[Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

Amir E. Aharoni
בתאריך יום ג׳, 1 בינו׳ 2019, 07:37, מאת Paulo Santos Perneta <
[hidden email]>:

> Ahh, it would really be a fantastic improvement if we could get rid of all
> that template & category clutter from the articles.

[...]

Let me tell a little
> story: Some months ago I was in a workshop with a group of librarians, and
> they were creating articles using VE. At some point all of them came under
> a barrage of fire from resident wikipedians, bombing them with warnings
> saying "you MUST add categories"


I spent my first year or so on Wikipedia, editing and creating quite a lot
without understanding how categories work. Those were the days... Other
people, to who I'm deeply thankful, quietly fixed them after me. I later
learned how to work with them myself. If my edits were deleted because I
did not add categories, I'd possibly be away from this project.


and pointing them to the oldfashioned
> instructions on how to add them on wikicode, totally useless for newbies
> using VE.


This is another symptom: many of the help pages are hopelessly out of date.
And the main reason for this is that they are too localized: they were
initially created before we had better (but still not perfect) tools for
global pages and translation. Now the veterans think they're good even
though they rarely need them, and the newbies are just puzzled by them, and
for the developers of new features it's too hard to manage help pages that
are so dispersed across wikis and languages.

It was the first time I was using VE myself in a more intensive
> way, and while all of we were hastily trying to find where the heck
> categories were hidden in VE,


So here are a couple of things that you can do, and please tell everyone
else to do them: use the VE more! It will very frequently save you time,
and it will help you understand newbies better.

If it's not good enough for you to use more, report bugs! The only ways to
find bugs are to use it more yourself and to carefully observe other people
using it (see
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2017-02-06/Op-ed
and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6sS0M9TpYQ&t=27m28s ; note that the
relevant part of the video begins at 27:28).

And every time a newbie asks you how to do something, check whether the
relevant help page in your wiki documents how to do it in VE, and if it
doesn't, take a few minutes to add the info.

None of these things will by themselves make a big strategic difference,
but it will make the work smoother for a lot of people, at least in the
short term.

the librarians kept asking, puzzled - what
> are those categories that seem to be of such a crucial importance to
> wikipedians?


Well, categories should actually be fairly easy for librarians to
understand. If these librarians had a hard time with them, it doesn't mean
that they are stupid, but that our categories system is badly broken.


The sad fact is that 99% of those people that send those
> useless warnings have not the least idea what categories are for, they
> simply notice they are missing in a newly created article, and as they know
> they are not supposed to be missing because they have been warned
> themselves, they mimic the behavior perpetually


Yes! Don't tolerate the perpetual mimicking of very old practices. Speak up
and change stuff.

Wikipedia should be a big club of people who like sharing knowledge, and
not a small club of people who managed to learn wiki syntax.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

WereSpielChequers-2
In reply to this post by Yaroslav Blanter
Yes the greying of the pedia is a real phenomena, and I am sure that an editor survey would confirm that on average we are getting older.

You posit two reasons for the community to be in decline, that the easy articles have been written and that it is difficult to edit Wikipedia on a mobile. I agree with the second reason, and it is possible that the 2015/16 rally has run its course. Editing volumes in late 2018 are dropping, but still above late 2014 levels, however I am not sure whether that is a real drop or a symptom of some of the infobox work moving to Wikidata. I am not convinced about your first reason. But there is a third that we should not underestimate, over the last decade or so expectations have risen and there is now little room for editors who add unsourced content. In quality terms this is a good thing, but it has repercussions on the quantity of editors (and I am sure contributes to the greying of the pedia). If as I suspect it is true that our decline is only among those who add uncited content, and that we are replacing those who add cited content as fast or faster than we lose them, then we can dismiss editor decline as no longer being an existential threat to the project.

I am sanguine about the mobile editing problem. It is a known issue. People are working on it, so we may get a technical fix. Fashions in technology have changed in the past and will change again, so we  may find that more people in the future have suitable devices to edit with. My own medium turn fix would be to launch an intermediate platform for tablets. This would leave the mobile platform for smartphone users, and I know we have at least a couple of editors who use smartphones, but the ratio of editors to readers is very much lower than among PC users. A Tablet platform would enable us  to offer tablet users a more editor friendly environment than could fit on the mobile platform.

As for screenagers with damaged attention spans, I think that some research would be useful. My expectation is that we would find that a maximum section size would be helpful to mobile users, and maybe we should also break up some lists into categories of stub articles. But the way to convince the community that such changes were useful would be first to commission some research so that we could propose evidence based changes. My hope is that if we knew that mobile users could only handle sections of a certain length, the Manual of Style would be changed and such indigestible articles would at least get subheadings.

