An Unwelcome Intrusion? Player Responses to Survey Research Recruitment on the World of Warcraft Forums


  • Kelly Bergstrom York University


Internet discussion forums provide convenient opportunities to recruit survey participants, but how do the everyday users of these sites feel about such research requests? Using the official forums of the popular Massively Multiplayer Online Game World of Warcraft (WoW) as a site of inquiry, this article investigates interactions between researchers and potential research participants. Using WoW, a frequently researched gaming community as a case study, I discuss player reactions to the 163 survey requests posted to the WoW forums between December 2010 and April 2015. In particular I outline the concerns raised by forum participants (including fears of account theft and critiques of survey design) and provide evidence this particular online community is suffering from survey fatigue. After highlighting these points of tension between players and researchers, I conclude with a set of suggested best practices for future interactions with this particular online community.