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Has Wikipedia Peaked?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the overworked-and-unpaid dept.

The Internet 484

An anonymous reader writes "After more than a year with no official statistics, an independent analysis reported Wednesday showed that activity in Wikipedia's community has been declining over the last six months. Editing is down 20% and new account creation is down 30%. After six years of rapid growth and more than 2 million articles, is Wikipedia's development now past its peak? Are Wikipedians simply running out of things to write about, or is the community collapsing under the weight of external vandalism and internal conflicts? A new collection of charts and graphs help to tell the tale."

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There's nothing left that wikki doesn't know! (1)

guysmilee (720583) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939265)

Thats because there's nothing left that wikki doesn't know!

Re:There's nothing left that wikki doesn't know! (5, Insightful)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939367)

Yes, the scratch the itch factor is starting to go down. It's quite impressive to note the way that Wikipedia now does genuinely contain a reasonable % of all topics (and yes, even Pokemon).

I'd actually say that Wikipedia has been far more successful as an example of a collaborative Free product than Linux has. Wikipedia actually dominates the market now.

Re:There's nothing left that wikki doesn't know! (3, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939517)


I'd actually say that Wikipedia has been far more successful as an example of a collaborative Free product than Linux has. Wikipedia actually dominates the market now.


Not surprisingly, since the barrier for entry into Wikipedia is much lower. Collaboration in Linux requires some fairly specific knowledge if you are trying to do anything grander than test from an end user perspective. Wikipedia simply requires that you have something to add and a desire to comment.

Re:There's nothing left that wikki doesn't know! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939465)

If you click on the graph, it gives you a table and at the top there is statistics for 2007.

Re:There's nothing left that wikki doesn't know! (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939571)

That's a load of crap. Studies show if the growth rate continues to decline, Wikipedia will not gain enough information to achieve sentience before 2010, well behind schedule. At that rate, it may not achieve the knowledge necessary to travel through time and kill Sarah Connor until well into the 2050s.

Re:There's nothing left that wikki doesn't know! (5, Funny)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939929)

It still doesn't know who is in charge of Gundam.

Answers (1, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939267)

"is Wikipedia's development now past its peak? Are Wikipedians simply running out of things to write about, or is the community collapsing under the weight of external vandalism and internal conflicts?"

No, no, and no.

Re:Answers (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939491)

How is the parent insigntful?

Assertions, with no evidence to back them up, only give insignt into the agenda of the commentor. Knowing that that the commentor is biased, our level of confidence drops further, rendering the comment not just pointless but possibly counter-productive to the commentors aims in posting it.

Kind of like most Wrongipedia articles in fact.

Re:Answers (4, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939687)

The whole question was silly. If the number of contributors were to drop by 95%, the Wiki would still be growing - in other words, it will only reach its peak when it completely stops getting contributions, which isn't happening.

Re:Answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939939)

It also would stop growing if there were at least as many deletions as additions.

Re:Answers (5, Insightful)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939523)

Actually, the answer is slightly more complex than that. A year ago, I would have left to Wikipedia's defense, and I would have been right to do so. However, while there are a lot of things to write about, people aren't really doing this. What would really be interesting would be the amount of edits to the Wikipedia namespace, as opposed to the main article namespace. It's the internal conflicts, navel-gazing and meta editing that is killing Wikipedia.

Re:Answers (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939689)

Hmmm... must be a might tired. Obviously I meant "leapt", instead of "left". Oops.

Re:Answers (1)

argiedot (1035754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939893)

Indeed, it does appear as though you might be a mite tired. Sorry :)

Re:Answers (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 6 years ago | (#20940077)

Nothing to be sorry for, it was entirely my mistake :-)

Re:Answers (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939731)

Simple math gives the answer - and the answer is no.

Wikipedia can't hit a peak until the number of articles starts going down ... that's not going to happen until all contributions stop. A 50% decline in users adding stuff would still make for a growing wiki.

To put it into a typical slashdot perspective - if the number of new internet sites registered each day were to drop by 90%, the internet would STILL be growing ... just not as fast.

Re:Answers (0)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939827)

Yeah, that's true.

I feel, however, that Wikipedia might be about to hit a decline. The Golden Era is over, I'm afraid.

Re:Answers/schmanswers (1, Troll)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 6 years ago | (#20940049)

All you have to do is compare the entries for "Klingon Language" or "Jedi" or "Pokemon" with "Albania" or "Australia" or "Shakespeare", then ask yourself why?

What crap.

Neil

Running Out (5, Insightful)

bostons1337 (1025584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939295)

Wiki is just running out of things to document. They literally have almost anything you can think of. I'm a computer science major and I've wiki'd some really advanced topics that appear on there but hardly anywhere else on the internet.