To go back to the heading. No the death of Wikipedia is not imminent. I have known charities and not for profits where the volunteer community was far older and more closed than we are, and such volunteer communities can persist for decades even if a new generation doesn’t come along. Wikipedia is about to have its 18th birthday, if anything kills it in the next decade or two it will be something as yet scarcely on our radar as a risk.

~~~~

Get Outlook for iOS<https://aka.ms/o0ukef>
________________________________

Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2018 22:34:27 +0100
From: Yaroslav Blanter <[hidden email]>
To: Wikimedia Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?
Message-ID:
<[hidden email]>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"

I have written a long text today (posted in my FB) which the readers of
this mailing list might find interesting. I copy it below. I understand
that it is very easy to critisize me for side issues, but if you want to
comment/reply I would appreciate if you address the main issue. The target
audience I was thinking about was general (not necessarily
Wikimedia-oriented), and for the readers from this mailing list the first
several paragraphs can sound trivial (or even trivial and wrong). I
apologize in advance.

Cheers
Yaroslav
_________________
I currently have a bit of time and can write on the future of Wikipedia.
Similarly to much of what I write it is probably going to be useless, but
someone may find it interesting. For simplicity, I will be explicitly
talking about the English Wikipedia (referring to it as Wikipedia). I am
active in other projects as well, and some of them have similar issues, but
there are typically many other things going on there which make the picture
more complicated.

Let us first look at the current situation. Wikipedia exists since 2001,
and in a couple of weeks will turn 18. Currently, it has 5.77 million
articles. I often hear an opinion that all important articles have already
been created. This is incorrect, and I am often the first person to point
out that this is not correct. For example, today I created an article on an
urban locality in Russia with the population of 15 thousands. Many articles
are indeed too short, badly written, or suffer from other issues, and they
need to be improved. There are new topics which appear on a regular basis:
new music performers, new winners of sports competitions or prizes, and so
on. As any Web 2.0 project, Wikipedia requires a regular cleanup, since
there are many people happy to vandalize the 5th website in the world in
terms of the number of views. However, as a general guideline, it is not so
much incorrect to state that all important things in Wikipedia have been
already written. Indeed, if someone looks for information in Wikipedia -
or, more precisely, uses search engines and gets Wikipedia as the first hit
&#8212; they are likely to find what they need with more than 99% chance.

In this sense, Wikipedia now is very different from Wikipedia in 2008 or
Wikipedia in 2004. Ten and especially fifteen years ago, everybody could
contribute something important. For example, the article on the 1951 film
"A Streetcar Named Desire", which won four Academy Awards, was started in
2005, as well as an article on Cy Twombly, at the time probably the most
famous living artist. This is not possible anymore. This is why the number
of active editors is currently dropping - to contribute to the content in a
meaningful way, one now has to be an advanced amateur - to master some
field of knowledge much better than most others do. Or one can be a
professional - but there are very few professionals contributing to
Wikipedia in their fields, and there are very few articles written at a
professional level. Attempts to attract professionals have been made for
many years, and, despite certain local success, generally failed. They have
been going now for long enough to assume they will never succeed on a large
scale. Wikipedia is written by advance amateurs for amateurs. However,
despite the decline in the number of editors, there are enough resources to
maintain and to expand the project. It does not mean there are no problems
- there are in fact many problems. One of the most commonly discussed one
is systemic bias - there is way more information on Wikipedia on subjects
pertaining to North America than to Africa, and if a topic is viewed on
differently in different countries, one can be sure that the American view
dominates. But it is usually thought - and I agree with this - that these
drawbacks are not crucial, and Wikipedia is atill a useful and sustainable
project. Wikipedia clearly has its ecosystem, there are no competitors to
talk about, and all attempts to fork it were unsuccessful. There is a
steady development, and everybody is happy.

Does this mean that everything is fine and we do not need to worry?, just
to wait until missing articles get written, or even to help this by writing
them ourselves?

Absolutely not. To understand this, we can look again at the editor base.
There are detailed studies, but, for a starter, it is a nightmare to edit
Wikipedia from a cell phone. It is possible but not much easier to edit it
from a tablet. The mobile version is different from a desktop one, and it
is not really optimized for editing. This is a known problem, but one
aspect of it is clear. Most Wikipedia editors actually own a desktop and a
laptop. This brings them into 18+ category. There are of course exceptions,
but the fact is that the editor base gets older, and this is a problem. The
problem is not so much at this point that we all die and there will be
nobody to edit Wikipedia. The problem is that the next generation (18-) has
very different ways of getting information. And I guess they are not
interested in editing Wikipedia, and they will not get interested when they
grow up - possibly beyond introducing minor corrections, which can be done
from a phone.

Traditionally, students were always among the core of the editors base.
They already have some knowledge and they still have time to edit. When
they graduate, find a job and start a family, they have way less time and
typically stop editing. The next group are retirees. Between students and
retirees, we have a tiny fraction of dedicated enthusiasts who are ready to
take time from work and family, but they are really not numerous. Well, and
very soon we are going to lose students as editors. And we should be happy
if we do not lose them as readers.

I am 51, and I do not know much about the 18- generation, but I know two
important things about them. They have a very short attention span and
difficulties to concentrate. And they get a graphical and visualized
information much more easier than texts. For example, my son is capable of
watching three or four movies per day, but he has difficulties to read 20
pages from a book.

Well, the first question is whether an encyclopedia is an appropriate / the
best format for them to get knowledge (as it is for us). I do not know the
answer. What I write below assumes that the answer is positive, otherwise
the rest of the text does not make sense.

The next question is what should be done. How Wikipedia should look like to
be accessible to this generation? The answer seems to be obvious. Articles
must be short and contain a lot of graphic information. May be they need to
be videoclips. Short clips. Or, at lest, they must contain clips, with more
voice and less letters. If one needs more detailed information or just
further information - one hops to the next article or watches the next clip.

This is a paradigm shift. Currently, the editors generally consider that it
is good to have long Wikipedia articles - because long means more complete.
Sometimes there are even proposals (fortunately isolated and without
followup) to delete all short articles even if they describe notable topics
and contain verified information. Clips are almost not in use. Of course
they still need to be made, but this is not such a big problem - there are
plenty of school students who have their own youtube channel, if they can
make clips, everybody can.

The most difficult question is how this can be realized. I believe it is
not possible to just transform Wikipedia like this - make articles shorter
and simpler and spit them. First, this might be good for the young
generation, but this is still not good for the 18+ generation. Second, such
reforms should be either be approved by Wikipedia community through
consensus, or be imposed by the Wikimedia Foundation who owns the project.
The likelihood of either is zero. Just to give one argument, the community
is, well, the community of editors, of the same 18+ people with laptops who
have no difficulties reading long texts.

I envision it differently. Ideally, we have the Wikipedia as it is now, but
on top of this, every article has a collection of shorter companion
articles, simple and a paragraph or two long, so that each of them can be
read in half a minute, They should not have excessive markup, references,
categories or anything else which can be found in the main article if
needed. References in Wikipedia are required not for the sake of having
references, but as a means to ensure that the information is verifiable -
and if the main article does it the companion articles do not need to. Some
of these companion articles can be in fact clips - there is a difficulty
that clips can not be edited collaboratively, but I am sure this one can be
solved. If anybody wants to solve it.

The status of what I have written above is science fiction. I am sure if I
come with this proposal to a village pump of Wikipedia, it will be dead
within a day. In addition, it requires some modifications of MediaWiki
which can only be done by the Foundation. And I am not really looking
forward for the Foundation implementing this either. I have a lot of
respect for some of the Foundation employees, but it has now grown up into
a big corporation now and behaves as a big corporation, where some people
care less about the product and more about other things, and some look at
Wikipedia editors, aka "unorganized volunteers", as some annoying
phenomenon, which they can tolerate but are not willing to listen to. My
forecast is pretty pessimistic. Unless a miracle happens (and I currently,
at least not from my perspective, do not see any reasons for a miracle to
happen), soon or late will realize this, It might be a startup company, or
a non-commercial. And Wikipedia will stay as it is, and, after the
standards change many times, it will not be readable / accessible to most
of internet users, and will slowly die. And the results of what were were
doing for 20 years will disappear. This is a usual development and happens
to almost every human activity. We know that only a few percents of pieces
of Ancient Greek and Roman literature survived until now.

Yaroslav Blanter, editor and administrator of the English Wikipedia, 125
000 edits.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

Jane Darnell
In reply to this post by Amir E. Aharoni
Thanks to Yaroslav who started this interesting conversation, and thanks
for all the comments. I agree with lots of them, but especially this: Happy
