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decline in editors

Nikhil Sheth
Sharing an article I came across on Daily Dot (followed it from the vandalism article shared in an earlier mail), dated January 04, 2013

Nobody wants to edit Wikipedia anymore : http://www.dailydot.com/business/wikipedia-editors-decline-wikimedia-fellows/

excerpt (and I've underlined what I found significant):
That's the question Wikipedia leaders and social science researchers are tackling. They've documented a drastic decline in the retention of new Wikipedia editors over the last five years.

A new study published in the American Behavioral Science Journal by former Wikimedia Fellows says Wikipedia has lost some 30 percent of its English-language editors since 2006, as a result of off-putting automated rejections, restrictive new rules, and controlling older editors.

"What was most surprising was the scale of the problem," lead researcher Aaron Halfaker told the Daily Dot.

Founded in 2001, Wikipedia was a first-of-its-kind experiment in online collaboration. Anyone who desired could sign up and become an editor, contributing to any of the site's entries, which now include more than 23 million topics. This openness allowed Wikipedia to cover a much wider range of subjects than a traditional encyclopedia, but it also made the project a source of criticism for its frequency of misinformation, either through accidental mistakes or deliberate vandalism.

That's why Wikipedia instituted new rules in 2007 to improve the quality of information, but according to Halfaker, these same rules have driven away more than just the unwanted vandals.

In 2006, only about 6 percent of "quality" new editors had their contributions rejected—a.k.a. "reverted" in Wikipedia lingo. In 2010, the number of contributions by new editors were being reverted at a rate of 1-in-4 by senior editors and the site's own automated response systems.

Halfaker said that as a result, only about 11 percent of new editors have been staying on past their first two months, driving down the total number of contributors to the site. He said part of that has to do with the "nasty" initial experience many new editors have.

If you're a new Wikipedia editor, the first message you get is usually from a bot or a semi-automated editing tool. It'll warn you of such issues as "lack of sources" or "blanking" and is designed to deter vandals or "bad-faith editors."
(sorry some links from the article were lost in this paste.. do see the original..)

I recently blogged a rant about this myself:

Go a little easy on people who are starting to contribute; love,
encourage and forgive them instead of being so critical and punishing.
Create page-tags/templates that can illustrate the fact that it's a
work-in-progress, assign this status by default on new articles so a
newbie isn't expected to already have advanced skills (which is a
stupid, stupid thing wikipedia is doing right now. Adding references and
templates is difficult, period. Don't expect a person with less than 50
edit counts to know or even want to learn about it). When a visitor
comes at a page, maybe an age or number of edits can be displayed at the
top to convey an idea of how mature or immature the article is.

Having permanent-tenure editors is as bad an idea as having permanent
bureaucrats or government leaders: There should be limited terms and
off-periods between them and retirement times; that will be good for the
editing community and will encourage editors to pass the baton on rather
than be in a permanent status contest of entrenchment, edit-counts,
deletions etc that I see at present. I got totally turned off at the
last wikipedia meetup I attended in my city when people started showing
off their edit-counts and were treating them like army medals. Many of
the veteran editors today would never have participated in Wikipedia if
they'd faced the kind of treatment given to newbies today. Obviously,
this is an unsustainable model and headed for collapse when the present
generation of editors dies out. Remove any element of competition; there
is no such thing as healthy competition. There is no need for
wikipedia's editors to have an obsessive compulsive quality control
behaviour : we are NOT competing with peer-reviewed journals or
mainstream publications; we are NOT supposed to be 100% accurate
"no-matter-what". That much is obvious in the disclaimers; we need to
remind the editors lobby about it. Quality is achieved through time,
love, room for experimentation and prolonged attention; not through
rushed editing and deletions. Beware of throwing out the baby with the
bathwater.
-------
I can expect what the standard set of responses to this would be.
I should not rant.
Wikipedia has standards.
Don't blame the system for your weakness.
Only the worthy shall find the grail.
So and so textbook definition of so and so rule or word.
The iceberg hasn't hit any of the Indian ships yet so we're ok, full steam ahead.

