Differences between projects with common versus highly diverse cultural backgrounds (was Re: Pending Changes)

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Differences between projects with common versus highly diverse cultural backgrounds (was Re: Pending Changes)

Risker
On 29 September 2010 23:32, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> > > German Wikipedia has had pending changes implemented
> > *globally*, in all articles, for several years now. Unlike
> > en:WP, where numbers of active editors have dropped
> > significantly since 2007, numbers of active editors in de:WP
> > have remained stable:
> > >
> > > http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediaDE.htm
> > > http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediaEN.htm
> >
> > The stats on that page are pretty confusing, Andreas. Could
> > you say
> > here what the relative figures are?
>
> According to the tables, the number of en:WP editors with >100 edits/month
> stood at 5,151 in April 2007, and was down to 3,868 in August 2010.
>
> de:WP had 1,027 in April 2007, and 1,075 in August 2010.
>
>

You raise an interesting point, Andreas.  I am not persuaded that pending
changes/flagged revisions have anything to do with the editor retention rate
at the de:WP. However, I think you may be right that the considerably more
homogeneous editor population, as well as the commonality in cultural
background, was instrumental in the ability of the project to jointly make
such a cultural shift. Indeed, the number of de:WP editors with >100
edits/month has remained very stable since January 2006. (The number of
en:WP editors was essentially the same in January 2006 as at present, but
hit its peak in April 2007. Let's not cherry pick the data too much, okay?)

As an aside for those interested in the historical perspective, the massive
increase in the number of editors on en:WP coincides with a massive influx
of vandalism, and over a thousand editors did almost nothing *but* revert or
otherwise address vandalism. As better and more effective tools have been
developed to address that problem - Huggle, Twinkle, Friendly, the edit
filters, reverting bots, semi-protection, etc - the number of editors needed
to manage vandalism has diminished dramatically. In other words, that
1300-editor difference may largely be accounted for because those whose only
skill was vandal-fighting have moved on. That's not to say there is no
vandalism on en:WP today; there's still plenty of it.

Observing from afar, it has often struck me that when almost all members of
an editorial community come from a common cultural background and geographic
area, there is a synergy that isn't found on projects where the community is
much more diverse.  This is best illustrated in the large scale on German
Wikipedia, and some other European projects, where the community is visibly
more cohesive. In the smaller scale, certain projects with shared
cultural/geographic background on English Wikipedia, such as Wikiproject
Australia, are more accomplished at developing and meeting shared
objectives.  These groups, whether large projects or small pockets within a
larger project, seem to operate in accordance with their local cultural
norms; in other words, they don't have to find common cultural ground before
they can move on to a discussion of a proposal.

It's my belief that the common cultural background of the de:WP editorial
community has been one of the keystones of its success in being able to
implement large-scale and project-wide changes, flagged revisions being the
most obvious.  That common cultural background or focal geographic area
simply does not exist for the English Wikipedia; we're probably one of the
few projects where the same expression can be viewed as friendly, somewhat
rude and downright offensive at the same time, depending on whether the
reader is Australian, British or American (not to mention those who have
learned English as a second language, which also makes up a significant part
of our editorship).

Each project also has its own culture, but I confess that most of my
knowledge of the culture of other projects is anecdotal rather than
observational, so I won't venture to try to compare them.

When faced with dramatic increases in vandalism, en:WP created tools that
are largely developed by individuals and utilized by other individuals (with
the exception of semi-protection); de:WP developed a single unified
community response.  The remarkably high quality of the tools used on en:WP
means that any new systemic tool has to meet a very high threshold for it to
be considered acceptable for wide-scale use.  Perhaps that is the key
difference between these two community types: one places more emphasis on
making cohesive group decisions, while the other more strongly encourages a
range of solutions. I don't have any answers, just observations.

