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Wikipedia's Participation Problem

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,18 hours | from the too-lazy-to-edit dept.

Wikipedia 372

holy_calamity writes "More people use Wikipedia than ever but the number of people contributing to the project has declined by a third since 2007, and it still has significant gaps in its quality and coverage. MIT Technology Review reports on the troubled efforts to make the site more welcoming to newcomers, which Jimmy Wales says must succeed if Wikipedia is to address its failings."

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Unfriendly Elitists (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214239)

In my direct experience the majority of hardcore contributors and long-time editors are complete ideologues and giant assholes who are extraordinarily hostile to any outsiders or differing thought.

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (3, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214407)

In my direct experience the majority of hardcore contributors and long-time editors are complete ideologues and giant assholes who are extraordinarily hostile to any outsiders or differing thought.

That is the same experience I have had and I'll bet it's the same experience that many people have had.

The battles on Wikipedia are well documented. Articles deleted, added back, deleted again. Back and forth in a never ending battle of arrogant assholes with giant egos. But the biggest problem is that the few people who have any power to actually do anything about it are completely clueless, as demonstrated out in TFA:

the Wikimedia Foundation, the 187-person nonprofit that pays for the legal and technical infrastructure supporting Wikipedia, is staging a kind of rescue mission. The foundation can’t order the volunteer community to change the way it operates. But by tweaking Wikipedia’s website and software, it hopes to steer the encyclopedia onto a more sustainable path.

. Because re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic will make a big difference.

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (4, Insightful)

bob_super (3391281) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214551)

"Because re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic will make a big difference."

Which thoroughly pisses me off, considering that wikipedia is the biggest free and easily accessible repository of human knowledge (outside of the NSA).
As imperfect as a tiny minority of articles are, their creators being only humans, it's still a monumental achievement.

On a related note, they should share with Google a Nobel Peace Prize for the countless nasty arguments settled by a simple search.

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214653)

I wouldn't call the NSA's repository "free and easily accessible"... unless you know their root password? Sharesies?

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (3, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214717)

P@ssword1234 worked for me.

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (3, Funny)

bob_super (3391281) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214743)

It's paid with my tax dollars, so I should have access to it.
After all there is no private or sensitive information in there, it's only metadata, right?

(and yes, I do need to re-read when I change sentence structures just before posting, but how can the preview annoy me if it's useful?)

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214669)

On a related note, they should share with Google a Nobel Peace Prize for the countless nasty arguments settled by a simple search.

Don't forget all the arguments won with a quick edit followed by a "Let's check Wikipedia!"

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (1)

bob_super (3391281) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214759)

If you go that far, I don't want to argue with you.

"More people use Wikipedia than ever" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214619)

"More people use Wikipedia than ever but the number of people contributing to the project has declined by a third since 2007, and it still has significant gaps in its quality and coverage. MIT Technology Review reports on the troubled efforts to make the site more welcoming to newcomers, which Jimmy Wales says must succeed if Wikipedia is to address its failings."

Perhaps this is a good thing. Just go by the "random people on the Intermet" [sic] posting things as the summary above. It is chock-full of grammatical and mechanical errors. Are these the people whom you would like to be writing the articles?
 
A couple of hints:
- More people do not use Wikipedia than they do now.
- The final subordinate clause in your summary modifies newcomers due to the placement of the comma.
 
Slashdot, of course, will never have American editors or moderators who had any reasonable amount of lessons in English in primary school either.

How Does One Become an Editor? (4, Interesting)

mx+b (2078162) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214639)

I have not tried to contribute to wikipedia yet (though I have thought about it, I have been unsure whether I want to try given the currently climate described), but it occurred to me: how does one become an editor?

I am wondering, if current editors are appointed and have permanent control and this is causing problems, what if Wikipedia switched to something akin to slashdot's moderation (and metamoderation) tool? Let random people vote on if they think the change was warranted. They don't need to be experts on the topic, just answer yes or no as to whether the change was significant and properly documented with references. If so, then vote ok, and overrule the mods that may be blocking it. Is that not possible?

Re:How Does One Become an Editor? (4, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214705)

Switch them to Slashdot's system? Ha. You must want to take all of Wikipedia and flush it down the toilet. Good idea.

Agreed 110% WITH example... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214445)

The sonofabitch running the page on hosts files edited out a great deal of proofs & valid information I posted. I asked "why" & he put down it wasn't pertinent...

I only have 1 thing to say to that punk: Motherfucker, I guarantee it is!

(I also guarantee that I know a hell of a LOT MORE THAN YOU DO about that particular topic especially (as well as computing in general) -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosts_(file), you stupid bastard).

