Thursday, May 1, 2008

Fun with statistics

Paying people to hold signs is one of the oldest forms of advertising, as with this Human directional pictured aboveA form of advertising not likely
to be directly seen on WMF!
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Advertising as a funding source for Wikimedia Foundation projects is a fairly controversial topic, and there has been much discussion in the past. Opinions on the matter are held quite strongly by some folk.

Apparently Jimmy Wales ran a poll on advertising via a facility on Facebook that lets you poll things. Some analysis of this poll was carried out and posted on Meta (and, to my chagrin, although I'm active on Meta, I didn't find out about it that way).

The analysis is quite interesting, if only to show what sort of fun can be had with statistics.

FacebookFacebook: Image via Wikipedia
(fair use claimed)
According to Techcrunch, Facebook demographics are somewhat skewed. this is not surprising when you think about it, but I did not realise it was apparently 2/3 female in make up. Lonely male geeks, take note!

So clearly the demographic of these polls is not necessarily representative of the entire population. That's OK and not necessarily a drawback if one is just trying to get some preliminary sense of matters and doesn't plan to use the findings for actual decision making, absent more study.

Personally, I think the thing I found most amusing, and significant, was the large number of people that were not sure what the project's current structure actually is, and were not aware that the project does not currently have ads on it.

This is something to remember... it's true that the english wikipedia is the 7th most visited site on the internet, but it's also true that many people don't know much at all about its project structure or funding sources. Or care, presumably.

What do you think?

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