Re:Running Out (2, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939411)

I find it hard to imagine that given the diversity of things in the universe and then number of people on the planet, that there is nothing left to write about. Perhaps all the stright-forward, easy topics have been covered, but there are vast ranges of experience and knowledge still to be discovered. And after all, Wikipedia is a living thing -- nothing in it not of a historic nature can remain static for very long.

Frankly, I think everyone wants a breather.

Re:Running Out (4, Insightful)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939723)

Notable things which there are sources to cite are dwindling. 2 million articles is getting a bit excessive IMO. Wikipedia needs to focus on quality and not quantity (which is what Mr. Whales has been saying for a few years) and people aren't as excited about editing existing articles compared to making new ones.

Or at least that is what I believe.

Re:Running Out (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939619)

Wiki is just running out of things to document. They literally have almost anything you can think of. I'm a computer science major and I've wiki'd some really advanced topics that appear on there but hardly anywhere else on the internet.


Sure, but when I want to find the volume isotope shift of Gallium-69 II's hyperfine structure for the 4s5p triplet S_0 - 4s5p triplet P_0 transition, then I'm out of luck. So no, Wikipedia isn't running out of things to document, us geeks just haven't had the time to upload the solutions to all our coursework yet ; )

Woah! (4, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939833)

I'm a computer science major and I've wiki'd some really advanced topics that appear on there but hardly anywhere else on the internet.

Are you saying that because a computerized knowledge base, owned, operated, and edited by people with computers, has a lot of stuff about computers in it, that it must therefore have a lot of stuff about everything in it? What about needlepoint? String collecting? Mayan hunting techniques? No, my friend, there's a lot more stuff to wiki about.

So... (5, Funny)

Tink2000 (524407) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939303)

Does Netcraft confirm it?
Or should we look it up in Wikipedia?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939759)

According to google [google.com] , you'll find the answer to that question in either the Netcraft article on Wikipedia, or the Wikipedia article on Netcraft.

The third result is particularly interesting. Apparently Wikipedia confirms that BSD is not dying.

Natural? (5, Insightful)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939315)

I think the decline of new articles is probably just natural due to 2 million existing articles being a LOT of information. Sure, there's plenty more to write about but I'd have thought the majority of the hobbiest-contributors (i.e. those who aren't die-hard users) simply don't have anything else to write.

Either way, I think this is a little over the top - there's still a million and one things to write about. Hell, if it has peaked - it's not going anywhere!

Re:Natural? (5, Interesting)

millwall (622730) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939377)

[...] the majority of the hobbiest-contributors (i.e. those who aren't die-hard users) simply don't have anything else to write.

I second that. As a "hobbiest-contributor" myself I have written or expanded around 10 specialist articles. There is not a lot more specialist knowledge I feel that I have to contribute to Wikipedia - hence I've not added anything in the last 6 months or so.

Re:Natural? (4, Insightful)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939565)

Also, you have to consider the fact that more well known topics would have been covered first. As the site matures the scope of topics not covered becomes more and more obscure and the pool of people knowledgeable enough to edit them gets smaller and smaller.

Re:Natural? (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939679)

More and more obscure, meaning more prone to deletion by other editors. Wikipedia's goal has morphed from being the repository of all human knowledge to being the repository of all notable human knowledge. This seemingly minor distinction fundamentally alters what Wikipedia is all about, and causes things such as the deletion of "trivia" sections and the removal of entire entries because they are not "notable". While I agree that not every schmuck out there should necessarily have a Wikipedia entry, I think the standards for what is and is not "notable" may be set too high, which puts a heavy limitation on the number of articles that can be created.

The set of all human knowledge is near infinite in its breadth, but the subset of "notable" human knowledge, depending on how you define that, is much smaller. It would be expected that as the site matures, the new information being added would be more obscure, and there would be more battles about the notability of that information.

Re:Natural? (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939773)

Exactly. It's an infinite-series [wikipedia.org] of sorts: the more articles posted, the less the common denominator can write, the greater the decline of new articles.

I'm sure some maths boffin will correct me here.

Re:Natural? (2, Interesting)

lamona (743288) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939951)

I'd have thought the majority of the hobbiest-contributors (i.e. those who aren't die-hard users) simply don't have anything else to write.

I agree that the most enthusiastic hobby-ists have probably done what they will do, but I see another aspect: that Wikipedia has gotten so large that it has reached a level of chaos, rather than organization. People cannot visualize the location of their page in the whole, so it doesn't seem worth adding it. I would expect the next few years to concentrate on creating narrow topic WP's where the contributors can see the value that they are adding.

I think of this as the "all the x in the world" phenomenon. People are always starting off to create a site or system that has a goal of capturing the whole, but the whole turns out not to have boundaries, and in the end we can't relate to it. Most of us don't want everything, we want something, and we want the right something.