* Especially considering the FUNNIEST part is the asshole who runs that page took parts of what I wrote, minus the backing references + proofs I used from reputable sources, & reworded it (removing references from reputable sources I posted), like "he wrote it himself"

HOWEVER - the stupid FUCK omitted the fact hosts can STOP dns poisoning redirection though in his utter stupidity!

(& yes - THAT is a very important fact & feature of them, especially since more & more botnets are moving to "fastflux" DNS weakness utilizing designs, &/or Dynamic DNS based malware also, which again, this defends you against (as well as downed DNS servers too, via hosts file hardcodes)).

APK

P.S.=> THUS, by example? I am with you, 110% on your assessment & accuracy of the state of things "wikipedia" - I honestly would have LIKED to punch that little anonymous SHIT in the face... apk

Re:Agreed 110% WITH example... apk (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214519)

They also keep reverting your contributions to Time Cube. What's up with that?

Proof of my words within... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214629)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Hosts_(file)

* THAT IS PROOF OF THE BULLSHIT THAT GOES ON THERE!

(From a pack of TRULY "pseudo experts" editing out ENTIRELY VALID INFORMATION that's valuable regarding hosts files merits and many benefits)

PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT:

"Thank you for coming to the talk page to discuss this. Your additions have been removed (twenty times now) because they are not suitable. Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia. It is not a manual on how to tune your hosts file, or how to use it to aid your computer's security, or any other "how to" guide. You'll see how this has been explained on the page's edit history when it has been removed. You might want to consider creating an account, so that other editors can contact you directly. Thanks. --Escape Orbit (Talk) 13:18, 24 December 2011 (UTC)"

---

Yea? I'd LOVE to meet you, face-to-face, for just 5 MINUTES... and as far as making an account? FUCK YOU - I'd rather join a nest of vipers than be even REMOTELY ASSOCIATED with a fuckhead like you, punk.

APK

P.S.=> That goes with what I stated in my initial post (where I added VALID INFORMATION to that page that SOB removed, selectively keeping parts of what I put down, rewriting it like HE wrote it & NOT myself) -> http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4370221&cid=45214445 ... apk

Re:Proof of my words within... apk (1)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214751)

Seems like the guy who keeps removing your "valuable contributions" is right.

There's a lot of dick moderators and revisionist editors on Wikipedia, but some of them exist because of people like you who submit the same anonymous change 20 times...

Also, yes, I would love to see your Time Cube edits. Please like them next time!

Your both undereducated dolts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 hours | (#45214859)

Anything & EVERYTHING I posted there http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Hosts_(file) was completely technically valid - & he selectively took parts I wrote, reworded them instead, and OMITTED others of great value!

(Especially regarding favorite sites hardcodes vs. downed or redirect poisoned DNS servers which are WEAK & abused by fastflux botnets especially + the fact that 99% of ISP's aren't PATCHED vs. the Kaminsky bug redirect poisoning flaw, even when a patch exists!)

APK

P.S.=> Of course, an undereducated MORON "wannabe" like yourself (and the owner of the hosts page on wikipedia) are just weak amateurs that don't KNOW enough or any better (which I clearly show in that link above)... apk

Re:Agreed 110% WITH example... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 hours | (#45214827)

I've told you this before, but since you seem to have an place in your heart for repetition: If you want to be taken seriously, please quit formatting your posts as would a lunatic who's just learned HTML.

Enough with the excessive use of caps-lock, bold, and post-scripts. (Congratulations on limiting yourself to just one postscript above). I recommend you look at how other peoples' high-scoring posts are formatted and follow their examples.

"P.S.=>": Agreement typically maxes out at 100% — how do you account for the extra 10%, some sort of mind-control feedback loop deployed against the AC you replied to?

This, this, and more this! (5, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214483)

Every time I've tried to contribute in my areas of expertise (and we're talking very modest and very non-controversial stuff), I've been met with a wall of pricks who basically stop anyone who isn't in the inner circle from making even the most benign contributions, additions, or edits. The editors there suffered from a clear case of what we in the old college frat used to call the "It's my party of no one else is invited" syndrome (in reference to newer fraternity brothers who wanted to make the frat as exclusive as possible, exactly one second after they got in). It didn't take me long to get tired of even trying.

Now, that was a few years ago, admittedly. But it was enough to drive me away and make me vow never to return. Maybe things have changed since then, but I'm not really looking to find out.

Re:This, this, and more this! (1)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214765)

Maybe things have changed since then.

They haven't.

Yep... this is *the* problem, here and now.... (2)

King_TJ (85913) | 1 year,17 hours | (#45214847)

It's really too bad, IMO, because I get a lot of value out of Wikipedia. Regardless, the in-fighting over article submissions is totally unacceptable and will lead to its demise eventually, if something isn't done about it.