Public Domain Day!

On Tue, Jan 1, 2019 at 7:15 AM Amir E. Aharoni <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> בתאריך יום א׳, 30 בדצמ׳ 2018, 15:55, מאת Yaroslav Blanter <
> [hidden email]
> >:
>
> >
> >
> > Re main point: People, let us be serious. We missed mobile editing (well,
> > at least this has been identified as a problem, and something is being
> done
> > about it). We missed voice interfaces. We are now missing neural
> networks.
> > We should have been discussing by now what neural networks are allowed to
> > do in the projects and what they are not allowed to do. And instead we
> are
> > discussing (and edit-warring) whether the Crimean bridge is the longest
> in
> > Europe or not because different sources place the border between Europe
> and
> > Asia differently, and, according to some sources, the bridge is not in
> > Europe. Why do you think that if we keep missing all technological
> > development relevant in the field we are still going to survive?
> >
>
> False dichotomy.
>
> Wide participation in big strategic discussion is a Good Thing, but it
> doesn't mean that it's the only thing all the Wikimedians should be talking
> about. There are people who are less interested in strategic discussions
> and more interested in on-wiki fact-checking. Wikipedia editors' obsession
> for fact-checking is its strength—our strength. It's sometimes frustrating
> because it can go into silly technicalities or political ax-grinding, but
> for the most part it's the main thing that keeps Wikipedia relevant,
> trustworthy, and popular.
>
> How can these fact-checking practices be harmonized with current technology
> and media culture is the right question to ask. If the people who often do
> this can *also* occasionally participate in strategic development
> discussions, there's a chance it will be answered. Invite them.
>
> Happy public domain day and happy new year! :)
> _______________________________________________
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> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
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> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Yaroslav Blanter
Hoi,
I spend some time formulating my thoughts on the subject. Arguably I am not
a Wikipedian but apart from the necessary changes we must go through, I see
a great future for our work. What I have to say is on my blog [1]. The most
important change is that we need to become less US-American to be more
effective. The most relevant reason: our public is not there.

What will also have a positive effect when we make our relation with
partners less parasitic. more symbiotic. Why not point to Open Library of
the local library when people read about books or authors? Why not show the
publications of scientists based on what we know, largely thanks to ORCID
and Crossref?  We say that Wikipedia should not be quoted but we can make
external source much more findable. Sharing the quest for the sum of all
knowledge is more effective by sharing the limelight with our partners..

Happy 2019
       GerardM

[1]
https://ultimategerardm.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-decline-of-wikipedia-as-we-know-it.html

On Sat, 29 Dec 2018 at 22:35, Yaroslav Blanter <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I have written a long text today (posted in my FB) which the readers of
> this mailing list might find interesting. I copy it below. I understand
> that it is very easy to critisize me for side issues, but if you want to
> comment/reply I would appreciate if you address the main issue. The target
> audience I was thinking about was general (not necessarily
> Wikimedia-oriented), and for the readers from this mailing list the first
> several paragraphs can sound trivial (or even trivial and wrong). I
> apologize in advance.
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
> _________________
> I currently have a bit of time and can write on the future of Wikipedia.
> Similarly to much of what I write it is probably going to be useless, but
> someone may find it interesting. For simplicity, I will be explicitly
> talking about the English Wikipedia (referring to it as Wikipedia). I am
> active in other projects as well, and some of them have similar issues, but
> there are typically many other things going on there which make the picture
> more complicated.
>
> Let us first look at the current situation. Wikipedia exists since 2001,
> and in a couple of weeks will turn 18. Currently, it has 5.77 million
> articles. I often hear an opinion that all important articles have already
> been created. This is incorrect, and I am often the first person to point
> out that this is not correct. For example, today I created an article on an
> urban locality in Russia with the population of 15 thousands. Many articles
> are indeed too short, badly written, or suffer from other issues, and they
> need to be improved. There are new topics which appear on a regular basis:
> new music performers, new winners of sports competitions or prizes, and so
> on. As any Web 2.0 project, Wikipedia requires a regular cleanup, since
> there are many people happy to vandalize the 5th website in the world in
> terms of the number of views. However, as a general guideline, it is not so
> much incorrect to state that all important things in Wikipedia have been
> already written. Indeed, if someone looks for information in Wikipedia -
> or, more precisely, uses search engines and gets Wikipedia as the first hit
> &#8212; they are likely to find what they need with more than 99% chance.
>
> In this sense, Wikipedia now is very different from Wikipedia in 2008 or
> Wikipedia in 2004. Ten and especially fifteen years ago, everybody could
> contribute something important. For example, the article on the 1951 film
> "A Streetcar Named Desire", which won four Academy Awards, was started in
> 2005, as well as an article on Cy Twombly, at the time probably the most
> famous living artist. This is not possible anymore. This is why the number
> of active editors is currently dropping - to contribute to the content in a
> meaningful way, one now has to be an advanced amateur - to master some
> field of knowledge much better than most others do. Or one can be a
> professional - but there are very few professionals contributing to
> Wikipedia in their fields, and there are very few articles written at a
> professional level. Attempts to attract professionals have been made for
> many years, and, despite certain local success, generally failed. They have
> been going now for long enough to assume they will never succeed on a large
> scale. Wikipedia is written by advance amateurs for amateurs. However,
> despite the decline in the number of editors, there are enough resources to
> maintain and to expand the project. It does not mean there are no problems
> - there are in fact many problems. One of the most commonly discussed one
> is systemic bias - there is way more information on Wikipedia on subjects
> pertaining to North America than to Africa, and if a topic is viewed on
> differently in different countries, one can be sure that the American view
> dominates. But it is usually thought - and I agree with this - that these
> drawbacks are not crucial, and Wikipedia is atill a useful and sustainable
> project. Wikipedia clearly has its ecosystem, there are no competitors to
> talk about, and all attempts to fork it were unsuccessful. There is a
> steady development, and everybody is happy.
>
> Does this mean that everything is fine and we do not need to worry?, just
> to wait until missing articles get written, or even to help this by writing
> them ourselves?
>
> Absolutely not. To understand this, we can look again at the editor base.
> There are detailed studies, but, for a starter, it is a nightmare to edit
> Wikipedia from a cell phone. It is possible but not much easier to edit it
> from a tablet. The mobile version is different from a desktop one, and it
> is not really optimized for editing. This is a known problem, but one
> aspect of it is clear. Most Wikipedia editors actually own a desktop and a
> laptop. This brings them into 18+ category. There are of course exceptions,
> but the fact is that the editor base gets older, and this is a problem. The
> problem is not so much at this point that we all die and there will be
> nobody to edit Wikipedia. The problem is that the next generation (18-) has
> very different ways of getting information. And I guess they are not
> interested in editing Wikipedia, and they will not get interested when they
> grow up - possibly beyond introducing minor corrections, which can be done
> from a phone.
>
> Traditionally, students were always among the core of the editors base.
> They already have some knowledge and they still have time to edit. When
> they graduate, find a job and start a family, they have way less time and
> typically stop editing. The next group are retirees. Between students and
> retirees, we have a tiny fraction of dedicated enthusiasts who are ready to
> take time from work and family, but they are really not numerous. Well, and
> very soon we are going to lose students as editors. And we should be happy
> if we do not lose them as readers.
>
> I am 51, and I do not know much about the 18- generation, but I know two
> important things about them. They have a very short attention span and
> difficulties to concentrate. And they get a graphical and visualized
> information much more easier than texts. For example, my son is capable of
> watching three or four movies per day, but he has difficulties to read 20
> pages from a book.
>
> Well, the first question is whether an encyclopedia is an appropriate / the
> best format for them to get knowledge (as it is for us). I do not know the
> answer. What I write below assumes that the answer is positive, otherwise
> the rest of the text does not make sense.
>
> The next question is what should be done. How Wikipedia should look like to
> be accessible to this generation? The answer seems to be obvious. Articles
> must be short and contain a lot of graphic information. May be they need to
> be videoclips. Short clips. Or, at lest, they must contain clips, with more
> voice and less letters. If one needs more detailed information or just
> further information - one hops to the next article or watches the next
> clip.
>
> This is a paradigm shift. Currently, the editors generally consider that it
> is good to have long Wikipedia articles - because long means more complete.
> Sometimes there are even proposals (fortunately isolated and without
> followup) to delete all short articles even if they describe notable topics
> and contain verified information. Clips are almost not in use.  Of course
> they still need to be made, but this is not such a big problem - there are
> plenty of school students who have their own youtube channel, if they can
> make clips, everybody can.
>
> The most difficult question is how this can be realized. I believe it is
> not possible to just transform Wikipedia like this - make articles shorter
> and simpler and spit them. First, this might be good for the young
> generation, but this is still not good for the 18+ generation. Second, such