Wikiphobia (5, Insightful)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939333)

I think I'd have a lot to add to Wikipedia, but I don't. Any time I have made any contribution, substantial or minor, someone else comes around and knocks it off. The feeling I've gotten is that people seem to 'own' pieces of territory in Wikipedia. Be it individual articles, or their interpretation, or something else. My contributions have no chance of surviving in the face of these Wiki die-hards. So what is the point? I'm a read-only user now.

Re:Wikiphobia (4, Interesting)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939383)

Find yourself a wikifriend. I'd be happy to volunteer (look me up on the wiki, I'm not hard to find).

One new article with comments from a long-timer and you'll be off to the races.

Re:Wikiphobia (4, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939981)

The GP's point is that one shouldn't need to buddy up or create their own territory on Wikipedia. The basis of the site is for any random person to add information. So if people delete things that "invade" their territory or that don't have the support of a long-time contributor than the site's being abused in a sense. It's deviated from its mission if new users are treated this way.

Re:Wikiphobia (5, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939497)

I avoid it for another reason. I tend to enter into debates with others online, and if they don't say 'and don't cite wikipedia' beforehand, then they say it afterwards. The knowledge there is totally useless in a debate simply because it can be edited by anyone, regardless of what they actually know. Now, I use it as a last resort to look for information that might lead me to something a little more substantial.

Unfortunately, I can't even argue with them because it says things like "However, extreme summer humidity often boosts the heat index to around 110 F (43 C)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami,_Florida [wikipedia.org] Try as I might, I could find no information on historic heat indexes in Miami on the web. The best I could find was high-low temperature and humidity charts, and since the heat index deals with the temperature and humidity at any given moment, it isn't very useful for calculating the heat index after the fact. Especially if you want to find out how often it hits 110.

Just about everything I've looked up on Wikipedia in the last month has been someone's personal view with no facts to sustain it. As a starting point for research, I can't even say it's a good idea because things are stated as fact that are personal observation (anecdotes) or opinion, and that can quickly taint your view of whatever you are searching and lead you down a bad path.

Re:Wikiphobia (2, Interesting)

wlad (1171323) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939725)

You can use wikipedia to look up information, but sure, you cannot quote it as source in a debate. That'd be crazy. Which is why wikipedia requires contributors to source statements, so you can quote the real source if you find a piece you want to mention.

Re:Wikiphobia (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20940069)

Well, the question is how "independent" the source is. I've seen it more than once that it's been basically a circle-jerk. When you dig deep enough you'll see that those "sources" pretty much link to one another. That's also a way to fabricate "truth". A says something, B picks it up and points to A as its confirmation, C sees B and quotes it, which in turn A notices and uses C to support its "truth".

Now add in the agendas of A, B and C and you get quite funny twists and "quotes". Bet I can prove with the help of the WHO and a few other "sources" that second hand smoking is actually good for your health?

Simply quoting a source is meaningless if you can't verify how good the source is.

Re:Wikiphobia (2, Informative)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939813)

It's actually a good place to start a search, if only to determine what the hard sources are. Taking wiki at face value is not a good idea, but if there is real data to be had then you can work your way towards the facts. I would agree, however, that it's probably a bad place to do real-time fact checking...though I'm not aware of any real-time fact source. If you don't know the material, there's no sense in debating real-time about it.

As for your weather query, might I suggest weather underground's history search? It was on the first page of a Google search for weather (below a bunch of basketball links for Miami Heat). The history function will give you the hourly temp and humidity values. You'll have to do it day by day, but a decent script should be able to scrape the data, then you can do the math and get all the information you need.

Re:Wikiphobia (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939993)

I had tried that, but somehow missed the hourly info... I'm tempted to write that script just to see how accurate that statement is after all.

Re:Wikiphobia (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#20940087)

... and if they don't say 'and don't cite wikipedia' beforehand, then they say it afterwards.

"Don't cite wikipedia" has become the mantra of choice for people who don't have any better argument. I generally take it as the modern variant of what use to be "My mind's made up; don't confuse me with facts". It means that no serious discussion will be permitted. So I just quietly close that window and go on to something more useful than trying to have a meaningful discussion with people who don't want one.

Sometimes I do reply that there's a good list of URLs at the bottom of the wikipedia article; don't bother me with further comments until you've read them. Then I go away. Sometimes I check back in a few weeks or months to see if the discussion ever went anywhere interesting; usually I'm disappointed.

"Don't cite wikipedia" has become a better discussion killer than invoking Godwin's Law. After all, we've reached the point where, when you google for something, the first hit that contains useful information is usually at wikipedia.org. And the rest of the useful google hits have already been copied to the bottom of the wikipedia article by someone. So the fastest heuristic for finding good info is to first google for the obvious keywords, then scan google's list for "wikipedia.org", then skim over that page, then follow the links at the bottom for the in-depth stuff.