As an example, one of my good friends tried to submit a few articles to cover specific BBS "door games" from the 1980's -- only to have his articles flagged for removal as containing "irrelevant" information. (I can't remember the exact claim, but whoever moderates the submissions apparently felt the door games he discussed were too obscure for anyone to care? Funny, because a Facebook message group full of over 150 users from the BBS days were the ones who brought these door games up, and were frustrated to find nothing about them on Wiki.)

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (5, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214507)

In my direct experience the majority of hardcore contributors and long-time editors are complete ideologues and giant assholes who are extraordinarily hostile to any outsiders or differing thought.

Real experts don't want to go to the trouble of battling with presumptuous morons over the Internet.

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (5, Funny)

RenderSeven (938535) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214585)

Real experts don't want to go to the trouble of battling with presumptuous morons over the Internet.

The more you know, the less you say. And vice versa.

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214595)

We don't mind sometimes, but when you are asked to work 8-10 hours a day then raise a family there isn't a whole lot of time for dealing with people who think we should get rid of the Internet, or that gold is the only real money.

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214723)

And yet you post on slashdot.

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (2, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214779)

And yet you post on slashdot.

Notice how the post didn't get reverted and then attributed to a sockpuppet that may need to be blocked from making posts in the future.

Remarkable, isn't it?

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (1)

mattventura (1408229) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214625)

My problem with contributing to Wikipedia is that I just don't see many opportunities to do so. I've had an account there for years with barely any edits on it. Why? because I'll obviously edit something if it's within my area of expertise and I know it's wrong or could be improved, but why would I be using wikipedia to look up something that I already know about? I don't have time to look through a bunch of wikipedia articles to find issues with them.

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214531)

I concur. I used to write a fair bit on a wide range of subjects, only to have a lot of my contributions shitcanned by people who had more time than I did to for edit wars.

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214607)

yes - that is my direct experience also

Re:Unfriendly Elitists (1)

conner_bw (120497) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214647)

Yes, elitist, exactly. And, historicaly, not shy to voice it? It's kind of ironic that the man who wants to fix a participation problem that started in 2007, held the opinion that there is no such problem in 2006?

"The idea that a lot of people have of Wikipedia," he noted, "is that it's some emergent phenomenon - the wisdom of mobs, swarm intelligence, that sort of thing - thousands and thousands of individual users each adding a little bit of content and out of this emerges a coherent body of work." But, he (Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia) insisted, the truth was rather different: Wikipedia was actually written by "a community ... a dedicated group of a few hundred volunteers" where "I know all of them and they all know each other". Really, "it's much like any traditional organization."

Source: http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/whowriteswikipedia [aaronsw.com]

The established editors are the problem. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214257)

Their main contribution is to drive people who don't think like they do off.

Re:The established editors are the problem. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214565)

Wasn't there some notorious AGW alarm ringer who pretty much spent all of his time putting the Al Gore spin on any article at all involving climate, weather, geology, the atmosphere, etc?

Re:The established editors are the problem. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214593)

When the deletionists started dominating the process my enthusiasm for contributing anything dropped off greatly. Whether I'm contributing on my own or watching as formerly useful material contributed by other people disappears because it supposedly isn't "noteworthy" enough, it doesn't exactly inspire people to participate.

Re:The established editors are the problem. (0, Flamebait)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,17 hours | (#45214799)

Yes, because 4.3 million English language articles is a sure sign of the victory of "deletionists". Sorry you couldn't put yourself on wikipedia as "the smartest dude ever." I dare you to go to the delition log for today and tell me that more than 5% of them have the bearest hint of being related to an encyclopedia.

They are 50% copyright violations, 40% self-promotion, and maybe 5-6% vaguely inappropriate in a non-specific way.

Wikipedia or Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214633)

Their main contribution is to drive people who don't think like they do off.

This sounds like criticism of Slashdot's moderation system.

Bad Answer to the Problem (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214265)

Technical solutions to a social problem do not address the primary issues. They need to be willing to admit that it is not a welcoming place for non-combative contributors.

Re:Bad Answer to the Problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214369)

I was an early contributor to Wikipedia.

I stopped because one of my articles was removed, for no good reason. Although it was just a description of an organization in my county, it was called "a commercial for a non-profit because you don't have a webpage" (we did have a website, had for many years, and still do) and the person who said it should be deleted had a very similar wikipedia article.

Another of my contributions was removed because the same editor didn't like it. I don't know why they allowed such editors.

  I'm not combative by nature, so I just stopped contributing. Let me know if it changes.