Risker/Anne
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Re: Differences between projects with common versus highly diverse cultural backgrounds (was Re: Pending Changes)

Delphine Ménard
On Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 6:49 AM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 29 September 2010 23:32, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> > Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]>
>> > wrote:
>> > > German Wikipedia has had pending changes implemented
>> > *globally*, in all articles, for several years now. Unlike
>> > en:WP, where numbers of active editors have dropped
>> > significantly since 2007, numbers of active editors in de:WP
>> > have remained stable:
>> > >
>> > > http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediaDE.htm
>> > > http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediaEN.htm
>> >
>> > The stats on that page are pretty confusing, Andreas. Could
>> > you say
>> > here what the relative figures are?
>>
>> According to the tables, the number of en:WP editors with >100 edits/month
>> stood at 5,151 in April 2007, and was down to 3,868 in August 2010.
>>
>> de:WP had 1,027 in April 2007, and 1,075 in August 2010.
>>
>>
>
> You raise an interesting point, Andreas.  I am not persuaded that pending
> changes/flagged revisions have anything to do with the editor retention rate
> at the de:WP. However, I think you may be right that the considerably more
> homogeneous editor population, as well as the commonality in cultural
> background, was instrumental in the ability of the project to jointly make
> such a cultural shift. Indeed, the number of de:WP editors with >100
> edits/month has remained very stable since January 2006. (The number of
> en:WP editors was essentially the same in January 2006 as at present, but
> hit its peak in April 2007. Let's not cherry pick the data too much, okay?)
>
> As an aside for those interested in the historical perspective, the massive
> increase in the number of editors on en:WP coincides with a massive influx
> of vandalism, and over a thousand editors did almost nothing *but* revert or
> otherwise address vandalism. As better and more effective tools have been
> developed to address that problem - Huggle, Twinkle, Friendly, the edit
> filters, reverting bots, semi-protection, etc - the number of editors needed
> to manage vandalism has diminished dramatically. In other words, that
> 1300-editor difference may largely be accounted for because those whose only
> skill was vandal-fighting have moved on. That's not to say there is no
> vandalism on en:WP today; there's still plenty of it.
>
> Observing from afar, it has often struck me that when almost all members of
> an editorial community come from a common cultural background and geographic
> area, there is a synergy that isn't found on projects where the community is
> much more diverse.  This is best illustrated in the large scale on German
> Wikipedia, and some other European projects, where the community is visibly
> more cohesive. In the smaller scale, certain projects with shared
> cultural/geographic background on English Wikipedia, such as Wikiproject
> Australia, are more accomplished at developing and meeting shared
> objectives.  These groups, whether large projects or small pockets within a
> larger project, seem to operate in accordance with their local cultural
> norms; in other words, they don't have to find common cultural ground before
> they can move on to a discussion of a proposal.
>
> It's my belief that the common cultural background of the de:WP editorial
> community has been one of the keystones of its success in being able to
> implement large-scale and project-wide changes, flagged revisions being the
> most obvious.  That common cultural background or focal geographic area
> simply does not exist for the English Wikipedia; we're probably one of the
> few projects where the same expression can be viewed as friendly, somewhat
> rude and downright offensive at the same time, depending on whether the
> reader is Australian, British or American (not to mention those who have
> learned English as a second language, which also makes up a significant part
> of our editorship).
>
> Each project also has its own culture, but I confess that most of my
> knowledge of the culture of other projects is anecdotal rather than
> observational, so I won't venture to try to compare them.
>
> When faced with dramatic increases in vandalism, en:WP created tools that
> are largely developed by individuals and utilized by other individuals (with
> the exception of semi-protection); de:WP developed a single unified
> community response.  The remarkably high quality of the tools used on en:WP
> means that any new systemic tool has to meet a very high threshold for it to
> be considered acceptable for wide-scale use.  Perhaps that is the key
> difference between these two community types: one places more emphasis on
> making cohesive group decisions, while the other more strongly encourages a
> range of solutions. I don't have any answers, just observations.