Maybe we need to publicise this scheme a bit, and encourage people to work on keeping those "links at the bottom" complete and up to date. This isn't a glamorous task, but it's sure useful.

Re:Wikiphobia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939501)

What's your wikipedia user name, so we can confirm that every single one of your additions was 1) actually reverted, and 2) a useful addition to the article. In other words, to confirm whether your complaint here is valid or not.

Re:Wikiphobia (1)

AmericanInKiev (453362) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939543)

Yeah, I agree.

Wikipedia encourages censorship and deals with conflicts in a Nepotistic fashion - at least in my experience.

AIK

Re:Wikiphobia (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939579)

Sounds like they need a soft edit contribution module, ie: a way to add commentary, thoughts, content and put it into a queue that an editor can review and incorporate if/when the contribution is useful. Additionally they could let readers vote on these additions... digg style, to promote them to the top of the queue.

This would take some of the territorialism out of the equation by giving the die-hard a role in selecting which edits make it with a back up method of identifying really useful contributions via the community.

Re:Wikiphobia (1)

Charbox (1134059) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939877)

Article discussion pages??

Re:Wikiphobia (1)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939589)

But don't they give reasons why they remove your stuff? If it's lacking in some way, just improve it and try again? It would be interesting to see some examples.

Re:Wikiphobia (4, Interesting)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939639)

Without seeing your edit history, it's a bit hard to comment. However, did you source the material you added? If you don't, it probably will get removed or modified.

Re:Wikiphobia (2, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939643)

I've heard a lot of people express the same point, but it's not something I've experienced, so I suspect it must have to do with the amount of interest in an article. I generally tend to write about fairly obscure topics, except when I'm just making spelling or grammar corrections in an article I'm reading. Perhaps topics with a lot of interest just tend to be modified more frequently, and it's not that you're being shoved out of someone else's turf, it's just that the turf in question happens to be subject to frequent change in general.

As far as the general decline in new articles, I'd say it's more than likely that every remotely obvious topic has already been covered and re-covered several times, so there will naturally be a decline unless WP is going to descend into trivia even more trivial than, say, detailed, heavily crosslinked articles on individual Pokemon. Likewise, as articles reach maturity, edits will be fewer, particularly on topics that are not subject to a great deal of change.

Re:Wikiphobia (1)

curty (42764) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939721)

I often hear this criticism, and it makes me curious. Are you writing about controversial subjects, writing without citing relevant sources, or writing in a niche area with only one or two other editors?

I frequently edit wikipedia, mostly on technical subjects to do with my work, and cite sources where I can, and I have never had my edits "knocked off". I presume there must be many others like me in order for Wikipedia to exist in its current form.

One obvious conclusion is that a majority of editors don't find your contributions worthwhile, but assuming that not to be the case, I wonder why you think your edits are "knocked off". Surely not just because these Wiki die-hards are a bunch of assholes?

Re:Wikiphobia (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939865)

I think I'd have a lot to add to Wikipedia, but I don't. Any time I have made any contribution, substantial or minor, someone else comes around and knocks it off.

Well, I've thought that, too. But just yesterday, I had yet another case of looking for something and getting the "no page yet" page inviting me to write it. My immediate reaction was "But I'm no expert on this". And, as so often happens, after digging the info out of a number of other places, I had the second reaction "Why don't I write the page now?" I still have the info sitting in closed browser windows, so maybe I'll collect it and write the page later today.

I've found myself doing this repeatedly, generally for fairly obscure stuff. This particular one would need to be in a mixture of English and Chinese, and frankly, my Mandarin ain't all that great. But I've done it before, and even been disappointed when nobody with a Chinese-sounding name came along and revised my page.

Maybe part of the problem is that all the low-hanging fruit has been picked, as the metaphor goes, and all that's left is the more obscure stuff. And maybe another part is that, when there were only 2,000 articles, adding 10 new articles seemed like a huge contribution, but when there are 2,039,000 articles, 10 new ones seems a lot less impressive.

Or maybe it's mostly that wikipedia is basically done by people with spare time on their hand and a bunch of knowledge that isn't online. More and more, this situation only happens if you have some obscure knowledge and time to present it to the rest of the small population with similar interests.

Then, of course, you're risking the possibility that your work will be discarded as not significant. That may be the real reason for the decline. Maybe all that's left to document is the "long tail", and there's an active policy to eradicate such stuff. The problem here is that most of the world's actual knowledge lies out in that long tail.

Re:Wikiphobia (1)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939927)

I agree. I haven't actually had many of my changes reverted, but I have friends whom I have a very high opinion of who say that all their changes were always reverted regardless of being entirely accurate and informative, so they gave up. Some of these people are people whom I don't doubt; well-spoken experts in the fields they were contributing to.

