Hi Emily -- Absolutely. Over the past two years, we've conducted more than 300 interviews with commenters, comment readers, designers, developers, reporters, editors, businesspeople, and more.
Most of those interviews were more journalistic than scientific, although we bootstrapped our process with more formal interviews conducted by Machine, a terrific design and innovation group out of NYC (http://machine.io).
To develop these personas, we used a somewhat organic process of going through our notes from our conversations and docs we've created along the way that summarized them. We plucked out main ideas and fit them into categories, which then we melded into people.
Some of the personas are heavily based on specific people we interviewed. Most are amalgams. And I'm sure all of them could benefit from your expert touch if you'd have time to work with us on them!