> reforms should be either be approved by Wikipedia community through
> consensus, or be imposed by the Wikimedia Foundation who owns the project.
> The likelihood of either is zero. Just to give one argument, the community
> is, well, the community of editors, of the same 18+ people with laptops who
> have no difficulties reading long texts.
>
> I envision it differently. Ideally, we have the Wikipedia as it is now, but
> on top of this, every article has a collection of shorter companion
> articles, simple and a paragraph or two long, so that each of them can be
> read in half a minute, They should not have excessive markup, references,
> categories or anything else which can be found in the main article if
> needed. References in Wikipedia are required not for the sake of having
> references, but as a means to ensure that the information is verifiable -
> and if the main article does it the companion articles do not need to. Some
> of these companion articles can be in fact clips - there is a difficulty
> that clips can not be edited collaboratively, but I am sure this one can be
> solved. If anybody wants to solve it.
>
> The status of what I have written above is science fiction. I am sure if I
> come with this proposal to a village pump of Wikipedia, it will be dead
> within a day. In addition, it requires some modifications of MediaWiki
> which can only be done by the Foundation. And I am not really looking
> forward for the Foundation implementing this either. I have a lot of
> respect for some of the Foundation employees, but it has now grown up into
> a big corporation now and behaves as a big corporation, where some people
> care less about the product and more about other things, and some look at
> Wikipedia editors, aka "unorganized volunteers", as some annoying
> phenomenon, which they can tolerate but are not willing to listen to. My
> forecast is pretty pessimistic. Unless a miracle happens (and I currently,
> at least not from my perspective, do not see any reasons for a miracle to
> happen), soon or late will realize this, It might be a startup company, or
> a non-commercial. And Wikipedia will stay as it is, and, after the
> standards change many times, it will not be readable / accessible to most
> of internet users, and will slowly die. And the results of what were were
> doing for 20 years will disappear. This is a usual development and happens
> to almost every human activity. We know that only a few percents of pieces
> of Ancient Greek and Roman literature survived until now.
>
> Yaroslav Blanter, editor and administrator of the English Wikipedia, 125
> 000 edits.
> _______________________________________________
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

Peter Southwood
In reply to this post by Amir E. Aharoni
Interesting, but I don't really understand the implications. Is there an example of how such an article might be represented?
Cheers,
Peter

-----Original Message-----
From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Amir E. Aharoni
Sent: 31 December 2018 21:56
To: Wikimedia Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

‫בתאריך יום ב׳, 31 בדצמ׳ 2018 ב-10:14 מאת ‪Peter Southwood‬‏ <‪
[hidden email]‬‏>:‬

Does the technology exist? Is it available?
How does this splitting make maintenance easier?
Cheers,
Peter


Not exactly, but it's doable and it's desirable.

There are two relatively recently developed components in MediaWiki that
are important for developers: Content Model and Multi-Content Revisions.
They are not discussed very much among the less technical editors because
they are pretty internal, and I'm really not an expert on what they do
myself, but as far as I understand them, they can serve as steps to
implementing Jane's suggestion.

This suggestion is not even very new. In a way, the extremely old bug
https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T2167 , originally filed in 2004 (!)
suggests pretty much the same thing: separate interlanguage links and other
metadata from the page content. Interlanguage links were mostly separated
from pages thanks to Wikidata, but categories still aren't, and a lot of
other kinds of metadata appeared since then: DEFAULTSORT, newsectionlink,
notoc, and many others. Authority control, navbox, and infobox templates,
as well as links to disambiguation pages, can probably be converted to
separately-stored metadata as well.

Wikidata can probably play a major role in getting this done, but it's not
the only factor, and a lot of development is needed to better integrate
Wikidata with other projects.

But yes—I generally agree with Jane that better modularization of wiki
pages' content components can go a long to making them easier to edit,
easier to search, easier to query, etc. It's not the only major change that
our technical infrastructure needs, but it's among the more important ones.

--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
‪“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬


>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:[hidden email]] On
> Behalf Of Jane Darnell
> Sent: 30 December 2018 15:42
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?
>
> Well it is not difficult to imagine when you consider for example line
> items in the case of list articles. Many lists could be split into such
> line items and kept in a static assembled form by some sort of "assembly
> template". Many of these line items are either articles or parts of
> articles. Such "line items" may or may not have Wikidata items, may or may
> not be suitable for Wikidata items, and may or may not be able to be
> structured in any way, shape or form than the one they currently have. I
> would like to be able to address these "line items" as "findable editing
> snippets" in the wikiverse, possibly curatable by voice activation,
> reversing the way we can sometimes get them read to us by Siri/Lexa.
>
> On Sun, Dec 30, 2018 at 1:48 PM Peter Southwood <
> [hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Jane,
> > I do not understand what parts you would split these things into, or how
> > they would make Wikipedia easier to curate and edit. Could you link to an
> > explanation or clarify the concept?
> > Cheers,
> > Peter
> >
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
> ---
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> https://www.avg.com
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

Jane Darnell
No, because no one has invented it yet. An example of what I mean by a
"pipeline nugget" is "The necktie was invented in Croatia". This quote is
mentioned in various language Wikipedias and is 1) a publicity stunt, 2) an
example of intangible national heritage, 3) a poorly sourced statement in a
list. Maybe with an example like this you can grasp the concept a bit
better.

On Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 8:01 PM Peter Southwood <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Interesting, but I don't really understand the implications. Is there an
> example of how such an article might be represented?
> Cheers,
> Peter
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:[hidden email]] On
> Behalf Of Amir E. Aharoni
> Sent: 31 December 2018 21:56
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?
>
> ‫בתאריך יום ב׳, 31 בדצמ׳ 2018 ב-10:14 מאת ‪Peter Southwood‬‏ <‪
> [hidden email]‬‏>:‬
>
> Does the technology exist? Is it available?
> How does this splitting make maintenance easier?
> Cheers,
> Peter
>
>
> Not exactly, but it's doable and it's desirable.
>
> There are two relatively recently developed components in MediaWiki that
> are important for developers: Content Model and Multi-Content Revisions.
> They are not discussed very much among the less technical editors because
> they are pretty internal, and I'm really not an expert on what they do
> myself, but as far as I understand them, they can serve as steps to
> implementing Jane's suggestion.
>
> This suggestion is not even very new. In a way, the extremely old bug
> https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T2167 , originally filed in 2004 (!)
> suggests pretty much the same thing: separate interlanguage links and other
> metadata from the page content. Interlanguage links were mostly separated
> from pages thanks to Wikidata, but categories still aren't, and a lot of
> other kinds of metadata appeared since then: DEFAULTSORT, newsectionlink,
> notoc, and many others. Authority control, navbox, and infobox templates,
> as well as links to disambiguation pages, can probably be converted to
> separately-stored metadata as well.
>
> Wikidata can probably play a major role in getting this done, but it's not
> the only factor, and a lot of development is needed to better integrate
> Wikidata with other projects.
>
> But yes—I generally agree with Jane that better modularization of wiki
> pages' content components can go a long to making them easier to edit,
> easier to search, easier to query, etc. It's not the only major change that
> our technical infrastructure needs, but it's among the more important ones.
>
> --
> Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
> http://aharoni.wordpress.com
> ‪“We're living in pieces,
> I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
>
>
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:[hidden email]] On
> > Behalf Of Jane Darnell
> > Sent: 30 December 2018 15:42
> > To: Wikimedia Mailing List
> > Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?
> >
> > Well it is not difficult to imagine when you consider for example line
> > items in the case of list articles. Many lists could be split into such
> > line items and kept in a static assembled form by some sort of "assembly
> > template". Many of these line items are either articles or parts of
> > articles. Such "line items" may or may not have Wikidata items, may or
> may
> > not be suitable for Wikidata items, and may or may not be able to be
> > structured in any way, shape or form than the one they currently have. I
> > would like to be able to address these "line items" as "findable editing
> > snippets" in the wikiverse, possibly curatable by voice activation,
> > reversing the way we can sometimes get them read to us by Siri/Lexa.
> >
> > On Sun, Dec 30, 2018 at 1:48 PM Peter Southwood <
> > [hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > > Jane,
> > > I do not understand what parts you would split these things into, or
> how
> > > they would make Wikipedia easier to curate and edit. Could you link to
> an
> > > explanation or clarify the concept?
> > > Cheers,
> > > Peter
> > >
> > >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
> > ---
> > This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
> > https://www.avg.com
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
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> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

Paulo Santos Perneta
In reply to this post by metasj
Samuel Klein <[hidden email]> escreveu no dia terça, 1/01/2019 à(s)
00:51:

> Dear Kiril, I assume you mean these lovely experiments by Shared Knowledge:
>
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Videos_from_the_Republic_of_Macedonia
>