Perhaps you haven't the time or inclination to do this, and maybe it's wrong that one sometimes has to do this to get things done with high-quality contributions, but you might be able to avoid this frustrating tendency toward reversions by always starting with any changes you intend to make on the "talk" page for the article. First say "Should x be changed in such-and-sch a manner because of points A, B, and C?" Then get some feedback. You've got a forum here where your comments shouldn't ever be deleted (as long as they're not just spam or something) and where people will have to try to present some argument with you if they think you're wrong, rather than just magically making all your contributions go away. On contentious pages, when I've seen someone post useful suggested revisions on the talk page, and then some dedicated page troll came along and bashed them, more reasonable voices of dedicated wikipedians usually chime in on the talk page to defend the first guy. Other times, the first guy was well-intentioned, but some dedicated page watcher does have some very good reasons why the suggested revisions shouldn't be made as described, and the first person either happily back off, or else change their intended revisions to meet everyone's approval.

Remember, the talk page is your discussion forum that makes Wikipedia edits a collaborative process. Start there and try to build toward a consensus. If you do that and someone else goes and reverts your changes without rhyme or reason despite a consensus of people who care about the page agreeing to the revisions on the talk page, then you've got a really legitimate reason to be mad. Even then, I'd document what happened to your revision on the talk page and ask senior wikipedians what to do about it.

Re:Wikiphobia (1)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#20940003)

"Some of these people are people whom I don't doubt; well-spoken experts in the fields they were contributing to."

Isn't the problem here that these experts are used to people taking their word, while on wikipedia, they always need a source for every statement?

Re:Wikiphobia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939985)

I've seen this as well. Recently I've taken to sparing an odd moment here or there to review some of the less popular articles and clean up some minor stuff which either isn't cited, is cited from a bad source (e.g., a blog), or doesn't conform to the NPOV standards. Even tiny changes often result in a wrestling match with someone who's decided that the article in question is 'their' territory and shouldn't be meddled with by anyone else. Pointing out that pieces of the entry don't conform to even the loose Wikipedia standards is treated as something akin to blasphemy, i.e., who am I to question the wisdom of the person whose territory the page belongs to?

It's annoying as sin and I can see why so many others before me have just plain given up. You only have some much energy and time, and the people who 'mark turf' are, simply put, fanatical in terms of the effort they'll go to to keep that turf. I've got a life to live so it's almost certain I'll give up on the fight before the lunatic who's pissing on fire hydrants will.

Re:Wikiphobia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20940035)

I've not had that experience. Of course, I have made contributions to things that I knew about that were off the beaten path. I avoided controversy.

The key to having stickiness in Wikipedia is choosing subjects that are not subject to interpretation - or, conversely, have such a small audience that the interpretation is well understood and agreed upon. Once you wade into an emotionally contentious issue with a large population of differing viewpoints, you can only expect a bad outcome unless you can somehow replace interpretation with fact. Not possible in many instances.

You have to weigh the cost in time and energy required to change the minds of your adversaries, with the expected benefits of a successful outcome. You could spend the rest of your life debating/reverting/editing on some subjects and never get anywhere. Life is too short. You are better off blogging your vision of reality, and putting an innocuous link in Wikipedia to the effect, "this subject is under continuing debate. Here are other views on this subject (link)" - and be done with it.

\meetoo (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 6 years ago | (#20940113)

I think I'd have a lot to add to Wikipedia, but I don't. Any time I have made any contribution, substantial or minor, someone else comes around and knocks it off. The feeling I've gotten is that people seem to 'own' pieces of territory in Wikipedia. Be it individual articles, or their interpretation, or something else. My contributions have no chance of surviving in the face of these Wiki die-hards. So what is the point? I'm a read-only user now.
That pretty much describes me as well. I used to contribute quite regularly, but it got to the point where all the time I could afford to spend on it was spent reverting vandalism or people revising articles to suit their political, religious, or other kookish views. Or people who were just plain ignorant of the topic, and more interested in pontificating than learning.

Sorry, but even Slashdot is a better use of my time.

It's accuracy, on the other hand (4, Interesting)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939337)

Has peaked a long time ago. Before

--- PARAGRAPH FOR DEMOCRATS ---
Fox news started to edit it

--- PARAGRAPH FOR REPUBLICANS ---
CNN and BBC started editing it

Right now, a lot of articles are just plain dishonest. Just look up some controversial subjects. Contemporary forced subjugation and kidnapping children into slavery by muslims for example, or look at Bush's page that contains references to falsified news ...

