Analysis of statistics

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Analysis of statistics

Milos Rancic-2
Bad news is that I was right almost a year ago about trends of new
Wikimedians. Relatively good news is that the statistics may be
interpreted as not so bad ones. Good news is that WMF started to act
in relation to those problems around half a year ago.

I went to en.wp stats [1] and I've seen that:
* Number of new Wikipedians is lowering since March 2007. May 2009 is
the worst month since March 2006.
* Fortunately, numbers of active and very active Wikipedians are
stable since the second half of 2007.
* The problem is that curves for active and very active Wikipedians
look like just prolonged curve of the number of new Wikipedians.

But, I wanted to be sure that this is the trend on other large projects.
* German Wikipedia [2]: worse than English in the sense of new
Wikipedians, however, very stable in the sense of active and very
active ones.
* French Wikipedia [3]: Somewhat better than German, but it just shows
the earlier phase of German Wikipedia.
* Chinese Wikipedia [4]: Almost the same as French.
* Russian Wikipedia [5]: Shows even earlier phase. Lowering number of
new Wikipedians just began.

Then, I wanted to see if there are some problems in general
demographics. So, I've found demographics pyramids of USA [6], Germany
[7] and France [8] (from 2005). If we assume that our target groups
are between 15 and 24, just number of German contributors may be ~10%
less (note that the population groups are now ~5 years older). In the
case of French contributors we should expect ~5% less contributors,
while in the case of USA we should expect ~2% more contributors.

But, this is not all. We should add another variable. A significant
number of the initial "new" Wikipedians (by "initial" I assume the
raising period, in the case of en.wp, it is up to March 2007) were
older. So, younger than them were also inside of the initial group.
But, is the number of older Wikipedians so big that we may expect just
16% (de.wp), 46% (fr.wp), 60% (en.wp),  of the peak number of new
Wikipedians (statistics from de.wp: January 2006=1960 new, May
2009=320 new; see others from the charts)?

* If our dominant groups are 15-24 years old and if we say that they
consist 80% of Wikipedians, we should expect that the number of new
Wikipedians compared to the peak should be: de.wp ~30%, ~35% fr.wp,
~40% en.wp.
* If our dominant groups are 15-29 years old, then the numbers are
~25%, ~30%, ~35%.
* If our dominant groups are 15-35 years old, then the numbers are
~15%, ~20%, ~25%.

(Note that you may move up lower age level and you'll get
approximately the same results.)

In the best scenario, just de.wp is in the dangerous zone. In the
worst scenario de.wp is far inside of the unsustainable development,
while fr.wp and en.wp are still staying relatively well. (However,
again, note that fr.wp and en.wp look a lot like the earlier phases of
de.wp.)

In all cases we need to think seriously how to educate younger
generations about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.

[1] - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaEN.htm
[2] - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaDE.htm
[3] - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaFR.htm
[4] - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaZH.htm
[5] - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaRU.htm
[6] - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pyramide_Etats-Unis.PNG
[7] - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pyramide_Allemagne.PNG
[8] - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pyramide_France.PNG

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Re: Analysis of statistics

Henning Schlottmann
Milos Rancic wrote:
> In all cases we need to think seriously how to educate younger
> generations about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.

Thanks for all the data and the number crunching. But I think you are
wrong in your assumptions and therefore in your analysis at least
regarding de-WP. Here we are not looking at 15 year olds, we are looking
at retired academics as the future of our user base.

Quite frankly, a 15 years old can't contribute to de-WP anymore. Not
even 20 years olds can. De-WP has reached a level where undergraduates
can do vandal fighting and stuff like that, but writing and improving
articles needs access to academic literature and experience in academic
writing. 25 to 45 years olds usually have other priorities, they build a
career and a family.

It is the logical step to look for retired academics, because they have
the expertise needed. The demographics in the 15-35 range therefore are
completely irrelevant for de-WP.

Ciao Henning


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Re: Analysis of statistics

Przykuta
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2
> Bad news is that I was right almost a year ago about trends of new
> Wikimedians. Relatively good news is that the statistics may be
> interpreted as not so bad ones. Good news is that WMF started to act
> in relation to those problems around half a year ago.
>

"July 17, 2009: the method of counting total and new wikipedians has changed. All wikis will be upgraded to this new scheme in coming weeks.
In the new scheme wikipedians will only be included in total/new wikipedians from the month in which they made their 10th edit, not the month in which they registered."

From Erik Zachte site ;) Always the last month was the worst month :) I'm waiting for new scheme.

http://stats.wikimedia.org/PL/TablesWikipediansNew.htm

Erik - big thx.

