What's usertagging[edit]

Usertagging permanently associates an arbitrary set of metadata (e.g., “subject of e3 experiment”) to a registered user of a specific project (e.g., "enwiki"). Tags are associated with a userId at the time of account creation or at the time a user undergoes a specific treatment or participates in a given initiative, and are stored in a repository where they can be accessed by the UserMetrics API and used to generate cohorts. Once a tag has been assigned, it cannot be removed or changed.

What is it for[edit]

By default, MediaWiki stores data about registered users in the user table. The data held in this table is needed to operate the website. Some of this data (for example, the user registration date and edit_count) is also used for analytics purposes, to study editor activity and retention, for example. UserTagging permits us to store a richer set of user metadata that helps us assess the impact of initiatives, such as editor engagement experiments. Only data that is compliant with the Wikimedia Foundation's privacy policy is stored.

The following are examples of user metadata that can be captured with userTagging:

  • user 3456 signed up via the Article Feedback "signup" call-to-action
  • user 6789 was bucketed as a participant in experimental condition X of experiment Y
  • user 2468 created an account via the Global Education portal
  • user 1357 registered as part of an outreach event

What usertagging is not[edit]

Usertagging does not include any data that conflicts with our privacy policy.

Why do we need this[edit]

User Metrics API - Metrics Meeting 03-07-2013

Usertags help describe users so that we can better analyze their behavior and determine the efficacy of a program or initiative. Once users have been tagged, they can be examined as cohorts so that we can determine the productivity of users who have participated in a particular campaign or project, or analyze the long-term effects of a specific campaign or experimental treatment. Please see "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Cohorts (But Were Afraid to Ask)" for an overview of this process.


As of May 2013, usertags are used to associate userIds with information about experimental treatments, calls to action, and program participation. The following are a few examples of the types of information that usertags identify and store. For more information about how usertags are stored, please see the UserMetrics API Guide.


userTags can permanently associate user_ids with data about any experimental treatments each user has undergone as well as any experimental buckets assigned. Examples of tags used by the E3 team for these purposes include:

  • Users in the control group of the GettingStarted split test
  • Account creation UX (1) control group
  • Post-edit feedback (2) historical group

Calls to actions[edit]

Usertags are used to identify users who have registered as a result of a call to action (CTA). Examples of tags used for these purposes include:

  • Users acquired via Thank You campaign banners
  • Users acquired via Thank You campaign landing pages
  • Users acquired via Article feedback CTAs

Program participation[edit]

Usertags can identify users who have participated in outreach or education programs to help measure the productivity of these participants. Examples of tags used for these purposes include:

  • Global education participants 2010-2012
  • Students in Radwa Kotait's Fall 2012 English class at Ain Shams

Further reading[edit]

UserMetrics API

UserMetrics API Guide

UserMetrics FAQ