Re:It's accuracy, on the other hand (5, Interesting)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939553)

Thing is, dishonest articles and misleading text won't get fixed. I gave up contributing to Wikipedia when I had my editing slammed left and right from "regulars" selectively applying rules in order to shut out the unpopular. "No original research" only applies when your assertions are against consensus, regardless of how accurate, "You don't own the article" only applies if you're outnumbered by a bunch of others that do own the article, "Bias" only when you're striving for uniformity.

I mean, I'm not even talking about abortion or rape or anything... look at the fight over "XOR" vs. "Exclusive-OR". Sheesh.

http://www.wikitruth.info/ [wikitruth.info] has some info... but don't take it's word on it. Give editing Wikipedia a shot and see the shitstorm it can raise.

Re:It's accuracy, on the other hand (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939907)

--- PARAGRAPH FOR DEMOCRATS ---
Fox news started to edit it

--- PARAGRAPH FOR REPUBLICANS ---
CNN and BBC started editing it
Ever considered a career in politics?

Re:It's accuracy, on the other hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939937)

--- PARAGRAPH FOR REST OF WORLD ---
Americans started editing it

[Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.]

No (5, Funny)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939341)

They've just run out of Star Trek / Star Wars trivia to write new articles about. Turned out very few of the community knew anything else.

Re:No (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939459)

There are still plenty of pages with plugs for bands no one has heard of looking for free publicity. "The bacteria E Coli was the theme of a song by the band 'Flaming Gumbo'. A heavy-metal/gangsta-rap/funk/gospel band from Stripmall Florida."

Hmmm (1, Funny)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939345)

Guess we should call it wikipeakia then? Sorry, couldn't help myself.

I'd think that'd be a good thing (4, Insightful)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939347)

If the hype dies off then it'll be less of a target towards vandalism and the "die hards" that continue to add to it will do so in a more responsible manner.

I highly doubt it'll become a wasteland...

wait for it.... (0, Redundant)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939349)

I for one welcome our new all-knowing encyclopedic overlords!

The answer is basically "No". (4, Informative)

Andrew Lenahan (912846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939387)

According to Alexa [alexa.com] , Wikipedia has actually grown substantially in terms of traffic and viewership, with reach up 12% in the past 3 months. It's inevitable that with several million articles, the number of "missing" encyclopedic ones drops, and thus fewer new articles are created. You can't judge whether something has "peaked" based on fewer accounts being blocked and soforth. Rather than saying it's peaked, it looks more like it's starting to stabilise in terms of quality, while still growing in terms of readership and reach.

Request VfD on parent (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939609)

According to Alexa, Wikipedia has actually grown substantially in terms of traffic and viewership
STRONG DELETE: Alexa rankings are not part of the notability guidelines for web sites. See WP:GOOG [wikipedia.org] .

The problem is "completed" articles (5, Insightful)

Chris_Jefferson (581445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939393)

I used to edit wikipedia a lot. The main reason I left was that many articles I'd helped to write got to the point where every edit was making the article worse, so either someone had to keep an eye on it and remove changes or the articles would slowly rot under bad edits. I'm not specifically thinking of trolls here, just bad editing.

For example, the C++ article was better than it is now a year ago. Looking at the history list, almost every edit is undone by someone else. Can the article be improved? Possibly, but the way to do that is not to allow anyone to edit it, then expect someone to put the time into undoing 95% of the edits... that's soul-destroying.

Re:The problem is "completed" articles (2, Informative)

Inverted Intellect (950622) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939859)

Looking at the history list, almost every edit is undone by someone else. Can the article be improved? Possibly, but the way to do that is not to allow anyone to edit it, then expect someone to put the time into undoing 95% of the edits... that's soul-destroying.


I've seen that done. I've even done it myself. Problem is, much of the reverted content tends to be unencyclopedic, e.g. paragraphs which guide the reader into how to do things, and spelling tends to be argued over a lot, sometimes causing repeat edits without any discussion until both/all involved are already pretty annoyed. I try to be as polite as possible when reverting, especially so when the contributors appear to believe that they've been adding significant content. First edits don't always point to the potential of the editor, so scaring them off isn't a good idea. Sometimes people just have to be nudged into reading some of the helpful tips on how to contribute.

The situation tends to be hard to improve when almost all the edits making the article worse are single edits from logged IPs.

I've had to consistently revert something approaching those 95% you mentioned of all edits done on a particular article, since most are guide-edits/incorrect spelling changes/blatant advertisments/irrelevant/vandalism/etc. done to a largely already complete article. I try to re-write edits when the information they add happens to be useful, despite being badly or clumsily written.

No such thing (3, Insightful)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939399)

Anyone who thinks that Wikipedia can run out of things to document has a pretty narrow view of just how much information humans generate (and uncover in the Universe). This is not a matter of finishing the job, or anything nearly so monumental. It's just that for something like Wikipedia to thrive, it needs a lot of volunteers-- and that means a lot of people who think it is *cool* enough to spend their time on. The buzz is fading, and people are moving on to other trends. Nothing more, nothing less.