Przykuta

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Re: Analysis of statistics

Yaroslav M. Blanter
In reply to this post by Henning Schlottmann
> It is the logical step to look for retired academics, because they have
> the expertise needed. The demographics in the 15-35 range therefore are
> completely irrelevant for de-WP.
>
> Ciao Henning
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

Do you have any ideas how to get them? As I still believe, for many
articles this is a meta issue, meaning that it is likely that only a few
people in the world have necessary expertise AND a wish to edit the
articles, and they all speak English, but may have random mothertongues
(not necessarily German speakers).

Cheers
Yaroslav


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Re: Analysis of statistics

Pavlo Shevelo
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2
Hello Milos,

What an informative note you made!
Thanks a lot!

There is a lot to think about but as for meantime would you please
provide more details on

> If we assume that our target groups
> are between 15 and 24...
(and you never went over age of 35 in your analisys)
?

As a part of that: do you have wikipedians age analysis for largest
projects (let it be en: de: fr: ru: ).

And closer to your data:
When you say "new Wikipedians" what do you mean exactly:
- either new people registered;
- or new people who made at least 1 edition (any other threshold?)?

I mean are you talking about people who just come (enter the door), or
about those, who come and stay (don’t leave and eventually grow to
“most active”)?

My aim is to point following: to accommodate newcomers is not less
important than to attract attention (educate as you say) of
prospective candidates.


On Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 1:54 PM, Milos Rancic<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Bad news is that I was right almost a year ago about trends of new
> Wikimedians. Relatively good news is that the statistics may be
> interpreted as not so bad ones. Good news is that WMF started to act
> in relation to those problems around half a year ago.
>

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Re: Analysis of statistics

Pavlo Shevelo
In reply to this post by Henning Schlottmann
> Here we are not looking at 15 year olds, we are looking
> at retired academics as the future of our user base.

That's right point!

If Wikipedia is education tool we should (!) think about something
more than "cross-education" of teenagers and students

As a matter od fact teenagers contribute mainly to articles about
sports, movies and other entertainment staff.
Almost only exception is computers hardware and software stuff.


On Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 4:24 PM, Henning
Schlottmann<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Milos Rancic wrote:
>> In all cases we need to think seriously how to educate younger
>> generations about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.
>
> Thanks for all the data and the number crunching. But I think you are
> wrong in your assumptions and therefore in your analysis at least
> regarding de-WP. Here we are not looking at 15 year olds, we are looking
> at retired academics as the future of our user base.
>
> Quite frankly, a 15 years old can't contribute to de-WP anymore. Not
> even 20 years olds can. De-WP has reached a level where undergraduates
> can do vandal fighting and stuff like that, but writing and improving
> articles needs access to academic literature and experience in academic
> writing. 25 to 45 years olds usually have other priorities, they build a
> career and a family.
>
> It is the logical step to look for retired academics, because they have
> the expertise needed. The demographics in the 15-35 range therefore are
> completely irrelevant for de-WP.
>
> Ciao Henning
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

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Re: Analysis of statistics

Pavlo Shevelo
In reply to this post by Yaroslav M. Blanter
> Do you have any ideas how to get them? As I still believe, for many
> articles this is a meta issue, meaning that it is likely that only a few
> people in the world have necessary expertise AND a wish to edit the
> articles, and they all speak English, but may have random mothertongues
> (not necessarily German speakers).

You're right, but it's only part of the story.
 Another side of the coin is: even relatively young PhDs don't like
the idea to contribute to the progect which is of the "youth and
teenagers for youth and teenagers" type.

On Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 4:48 PM, Yaroslav M. Blanter<[hidden email]> wrote:

>> It is the logical step to look for retired academics, because they have
>> the expertise needed. The demographics in the 15-35 range therefore are
>> completely irrelevant for de-WP.
>>
>> Ciao Henning
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> foundation-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>>
>
> Do you have any ideas how to get them? As I still believe, for many
> articles this is a meta issue, meaning that it is likely that only a few
> people in the world have necessary expertise AND a wish to edit the
> articles, and they all speak English, but may have random mothertongues
> (not necessarily German speakers).
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

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Re: Analysis of statistics

Dennis During
In reply to this post by Henning Schlottmann
The retired academics trend is apparent at en.wikt too.  There are many
valuable depth and quality contributions that they can make and few others
can.

It might be possible to rely on a population of academics as contributors
but there needs to be a mechanism to make sure that the needs of our actual
users have appropriate weight in decision making

From the point of view of a major content contributor, a wiki is largely a
free resource on which they can build what they want within broad limits.  A
community of academics will tend to build a resource for academics.  It may
be cloaked in "education", but the absence of any pressure to respond to or
anticipate the actual needs of actual users will cause major drift away from
making a useful resource for a broader population.

