Wikipedia losing editors, study says

Jan 04, 2013
Wikipedia, one of the world's biggest websites, is losing many of its English-language editors, crippling its ability to keep pace with its mission as a source of knowledge online, a study says.

Wikipedia, one of the world's biggest websites, is losing many of its English-language editors, crippling its ability to keep pace with its mission as a source of knowledge online, a study says.

The study led by Aaron Halfaker of the University of Minnesota found that the number of "" or volunteer has been on the decline from around 56,000 in 2007 to some 35,000 at the end of 2012.

The researchers said there are a number of reasons, including the rise of automated programs or "bots," but also noted that some potential contributors are being discouraged by Wikipedia's structure.

"Several changes the Wikipedia community made to manage quality and consistency in the face of a massive growth in participation have ironically crippled the very growth they were designed to manage," the researchers wrote in last week's .

"Specifically, the restrictiveness of the encyclopedia's primary and the algorithmic tools used to reject contributions are implicated as key causes of decreased newcomer retention."

They said that while Wikipedia has sought to root out less competent editors, its rules have also discouraged "desirable newcomers" who get discouraged when their contributions get deleted.

Wikipedia has editions in 285 languages. Its founder Jimmy Wales has cited the need to make Wikipedia more open to newcomers, to keep up with the vast amount of information it is trying to process.

But the authors of the study said Wikipedia is being crimped by its rules trying to improve quality.

" has changed from 'the encyclopedia that anyone can edit' to 'the encyclopedia that anyone who understands the norms, socializes him or herself, dodges the impersonal wall of semi-automated rejection and still wants to voluntarily contribute his or her time and energy can edit,'" they wrote.

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User comments : 27

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kathologist
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 04, 2013
Check out the articles at
wikipediocracy.org -
They have opened the forum to the public this week.
Several folks have been working diligently to aggregate info and write articles about the world of Wikipedia/Wikimedia/Commons and the Foundation.
Doug_Huffman
3.6 / 5 (17) Jan 04, 2013
Read Jonathan Zittrain's The Future of The Internet - And How To Stop It.

http://futureofth...rnet.pdf

Reality is fractally complex.
Lurker2358
1.7 / 5 (12) Jan 04, 2013
Why don't they just add a second tier article section, like the comments tab, where additional authors can make contributions?

This way, you can put stuff on the main article that is considered higher quality, and then put stuff on the second tab which is considered lower quality, but may actually be useful or valid.

Seems simple enough.

Who is the expert?

If you watch the economy, one economist has his theory, and another has hers, and they are both "experts" and their theorys are polar opposites of one another. You would think somebody would point out that fact that at least one of them is either a liar or incompetent, but it doesn't happen. So if economists aren't rejected when they are somewhat wrong, why should an article (or contribution) be rejected from an encyclopedia just because it may disagree with the mainstream?!
gwrede
5 / 5 (6) Jan 04, 2013
I used to create articles, edit existing ones, and always corrected minor grammar and punctuation. Lately I have found many articles and edits deleted.

Today, if I feel I absolutely have to write, I just write a comment on the talk page. And I never return to see what happened, if anything.

That is a shame. The entire concept of Wikipedia was based on altruistic people spending their time writing things For the Common Good, rather than using even that time to either earn a dollar more, or getting drunk with pals.
trapezoid
4 / 5 (16) Jan 04, 2013
Why don't they just add a second tier article section, like the comments tab, where additional authors can make contributions?


Because they don't want it to end up like the physorg comment section.
obama_socks
2.5 / 5 (11) Jan 04, 2013
The other problem with Wikipedia, et al, is that there are way too many paragraphs that warn "citation needed", indicating the need to do a search in other websites or media to find out what was missing or incorrect in Wiki. A need for corroboration of the information is time consuming but absolutely necessary to get accurate information.

That's fine if someone has plenty of time to do possible multiple searches for the one topic. I don't have the required time to do too many searches, but someone who stays home instead of going out to work might have the patience and lots of time on his/her hands.
CleanAirMeister
4.6 / 5 (5) Jan 04, 2013
Some of those so-called 'editors' at Wiki need to get off their high horse and stop deleting content on a whim. Just last night, I had two of these self-righteous clowns delete a link I had provided for and article which was pertinent to the article and completely on topic.

My solution? I just kept on re-posting it over and over. Finally they gave up and let my (perfectly relevant) post alone.
ValeriaT
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 05, 2013
It's easy: forbid the deletion or rewriting of paragraphs with the people other than its author or group of people dedicated with its author.
alfie_null
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 05, 2013
Based on what I have read, it sounds like Wikipedia needs to make it harder to delete edits. Maybe allow the edits to hang around for a while, elided with a notice of impending deletion (and the rationale). Maybe require the accord of multiple editors.

The deletion process sounds impersonal, which is not good. Are the parties given the opportunity (and encouraged) to communicate before the deletion is implemented?
Moebius
3.2 / 5 (9) Jan 05, 2013
Why contribute when some idiot can erase it. The slide will continue.
gopher65
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 05, 2013
alfie_null/Moebius:
I agree that there are too many "deletionists" on Wikipedia. They bug me. It's like they think there isn't room on Wikipedia for minor articles.

That said, there is a lot of vandalism and advertising that gets inserted to Wikipedia. I'd go so far as to say that the majority of edits being made at any given time are by a company trying to advertise itself, or a Russian spambot, or a 12 year old trying to make bad sex jokes.

You never see most of those edits because of the hard work of many editors and anti-spam bot coders.