Re:Bad Answer to the Problem (2, Interesting)

rufty_tufty (888596) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214533)

Think how annoying this must be for the established editors though:
You've just got this article prefect and some mayfly comes along and *changes it*. You'd got it the prefect mix of concise and thorough and someone with a different opinion, sorry someone who is wrong comes along and ruins it; and somehow you're the bad boy for trying to maintain standards!
They must be leaving out of frustration too,

(Yes I stopped editing pages or even participating in the talk pages several years ago, they don't want your help, they don't want your input they just want you to read their minds and do their work for them in exactly the way they would do it but any variance from that ideal is removed).

Re:Bad Answer to the Problem (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214549)

it is not a welcoming place for any contributors.

FTFY

I was planning to help out... (5, Funny)

Mister_Stoopid (1222674) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214281)

... but then my motivation to ever help Wikipedia in any way whatsoever was deleted due to "lack of notability".

Re:I was planning to help out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214391)

There are lots of other wikis that focus on stuff that doesn't belong in an encyclopedia.

Right... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214439)

There are lots of other wikis that focus on stuff that doesn't belong in an encyclopedia.

And that makes Wikipedia "more welcoming to newcomers" how exactly?

Re:I was planning to help out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214471)

Hmm, it would seem that one of the mod douchebags everyone in this thread is bemoaning reads /.

Re:I was planning to help out... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214415)

Citation needed.

Re:I was planning to help out... (3, Interesting)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214603)

Citation needed.

And there's the single greatest problem. There are assholes out there who spend their days sprinkling "citation needed"s around like they were pixie dust. The most unremarkable non-controversial everyone-knows third-grade logic kind of statements get one, and, once applied, can never, ever be gotten rid of. "Shallots have an oniony/garlicky flavor" [citation needed]. And so it will remain until the end of time. Try deleting it and wait to see how it takes for someone to revert it. More futile yet, try to find a "non-anecdotal" reference to satisfy the pixie-dusters.

Re:I was planning to help out... (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214701)

Someone should do a page just of hilarious "citation needed" edits on Wikipedia. I've seen some pretty funny/bizarre ones, especially lately. Someone could post "The Earth has a moon" on there and some prick would have a [citation needed] slapped on it five seconds later.

Re:I was planning to help out... (1)

jcr (53032) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214733)

There are assholes out there who spend their days sprinkling "citation needed"s around like they were pixie dust.

Yeah, I've seen a lot of that shit. Wikipedia needs a "No, a citation is not needed because it's obvious, you pedantic twat" tag.

-jcr

Re:I was planning to help out... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214735)

Citation needed.

And there's the single greatest problem. There are assholes out there who spend their days sprinkling "citation needed"s around like they were pixie dust.

[citation needed]

Re:I was planning to help out... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,17 hours | (#45214805)

The flavor of shallots, you say?

...well, at least now I know what to use my grant money for.

Re:I was planning to help out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214479)

This. The problem is deletionists who don't want what we want to contribute because they don't think it's notable enough - what, because the internet's going to run out of bytes? - and editors who consider an article their turf and won't accept improvements from outsiders.

If they want higher participation, the biggest change they could make is to relax either the notability standard or the overzealous enforcement of it.

Re:I was planning to help out... (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214503)

After going through similar situations several times I stopped trying to edit. I put pointers on talk pages once in a while, but even that is unpleasant.

The first time Jimmy Wales did his "let me put my big ugly face on every page and beg for money" campaign, that linked to a talk page. I put on that page that I would NEVER give Wikipedia any donations until they had their community under control. It's never gotten even close to being under control. It's one of the most unfriendly community of users I've ever seen on the internet (I think I would even rate "Something Awful" higher) and there is nothing ever done to curb the fighting and the personal vendettas that happen. I am all for the idea, but it isn't worth contributing when it's just the wild west and there are no sheriffs (or *everyone* is a sheriff).

Re:I was planning to help out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214729)

I seen a more welcoming response to newbies on 4chan.

Re:I was planning to help out... (3, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214539)

This. Too many times i've tried to look up something on wikipedia, either because it's a subject i care about or a subject i want to find out about, and discover there _was_ a page on it, but it was deleted for lack of notability. In the second case it's annoying because it's entirely defeating the purpose of a reference work, trying to look up things i don't already know about. If it was more notable i probably would have heard of whatever it was before and wouldn't need to look it up. In the first case, it just feels like a snub.

Then there's the bit where they keep deleting lists of things inside articles, particularly lists of trivia. Trivia lists are one of the quickest and most rewarding things to skim through. (This is why every site on the internet these days frequently posts articles in the form of lists. They get a lot of hits.)

Which is why for any kind of fictional thing i often head to TVTropes before checking out Wikipedia. It's sometimes less informative but it's usually more fun, and i don't get the feeling there's a band of people running around deleting the stuff i'm interested in.

Do we need this discussion again? (3)

glrotate (300695) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214283)

Cull the edit nazis.