The difficulty I perceive is that the wiki concept de facto depends on
contributors being not too dissimilar from users.  There are many design and
presentation considerations (especially at wikt) for which contributors have
no good model of user behavior other than introspection and a little
anecdotal experience with others. The life experience of academics does not
make them the perfect behavioral model for the young portion of the user
base and may give them an excessively controlling or dismissive attitude
toward newbies and people not educated to their preferred standard.

Below is an excerpt from a recent discussion at en.wikt that betrays some of
the attitudinal tendencies that concern me:
Uhm sorry but I don't think it's acceptable to confine ourselves with the
user vulgaris, which is by definition semi-literate imbecile :) Our target
audience are primarily reasonably intelligent people who'd be using
Wiktionary as an educational resource, and are willing to spend something
like max 5 minutes learning how to effectively use the structure of the
entries, and language-specific policy pages. I.e. *not* the type of folks
who come by Google searches and leave comments such as "I can't find the
definition" [<http://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=Wiktionary:Feedback&diff=6632516&oldid=6632209>

On Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 9:24 AM, Henning Schlottmann
<[hidden email]>wrote:

> Milos Rancic wrote:
> > In all cases we need to think seriously how to educate younger
> > generations about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.
>
> Thanks for all the data and the number crunching. But I think you are
> wrong in your assumptions and therefore in your analysis at least
> regarding de-WP. Here we are not looking at 15 year olds, we are looking
> at retired academics as the future of our user base.
>
> Quite frankly, a 15 years old can't contribute to de-WP anymore. Not
> even 20 years olds can. De-WP has reached a level where undergraduates
> can do vandal fighting and stuff like that, but writing and improving
> articles needs access to academic literature and experience in academic
> writing. 25 to 45 years olds usually have other priorities, they build a
> career and a family.
>
> It is the logical step to look for retired academics, because they have
> the expertise needed. The demographics in the 15-35 range therefore are
> completely irrelevant for de-WP.
>
> Ciao Henning
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>



--
Dennis C. During

Cynolatry is tolerant so long as the dog is not denied an equal divinity
with the deities of other faiths. - Ambrose Bierce

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cynolatry
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Re: Analysis of statistics

geni
In reply to this post by Henning Schlottmann
2009/7/24 Henning Schlottmann <[hidden email]>:

> Milos Rancic wrote:
>> In all cases we need to think seriously how to educate younger
>> generations about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.
>
> Thanks for all the data and the number crunching. But I think you are
> wrong in your assumptions and therefore in your analysis at least
> regarding de-WP. Here we are not looking at 15 year olds, we are looking
> at retired academics as the future of our user base.
>
> Quite frankly, a 15 years old can't contribute to de-WP anymore. Not
> even 20 years olds can. De-WP has reached a level where undergraduates
> can do vandal fighting and stuff like that, but writing and improving
> articles needs access to academic literature and experience in academic
> writing.

English wikipedia has 2.9 million articles and far more words and can
still have things added to it by teenagers. And it's not just
different inclusion standards. For example [[Langstone]] meets any
reasonable inclusion standards. De does not have an article.
[[Ordnance Survey]] is clearly notable. No article on De.

--
geni

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Re: Analysis of statistics

Nikola Smolenski
In reply to this post by Dennis During
Henning Schlottmann wrote:
 > Quite frankly, a 15 years old can't contribute to de-WP anymore. Not
 > even 20 years olds can. De-WP has reached a level where undergraduates

Pavlo Shevelo wrote:
 > As a matter od fact teenagers contribute mainly to articles about
 > sports, movies and other entertainment staff.
 > Almost only exception is computers hardware and software stuff.

Dennis During wrote:
> Uhm sorry but I don't think it's acceptable to confine ourselves with the
> user vulgaris, which is by definition semi-literate imbecile :) Our target

Anyone else concerned by this line of reasoning? What happened to
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia anyone can edit?

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Re: Analysis of statistics

Henning Schlottmann
Nikola Smolenski wrote:
> Anyone else concerned by this line of reasoning? What happened to
> Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia anyone can edit?

Everyone may contribute, but not everyone can.*

Ciao Henning

* Mantra No.2:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benutzer:Markus_Mueller/Mantras

Disclaimer: These mantras are meant serious by the author and some who
cite them, but they are by now means official and certainly not undisputed.