> They are lovely, and look like they are now in use.  I like specific
> examples like these; was there any description of the project afterwards
> covering its welcome, the steps towards its inclusion, notes for future
> research groups tackling similar projects in the future?
>

Here:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:NeuroMat%27s_partnership_with_Matemateca_USP
you have a number of videos that were produced by the Wikimedia Community
UG Brazil to illustrate mathematical concepts, many of them awarded as
Quality and Valuable content for Wikimedia Commons. I believe all of them
are in use as well.

I've seen some resistance from the Wikipedia community against content like
this, as some people see it as a promotional tool for universities and
research institutions. Personally I don't see nothing wrong with win-win
situations as those "promotions" where valuable content is produced by
universities and donated to us, but not all people look at it this way.

A dedicated Draft-Wiki, like [test] but for text and media, with much
> simpler standards for structure, sourcing, and metadata [perhaps combined
> w/ incubator?]  would be a simple and welcome solution.
>

+1 on the Draft Wiki, it would be great to have a safe environment to play,
but allowing the final result to be imported into Wikipedia or other
Wikimedia projects.
Cheers,

Paulo
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

Paulo Santos Perneta
In reply to this post by WereSpielChequers-2
Jonathan Cardy <[hidden email]> escreveu no dia terça,
1/01/2019 à(s) 09:54:

> Yes the greying of the pedia is a real phenomena, and I am sure that an
> editor survey would confirm that on average we are getting older.
>

At least in the Lusophone world, evidence does not seem to support that
idea of the greying of Wikipedia. The lists of the most viewed and edited
articles at the Wikipedia in Portuguese has just been released this night:

http://blog.wikimedia.pt/2019/01/artigos-mais-vistos-em-2018/
https://rr.sapo.pt/especial/136124/bolsonaro-mundial-brasil-e-claro-cr7-as-paginas-mais-visitadas-da-wikipedia-lusofona-em-2018
https://shifter.sapo.pt/2019/01/tops-wikipedia-portuguesa-2018/

The most edited article is an infantile animation series, and there are
more like this down the list. the editors are, quite obviously, children
that are Ladybug fans and want to update the information in Wikipedia,
which they apparently use as a guide. Many of the other themes on the list
of the most edited seem to be clearly associated with the young
generations: Reality shows, pop culture, sports.

Evidence in the project also shows that most of the older (in project time)
editors are not editing anymore, and only an handful of them still remain
behind. Many of the current sysops and well established editors are in
their late teens, early 20s (mostly Brazilians waiting to enter University,
or already there). I joined that project in February 2009, and over those
almost 10 years I've been watching the most profound changes in the project
"society", it has been in continuous evolution, and today it's composition,
way to see Wikipedia, attitude, etc have changed dramatically (not always
for the better). At least in this particular project, I don't see any
greying at all.

But there is a third that we should not underestimate, over the last decade
> or so expectations have risen and there is now little room for editors who
> add unsourced content. In quality terms this is a good thing, but it has
> repercussions on the quantity of editors (and I am sure contributes to the
> greying of the pedia). If as I suspect it is true that our decline is only
> among those who add uncited content, and that we are replacing those who
> add cited content as fast or faster than we lose them, then we can dismiss
> editor decline as no longer being an existential threat to the project.
>

At wiki.pt we started very actively fighting unsourced content since about
2009-2010, when there was a kind of mind revolution about this theme, and
the community decided they would not tolerate unsourced content anymore as
they had done extensively in the past. We came to the conclusion that it
was a mistake from the start to tolerate the generalized adding of such
content to the articles, with no advantages and a lot of disadvantages,
specially to the people that wanted to fix them afterwards, which often had
to throw everything to waste and start from zero. So those low-grade
editors that thrived in an ambient where articles were written out of their
heads, I believe we lost all or most of them back then, already, and as you
say, I don't believe it has been a bad thing.

I also don't believe much that the lack of interesting articles to create
could be a motive for not having new editors. Our articles remain a "red
sea" of uncreated entries, many of them about quite easy to create stuff,
like cultural heritage.

I am sanguine about the mobile editing problem. It is a known issue. People

> are working on it, so we may get a technical fix. Fashions in technology
> have changed in the past and will change again, so we  may find that more
> people in the future have suitable devices to edit with. My own medium turn
> fix would be to launch an intermediate platform for tablets. This would
> leave the mobile platform for smartphone users, and I know we have at least
> a couple of editors who use smartphones, but the ratio of editors to
> readers is very much lower than among PC users. A Tablet platform would
> enable us  to offer tablet users a more editor friendly environment than
> could fit on the mobile platform.
>

We have editors that edit from smartphones in Africa and Brazil, and
specially in Africa, which is being connected right now, and many people
have 1, 2, 3 smartphones, the difficulties of mobile editing are shown.
It's not so much that they block community growth, it is more that the
community could be growing that way. On the other hand, with easy mobile
editing there often comes waves of vandalism, which had led in the past to
the complete blocking of those mobile networks in the project, so there is
also a downside on this .
I'll add a fourth motif here, one that I've been noticing for long, and
which I believe is the main cause of chasing away new editors at the
Portuguese Wikipedia: The entrenching of the establishment against
newcomers. It has nothing to do with graying, as we have 12 and 13 year old
kids as part of the "establishment", and already displaying that exact
attitude. It's like it's so hard to pass all the ordeals, and be accepted
as part of the community, that they believe newcomers should always go
through the same road, as if Wikipedia was some sort of guild or club - as
Amir said earlier in this thread, the "small club of people who managed to
learn wiki syntax". Deletion requests, specially, often act as a furnace to
burn and destroy newbies, when they are questioned, accused and chastised,
while they are still learning the ropes. I'm strongly convinced this
entrenchment and guild spirit is the main obstacle in the way of community
growing over here.

Cheers,

Paulo
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

Paulo Santos Perneta
In reply to this post by Yethrosh
As someone already mentioned earlier in this thread, I believe there is a
concrete structural obstacle in mobile editing, which has to do with the
ability of searching resources, quickly reading books, papers, PDF
articles, a plethora of websites, news, etc, and using them in Wikipedia
articles in such a limited visual space. Turning "dumb editing" easier will
certainly have the collateral effect of bringing huge amounts of vandalism
from some given networks, leading to the complete blocking of those
networks from editing in Wikipedia, or even in all Wikimedia projects, as
is has been happening with some regularity since mobile editing was
released. This for smartphones.

Editing from tablets is a total different story, as it can be very similar
to what we do in the laptops and desktop computers, a tablet solution, as
proposed, possibly could have success in providing a better environment. On
the other hand, the current desktop version works fairly well in tablets,
so we just have to switch from the mobile version, which is really
suboptimal, and quite difficult to use, to that one.

Cheers,

Paulo


Yethrosh <[hidden email]> escreveu no dia terça, 1/01/2019 à(s) 21:19:

> I believe much depends on Wikipedia Mobile app. Users are mostly on mobile
> now and they feel it natural to do any thing from mobile. If only, creating
> articles and adding citations could be done easily through mobile app, can
> make a big difference.
>
> On Mon, 31 Dec 2018, 2:22 a.m. David Cuenca Tudela <[hidden email]
> wrote:
>
> > Answering the initial question: It depends on how you understand "death".
> > Wikipedia is the manifestation of a collection of algorithms running in
> the
> > minds of thousands of people. With time it could become less popular to
> run
> > that algorithm in your life, or you would like to try a different one.
> With
> > less people then the Wikipedias would be different as they are today.
> More
> > out-of-date information, less capacity to oversee the project,
> stagnation,
> > and perhaps eventually irrelevance. Myspace, digg, and winamp are still
> > alive, however people prefer other options these days.
> >
> > I think it is important to move with the flow, and open new opportunities
> > for collaboration as the technology and our contributor base are ready
> for
> > them. Wikidata started 6 years ago, Structured Commons is in the making,
> > and who knows what could come next.
> >
> > In the age of review manipulation and mistrust, I see opportunities in
> > identifying thought leaders, and building a balanced critique on a
> subject
> > based on multiple sources. Wikipedia does this partially, but it is not
> its
> > main aim. Assigning trust to people or organizations is something that
> the
> > community does quite well, so it could be applied to other contexts.
> >
> > A snippet-pedia also sounds useful, specially if a topic could be
> explained
> > with different levels of complexity. Layman's explanations are really
> > useful and there are communities built around them (for instance ELI5
> with
> > 16 million subscribers), however their explanations are neither
> > collaborative nor structured, so it is quite difficult to improve them or
> > navigate them.
> >
> > It doesn't matter so much that Wikipedia "dies", what matters is that the
> > Wikimedia community adapts with new projects that keep the spirit of
> > gathering, organizing, and sharing knowledge alive. Perhaps we could also
> > consider other approaches that could be executed in real life. With
> diverse
> > approaches, there would be different kind of contributors, aka more
> > diversity. I would definitely welcome projects that would attract 90% of
> > female contributors, even if they are radically different and they are
> not
> > a wiki. In the end our mission is to enable everyone to share knowledge,
> > not necessarily encyclopedic, and not necessarily using current
> technology.
> > Just because we have a hammer doesn't mean that all problems can be
> solved
> > with it.
> >