Why I don't edit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214291)

I contributed to wikipedia a couple of times years ago. My edits were quickly reverted. I haven't tried to edit since. I'm guessing many other people had this experience.

Re:Why I don't edit (4, Interesting)

Russ1642 (1087959) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214571)

I converted a paragraph that looked like it had been run through Google translate a few times into actual English. It was reverted. The people that claim Wikipedia entries as their own are generally some of the dumbest people on the internet. The YouTube commenters are the ones in charge.

Re:Why I don't edit (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214589)

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that more quality editors have been driven away at this point than actually allowed to contribute.

Statistics (2)

Princeofcups (150855) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214295)

Is there anything to that statistic beyond the slowing of new content since it's a mature product? That's a good thing, right?

Re:Statistics (2, Flamebait)

disposable60 (735022) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214325)

But it's not a mature product. It's a lazy adolescent product only updated by fanbois and axe-grinders (to too large an extent).

It's a great resource if used wisely (4, Interesting)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214513)

Whilst I would NEVER quote it in an academic essay, as a source of information on non-controversial topics, (e.g. dates in history, who wrote what, basic chemistry and physics issues, all you ever wanted to know about British Railway stations past and present...) it's excellent. The sources that it quotes are the next step in serious research, with the best articles quoting online primary resources. A core question is 'were encyclopedias ever that much better?' They all come with their own agenda and biases. It's not perfect, but it's a useful resource, as well as providing the occasional giggle.

Re:It's a great resource if used wisely (3, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,17 hours | (#45214857)

Funny. I only use it to get information on an episode of a television show.

Fanbois are allowed to write countless pages on minor characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minor_Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer_characters [wikipedia.org]

...but watch how fast anything you compose is deleted as lacking "notability."

Re:Statistics (2, Informative)

multisync (218450) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214695)

Is there anything to that statistic beyond the slowing of new content since it's a mature product?

That was my question. According to this [slashdot.org] article from 2012, Wikipedia is essentially complete, at least as far as major topics are concerned.

From the earlier article:

With the exciting work over, editors are losing interest. In the spring of 2012, 3,300 editors contributed more than 100 edits per month each â" that's a 31 percent drop from spring of 2007, when that number was 4,800.

So, not only is this article kind of a dupe, but the questions raised by the MIT Technology Review article were basically addressed in the one in the Atlantic from a year earlier.

What's wikpedia? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214301)

Is it good or is it whack?

Its simple really (4, Insightful)

bazmail (764941) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214307)

Fire the fat butt-hurt dweller mods who over-moderate and reject articles for stupid subjective reasons. Unreasonable rejection is what turns people off.

Re:Its simple really (3, Interesting)

QuietLagoon (813062) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214361)

Unreasonable rejection is what turns people off.

Unless and until WikiPedia resolves the problem with moderators, participation will continue to decline.

.
No one wants to deal with the Nurse Ratched moderators who seem to hover over certain topics, punishing those who want to contribute.

Re:Its simple really (4, Insightful)

bob_super (3391281) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214405)

Yep, I tried to edit an article to remove The Annoying Caps On Each Word And RANDOM Capitalized Word that were only in two sentences in the middle.
Not a single word changed, just removing annoying formatting.

I'm pretty sure the caps are still there. They were a few months later.
Reject trivial obvious edits, and people won't even try substantive ones.

Re:Its simple really (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214509)

Completely agree... and their definition of notable is totally different than what it was in the beginning. Fuck 90% of those moderators.

Re:Its simple really (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214569)

This. Many Times This.

After dozens of edits as well as additional content on topics of expertise while including the (dreaded) required citations being reverted with prejudice labeled "off topic" I've given up on Wikipedia. How dare I touch someone's pet project with informative additions!

To this day I avoid Wikipedia and remind my children Wikipedia is not a reliable primary source of information. Always use multiple sources even when browsing for simple trivia facts.

Re:Its simple really (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214577)

Fire the fat butt-hurt dweller mods who over-moderate and reject articles for stupid subjective reasons. Unreasonable rejection is what turns people off.

Wikipedia deleted hundreds of pagan articles for lack fo relevance/popularity. There was a huge uproar in the community, but it fell on deaf ears; Many pagan religious leaders' bios were deleted of Wikipedia and the discussion pages were locked so only select and pre-approved people could comment on them -- meaning there was no way to indicate to the bigots that this wasn't just some random stub page on something nobody knew anything about, but was actually reference material used by thousands.

Ever since then, I've secretly hoped for Jimmy to get run over by a bus and wikipedia to explode in a firey ball of zero donations as people realize that the current crop of editors is enforcing their own dogmatic views on others under the guise of some 'community standards'... standards they themselves only sometimes adhere to.

Re:Its simple really (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214781)

Wikipedia deleted hundreds of pagan articles for lack fo relevance/popularity.

