Edit: Congratulations if you didn’t buy into this – it was an April Fool’s prank.

Dear valued OMG! Ubuntu! reader,

Three years ago, Joseph Sneddon and I were put in touch through mutual friends at a Psychology conference in Australia. We both have extensive backgrounds in Computer Science and Psychology, and were intrigued at the emergence of online communities over the past decade. Shortly thereafter, we embarked on an international post-graduate collaborative experiment that set out to investigate tribal behaviour in online communities.

A collaboration was formed between our two Universities, The University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, and the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom. We spent several weeks attempting to figure out how to collect information in a way that wouldn’t hamper the results, and eventually we started OMG! Ubuntu! as a cover for our research, unaware of how popular the website would become. The early beginnings of Ubuntu provided us with the perfect niche, and the Ubuntu community represented a diverse collection of people.

For our experiment to be effective, unfortunately we couldn’t tell anyone (not even Canonical) about our true intentions – and Joey has done an excellent job of keeping the pretense going while I have spent the last six months beginning initial analysis on the data we’ve collected.

“OMG! Ubuntu! is not an Ubuntu fan site, it is an experiment that is coming to a close”

We’d like to personally thank each and every one of you for the data we’ve sourced over the past three years. Through a series of complicated algorithms, we have managed to harvest valuable information from your comments, browser user agent string, location, and interaction with OMG! Ubuntu! on social media.

We would also like to apologize for lying to you – OMG! Ubuntu! is not an Ubuntu fan site, it is an experiment that is coming to a close. We now have a wealth of information, and the analysis period of our research is beginning, which means that we’ll sadly have to shut down OMG! Ubuntu! at the end of this month as our funding doesn’t cover the cost of keeping the server running.

I will be flying to the United Kingdom to meet with Joe in May, and from there we will spend time putting together our final conclusions for what we hope will be groundbreaking research into online communities.

We intend to present our findings at the International Cyberpsychology & Computing Psychology Conference 2012, to be held at the University of Bolton in the United Kingdom on the 16th July this year.

We want to see out one last Ubuntu cycle, so it will be business as usual until the release of Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. You can still browse the website and read articles for the rest of this month, and once again, thank you very much for your participation.

Kind Regards,

Benjamin Humphrey BA(Hons) PhD(Otago) FRSNZ
Joseph Sneddon BSc(Hons) DipClinPsych