> > Regards,
> > Micru
> >
> > On Sat, Dec 29, 2018 at 10:35 PM Yaroslav Blanter <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > I have written a long text today (posted in my FB) which the readers of
> > > this mailing list might find interesting. I copy it below. I understand
> > > that it is very easy to critisize me for side issues, but if you want
> to
> > > comment/reply I would appreciate if you address the main issue. The
> > target
> > > audience I was thinking about was general (not necessarily
> > > Wikimedia-oriented), and for the readers from this mailing list the
> first
> > > several paragraphs can sound trivial (or even trivial and wrong). I
> > > apologize in advance.
> > >
> > > Cheers
> > > Yaroslav
> > > _________________
> > > I currently have a bit of time and can write on the future of
> Wikipedia.
> > > Similarly to much of what I write it is probably going to be useless,
> but
> > > someone may find it interesting. For simplicity, I will be explicitly
> > > talking about the English Wikipedia (referring to it as Wikipedia). I
> am
> > > active in other projects as well, and some of them have similar issues,
> > but
> > > there are typically many other things going on there which make the
> > picture
> > > more complicated.
> > >
> > > Let us first look at the current situation. Wikipedia exists since
> 2001,
> > > and in a couple of weeks will turn 18. Currently, it has 5.77 million
> > > articles. I often hear an opinion that all important articles have
> > already
> > > been created. This is incorrect, and I am often the first person to
> point
> > > out that this is not correct. For example, today I created an article
> on
> > an
> > > urban locality in Russia with the population of 15 thousands. Many
> > articles
> > > are indeed too short, badly written, or suffer from other issues, and
> > they
> > > need to be improved. There are new topics which appear on a regular
> > basis:
> > > new music performers, new winners of sports competitions or prizes, and
> > so
> > > on. As any Web 2.0 project, Wikipedia requires a regular cleanup, since
> > > there are many people happy to vandalize the 5th website in the world
> in
> > > terms of the number of views. However, as a general guideline, it is
> not
> > so
> > > much incorrect to state that all important things in Wikipedia have
> been
> > > already written. Indeed, if someone looks for information in Wikipedia
> -
> > > or, more precisely, uses search engines and gets Wikipedia as the first
> > hit
> > > &#8212; they are likely to find what they need with more than 99%
> chance.
> > >
> > > In this sense, Wikipedia now is very different from Wikipedia in 2008
> or
> > > Wikipedia in 2004. Ten and especially fifteen years ago, everybody
> could
> > > contribute something important. For example, the article on the 1951
> film
> > > "A Streetcar Named Desire", which won four Academy Awards, was started
> in
> > > 2005, as well as an article on Cy Twombly, at the time probably the
> most
> > > famous living artist. This is not possible anymore. This is why the
> > number
> > > of active editors is currently dropping - to contribute to the content
> > in a
> > > meaningful way, one now has to be an advanced amateur - to master some
> > > field of knowledge much better than most others do. Or one can be a
> > > professional - but there are very few professionals contributing to
> > > Wikipedia in their fields, and there are very few articles written at a
> > > professional level. Attempts to attract professionals have been made
> for
> > > many years, and, despite certain local success, generally failed. They
> > have
> > > been going now for long enough to assume they will never succeed on a
> > large
> > > scale. Wikipedia is written by advance amateurs for amateurs. However,
> > > despite the decline in the number of editors, there are enough
> resources
> > to
> > > maintain and to expand the project. It does not mean there are no
> > problems
> > > - there are in fact many problems. One of the most commonly discussed
> one
> > > is systemic bias - there is way more information on Wikipedia on
> subjects
> > > pertaining to North America than to Africa, and if a topic is viewed on
> > > differently in different countries, one can be sure that the American
> > view
> > > dominates. But it is usually thought - and I agree with this - that
> these
> > > drawbacks are not crucial, and Wikipedia is atill a useful and
> > sustainable
> > > project. Wikipedia clearly has its ecosystem, there are no competitors
> to
> > > talk about, and all attempts to fork it were unsuccessful. There is a
> > > steady development, and everybody is happy.
> > >
> > > Does this mean that everything is fine and we do not need to worry?,
> just
> > > to wait until missing articles get written, or even to help this by
> > writing
> > > them ourselves?
> > >
> > > Absolutely not. To understand this, we can look again at the editor
> base.
> > > There are detailed studies, but, for a starter, it is a nightmare to
> edit
> > > Wikipedia from a cell phone. It is possible but not much easier to edit
> > it
> > > from a tablet. The mobile version is different from a desktop one, and
> it
> > > is not really optimized for editing. This is a known problem, but one
> > > aspect of it is clear. Most Wikipedia editors actually own a desktop
> and
> > a
> > > laptop. This brings them into 18+ category. There are of course
> > exceptions,
> > > but the fact is that the editor base gets older, and this is a problem.
> > The
> > > problem is not so much at this point that we all die and there will be
> > > nobody to edit Wikipedia. The problem is that the next generation (18-)
> > has
> > > very different ways of getting information. And I guess they are not
> > > interested in editing Wikipedia, and they will not get interested when
> > they
> > > grow up - possibly beyond introducing minor corrections, which can be
> > done
> > > from a phone.
> > >
> > > Traditionally, students were always among the core of the editors base.
> > > They already have some knowledge and they still have time to edit. When
> > > they graduate, find a job and start a family, they have way less time
> and
> > > typically stop editing. The next group are retirees. Between students
> and
> > > retirees, we have a tiny fraction of dedicated enthusiasts who are
> ready
> > to
> > > take time from work and family, but they are really not numerous. Well,
> > and
> > > very soon we are going to lose students as editors. And we should be
> > happy
> > > if we do not lose them as readers.
> > >
> > > I am 51, and I do not know much about the 18- generation, but I know
> two
> > > important things about them. They have a very short attention span and
> > > difficulties to concentrate. And they get a graphical and visualized
> > > information much more easier than texts. For example, my son is capable
> > of
> > > watching three or four movies per day, but he has difficulties to read
> 20
> > > pages from a book.
> > >
> > > Well, the first question is whether an encyclopedia is an appropriate /
> > the
> > > best format for them to get knowledge (as it is for us). I do not know
> > the
> > > answer. What I write below assumes that the answer is positive,
> otherwise
> > > the rest of the text does not make sense.
> > >
> > > The next question is what should be done. How Wikipedia should look
> like
> > to
> > > be accessible to this generation? The answer seems to be obvious.
> > Articles
> > > must be short and contain a lot of graphic information. May be they
> need
> > to
> > > be videoclips. Short clips. Or, at lest, they must contain clips, with
> > more
> > > voice and less letters. If one needs more detailed information or just
> > > further information - one hops to the next article or watches the next
> > > clip.
> > >
> > > This is a paradigm shift. Currently, the editors generally consider
> that
> > it
> > > is good to have long Wikipedia articles - because long means more
> > complete.
> > > Sometimes there are even proposals (fortunately isolated and without
> > > followup) to delete all short articles even if they describe notable
> > topics
> > > and contain verified information. Clips are almost not in use.  Of
> course
> > > they still need to be made, but this is not such a big problem - there
> > are
> > > plenty of school students who have their own youtube channel, if they
> can
> > > make clips, everybody can.
> > >
> > > The most difficult question is how this can be realized. I believe it
> is
> > > not possible to just transform Wikipedia like this - make articles
> > shorter
> > > and simpler and spit them. First, this might be good for the young
> > > generation, but this is still not good for the 18+ generation. Second,
> > such
> > > reforms should be either be approved by Wikipedia community through
> > > consensus, or be imposed by the Wikimedia Foundation who owns the
> > project.
> > > The likelihood of either is zero. Just to give one argument, the
> > community
> > > is, well, the community of editors, of the same 18+ people with laptops
> > who
> > > have no difficulties reading long texts.
> > >
> > > I envision it differently. Ideally, we have the Wikipedia as it is now,
> > but
> > > on top of this, every article has a collection of shorter companion
> > > articles, simple and a paragraph or two long, so that each of them can
> be
> > > read in half a minute, They should not have excessive markup,
> references,
> > > categories or anything else which can be found in the main article if
> > > needed. References in Wikipedia are required not for the sake of having
> > > references, but as a means to ensure that the information is
> verifiable -
> > > and if the main article does it the companion articles do not need to.
> > Some
> > > of these companion articles can be in fact clips - there is a
> difficulty
> > > that clips can not be edited collaboratively, but I am sure this one
> can
> > be
> > > solved. If anybody wants to solve it.
> > >
> > > The status of what I have written above is science fiction. I am sure
> if
> > I
> > > come with this proposal to a village pump of Wikipedia, it will be dead
> > > within a day. In addition, it requires some modifications of MediaWiki
> > > which can only be done by the Foundation. And I am not really looking
> > > forward for the Foundation implementing this either. I have a lot of
> > > respect for some of the Foundation employees, but it has now grown up
> > into
> > > a big corporation now and behaves as a big corporation, where some
> people
> > > care less about the product and more about other things, and some look
> at
> > > Wikipedia editors, aka "unorganized volunteers", as some annoying
> > > phenomenon, which they can tolerate but are not willing to listen to.
> My
> > > forecast is pretty pessimistic. Unless a miracle happens (and I
> > currently,
> > > at least not from my perspective, do not see any reasons for a miracle
> to
> > > happen), soon or late will realize this, It might be a startup company,
> > or
> > > a non-commercial. And Wikipedia will stay as it is, and, after the
> > > standards change many times, it will not be readable / accessible to
> most