I find your analyse extremely interesting, I do believe indeed that
culture plays a role in how people approach their wikipedia-editing
and how harmoniously this actually works. However, I would not
discount the sheer numbers. The number of active editors is about 3,5
times higher in the English Wikipedia than in the German, for example.
This probably also accounts for a higher difficulty of achieving any
kind of consensus.


Delphine


--
~notafish

NB. This gmail address is used for mailing lists. Personal emails will get lost.
Intercultural musings: Ceci n'est pas une endive - http://blog.notanendive.org

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Re: Differences between projects with common versus highly diverse cultural backgrounds (was Re: Pending Changes)

Andreas Kolbe
In reply to this post by Risker
Anne,

Thanks for the extra perspective. The post-2007 decline in 100+ editors on en:WP may indeed reflect a decline in vandalism reverts.

The most interesting point to me was that de:WP introduced flagged revisions in spring 2008, across the board, and that editor numbers appear to have remained completely unaffected. In de:WP, at least, overall participation levels did not *drop* as a result of flagged revisions.

Andreas

> You raise an interesting point, Andreas.  I am not
> persuaded that pending
> changes/flagged revisions have anything to do with the
> editor retention rate
> at the de:WP. However, I think you may be right that the
> considerably more
> homogeneous editor population, as well as the commonality
> in cultural
> background, was instrumental in the ability of the project
> to jointly make
> such a cultural shift. Indeed, the number of de:WP editors
> with >100
> edits/month has remained very stable since January 2006.
> (The number of
> en:WP editors was essentially the same in January 2006 as
> at present, but
> hit its peak in April 2007. Let's not cherry pick the data
> too much, okay?)
>
> As an aside for those interested in the historical
> perspective, the massive
> increase in the number of editors on en:WP coincides with a
> massive influx
> of vandalism, and over a thousand editors did almost
> nothing *but* revert or
> otherwise address vandalism. As better and more effective
> tools have been
> developed to address that problem - Huggle, Twinkle,
> Friendly, the edit
> filters, reverting bots, semi-protection, etc - the number
> of editors needed
> to manage vandalism has diminished dramatically. In other
> words, that
> 1300-editor difference may largely be accounted for because
> those whose only
> skill was vandal-fighting have moved on. That's not to say
> there is no
> vandalism on en:WP today; there's still plenty of it.
>
> Observing from afar, it has often struck me that when
> almost all members of
> an editorial community come from a common cultural
> background and geographic
> area, there is a synergy that isn't found on projects where
> the community is
> much more diverse.  This is best illustrated in the
> large scale on German
> Wikipedia, and some other European projects, where the
> community is visibly
> more cohesive. In the smaller scale, certain projects with
> shared
> cultural/geographic background on English Wikipedia, such
> as Wikiproject
> Australia, are more accomplished at developing and meeting
> shared
> objectives.  These groups, whether large projects or
> small pockets within a
> larger project, seem to operate in accordance with their
> local cultural
> norms; in other words, they don't have to find common
> cultural ground before
> they can move on to a discussion of a proposal.
>
> It's my belief that the common cultural background of the
> de:WP editorial
> community has been one of the keystones of its success in
> being able to
> implement large-scale and project-wide changes, flagged
> revisions being the
> most obvious.  That common cultural background or
> focal geographic area
> simply does not exist for the English Wikipedia; we're
> probably one of the
> few projects where the same expression can be viewed as
> friendly, somewhat
> rude and downright offensive at the same time, depending on
> whether the
> reader is Australian, British or American (not to mention
> those who have
> learned English as a second language, which also makes up a
> significant part
> of our editorship).
>
> Each project also has its own culture, but I confess that
> most of my
> knowledge of the culture of other projects is anecdotal
> rather than
> observational, so I won't venture to try to compare them.
>
> When faced with dramatic increases in vandalism, en:WP
> created tools that
> are largely developed by individuals and utilized by other
> individuals (with
> the exception of semi-protection); de:WP developed a single
> unified
> community response.  The remarkably high quality of
> the tools used on en:WP
> means that any new systemic tool has to meet a very high
> threshold for it to
> be considered acceptable for wide-scale use.  Perhaps
> that is the key
> difference between these two community types: one places
> more emphasis on
> making cohesive group decisions, while the other more
> strongly encourages a
> range of solutions. I don't have any answers, just
> observations.
>
> Risker/Anne
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>


