Do I have to register to donate a chat?
Yes, registration is required to donate a chat. Click here to register.
What happens to the chat(s) I have donated?
The chat you provide will first be de-identified, and then it will be added to the larger collection of WhatsApp chats we have received, while the original chat will be destroyed. The collected de-identified data will be accessed by our research team and, on request, by members of the scientific community for research purposes. In a later stage of this research, short excerpts (less than 7 consecutive messages) taken from de-identified chats may be presented to citizen scientists for annotation purposes.
How will the data be de-identified? What will it look like?
You can see a concrete example of what the data will look like once de-identified here. We will automatically de-identify as much personal information in the chat as possible: full names, first names, numbers, dates, street addresses, e-mail addresses, urls, numbers in general, etc. They will be replaced either by a code (e.g. “[LASTNAME]” instead of “Potter”), or by a pseudonym (e.g. “Ron” instead of “Harry”).
If you have a name or there is an element in the conversation that you think our automatic personal information detector might not detect, you are also given the opportunity to give us the names and we will make sure to anonymize the name as well. This can also be applied for nicknames, specific health or life information (such as the name of a rare disease for example), or any other element that you think might allow someone to identify a person mentioned in the conversation.
What happens to images, videos, and vocal messages in the chats?
Elements other than written message content and stickers won’t be used. When sending the chat you can choose whether to send it with media or without it. Please select without so images, videos, and vocal messages won’t be sent to us. If you do send the chat with the media, we will automatically delete it when we receive it.
What happens if not everyone in the chat gives consent?
For the participants of a chat who have given consent, their (de-identified) messages will be shown. For participants of a chat who have not given their consent and who have furthermore requested the chat to be deleted (or who have simply not answered our request for consent at all), the entire chat in question is deleted. For those who have not given their consent but do not request to delete the chat, their messages will not be included, but there will be indications of how many words and characters there were in order for the other messages to be useful. However, those indications will not be enough to identify what the person who did not give consent wrote.
What if I don’t know the email addresses of the other people participating in the chat?
In order for us to contact the other participants in the chat to obtain their consent for the scientific use of their data, we need their email addresses. We ask that you collect their email addresses and provide them after giving your consent to the use of your chat data. We will tell you whose addresses we need based on their names in the chat data. If you realize after giving your consent that you do not have all of the email addresses required, you can return to submit them at a later point by following the same link you had received via email. Participants of a chat where not all email addresses were indicated cannot qualify for the prize draw.
Who can participate?
People aged 16 years old and over living in Switzerland. If you are afraid that your participation in the study may have a negative impact on you, please refrain from taking part in the study
What happens to the demographic information?
The demographic information will be kept in order to analyze and sort through the data. It will be a part of the corpus along with the chat conversation, but it will not be enough for anyone to link the data to a specific person. Rather, it is used to see general trends in the data.
What if I suddenly no longer want my data to be used?
You are free to withdraw at any time without giving a reason or facing negative consequences. You can request access to your own data or withdraw them by contacting email@example.com (withdrawal requests after the release of the data planned for 2023 will be respected but versions of the corpus shared before your request cannot be modified).
What languages should the chat that I donate be in?
Ideally, we would like all the chats to be in one of the national languages (i.e. Swiss German, French, Italian, and Romansh), but we are also happy to receive chats that use other languages in addition, or that are in Standard German.
How many chats can I donate?
As many as you would like! We are happy with as much data as we can get.
How can I participate in the weekly prize draw?
When consenting to the chat being donated, you have the option of ticking the box “I am interested in entering the prize draw and agree to be contacted via email if I win.” If you agree to this, your email address is automatically entered into a weekly name draw. Winners will be contacted via email. For administrative purposes, the prizes will be sent out at the end of the data collection period to everyone who still qualifies for the draw (i.e. has consented to the scientific use of their messages in the chat and the chat has not been deleted by a participant of the chat).
What if my question isn’t in this FAQ?
Head over to the contact page and ask us your question directly!