The fact that hundreds of pagan articles existed in the first place shows that the woo-woos were using Wikipedia like personal blogs. NOBODY CARES about your pretend religion.

Ever since then, I've secretly hoped for Jimmy to get run over by a bus

How charming. Why don't you "cast a spell", or whatever you idiots call it and see if anything happens. Give me a fucking break.

Participation Problem? Really? (4, Insightful)

raydobbs (99133) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214359)

Honestly? They need to fix their 'data fiefdom' problem. Whenever you attempt to edit something, your changes are usually encroaching on someone's 'turf' and they will revert your changes (even if your right). You can certainly go back and reverse their change cancellation, but they will come back and cancel out your cancellation of their change and so forth - after a few times, since your new; they will just vote to block you and all of your hard work goes into the pages of 'unaccepted revisions' (which is just shy of the great bit-bucket in the sky).

Re:Participation Problem? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214429)

This.

Too many of these "data fiefdoms" are used to promote political slants too.

Re: Participation Problem? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214441)

"your right" wikipedia could do with more automation, spell check for starters. still won't catch grammar howlers though.

Re:Participation Problem? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214455)

This has happened to me once. It was also the last time I edited anything on Wikipedia.

Re:Participation Problem? Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214525)

Based on Jimmy's /. interview a couple months ago, I'd say Jimmy is the problem. He is either doesn't know or doesn't care that there are fiefdoms, mod problems and an unwelcoming environment. I simply could not believe his thick-headed responses to sincere questions.

Short answer: fork it, and leave Jimmy behind.

Yeah man (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214365)

Every time I edit the Catholic church wiki entry, someone reverts it back....

Re:Yeah man (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 hours | (#45214835)

Exactly! My simple, logical, and eloquent changes to the George Bush article patiently explaining that he is the Devil, and my fair and balanced notation to Barack Obama's page that he is clearly not a US Citizen, were not only reverted but they banned my IP address! (They apparently thought I was some greek guy guy named "Anonymous"!!) With that kind of attitude how can I correct Wikipedia's obvious factual errors concerning the Moon Landing, Scientology, and Nazi Time Travel??? I am not deterred!!! Important edits like mine should be in bold type, and whats wrong with caps WHEN YOU ARE MAKING A SERIOUS POINT!

Online thugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214377)

It's because Wikipedia is ran by online special interest "GANGS". Just try to make an edit. ;D

Good (5, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214411)

Wikipedia was run by people that equated quantity with quality. It was routine to see someone heralded as authoritative because they had made tens of thousand or more edits. In reality the only thing that shows is that someone is obsessive compulsive, doesn't have a job or has a job where they don't have to work. The result was large numbers of articles that were complete and utter crap, a few that were well qualified and the constant question of was the last edit done by a PhD that's an expert in the field or a bored teenager?

It's long overdue for quantity to step to the wayside so that quality can step up to the plate. When wikipedia can stop ranking editors by quantity and start ranking editors by quality the entire site will gain credibility. The concept that just anyone can know what their talking and edit something accordingly leads to idiots that cite wikipedia over the CDC or a thousand other examples I can think of.

Wikipedia still suffers from tremendous a vocal minority on certain political subjects that are locked and to prevent any viewpoint other than the vocal minority that won the right to represent their view on the given subject. Wikipedia has made improvements, but it has a hell of a long way to go before it can be anything other than a starting point for the curious and gullible.

Re:Good (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214777)

Wikipedia was run by people that equated quantity with quality.

Nope. They have started a slow burn of all articles not up to their dogmatic community standards. Witness the thousands of pages of pagan-related material that a couple editors took upon themselves to remove, and then lock the discussion pages so nobody could comment on it while doing so.

It was routine to see someone heralded as authoritative because they had made tens of thousand or more edits. In reality the only thing that shows is that someone is obsessive compulsive

Ah, but you forget the paid schills that populate Wikipedia, tirelessly updating the pages of corporations and individuals to show the most favorable things while deleting the controversial ones! There's thousands of these people who work 40 hour weeks doing this.

When wikipedia can stop ranking editors by quantity and start ranking editors by quality the entire site will gain credibility.

Quality is subjective, but quantity is an easily measured value... and it fits with their dogmatic community standards, which every month are revised to be even more removed from reality. In a few years, I fully expect them to declare fatwa on the internet and start strapping printers to their chests and charging into crowds screaming "Decency standard violation! Significance violation! REVERT! REVEEEEERRRT!" while furiously trying to spray crowds of people with white out to cover up their trivial culture.

Wikipedia still suffers from tremendous a vocal minority on certain political subjects that are locked and to prevent any viewpoint other than the vocal minority that won the right to represent their view on the given subject.

