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Researchers at the University of Texas studying World of Warcraft [Updated]

Elizabeth Harper

A tipster informs us that researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are conducting a study to try to determine the "personalities and motivations" of people participating in World of Warcraft and other online games. And they're asking for our help! So if you have 10 or 15 minutes of free time, why not go fill out their MMORPG Survey? (Or if learning about the personalities and motivations of yourself and fellow players doesn't interest you, there's another study running at the university that seeks to understand how people interact in online environments. However, I've got to warn you, that one will take 20 to 30 minutes of your time.) The survey itself looks like a standard personality test, and, I have to say, is pretty uninteresting. However, I'm quite interested in seeing what sort of results they come out with in the end -- and if you're as curious as I am participating will only lead to more varied results in the end.

: There is a great deal of discussion in our comments about the possibility of this site being a scam of some sort. While I agree that the domain name of the site is fishy, the content looks completely legitimate. (And, yes, I did run through this on my personal computer before passing it on to you.) With the original and subsequent e-mails we've received about the site, I would say it's legitimate. However, I have removed the link to the site pending further verification.

Update 2: After trading e-mails with Austin Harley (yes, through a valid University of Texas mailing address), one of the researchers involved in the study, I am convinced that this is, in fact, a valid project. Of the odd hosting arrangement, he says:

A good friend of mine offered to build a web page for my site and link it to an already functional database he had. He said this would be easier on him than building one off a webpage on the utexas server so I happily agreed since he was really doing me a huge favor. I had no idea so many people were worried about a potential scam or that my site would cause such a stir.

Update 3: To further assure anyone's concerns, I have talked to a member of the UT faculty overseeing this project, who, again, assures me that this is a legitimate study.

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