its users to use their real names as part of the editing process. In the past, user anonymity has been one of the key points of contention regarding responsibly and the efficacy of rule enforcement in Wikipedia's user community.

A portion of the survey results are to be released at this year's Wikimania, which takes place in late July, with a more conclusive report later this year.