Ding. Nailed it. Wikipedia... has become the internet's bible.

Re:Good (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | 1 year,17 hours | (#45214863)

"start ranking editors by quality the entire site will gain credibility"

Problem is quality costs time and energy few people are willing to spend, even among experts. Hence Wikipedia has reached the point where it actually needs people who are paid to do quality checking.

Get rid of the arseholes.... (3, Insightful)

GrahamCox (741991) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214425)

...and I'll come back.

Jerks with revertbots. (5, Insightful)

bellers (254327) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214481)

The wikipedia community has made itself utterly insular and there's way too much protectionism-via-automation.

Make an edit on an article someone thinks is 'theirs' ? Auto reverted via a bot. Complain about it? vote to block.

The constant barrage of Wikipedia-specific jargon and acronyms, all on its own, is enough to turn off most people.

Wikipedia's culture has very much evolved away from everyman's resource to a rarefied and specialized discipline that requires as much specific knowledge as most jobs.

No Big Mystery (5, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214499)

Pick almost almost any random article, something not too obscure. Look for some cumbersome or inelegant prose and clean it up. Don't even change anything factual, just make the article objectively clearer. This isn't even very hard to do, since many articles are written by technical-types who aren't very proficient at communicating. You see this sort of thing with engineers especially; the kind of people who resented having to take English classes.

Now wait about five minutes. Your edit will automatically be reverted by a bot squatting on the article. And after a few seconds you'll receive an automated message, usually beginning with an insincere and condescending, "Welcome to Wikipedia! I've automatically reverted your edit because...".

You can try to start an edit war, but the entrenched editors of most articles have more seniority than you, they're "experts", and it's really not worth the hassle just to make small changes. So you end up with a lot of articles which seem like they have been written by people with Aspergers, or a tenuous grasp of English. I can't speak to the editing climate in other languages.

I don't have a comprehensive solution to this problem, but it probably has something to do with getting rid of the automated bots which protect pages. That'd be a decent start.

Wikipedia is an MMORPG (4, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214521)

I said it yesterday and I'll say it today, Wikipedia is an MMORPG that allows griefing of new players and has no safe zones.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_is_an_MMORPG [wikipedia.org]

Anyone who is a higher level than you can kill-steal you whenever they want, retroactively.

The Cabal (1)

Tailhook (98486) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214523)

Wikipedia has developed a cabal of powerful admins that play Wikipedia ten hours a day instead of completing their degrees. Until their power is curtailed participation will continue to decline.

Let me help (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214527)

You want to address your failings?

Fuck you for making it so difficult to edit Wikipedia successfully. Even to use the talk pages, you have to work with some obscure mark-up language which most people have no intention of ever learning. If you don't, any contribution you make will be deleted for "vandalism".

And double fuck-you for playing favorites with various editors and admins. If you perm-banned the top 1000 most frequent contributors, the quality of wiki would go through the roof.

In other news... (1)

Minwee (522556) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214555)

Jimmy Wales is also upset that one of his party guests peed in his swimming pool.

He's trying to use a spoon and a net net to remove the contamination, but somehow that just isn't working.

Every deletion is a discouragement (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214573)

The notability and credibility requirements have driven people away.

It's back to being a boring online version of the dead tree encyclopedia's and you're only going to attract the kind of people who would write for those. It's because I can't write about {my pet rock} that I don't give a crap anymore. {my pet rock} was the thing I was interested in and knowledgable about.[citation needed]

The old days, writing on wikipedia was fun. I always thought deletion was the absolute worst thing they could do in Wikipedia. It certainly discouraged me to come on after a couple months and find my article missing. I've always felt that articles should be rated for their noteworthiness, not live and die by it. A slum of (maybe hidden?) bad articles would be better than a genocide.

But whatever, I made my case against their policies years ago. They've sown their seeds.

Jimmy Doesn't See a Problem (4, Interesting)

Kagato (116051) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214591)

I asked Jimmy directly about this in a pretty even handed way when he did the Slashdot interview questions back in August. He responded:

" Things have mostly stabilized. It's still not a crisis, but I still consider it to be important. One of the most exciting developments is the visual editor, which I hope will bring in a whole new class of editors who were turned off by the complexities of wikitext."

More or less he dismissed the premise that there was a problem in the first place, and any issues that are left could be handled with a better editor UI. Now, I do think the Wikimedia editor needs work, but Jimmy is kidding himself. Maybe he'll get a new rush of editors when they release the new UI, but I'm not convinced they'll stay.

Re:Jimmy Doesn't See a Problem (2)

rudy_wayne (414635) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214725)

More or less he dismissed the premise that there was a problem in the first place, and any issues that are left could be handled with a better editor UI. Now, I do think the Wikimedia editor needs work, but Jimmy is kidding himself. Maybe he'll get a new rush of editors when they release the new UI, but I'm not convinced they'll stay.