There are also a large number of people who make incorrect contributions. I've seen people argue in favor of grammar that was clearly incorrect to a native English speaker, and people who try to put references to homeopathy in every article come across.

As much as I think there should be articles on every subject, letting people claim that Canada is south of the US can't be tolerated, even when the person believes it to be true (and they do).
omerbashich
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 05, 2013
Wikipedia, aka the den of intelligence scum.
dschlink
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 05, 2013
Wikipedia, as is often the case, is being taken over by the cranks. There's no point in posting with zero vetting.
avafeas
5 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2013
I would love to contribute quick/simple things like pics I've taken myself or quick edits to sports articles but I find the process daunting, I can't even figure out how to make a post let alone have one deleted.
Claudius
4.6 / 5 (21) Jan 05, 2013
Then there is the problem of organized political groups perfecting methods of editing Wikipedia articles to ensure that only their point of view is represented. This was in the news recently.

For this reason, I spend a lot of time reading the Talk page.
Msafwan
2 / 5 (5) Jan 05, 2013
I bet those guy who do the delete will say:
"we already has 3 million article, no need them anymore"

Evil.
CleanAirMeister
5 / 5 (4) Jan 06, 2013
"letting people claim that Canada is south of the US can't be tolerated, even when the person believes it to be true (and they do"

Windsor, Ontario (Canada) is in fact SOUTH of Detroit, Michigan, USA
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jan 07, 2013
I agree that there are too many "deletionists" on Wikipedia. They bug me. It's like they think there isn't room on Wikipedia for minor articles.

The main reason for deletion are that articles aren't supported by anything but the author's opinion. That's not what one would expect from a medium that is used to look up information. Many first-time authors fall into this trap (and get miffed when their work gets deleted)

They fail to see that wikipedia is NOT about posting what one is emphatic about (that's what internet-forums are for). Wikipedia is supposed to be a platform for dependable information.

(And according to a study by 'Nature' wikipedia is not significantly more faulty than Encyclopedia Britannica)
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (20) Jan 07, 2013
I don't have the required time to do too many searches, but someone who stays home instead of going out to work might have the patience and lots of time on his/her hands.
-And so you check buzzle, or you do absolutely no research whatsoever. Because you are lazy.

You have plenty of time to flood the site with ignorance but absolutely no time to do the research to back it up. Because you dont think you have to, because you are sure that everything which occurs to you must be true. This is why so many people give you so much grief.
FrankHerbert
2 / 5 (16) Jan 07, 2013
Well said Otto. I'd also like to point out the inherent prejudice that oozes from most of his statements. In this one, someone must be unemployed and study all day to not flood this site with every pea-brained idea that comes to mind.

Like Otto said, it's not your ignorance that bothers us, it's your laziness.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (18) Jan 07, 2013
Well said Otto. I'd also like to point out the inherent prejudice that oozes from most of his statements. In this one, someone must be unemployed and study all day to not flood this site with every pea-brained idea that comes to mind.

Like Otto said, it's not your ignorance that bothers us, it's your laziness.
Naw its the ignorance also.
Estevan57
2.8 / 5 (36) Jan 07, 2013
Otto, you are talking with you sockpuppet! Shall you use this as "indisputable evidence" that you are two different people?

I am soooo surprised that you agree with yourself.

Must be on your meds.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (17) Jan 08, 2013
Otto, you are talking with you sockpuppet! Shall you use this as "indisputable evidence" that you are two different people?

I am soooo surprised that you agree with yourself.

Must be on your meds.
Naw thats pretty obvious to most anybody but dimwits and scummy trolls. Which one are you? Or maybe you are both?

Liar = stalker = corrupter = defender of the dimwit vandal pussytard = esai. See my profile page for appropriate documentation.

If you DEFEND flooding vandals, as you just did above, that means you ARE one. Or are related to one.

Case closed.
Estevan57
2.9 / 5 (33) Jan 08, 2013
When caught in bad behaviour attack. Eh, Otto, lite, FrankHerbert?

Take your meds - you're rambling again.
FrankHerbert
1.8 / 5 (15) Jan 08, 2013
Steve, try commenting on the topic at hand for once.

I wonder what pathetic attempts 'conservatives' make at altering Wikipedia. Maybe they all quit and went to conserapedia.
NOM
1 / 5 (8) Jan 09, 2013
Remember the troll Neil Farbstein?

He had a wikipedia page that he had created for himself claiming to have invented all sorts of rubbish, until a few well-meaning people saw fit to make some corrections. Sadly his page has been removed.

Though there is one thisn that could be said in Farbstain's favour, he didn't go into anonymous sock-puppets unlike the cowardly little estevan.
MapArSadd
not rated yet Jan 27, 2013
Embattled is not strong enough to describe the aberrant psychology inside the Admin/Sysop cadre of Wikipedia – the dysfunctional technocracy. Wiki has bots that defend from supposed external attack – they have no bots to defend against internal attack. The mis-focus upon just technology driving editors away should be addressed through further study. Wikipedia has more in common with Zimardo etal and the "Stanford Prison Experiment" than it does with an encyclopedia.

Wiki has no internal structures to deal with Stalking unless it's against Sysop/Admins. That self referential and embattled focus is very telling.

50% of people subjected to online harassment/abuse suffer PTSD and related Symptomatology. Why would editors wish to stay (Voluntarily) at Wikipedia when it does not recognize this reality? See - "The National Centre for Cyberstalking Research" and the "Electronic Communication Harassment Observation Study".