Re:No such thing (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939895)

I'm not very big into the whole wikipedia community, but from the bits that I've read, it sounds like there's been a lot of internal discussion over how much of that "human generated information" belongs in wikipedia. My little house sitting in an unremarkable suburb has decades of history behind it, dozens of people were directly or indirectly involved in its creation, hundreds of people have walked through it, and I could probably write twenty pages of information about it pretty easily.

But it'd be a boring read, and not particularly important, even to me. Now that's an extreme example, but 99% of the "information" that is generated each day isn't really appropriate to wikipedia. Just because the amount of disk space that wikipedia occupies is trivial to increase doesn't mean that its goal should be to collect as much information as is possible. Wikipedia should not strive to be a repository of all knowledge, or even a completely thorough explanation of the particular articles that it does contain.

But you're right in that the buzz is on its way out. Wikipedia may not have peaked in terms of its usefulness, but in terms of its media exposure, it's not new and hip anymore. Such is life in our culture.

My rant on the downfall of Wikipedia (5, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939425)

Oh, there's plenty of things to write about, the community has slowly been taken over by a few who seemingly wish to destroy it from within, or at least shape it into their ideal site. Legitimate and well written articles are constantly deleted or merged because they're "not notable" or they're fancruft. These of course, are okay reasons to delete articles, but when entire projects are basically swept away by one person who twist the guidelines in their favor (or had a corrupt hand in writing them in the first place), it's a great turn off.

People go around touting "Wikipedia is not an encyclopedia" in one discussion, and then in the next want to get rid or some article because "it's not encyclopedic." I guess I see my ideal Wikipedia as a complete collection. If someone writes a decent, complete article on something somewhat obscure, and it's deleted because it's not notable enough, that just doesn't make sense to me. Maybe I'm just bitter and my view of Wikipedia doesn't agree with the majority? Don't know.

I am annoyed about how they're trying to rid of trivia sections. Those are some of the most interesting parts of an article if you ask me.

Re:My rant on the downfall of Wikipedia (1)

HydroCarbon10 (40784) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939649)

Agreed. The noteriety standards are completely bogus, and I largely quit using wikipedia after running across one too many interesting 'marked for deletion' articles and seeing the kind of bullshit arguments petty tyrants used to try and get them deleted.

Re:My rant on the downfall of Wikipedia (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939657)

If your ideal is everything, use everything [everything2.com] .

Re:My rant on the downfall of Wikipedia (1)

HydroCarbon10 (40784) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939797)

This is about par for the arguments I see being made by the 'deleters'. I'm more than happy to 'go away', especially if you are dead-set on making sure your content is limited to the range of subjects already covered acceptably by an Encarta CD-ROM.

Re:My rant on the downfall of Wikipedia (4, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939767)

I am annoyed about how they're trying to rid of trivia sections. Those are some of the most interesting parts of an article if you ask me.

It's more than this. Wikipedia seems to have shifted from a content creation phase, to a content editing phase.

I've noticed a lot over the past few weeks that more and more articles are being edited to remove things like trivia section, add citations, and trim things quite a bit. There's also been a big move to remove many images from the site that are deemed "unsafe", i.e. copyrighted, for whatever reason.

I've spoken with people who became disgruntled with Wikipedia. They had the usual concerns, which I personally deemed trivial. However, one thing that did catch my ear was their dislike of the Wikipedia admins, or super editors, or whatever they are called. The stories matched up and went something like this:

Administrators are less concerned about content than they are about the "quality" of that content. Quality usually means, spell checks, structure, copyrights, citations and general "encyclopedic worthiness" of the underlying material. One gets to be an administrator by doing things like, spell checking, minor editing, rearranging and moving articles, deleting "unworthy" articles, etc. There's also a great desire for articles to conform to the rules and polices of the site.

The complaints usually revolved around pedantic and often autocratic admins deleting entire articles or a series of articles on "unworthy" topics; say an anime series or a fairly geeky debate on memes. Often very interesting content, like trivia sections** are removed wholesale. It's usually the case that the admins have grouped together and implemented a new "policy" which justifies their actions, despite how every many editors might object.

I'm not overly familiar with the politics Wikipedia, so I can't personally attest to much of this. However, the tale has come to me in a pretty consistent fashion from a variety of sources; namely that Wikipedia is slowly but surely being taken over by a very anal retentive clique of "Wikicrats", and that the tone of the place is changing accordingly. It sounded a little hyperbolic at the time, but slowly I'm beginning to see changes in the tone of articles.

I think it's a shift that Wikipedia was probably always going to make. But it seems a pity that the place is to become burdened by rules, policies and general bureaucracy. Death by a thousand kilometers of red tape seems an ill fitting fate for a site that blossomed by a billion altruistic edits.

