<CPOV> known outcomes but still sad...

Geert Lovink geert at xs4all.nl
Sun Jan 6 10:05:32 CET 2013

(the next wave of wikipedia studies should, in my opinion, look at the  
psycho and social structures of the white male engineers and their so- 
called neutral 'good' intentions to solve human issues with technolgy,  
in the end being unable to change. /geert)

Why Wikipedia is losing English-language editors
AFP Jan 5, 2013, 10.32AM IST

WASHINGTON: Wikipedia, one of the world's biggest websites, is losing  
many of its English-language editors, crippling its ability to keep  
pace with its mission as a source of knowledge online, a study says.
The study led by Aaron Halfaker of the University of Minnesota found  
that the number of "collaborators" or volunteer editors has been on  
the decline from around 56,000 in 2007 to some 35,000 at the end of  

The researchers said there are a number of reasons, including the rise  
of automated programs or "bots," but also noted that some potential  
contributors are being discouraged by Wikipedia's structure.
"Several changes the Wikipedia community made to manage quality and  
consistency in the face of a massive growth in participation have  
ironically crippled the very growth they were designed to manage," the  
researchers wrote in last week's American Behavioral Scientist.

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

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

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

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

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

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