And there you have Wikipedia's number one problem. The people who originally created it don't give two shits about it any more.

So now you have management by committee and that committee is made up entirely of asshats.

Re:Jimmy Doesn't See a Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 hours | (#45214803)

>Maybe he'll get a new rush of editors when they release the new UI, but I'm not convinced they'll stay.

You should've read the article. The community even forced him to remove the new editor UI as the default and it's now buried in the options somewhere.

Wikipedia does not need more editors (4, Insightful)

BradMajors (995624) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214617)

Wikipedia does not need more editors. It needs editors with more expertise in their subjects.

You can find million reasons why it is so, but... (0)

nomad63 (686331) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214637)

...in my opinion, the decline in contributing members is mainly because of today's "gimme-gimme-gimme and I won't give anything back in return" mentality of the young generation of internet users. I am, what you can call, a veteran of the internet age. I started with using BITnet, while going through my masters dissertation process and contributed to many discussions, documentation projects and a few oddball wikipedia articles, on which I thought I have something to say at the time. Now, people, especially the young ones, use wikipedia is a ready-made source for copying their homework papers from and that's it. No reciprocity what-so-ever. And this makes the contributors mad I assume. I can attribute the old time veteran contributors of wikipedi, going intop silence and indifference, to this fact.

Why Wikipedia editing is declining (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214641)

Of course Wikipedia editing is declining. The articles that matter were done years ago. Most new articles are on very minor subjects.

Print encyclopedias were like that as well. Writing the original Encyclopedia Brittanica was a huge job, but ongoing maintenance required only a modest staff.

Some of the decline comes from Wikia, which is a hosting services for obsessed fans. Many of the people obsessed with popular-culture trivia content are adding it to Wikia, which monetizes it with ads. Wikia doesn't have a notability requirement, so fans can add as much trivia as they like.

We need to fork the site to save it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214665)

At this point, all that seems to be possible is to fork all of the content on the site, while creating new rules from scratch designed to avoid the current problems, and have a blanket ban (and retroactive, if any sneak through initially) on contributors from current Wikimedia sites from contributing to the new site. We can get new editors later, ones untainted by the current way of doing things at Wikimedia.

Edit the less "popular" pages (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214689)

I too have experienced assholery on the Wikipedia, but there are articles out there which need help and are unlikely to be controversial and so have a "guardian" associated with them. For example, 2-photon imaging is an important new(ish) biological technique, yet its article on the Wikipedia is rather short and doesn't reflect the importance of the technique: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-photon_excitation_microscopy [wikipedia.org]

Code should talk, and talk should walk (3, Insightful)

augustz (18082) | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214741)

I love wikipedia (and have contributed both $ and time).

There seems to have been a move on Wikipedia away from actual contributing, and towards criticizing others. This drives new folks away.

It's far too easy to slap all the labels on articles. The rate of tagging for problems seems way above the rate of fixing.

Do these sound familiar? "This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. No cleanup reason has been specified." "This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling." "This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed." "This article may need a more detailed summary" "This article may have too many section headers dividing up its content."

Perhaps they could just put a global message up. "This Wikipedia may have items that require editing. If you find such an entry, please fix it yourself."

Before long we are going to have just heavy fisted editors, and the PR flaks paid enough to deal with them and warp the articles.

Most regular people don't have the time to battle it out, but I thank everyone who tries! And I love the "welcome to wikipedia" people, keep up the good work.

Bureaucracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,18 hours | (#45214775)

Wikipedia has become a giant bureaucracy.

If you want to get anything done, you have to jump through endless hoops, and make friends with all the right people.

If you try to simply follow the rules, the Wikipedia bureaucrats will gleefully keep throwing new rules and new rule interpretations your way. Most sane people eventually give up in disgust. The people that don't - well, they are the people currently running Wikipedia.

Jimmy Wales could care less about Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 hours | (#45214851)

He's gotten his fame and fortune from it. Whether it lives on or not is inconsequential.

[Cite needed] (1)

pla (258480) | 1 year,17 hours | (#45214855)

Why does this come as a surprise?

The various "cliques" of power-tripping old-timers on Wikipedia has actively driven people away.

And most of the time, they can actually use Wiki's pointless rules (style, notoriety, original research) to justify their wholesale reduction of content to the least objectionable pablum possible, even going so far as to revert corrections back to the last known-incorrect state.

Make no mistake, many of wikis guidelines exist for a damned good reason, and I wouldn't suggest gutting them wholesale. Instead, I would gut their editorial staff that has perverted those reasons into mere excuses to behave like petty tyrants. Where to start? If someone has more deletions/reversions than contributions under their belt - See ya!
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