Moderate requests for reseach assistance

Case number:845818-2000539
Topic:Game: Social
Opened by:Bletchley Park
Status:Open
Type:Suggestion
Opened on:Monday, March 23, 2015 - 08:49
Last modified:Friday, April 10, 2015 - 13:15

I occasionally receive unsollicited links to research questionnaires from people I do not know, who have no trackrecord on Foldit and who make various claims regarding their motives.

I would like to see ANY research requests being mediated and presented by the Foldit team so that we (the players) know with some degree of confidence that the links sent are not scams or attempts to infect our research PCs with malware but instead bonafide researchers seeking assistance.

(Mon, 03/23/2015 - 08:49  |  8 comments)


jflat06's picture
User offline. Last seen 6 days 2 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 09/29/2010
Groups: Window Group

We specifically avoid doing what you're suggesting, as it indicates that the study is somehow supported or approved by the Foldit team.

This is a liability because we cannot really control the nature of the studies being done. We have had problems in the past with studies being conducted that the Foldit community had objection with. Our current policy is to refrain from any future promotions or collaborations of studies that deal with community.

Researchers are free to attempt studies on Foldit, since all information is in the public domain. If you are interested in participating in a study, it is up to you to do the research on whether you deem the study appropriate or safe.

Angus's picture
User offline. Last seen 4 hours 19 min ago. Offline
Joined: 06/04/2008
Groups: Beta Folders

How do these PM spammers manage to hit all of us? I've gotten survey PMs on all my accounts (main folding account, and various IRC accounts) recently. I doubt if they are targeting anyone specific since all but one of those accounts are zero point non-folding accounts.

Angus's picture
User offline. Last seen 4 hours 19 min ago. Offline
Joined: 06/04/2008
Groups: Beta Folders

Wasn't done yet ...

Maybe there could be a limit put on PM addressees, and the survey originators could be encouraged to post in the Forum instead?

jflat06's picture
User offline. Last seen 6 days 2 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 09/29/2010
Groups: Window Group

When they contact us directly, we normally tell them to try posting on the forums. I'm not sure how they're going about sending mass PMs. Maybe a script?

spmm's picture
User offline. Last seen 44 weeks 6 days ago. Offline
Joined: 08/05/2010
Groups: Void Crushers

I just assume that these requests are to try to get me to click on links to malware - especially if they don't even include a faculty or lecturer - I just delete them same as I do with unsolicited email with links in it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malware

Joined: 05/19/2009
Groups: Contenders

Thank you for replying, point taken. I will not participate in any questionnaires that are sent in a link.

spmm's picture
User offline. Last seen 44 weeks 6 days ago. Offline
Joined: 08/05/2010
Groups: Void Crushers

Does your research involve working with people and communities? Does this involvement include any of the following?:
• people taking part in surveys, interviews, workshops or focus groups
• participatory action research approaches
• people undergoing psychological testing or treatment
• being observed by researchers
• researchers having access to any personal documents or other materials
• researchers having access to information (in individually identifiable, re-identifiable or non-identifiable form) as part of an existing published or unpublished source or database
• the collection and use of body organs, tissues, fluids or breath.
If so, then your research must undergo ethical review in accordance with the Human Research Ethics Policy and comply with the values and principles specified in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007).

I'm sure the UK, US and EU have similar standards and anyone doing a PHD should know about them.
This is the Australian Research standard:
http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/e72.pdf

Joined: 09/24/2012
Groups: Go Science

In 2 years, I was contacted by 3 researchers or students via PM or forum. They all seemed to be serious.

I've no claim. The latest (Chinese) one seems serious also (it's a real appropriate survey).

I think it's up to us to verify the type of message: is there sufficient (out of link) info that we can verify (e.g. name of student, faculty, personalized and pertinent message instead of spam type message etc).

I also verify the profile of the researcher on Foldit: date of membership, achievements (some "baby steps" at least ?).

Of course, a message in the forum or even PM can give false confidence. Thanks for the warning and info spmm !

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