Yatta yatta. But I suspect I still won't find anything that addresses the core issue : Why am I and so many others turned off by wikipedia's defence mechanism and its assumption that everyone out there wants to steal its preciousss? Why is no outreach programme or training workshop going to work on me?

I can see some parallels here: with the setting in of rigid structures, things take a downturn and the ones at the top/center get full of it. And to control things they end up designing mechanisms that only end up prosecuting the innocent. Everywhere : schools, governments, societies, NGOs, companies, families, even wikipedia. The only place I don't see rigidity setting in with time is Nature : obviously she realized some merits of disorder that we haven't grasped yet.

But I will still keep asking:
Had all these bots and senior editors and all this mind-boggling complicatedness been present when Wikipedia began, would it ever have taken off?
Where in all the asap-reversions and immediate judgements is there any desire for long-term sustainability?
Why would any organisation on this planet even have limited terms and retirement ages for their executive members if they weren't necessary?
Why is flowing out not seen as a natural precondition to flowing in?
When has the relentless pursuit of perfection, at the cost of human connections and vulnerability, made anyone happy?
Why does wikipedia today look more like it is ruled by fear than by love?

--

Cheers,
Nikhil Sheth
+91-966-583-1250
Udaipur/Pune, India
Self-designed learner at Swaraj University
http://www.nikhilsheth.tk
http://www.facebook.com/nikjs


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Re: decline in editors

Amir E. Aharoni
Hi Nikhil, and everyone else,

I thought about writing a detailed reply about how that article is
exaggerated ("*Nobody* wants to edit anymore"? Really, nobody?), and
how the problems that you describe are just one side of the story
(because the bureaucracy may be annoying, but it's a necessary evil,
bla, bla, bla), but I decided to write something else:

You don't like the over-bureaucratic English Wikipedia?
Fine.
Do you know a language other than English? If you're in India, then
you probably do.
Go to the Wikipedia in that language and edit it.
It may have some issues, too - bureaucracy, political arguments,
"wheel wars" - but these issues are guaranteed to be smaller that they
are in the English Wikipedia.

And besides, Wikipedia in ANY language other than English needs more
articles, more writers, and more love. The people who speak that
language will appreciate you immensely. Maybe they won't tell you
directly that they appreciate it immensely, but I promise you that
they will.

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


2013/3/6 Nikhil Sheth <[hidden email]>:

> Sharing an article I came across on Daily Dot (followed it from the
> vandalism article shared in an earlier mail), dated January 04, 2013
>
> Nobody wants to edit Wikipedia anymore :
> http://www.dailydot.com/business/wikipedia-editors-decline-wikimedia-fellows/
>
> excerpt (and I've underlined what I found significant):
>
> That's the question Wikipedia leaders and social science researchers are
> tackling. They've documented a drastic decline in the retention of new
> Wikipedia editors over the last five years.
>
> A new study published in the American Behavioral Science Journal by former
> Wikimedia Fellows says Wikipedia has lost some 30 percent of its
> English-language editors since 2006, as a result of off-putting automated
> rejections, restrictive new rules, and controlling older editors.
>
> "What was most surprising was the scale of the problem," lead researcher
> Aaron Halfaker told the Daily Dot.
>
> Founded in 2001, Wikipedia was a first-of-its-kind experiment in online
> collaboration. Anyone who desired could sign up and become an editor,
> contributing to any of the site's entries, which now include more than 23
> million topics. This openness allowed Wikipedia to cover a much wider range
> of subjects than a traditional encyclopedia, but it also made the project a
> source of criticism for its frequency of misinformation, either through
> accidental mistakes or deliberate vandalism.
>
> That's why Wikipedia instituted new rules in 2007 to improve the quality of
> information, but according to Halfaker, these same rules have driven away
> more than just the unwanted vandals.
>
> In 2006, only about 6 percent of "quality" new editors had their
> contributions rejected—a.k.a. "reverted" in Wikipedia lingo. In 2010, the
> number of contributions by new editors were being reverted at a rate of
> 1-in-4 by senior editors and the site's own automated response systems.
>
> Halfaker said that as a result, only about 11 percent of new editors have
> been staying on past their first two months, driving down the total number
> of contributors to the site. He said part of that has to do with the "nasty"
> initial experience many new editors have.
>
> If you're a new Wikipedia editor, the first message you get is usually from
> a bot or a semi-automated editing tool. It'll warn you of such issues as
> "lack of sources" or "blanking" and is designed to deter vandals or
> "bad-faith editors."
>
> (sorry some links from the article were lost in this paste.. do see the
> original..)
>
> I recently blogged a rant about this myself:
>
> Go a little easy on people who are starting to contribute; love,
> encourage and forgive them instead of being so critical and punishing.
> Create page-tags/templates that can illustrate the fact that it's a
> work-in-progress, assign this status by default on new articles so a
> newbie isn't expected to already have advanced skills (which is a
> stupid, stupid thing wikipedia is doing right now. Adding references and
> templates is difficult, period. Don't expect a person with less than 50
> edit counts to know or even want to learn about it). When a visitor
> comes at a page, maybe an age or number of edits can be displayed at the
> top to convey an idea of how mature or immature the article is.
>
> Having permanent-tenure editors is as bad an idea as having permanent
> bureaucrats or government leaders: There should be limited terms and
> off-periods between them and retirement times; that will be good for the
> editing community and will encourage editors to pass the baton on rather
> than be in a permanent status contest of entrenchment, edit-counts,
> deletions etc that I see at present. I got totally turned off at the
> last wikipedia meetup I attended in my city when people started showing
> off their edit-counts and were treating them like army medals. Many of
> the veteran editors today would never have participated in Wikipedia if
> they'd faced the kind of treatment given to newbies today. Obviously,
> this is an unsustainable model and headed for collapse when the present
> generation of editors dies out. Remove any element of competition; there
> is no such thing as healthy competition. There is no need for
> wikipedia's editors to have an obsessive compulsive quality control
> behaviour : we are NOT competing with peer-reviewed journals or
> mainstream publications; we are NOT supposed to be 100% accurate
> "no-matter-what". That much is obvious in the disclaimers; we need to
> remind the editors lobby about it. Quality is achieved through time,
> love, room for experimentation and prolonged attention; not through
> rushed editing and deletions. Beware of throwing out the baby with the
> bathwater.
>
> -------
> I can expect what the standard set of responses to this would be.
> I should not rant.
> Wikipedia has standards.
> Don't blame the system for your weakness.
> Only the worthy shall find the grail.
> So and so textbook definition of so and so rule or word.
> The iceberg hasn't hit any of the Indian ships yet so we're ok, full steam
> ahead.
>
> Yatta yatta. But I suspect I still won't find anything that addresses the
> core issue : Why am I and so many others turned off by wikipedia's defence
> mechanism and its assumption that everyone out there wants to steal its
> preciousss? Why is no outreach programme or training workshop going to work
> on me?
>
> I can see some parallels here: with the setting in of rigid structures,
> things take a downturn and the ones at the top/center get full of it. And to
> control things they end up designing mechanisms that only end up prosecuting
> the innocent. Everywhere : schools, governments, societies, NGOs, companies,
> families, even wikipedia. The only place I don't see rigidity setting in
> with time is Nature : obviously she realized some merits of disorder that we
> haven't grasped yet.
>
> But I will still keep asking:
> Had all these bots and senior editors and all this mind-boggling
> complicatedness been present when Wikipedia began, would it ever have taken
> off?
> Where in all the asap-reversions and immediate judgements is there any
> desire for long-term sustainability?
> Why would any organisation on this planet even have limited terms and
> retirement ages for their executive members if they weren't necessary?
> Why is flowing out not seen as a natural precondition to flowing in?
> When has the relentless pursuit of perfection, at the cost of human
> connections and vulnerability, made anyone happy?
> Why does wikipedia today look more like it is ruled by fear than by love?
>
> --
>
> Cheers,
> Nikhil Sheth
> +91-966-583-1250
> Udaipur/Pune, India
> Self-designed learner at Swaraj University
> http://www.nikhilsheth.tk
> http://www.facebook.com/nikjs
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaindia-l
>

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Re: decline in editors

Abhijeet Safai
I second Amir.