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Re: Analysis of statistics

Dennis During
In reply to this post by Nikola Smolenski
Just to clarify: The passage below was one I quoted and was requoted by
Nikola. It was from another en.wikt admin, NOT ME.  Moreover it is not
en.wikt policy and got negative response, but not as much as I would have
hoped, from those I believe to be retired and active academics and graduate
students.

On Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 10:08 AM, Nikola Smolenski <[hidden email]>wrote:

>
>
> Dennis During wrote:
> > Uhm sorry but I don't think it's acceptable to confine ourselves with the
> > user vulgaris, which is by definition semi-literate imbecile :) Our
> target
>
>
>

--
Dennis C. During

Cynolatry is tolerant so long as the dog is not denied an equal divinity
with the deities of other faiths. - Ambrose Bierce

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cynolatry
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Re: Analysis of statistics

Anders Wennersten
In reply to this post by Nikola Smolenski
Some complementing data on users from Swedish Wikipedia,

-Youngsters 15-22- high turnover & somewhat decreasing volume - do
vandal fighting, write of computer games, music, film, sport etc (and
these areas are worthy of  respect too)

-Middle aged 22-50
--An increasing number of low volume contributers
--A decrease of contributions from regular users, as there are fewer
"empty" spaces for amateur masscontributions (medium turnover)

Mature 50+, low turnover which means over time both growing numbers and
growing number of contributions per user

So we also see a decrease of mass article contributers in the age span
25-35 and a steady increase of contributions from 50+ers (but we still
get valuable contributions from all age groups)
 Anders

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Re: Analysis of statistics

Henning Schlottmann
In reply to this post by Dennis During
Dennis During wrote:

> It might be possible to rely on a population of academics as contributors
> but there needs to be a mechanism to make sure that the needs of our actual
> users have appropriate weight in decision making

Who are our actual users? Students are of course well known to use
Wikipedia excessively.

But do we know how many professionals and other people from the general
public use Wikipedia every day? One of the most active contributors to
de-WP once told the story that he was at a pediatric with his sick child
and the doctor used Wikipedia to confirm his diagnosis - of course
without knowing that the father of his patient had expert knowledge on
how this "second opinion" was written.

I met teachers, university docents, authors, journalists, lawyers,
social workers, telcom technicians and members of pretty much any other
profession, who rely on Wikipedia for a quick lookup of something.

My point is: We don't write for students. Our articles should be on a
level where everyone, including kids understands the introduction and
can find further information in the main text, but we should not dumb
down articles to the needs of school curriculums.

Ciao Henning


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Re: Analysis of statistics

Pavlo Shevelo
In reply to this post by Nikola Smolenski
> Dennis During wrote:
>> Uhm sorry but I don't think it's acceptable to confine ourselves with the
>> user vulgaris, which is by definition semi-literate imbecile :) Our target
>
> Anyone else concerned by this line of reasoning? What happened to
> Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia anyone can edit?

Nothing happened and we (at least talking about me) are only realistic
in analysis and straight in putting things as they are.
Face the reality. Period.
Nothing else.

... I’m not talking about any limitations for teenagers or something like that.


On Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 5:08 PM, Nikola Smolenski<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Henning Schlottmann wrote:
>  > Quite frankly, a 15 years old can't contribute to de-WP anymore. Not
>  > even 20 years olds can. De-WP has reached a level where undergraduates
>
> Pavlo Shevelo wrote:
>  > As a matter od fact teenagers contribute mainly to articles about
>  > sports, movies and other entertainment staff.
>  > Almost only exception is computers hardware and software stuff.
>
> Dennis During wrote:
>> Uhm sorry but I don't think it's acceptable to confine ourselves with the
>> user vulgaris, which is by definition semi-literate imbecile :) Our target
>
> Anyone else concerned by this line of reasoning? What happened to
> Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia anyone can edit?
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

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Re: Analysis of statistics

Pavlo Shevelo
In reply to this post by Henning Schlottmann
> we should not dumb down articles

Exactly!


On Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 5:34 PM, Henning
Schlottmann<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Dennis During wrote:
>
>> It might be possible to rely on a population of academics as contributors
>> but there needs to be a mechanism to make sure that the needs of our actual
>> users have appropriate weight in decision making
>
> Who are our actual users? Students are of course well known to use
> Wikipedia excessively.
>
> But do we know how many professionals and other people from the general
> public use Wikipedia every day? One of the most active contributors to
> de-WP once told the story that he was at a pediatric with his sick child
> and the doctor used Wikipedia to confirm his diagnosis - of course
> without knowing that the father of his patient had expert knowledge on
> how this "second opinion" was written.
>
> I met teachers, university docents, authors, journalists, lawyers,
> social workers, telcom technicians and members of pretty much any other
> profession, who rely on Wikipedia for a quick lookup of something.
>
> My point is: We don't write for students. Our articles should be on a
> level where everyone, including kids understands the introduction and
> can find further information in the main text, but we should not dumb
> down articles to the needs of school curriculums.
>
> Ciao Henning
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

