Hi. I'm Aaron Halfaker. I study online communities (like Wikipedia) using data mining, statistical modeling and experimentation. Though I'm primarily trained as a technologist, my interests are spread broadly across the physical sciences and the nature of groups of people.
I'm deeply interested in the "moving parts" that make open prodction communities like Wikipedia work. Through building knowledge about system-level problems, opportunities and consequencies, I hope to design better technologies.
If you look at nothing else while you are here, check out my most impactful work, The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration Community, a data-driven explanation for why the editor community of the English Wikipedia has been declining since 2007.
...because it is the best strategy we have for grounding our thoughts about the world. Empiricism is my modus operandi, but I don't let that get in the way of thinking about complex phenomena that's difficult to measure.
...to create and to understand. Programming serves two functions for me. I build new technologies for the systems that I study. Check out my collection of software which includes experimental software built for Wikipedia editors and some data processing libraries.
I also use programming as a means to gain understanding. The majority of my contributions to the scientific community have come directly from computation on a dataset. My day-to-day software stack is python, R, SQL and map-reduce.
...to make my work available to others and to get feedback. The community to which I publish my work is deeply valuable to me. While I submit my scholarly work to academic conferences and journals that maintain restrictive licensing, I provide free, open access content from all of my papers here on my website for anyone to read.