     

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Re: Differences between projects with common versus highly diverse cultural backgrounds (was Re: Pending Changes)

Виктория-6
Everybody,

Sorry for  the previous blunder. I'd like to point out that the Flagged
Revvs were switched on in the "culturally diverse" Russian Wikipedia in the
August 2008 and we don't see significant changes in the editors numbers.
Once the initial opposition to a bold decision of a couple of admins was
over there is a broad consensus in the community that FR improves the
overall quality of a project.

Victoria
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Re: Differences between projects with common versus highly diverse cultural backgrounds (was Re: Pending Changes)

Risker
In reply to this post by Andreas Kolbe
On 30 September 2010 04:02, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Anne,
>
> Thanks for the extra perspective. The post-2007 decline in 100+ editors on
> en:WP may indeed reflect a decline in vandalism reverts.
>
> The most interesting point to me was that de:WP introduced flagged
> revisions in spring 2008, across the board, and that editor numbers appear
> to have remained completely unaffected. In de:WP, at least, overall
> participation levels did not *drop* as a result of flagged revisions.
>

It would be interesting to figure out if the number (or precentage) of
editors with 500+ and 1000+ edits a month has risen or declined over the
same period for these projects. I'd expect en:WP's to follow much the same
peak-and-decline as the 100+ edits, but I don't know enough about de:WP's
typical editing practices to venture a guess there.

Interestingly, one of the "selling points" of FR has been the likelihood of
increasing the editor base, presumably of editors who carry out 100+ edits a
month. The de:WP experience seems to contradict that, which I admit
surprises me.  Perhaps that is one metric to take off the table when
evaluating the effects of PC on en:WP.

Risker/Anne
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Re: Differences between projects with common versus highly diverse cultural backgrounds (was Re: Pending Changes)

Andreas Kolbe
Here's the Russian cherry tree ;)

http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediaRU.htm

FR introduction in August 2008, per Victoria's post.

The Russian project got going a little later than de:WP and en:WP, so the initial growth phase started later, too.

Growth has been steady, but no marked leap either way in August 2008.

A.

--- On Thu, 30/9/10, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:

> From: Risker <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Differences between projects with common versus highly diverse cultural backgrounds (was Re: Pending Changes)
> To: "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" <[hidden email]>
> Date: Thursday, 30 September, 2010, 18:23
> On 30 September 2010 04:02, Andreas
> Kolbe <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > Anne,
> >
> > Thanks for the extra perspective. The post-2007
> decline in 100+ editors on
> > en:WP may indeed reflect a decline in vandalism
> reverts.
> >
> > The most interesting point to me was that de:WP
> introduced flagged
> > revisions in spring 2008, across the board, and that
> editor numbers appear
> > to have remained completely unaffected. In de:WP, at
> least, overall
> > participation levels did not *drop* as a result of
> flagged revisions.
> >
>
> It would be interesting to figure out if the number (or
> precentage) of
> editors with 500+ and 1000+ edits a month has risen or
> declined over the
> same period for these projects. I'd expect en:WP's to
> follow much the same
> peak-and-decline as the 100+ edits, but I don't know enough
> about de:WP's
> typical editing practices to venture a guess there.
>
> Interestingly, one of the "selling points" of FR has been
> the likelihood of
> increasing the editor base, presumably of editors who carry
> out 100+ edits a
> month. The de:WP experience seems to contradict that, which
> I admit
> surprises me.  Perhaps that is one metric to take off
> the table when
> evaluating the effects of PC on en:WP.
>
> Risker/Anne
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>


     

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