|Informed Consent for Participation|
The current phase is for players on North America/Oceanic realms only. We will focus on EU realms in the next phase.
Thank you for participating in this study. We are examining how someone’s behaviors in virtual worlds may be used to predict their real world characteristics, such as their gender or age. The study consists of a 15-minute survey and then a 3-minute follow-up survey each month for the next 12 months.
|Eligibility||Only individuals aged 18 or above and are not currently incarcerated are eligible to participate in this study. By consenting to participate in this study, you are confirming that you are 18 or above and not currently incarcerated.|
|Study Procedure||You will be asked to complete a web-based survey. In the survey we will gather basic demographic variables as well as ask you to complete a standard personality inventory. In addition, we will ask you to provide the names of your World of Warcraft avatars.
We will then gather publicly available data from your avatars in-game and on the Armory using automated scripts. In-game variables will include, for example, the current level, zone, and guild affiliation of your character. These variables are gathered using the “/who” command in the game and storing the results. From the Armory, we will collect information such as your character’s equipment and the list of your character’s Achievements. This information will be collected by searching for your character’s name on the Armory website. All the data we collect about your characters are currently publicly accessible.
Finally, we will send you a short survey once every month to see if you've created any new WoW characters since the study started. We will use the automated scripts to collect information from these different sources for up to 12 months to generate longitudinal profiles. All observations of your characters and the monthly surveys will end after 12 months. We will then use data mining and machine learning techniques to try to explore whether your real world characteristics can be predicted from your behaviors in World of Warcraft.
|Privacy||We will only gather the information mentioned above.
Over the course of this study, apart from the survey data you provide, we will also collect longitudinal log data of your characters, images of your characters (from the WoW Armory). When publishing or presenting findings, only aggregated data will be used. No identifying data, such as your characters’ names or profile images, will ever be used in presentations or publications.
If you would like to withdraw from the study at any point, please contact one of the researchers and your data will be deleted from the database.
|Data Confidentiality||The study is sponsored by the US Federal Government. All information obtained in this study is strictly confidential unless disclosure is required by law. In addition, the Institutional Review Board, the sponsor of the study, and University or government officials responsible for monitoring this study may inspect these records. Your email address will not be associated with any of the information that you provide during the course of this study. You will be assigned a unique and anonymous identification code during this study and your demographic information will be kept separate from that. All data collected will be maintained on a highly secure server. We will keep a list of email addresses separate from any other data collected solely for the purpose of sending the monthly surveys.|
|Risks and Rights to Withdraw||The web survey component of the study has minimal risks comparable to typical web browsing. The data collection component is mainly aggregating data that is mostly already in the public domain, however, the longitudinal aggregation and linkage of data might potentially reveal sensitive patterns or trends that would otherwise not be readily noticeable and might negatively impact you if a third-party gained access to the data—for example, if your employer found out that you regularly play WoW during work hours. We believe that our confidentiality safeguards mitigate this risk. Data and personal information anonymization and security protocols in place minimize the risk of third-parties gaining access to and linking the data to specific individuals. Thus, the overall risks of the study are minimal.
You have the right to withdraw at any time from the study and to request that all previous data collected be deleted.
|Who To Contact with Questions or Concerns||If you have any questions, feel free to contact any of the following researchers:
PARC Human Subject Committee Chair
650 812 4483
|Your Consent||I understand that in clicking the button below, I give the study investigators listed above permission to collect survey responses and collect logs of my online behaviors and to present this data aggregated form, without further permission from me, provided that anonymity is preserved. I have read and understand the above information on the purpose of the study, the procedures that will be followed, the use and confidentiality of the data, the freedom to withdraw from the study and to ask questions, and I agree to participate. By clicking the button below, I also confirm that I am aged 18 or above and am not currently incarcerated.|