Thanks

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Re: decline in editors

Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay-2
In reply to this post by Amir E. Aharoni
On Fri, Mar 8, 2013 at 12:12 PM, Amir E. Aharoni
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> And besides, Wikipedia in ANY language other than English needs more
> articles, more writers, and more love. The people who speak that
> language will appreciate you immensely. Maybe they won't tell you
> directly that they appreciate it immensely, but I promise you that
> they will.

And, when more feedback is received about how the experience of
contributing in languages_other_than_English could be improved, the
better it will be for all the participants in the WMF.



--
sankarshan mukhopadhyay
<https://twitter.com/#!/sankarshan>

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Re: decline in editors

Dhaval S. Vyas
In reply to this post by Amir E. Aharoni

I echo Amir.

On 8 Mar 2013 06:42, "Amir E. Aharoni" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Nikhil, and everyone else,

I thought about writing a detailed reply about how that article is
exaggerated ("*Nobody* wants to edit anymore"? Really, nobody?), and
how the problems that you describe are just one side of the story
(because the bureaucracy may be annoying, but it's a necessary evil,
bla, bla, bla), but I decided to write something else:

You don't like the over-bureaucratic English Wikipedia?
Fine.
Do you know a language other than English? If you're in India, then
you probably do.
Go to the Wikipedia in that language and edit it.
It may have some issues, too - bureaucracy, political arguments,
"wheel wars" - but these issues are guaranteed to be smaller that they
are in the English Wikipedia.

And besides, Wikipedia in ANY language other than English needs more
articles, more writers, and more love. The people who speak that
language will appreciate you immensely. Maybe they won't tell you
directly that they appreciate it immensely, but I promise you that
they will.