> > > of internet users, and will slowly die. And the results of what were
> were
> > > doing for 20 years will disappear. This is a usual development and
> > happens
> > > to almost every human activity. We know that only a few percents of
> > pieces
> > > of Ancient Greek and Roman literature survived until now.
> > >
> > > Yaroslav Blanter, editor and administrator of the English Wikipedia,
> 125
> > > 000 edits.
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Etiamsi omnes, ego non
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

Leinonen Teemu
Hi,

Please, remember the Wikipedia / Wikimedia mission and vision.

Our aim is to be a global movement of free, global, multi-lingual knowledge. Globally smartphones are already the main and primary device to access the Internet for the majority of people. Therefore:

(1) We should do everything we can to invite the the mobile Internet-users to become editors. All improvements to the mobile editing experience helps.

(2) We should invite people to work on content that works well on smartphones. Short summary texts and videos summarising topics are good.

Another idea: Have anyone tried to create podcasts / audio book our of categories? It could be a bit like a “create a book” -feature. You collect articles or select a category and a software create text to audio file with the content. Audio works well on mobiles.

        - Teemu


> On 4 Jan 2019, at 9.10, Paulo Santos Perneta <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> As someone already mentioned earlier in this thread, I believe there is a
> concrete structural obstacle in mobile editing, which has to do with the
> ability of searching resources, quickly reading books, papers, PDF
> articles, a plethora of websites, news, etc, and using them in Wikipedia
> articles in such a limited visual space. Turning "dumb editing" easier will
> certainly have the collateral effect of bringing huge amounts of vandalism
> from some given networks, leading to the complete blocking of those
> networks from editing in Wikipedia, or even in all Wikimedia projects, as
> is has been happening with some regularity since mobile editing was
> released. This for smartphones.
>
> Editing from tablets is a total different story, as it can be very similar
> to what we do in the laptops and desktop computers, a tablet solution, as
> proposed, possibly could have success in providing a better environment. On
> the other hand, the current desktop version works fairly well in tablets,
> so we just have to switch from the mobile version, which is really
> suboptimal, and quite difficult to use, to that one.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Paulo
>
>
> Yethrosh <[hidden email]> escreveu no dia terça, 1/01/2019 à(s) 21:19:
>
>> I believe much depends on Wikipedia Mobile app. Users are mostly on mobile
>> now and they feel it natural to do any thing from mobile. If only, creating
>> articles and adding citations could be done easily through mobile app, can
>> make a big difference.
>>
>> On Mon, 31 Dec 2018, 2:22 a.m. David Cuenca Tudela <[hidden email]
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Answering the initial question: It depends on how you understand "death".
>>> Wikipedia is the manifestation of a collection of algorithms running in
>> the
>>> minds of thousands of people. With time it could become less popular to
>> run
>>> that algorithm in your life, or you would like to try a different one.
>> With
>>> less people then the Wikipedias would be different as they are today.
>> More
>>> out-of-date information, less capacity to oversee the project,
>> stagnation,
>>> and perhaps eventually irrelevance. Myspace, digg, and winamp are still
>>> alive, however people prefer other options these days.
>>>
>>> I think it is important to move with the flow, and open new opportunities
>>> for collaboration as the technology and our contributor base are ready
>> for
>>> them. Wikidata started 6 years ago, Structured Commons is in the making,
>>> and who knows what could come next.
>>>
>>> In the age of review manipulation and mistrust, I see opportunities in
>>> identifying thought leaders, and building a balanced critique on a
>> subject
>>> based on multiple sources. Wikipedia does this partially, but it is not
>> its
>>> main aim. Assigning trust to people or organizations is something that
>> the
>>> community does quite well, so it could be applied to other contexts.
>>>
>>> A snippet-pedia also sounds useful, specially if a topic could be
>> explained
>>> with different levels of complexity. Layman's explanations are really
>>> useful and there are communities built around them (for instance ELI5
>> with
>>> 16 million subscribers), however their explanations are neither
>>> collaborative nor structured, so it is quite difficult to improve them or
>>> navigate them.
>>>
>>> It doesn't matter so much that Wikipedia "dies", what matters is that the
>>> Wikimedia community adapts with new projects that keep the spirit of
>>> gathering, organizing, and sharing knowledge alive. Perhaps we could also
>>> consider other approaches that could be executed in real life. With
>> diverse
>>> approaches, there would be different kind of contributors, aka more
>>> diversity. I would definitely welcome projects that would attract 90% of
>>> female contributors, even if they are radically different and they are
>> not
>>> a wiki. In the end our mission is to enable everyone to share knowledge,
>>> not necessarily encyclopedic, and not necessarily using current
>> technology.
>>> Just because we have a hammer doesn't mean that all problems can be
>> solved
>>> with it.
>>>
>>> Regards,
>>> Micru
>>>
>>> On Sat, Dec 29, 2018 at 10:35 PM Yaroslav Blanter <[hidden email]>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> I have written a long text today (posted in my FB) which the readers of
>>>> this mailing list might find interesting. I copy it below. I understand
>>>> that it is very easy to critisize me for side issues, but if you want
>> to
>>>> comment/reply I would appreciate if you address the main issue. The
>>> target
>>>> audience I was thinking about was general (not necessarily
>>>> Wikimedia-oriented), and for the readers from this mailing list the
>> first
>>>> several paragraphs can sound trivial (or even trivial and wrong). I
>>>> apologize in advance.
>>>>
>>>> Cheers
>>>> Yaroslav
>>>> _________________
>>>> I currently have a bit of time and can write on the future of
>> Wikipedia.
>>>> Similarly to much of what I write it is probably going to be useless,
>> but
>>>> someone may find it interesting. For simplicity, I will be explicitly
>>>> talking about the English Wikipedia (referring to it as Wikipedia). I
>> am
>>>> active in other projects as well, and some of them have similar issues,
>>> but
>>>> there are typically many other things going on there which make the
>>> picture
>>>> more complicated.
>>>>
>>>> Let us first look at the current situation. Wikipedia exists since
>> 2001,
>>>> and in a couple of weeks will turn 18. Currently, it has 5.77 million
>>>> articles. I often hear an opinion that all important articles have
>>> already
>>>> been created. This is incorrect, and I am often the first person to
>> point
>>>> out that this is not correct. For example, today I created an article
>> on
>>> an
>>>> urban locality in Russia with the population of 15 thousands. Many
>>> articles
>>>> are indeed too short, badly written, or suffer from other issues, and
>>> they
>>>> need to be improved. There are new topics which appear on a regular
>>> basis:
>>>> new music performers, new winners of sports competitions or prizes, and
>>> so
>>>> on. As any Web 2.0 project, Wikipedia requires a regular cleanup, since
>>>> there are many people happy to vandalize the 5th website in the world
>> in
>>>> terms of the number of views. However, as a general guideline, it is
>> not
>>> so
>>>> much incorrect to state that all important things in Wikipedia have
>> been
>>>> already written. Indeed, if someone looks for information in Wikipedia
>> -
>>>> or, more precisely, uses search engines and gets Wikipedia as the first
>>> hit
>>>> &#8212; they are likely to find what they need with more than 99%
>> chance.
>>>>
>>>> In this sense, Wikipedia now is very different from Wikipedia in 2008
>> or
>>>> Wikipedia in 2004. Ten and especially fifteen years ago, everybody
>> could
>>>> contribute something important. For example, the article on the 1951
>> film
>>>> "A Streetcar Named Desire", which won four Academy Awards, was started
>> in
>>>> 2005, as well as an article on Cy Twombly, at the time probably the
>> most
>>>> famous living artist. This is not possible anymore. This is why the
>>> number
>>>> of active editors is currently dropping - to contribute to the content
>>> in a
>>>> meaningful way, one now has to be an advanced amateur - to master some
>>>> field of knowledge much better than most others do. Or one can be a
>>>> professional - but there are very few professionals contributing to
>>>> Wikipedia in their fields, and there are very few articles written at a
>>>> professional level. Attempts to attract professionals have been made
>> for
>>>> many years, and, despite certain local success, generally failed. They
>>> have
>>>> been going now for long enough to assume they will never succeed on a
>>> large
>>>> scale. Wikipedia is written by advance amateurs for amateurs. However,
>>>> despite the decline in the number of editors, there are enough
>> resources
>>> to
>>>> maintain and to expand the project. It does not mean there are no
>>> problems
>>>> - there are in fact many problems. One of the most commonly discussed
>> one
>>>> is systemic bias - there is way more information on Wikipedia on
>> subjects
>>>> pertaining to North America than to Africa, and if a topic is viewed on
>>>> differently in different countries, one can be sure that the American
>>> view
>>>> dominates. But it is usually thought - and I agree with this - that
>> these
>>>> drawbacks are not crucial, and Wikipedia is atill a useful and
>>> sustainable
>>>> project. Wikipedia clearly has its ecosystem, there are no competitors
>> to
>>>> talk about, and all attempts to fork it were unsuccessful. There is a
>>>> steady development, and everybody is happy.
>>>>
>>>> Does this mean that everything is fine and we do not need to worry?,
>> just
>>>> to wait until missing articles get written, or even to help this by
>>> writing
>>>> them ourselves?
>>>>
>>>> Absolutely not. To understand this, we can look again at the editor
>> base.
>>>> There are detailed studies, but, for a starter, it is a nightmare to
>> edit
>>>> Wikipedia from a cell phone. It is possible but not much easier to edit
>>> it
>>>> from a tablet. The mobile version is different from a desktop one, and
>> it
>>>> is not really optimized for editing. This is a known problem, but one
>>>> aspect of it is clear. Most Wikipedia editors actually own a desktop
>> and
>>> a
>>>> laptop. This brings them into 18+ category. There are of course
>>> exceptions,
>>>> but the fact is that the editor base gets older, and this is a problem.
>>> The
>>>> problem is not so much at this point that we all die and there will be