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Re: Analysis of statistics

Marco Chiesa
In reply to this post by Henning Schlottmann
On Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 4:34 PM, Henning
Schlottmann<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> But do we know how many professionals and other people from the general
> public use Wikipedia every day? One of the most active contributors to
> de-WP once told the story that he was at a pediatric with his sick child
> and the doctor used Wikipedia to confirm his diagnosis - of course
> without knowing that the father of his patient had expert knowledge on
> how this "second opinion" was written.

That's quite scary, actually
>
> I met teachers, university docents, authors, journalists, lawyers,
> social workers, telcom technicians and members of pretty much any other
> profession, who rely on Wikipedia for a quick lookup of something.

Wikipedia is perfectly ok for a quick lookup, to get a brief idea on
something you know very little. But that doesn't mean Wikipedia is the
ultimate resource. It wasn't meant to be so, and this is not the scope
of an encyclopeadia.
>

Cruccone

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Re: Analysis of statistics

Yaroslav M. Blanter
In reply to this post by Pavlo Shevelo
>> Do you have any ideas how to get them? As I still believe, for many
>> articles this is a meta issue, meaning that it is likely that only a few
>> people in the world have necessary expertise AND a wish to edit the
>> articles, and they all speak English, but may have random mothertongues
>> (not necessarily German speakers).
>
> You're right, but it's only part of the story.
>  Another side of the coin is: even relatively young PhDs don't like
> the idea to contribute to the progect which is of the "youth and
> teenagers for youth and teenagers" type.
>

Yes, but this is another (albeit related) issue. I do not think we should
tie them together for this discussion.

Right, just for the last week I have been involved in a mediation of a
conflict in the article which is directly related to my professional
activity (meaning I am much more qualified than both sides of the
conflict). In the end of the day, I had to give up and quit the mediation.
I am an academic and still under 45 (though coming close).

Cheers
Yaroslav


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Re: Analysis of statistics

Milos Rancic-2
In reply to this post by Pavlo Shevelo
Initially, I wanted to ask questions; to say that we need this or that
analysis. But, I realized that I am able to make some approximations
based on my Wikimedian experience. Of course, if we get more precise
data, we would be able to make more precise conclusions.

On Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 3:48 PM, Pavlo Shevelo<[hidden email]> wrote:
>> If we assume that our target groups
>> are between 15 and 24...
> (and you never went over age of 35 in your analisys)

15-24 is the main recruiting phase. Also, there is the next reasoning behind it:

* We already reached the peak. Older age groups are not interesting
anymore in the sense of quantity (of course, retired academicians
*are* interesting, but there are not a lot of them; again, relatively
speaking).
* If we reached the peak, we are able just to catch new generations in
bigger numbers.
* Also, statistically, old people are dying more often than young
people. Fortunately our generations (20+, 30+ and 40+) will become
retired academicians or so one day in the future and then we'll have a
very nice expansion in the number of highly qualified contributors.
However, if we don't attract younger than us, Wikimedia projects will
die with us.

In other words, whatever we want or prefer, projects which hope that
their main recruiting age is older than 30 -- are dead projects in the
long run (i.e., if you are spending time of people in 30s to recruit
people in 50s, who will spend time to recruit more people in 50s when
those who are now in 30s will be in 70s?).

> I mean are you talking about people who just come (enter the door), or
> about those, who come and stay (don’t leave and eventually grow to
> “most active”)?
>
> My aim is to point following: to accommodate newcomers is not less
> important than to attract attention (educate as you say) of
> prospective candidates.

Whatever means in the official statistics. It would be good to have
numbers about newcomers and those who made 10 or 100 edits, so we may
compare how do we attract attention through the time. However, I think
that those numbers are relatively stable in the past couple of years
(let's say, from 2005 or so).

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Re: Analysis of statistics

Yaroslav M. Blanter
In reply to this post by Henning Schlottmann
> My point is: We don't write for students. Our articles should be on a
> level where everyone, including kids understands the introduction and
> can find further information in the main text, but we should not dumb
> down articles to the needs of school curriculums.
>
> Ciao Henning
>
>
There are articles and articles. Whereas [[Pokemon]] or [[Basketball]] or
even [[George Washington]] can be mad available for kids (or at least
introduction and some sections), [[Josephson effect]] just can not be. And
should not be aimed at.

Cheers
Yaroslav


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