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


2013/3/6 Nikhil Sheth <[hidden email]>:
> Sharing an article I came across on Daily Dot (followed it from the
> vandalism article shared in an earlier mail), dated January 04, 2013
>
> Nobody wants to edit Wikipedia anymore :
> http://www.dailydot.com/business/wikipedia-editors-decline-wikimedia-fellows/
>
> excerpt (and I've underlined what I found significant):
>
> That's the question Wikipedia leaders and social science researchers are
> tackling. They've documented a drastic decline in the retention of new
> Wikipedia editors over the last five years.
>
> A new study published in the American Behavioral Science Journal by former
> Wikimedia Fellows says Wikipedia has lost some 30 percent of its
> English-language editors since 2006, as a result of off-putting automated
> rejections, restrictive new rules, and controlling older editors.
>
> "What was most surprising was the scale of the problem," lead researcher
> Aaron Halfaker told the Daily Dot.
>
> Founded in 2001, Wikipedia was a first-of-its-kind experiment in online
> collaboration. Anyone who desired could sign up and become an editor,
> contributing to any of the site's entries, which now include more than 23
> million topics. This openness allowed Wikipedia to cover a much wider range
> of subjects than a traditional encyclopedia, but it also made the project a
> source of criticism for its frequency of misinformation, either through
> accidental mistakes or deliberate vandalism.
>
> That's why Wikipedia instituted new rules in 2007 to improve the quality of
> information, but according to Halfaker, these same rules have driven away
> more than just the unwanted vandals.
>
> In 2006, only about 6 percent of "quality" new editors had their
> contributions rejected—a.k.a. "reverted" in Wikipedia lingo. In 2010, the
> number of contributions by new editors were being reverted at a rate of
> 1-in-4 by senior editors and the site's own automated response systems.
>
> Halfaker said that as a result, only about 11 percent of new editors have
> been staying on past their first two months, driving down the total number
> of contributors to the site. He said part of that has to do with the "nasty"
> initial experience many new editors have.
>
> If you're a new Wikipedia editor, the first message you get is usually from
> a bot or a semi-automated editing tool. It'll warn you of such issues as
> "lack of sources" or "blanking" and is designed to deter vandals or
> "bad-faith editors."
>
> (sorry some links from the article were lost in this paste.. do see the
> original..)
>
> I recently blogged a rant about this myself:
>
> Go a little easy on people who are starting to contribute; love,
> encourage and forgive them instead of being so critical and punishing.
> Create page-tags/templates that can illustrate the fact that it's a
> work-in-progress, assign this status by default on new articles so a
> newbie isn't expected to already have advanced skills (which is a
> stupid, stupid thing wikipedia is doing right now. Adding references and
> templates is difficult, period. Don't expect a person with less than 50
> edit counts to know or even want to learn about it). When a visitor
> comes at a page, maybe an age or number of edits can be displayed at the
> top to convey an idea of how mature or immature the article is.
>
> Having permanent-tenure editors is as bad an idea as having permanent
> bureaucrats or government leaders: There should be limited terms and
> off-periods between them and retirement times; that will be good for the
> editing community and will encourage editors to pass the baton on rather
> than be in a permanent status contest of entrenchment, edit-counts,
> deletions etc that I see at present. I got totally turned off at the
> last wikipedia meetup I attended in my city when people started showing
> off their edit-counts and were treating them like army medals. Many of
> the veteran editors today would never have participated in Wikipedia if
> they'd faced the kind of treatment given to newbies today. Obviously,
> this is an unsustainable model and headed for collapse when the present
> generation of editors dies out. Remove any element of competition; there
> is no such thing as healthy competition. There is no need for
> wikipedia's editors to have an obsessive compulsive quality control
> behaviour : we are NOT competing with peer-reviewed journals or
> mainstream publications; we are NOT supposed to be 100% accurate
> "no-matter-what". That much is obvious in the disclaimers; we need to
> remind the editors lobby about it. Quality is achieved through time,
> love, room for experimentation and prolonged attention; not through
> rushed editing and deletions. Beware of throwing out the baby with the
> bathwater.
>
> -------
> I can expect what the standard set of responses to this would be.
> I should not rant.
> Wikipedia has standards.
> Don't blame the system for your weakness.
> Only the worthy shall find the grail.
> So and so textbook definition of so and so rule or word.
> The iceberg hasn't hit any of the Indian ships yet so we're ok, full steam
> ahead.
>
> Yatta yatta. But I suspect I still won't find anything that addresses the
> core issue : Why am I and so many others turned off by wikipedia's defence
> mechanism and its assumption that everyone out there wants to steal its
> preciousss? Why is no outreach programme or training workshop going to work
> on me?
>
> I can see some parallels here: with the setting in of rigid structures,
> things take a downturn and the ones at the top/center get full of it. And to
> control things they end up designing mechanisms that only end up prosecuting
> the innocent. Everywhere : schools, governments, societies, NGOs, companies,
> families, even wikipedia. The only place I don't see rigidity setting in
> with time is Nature : obviously she realized some merits of disorder that we
> haven't grasped yet.
>
> But I will still keep asking:
> Had all these bots and senior editors and all this mind-boggling
> complicatedness been present when Wikipedia began, would it ever have taken
> off?
> Where in all the asap-reversions and immediate judgements is there any
> desire for long-term sustainability?
> Why would any organisation on this planet even have limited terms and
> retirement ages for their executive members if they weren't necessary?
> Why is flowing out not seen as a natural precondition to flowing in?
> When has the relentless pursuit of perfection, at the cost of human
> connections and vulnerability, made anyone happy?
> Why does wikipedia today look more like it is ruled by fear than by love?
>
> --
>
> Cheers,
> Nikhil Sheth
> +91-966-583-1250
> Udaipur/Pune, India
> Self-designed learner at Swaraj University
> http://www.nikhilsheth.tk
> http://www.facebook.com/nikjs
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaindia-l
>

_______________________________________________
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[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaindia-l

_______________________________________________
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[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaindia-l