>>>> nobody to edit Wikipedia. The problem is that the next generation (18-)
>>> has
>>>> very different ways of getting information. And I guess they are not
>>>> interested in editing Wikipedia, and they will not get interested when
>>> they
>>>> grow up - possibly beyond introducing minor corrections, which can be
>>> done
>>>> from a phone.
>>>>
>>>> Traditionally, students were always among the core of the editors base.
>>>> They already have some knowledge and they still have time to edit. When
>>>> they graduate, find a job and start a family, they have way less time
>> and
>>>> typically stop editing. The next group are retirees. Between students
>> and
>>>> retirees, we have a tiny fraction of dedicated enthusiasts who are
>> ready
>>> to
>>>> take time from work and family, but they are really not numerous. Well,
>>> and
>>>> very soon we are going to lose students as editors. And we should be
>>> happy
>>>> if we do not lose them as readers.
>>>>
>>>> I am 51, and I do not know much about the 18- generation, but I know
>> two
>>>> important things about them. They have a very short attention span and
>>>> difficulties to concentrate. And they get a graphical and visualized
>>>> information much more easier than texts. For example, my son is capable
>>> of
>>>> watching three or four movies per day, but he has difficulties to read
>> 20
>>>> pages from a book.
>>>>
>>>> Well, the first question is whether an encyclopedia is an appropriate /
>>> the
>>>> best format for them to get knowledge (as it is for us). I do not know
>>> the
>>>> answer. What I write below assumes that the answer is positive,
>> otherwise
>>>> the rest of the text does not make sense.
>>>>
>>>> The next question is what should be done. How Wikipedia should look
>> like
>>> to
>>>> be accessible to this generation? The answer seems to be obvious.
>>> Articles
>>>> must be short and contain a lot of graphic information. May be they
>> need
>>> to
>>>> be videoclips. Short clips. Or, at lest, they must contain clips, with
>>> more
>>>> voice and less letters. If one needs more detailed information or just
>>>> further information - one hops to the next article or watches the next
>>>> clip.
>>>>
>>>> This is a paradigm shift. Currently, the editors generally consider
>> that
>>> it
>>>> is good to have long Wikipedia articles - because long means more
>>> complete.
>>>> Sometimes there are even proposals (fortunately isolated and without
>>>> followup) to delete all short articles even if they describe notable
>>> topics
>>>> and contain verified information. Clips are almost not in use.  Of
>> course
>>>> they still need to be made, but this is not such a big problem - there
>>> are
>>>> plenty of school students who have their own youtube channel, if they
>> can
>>>> make clips, everybody can.
>>>>
>>>> The most difficult question is how this can be realized. I believe it
>> is
>>>> not possible to just transform Wikipedia like this - make articles
>>> shorter
>>>> and simpler and spit them. First, this might be good for the young
>>>> generation, but this is still not good for the 18+ generation. Second,
>>> such
>>>> reforms should be either be approved by Wikipedia community through
>>>> consensus, or be imposed by the Wikimedia Foundation who owns the
>>> project.
>>>> The likelihood of either is zero. Just to give one argument, the
>>> community
>>>> is, well, the community of editors, of the same 18+ people with laptops
>>> who
>>>> have no difficulties reading long texts.
>>>>
>>>> I envision it differently. Ideally, we have the Wikipedia as it is now,
>>> but
>>>> on top of this, every article has a collection of shorter companion
>>>> articles, simple and a paragraph or two long, so that each of them can
>> be
>>>> read in half a minute, They should not have excessive markup,
>> references,
>>>> categories or anything else which can be found in the main article if
>>>> needed. References in Wikipedia are required not for the sake of having
>>>> references, but as a means to ensure that the information is
>> verifiable -
>>>> and if the main article does it the companion articles do not need to.
>>> Some
>>>> of these companion articles can be in fact clips - there is a
>> difficulty
>>>> that clips can not be edited collaboratively, but I am sure this one
>> can
>>> be
>>>> solved. If anybody wants to solve it.
>>>>
>>>> The status of what I have written above is science fiction. I am sure
>> if
>>> I
>>>> come with this proposal to a village pump of Wikipedia, it will be dead
>>>> within a day. In addition, it requires some modifications of MediaWiki
>>>> which can only be done by the Foundation. And I am not really looking
>>>> forward for the Foundation implementing this either. I have a lot of
>>>> respect for some of the Foundation employees, but it has now grown up
>>> into
>>>> a big corporation now and behaves as a big corporation, where some
>> people
>>>> care less about the product and more about other things, and some look
>> at
>>>> Wikipedia editors, aka "unorganized volunteers", as some annoying
>>>> phenomenon, which they can tolerate but are not willing to listen to.
>> My
>>>> forecast is pretty pessimistic. Unless a miracle happens (and I
>>> currently,
>>>> at least not from my perspective, do not see any reasons for a miracle
>> to
>>>> happen), soon or late will realize this, It might be a startup company,
>>> or
>>>> a non-commercial. And Wikipedia will stay as it is, and, after the
>>>> standards change many times, it will not be readable / accessible to
>> most
>>>> of internet users, and will slowly die. And the results of what were
>> were
>>>> doing for 20 years will disappear. This is a usual development and
>>> happens
>>>> to almost every human activity. We know that only a few percents of
>>> pieces
>>>> of Ancient Greek and Roman literature survived until now.
>>>>
>>>> Yaroslav Blanter, editor and administrator of the English Wikipedia,
>> 125
>>>> 000 edits.
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
>>>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
>>>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
>>>> New messages to: [hidden email]
>>>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>>>> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>> Etiamsi omnes, ego non
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
>>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
>>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
>>> New messages to: [hidden email]
>>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>>> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
>> New messages to: [hidden email]
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> _______________________________________________
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> New messages to: [hidden email]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

quiddity-2
This is a long thread, with a somewhat confusing first post.  One of
the core ideas I can pull out of it, is along the lines of: "we should
have more dynamically variable content for different audiences/needs".
I.e. For any given topic: Some people want the 10 word version, Some
people want the 2 sentence version, Some people want the 2 paragraph
version, Some people want the 2,000 word version, Some people want the
20,000 word version, and Some people want the n-subarticles version.

This is a broad set of ideas that has come up regularly over our
history. It has obvious connections to Wiktionary and Wikidata for the
shortest "versions". It has obvious connections to the spectrum of
Mergism to Seperatism.[1] It has obvious connections to manual of
style guidelines about intro/lead-sections.[2] It has obvious
connections to Simple Wikipedia and the various
adapted-for-kids/schools versions (WikiJunior, Vikidia, and many
more). It has obvious connections to different display/consumption
types (widescreen vs tablet vs phone vs audio).

The first two version-types have been proposed, or implemented, in
various forms many times. A few years ago I made a summary table of
the existing variations, in an attempt to stop the
wheel-reinvention.[3]

Making complex content be /dynamically variable/ in length, has also
been tried externally before. As I wrote in an earlier Strategy
discussion:
"For example, The Encyclopedia of Life had an interesting "complexity
slider" interface in their early versions, that let readers set how
complex or scientific/formal they wanted their content [See ancient
screencast at youtube -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28T7q01pG50&t=167 (30 seconds worth)
and the preferences panel that let the reader restrict the content to
"Authoritative sources only" youtube -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C05jAgJkuPw&t=198 (40 seconds)]. -- A
10 year old person doesn't (always/often) benefit from the same
content as a PhD, and we want to help both. The books The Diamond Age
and Ender's Game contained the idea of software that auto-adapted to
suit the educational needs of the user. To me that's the final goal,
and it's a long way off, but we can make steps and experiments towards
it."[4]

Sadly, EoL removed that feature and I don't know why; perhaps due to
software complexity or perhaps due to the complexity for authors of
writing different versions. I do think dynamic content is an
incredibly important goal that we should work towards, but I also
think we're already in midst of many incredibly important and vastly
complex goals and I suspect we don't have the capacity to scale to
encompass many more simultaneously. However, Eventualism is
(generally) what got us to where we are, and is likely what will get
us to where we want/need to be.

TLDR: I hope some people collaborate on a wikipage to write down the
various ways a dynamic content system might technically work, so that
we can analyze the pros/cons of each method more efficiently than in a
tangent-filled email thread. I hope we eventually have a glorious
scifi future where the computers automagically adapt content,
neutrally(!), to best fit our individual needs in the moment. I hope
we can figure out a smooth transition path to move everyone happily
towards that long-term future goal, perhaps as part of the Strategy
discussions. I hope nobody attempts to get it all done too soon. ;-)

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mergism and
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Separatism
[2] https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q10966628 and related sections
within other pages.
[3] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Concise_Wikipedia#A_summary_of_existing_short-options,_using_an_example
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Wikimedia_Strategy_2017/Cycle_1#External_collaboration,_wider_usage,_slow_evolution,_more_patience,_better_tools_and_documentation

--
Quiddity

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

Fred Bauder-2
An executive summary is common at the head of many reports and articles. Only sections in the body of the article would be cited. Somewhat like a lede but more detailed. The main body of the article would still have a lede.

Fred Bauder



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