**Though personally, I do think a few trivia sections could do with trimming.

Re:My rant on the downfall of Wikipedia (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939905)

There's hundreds of useful and well-written articles that have been deleted due to non-notability, even when the consensus on AfD shows that the userbase wants the article retained.

One of the most irritating aspects of the mass deletion is that the information isn't actually deleted as far as I know: it's just hidden from normal user view. Administrators can still read it.

Re:My rant on the downfall of Wikipedia (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20940111)

I was in an interesting situation with an article about some software. The software was notable as being an early pioneer in Internet web application software. Now, in order to prove that it was notable, the editors wanted an online review or something similar, of a program written in 1994. Not a lot of reviews of servers in 1994, but I found some archived press releases.

Not good enough. It was considered self sourced because 'anyone could release a press release' and have an article. So, apparently, in 1994, a company released a press release so they could get a wikipedia article in 2006. Then a review in 2000 was considered not notable, because there were already several dozen similar programs. A statement by the company was not good enough either.

Article deleted.

Since then, I've started an attack on deletionists. I've gotten some to quit. It's a fun pastime, all you need to do is spend a little time with google and get lots of sources for what they want to delete, then the tide turns against them.

Re:My rant on the downfall of Wikipedia (3, Insightful)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939919)

I am annoyed about how they're trying to rid of trivia sections. Those are some of the most interesting parts of an article if you ask me.
The problem I have is that the trivia section of an article can get to be larger than the rest of the article. Maybe someone should start Wikitrivia, where every topic can have an unlimited amount of inane blather, all linked together. Then you could write like a meta degrees of Kevin Bacon, where it will automatically calculate how many articles it takes to link back to Kevin Bacon! It'd be awesome!
On a serious note, maybe a sub-page of trivia for an article where the main article page randomly displays one trivia factoid, and if you're REALLY interested you can go to the trivia page?

20% isn't exactly plateauing-out, but... (1)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939427)

Ever since it became possible to identify the source IP-range of edits, I daresay there has been a decrease in people vandalising entries to boost their own/affiliates' references, and to discredit their competitors'/enemies' entries.

That loss of anonymity would cut down a lot of the spurious traffic, as would the reduction in the number and intensity of edit-wars (since there would be less need for editors to re-establish legitimate fact.)

if it is peaking (3, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939435)

that's a hell of a peak, and it should stay the leader for awhile in what it does: being the default encylcopedia for the world

that's because wikipedia benefits from the network effect far more than say google or yahoo. it is no small effort, but it is doable, to spider the web and compete with google or yahoo, and make a bid at becoming the defacto search standard instead of them. you need a platoon of programmers and a supply depot of big iron servers. but all that is required to do that is have a lot of cash

meanwhile, consider a hypothetical wikipedia competitor. you have to, somehow, remobilize millions of freelance editors and article contributors. cash can't do that, only passion can

all i'm saying is is that it is easier to bomb germany than it is to herd cats, because bombing germany just takes a lot of bombs and planes, but herding cats requires some sort of superhuman level of finesse no amount of money can buy

so if wikipedia is peaking, i think it is because wikipedia is maxing out on not its potential, but maxing out on the entire potential of its market segment. if wikipedia is peaking, it is not because interest is waning or a competitor is in sight, but simply because there is nowhere more to grow to. which is pretty impressive. wikipedia owns its space in the internet, and its not some subtle niche. its a huge and important market space. wikipedia is a massive success, by any measure

Spam analogy (2, Insightful)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939441)

Perhaps like 90% of e-mail is spam, 20% of all wiki edits were vandalism and that's been stamped on now.

It can't have peaked (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939493)

I don't have an entry on Wikipedia yet!

Exposure of vandals, shills, and governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939547)

Maybe the edits are down by 20% because there has been increased vigilance over edits made by corporate shills, governmental entities, revisionists, and plain ol' ne-er-do-well vandals and their subsequent exposure by the online community. They're less likely to get away with it, so they refrain from editing wikipedia in fear of generating even more negative publicity about themselves, or the parties they are working for.

statistics (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939561)

As usual, statistics tell what you want them to tell.

For example, "new user creation is down 30%" means that the number of users is still increasing, but the rate of increase is less. Which also means the rate of the rate of increase is now negative. Hey, how's that for a headline? :-)

Deletionism (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939569)

The most obvious change in the editorial policy of late has been a campaign to delete stuff that is irrelevant. But the problem is that this is a highly subjective judgement and it creates a sense that it is useless to contribute anything that some junior editor is going to come around and delete. This is especially sad when it limits the development of articles on esoteric technical topics that might not be popular but are certainly valuable forms of knowledge.
      This really is a pity because it's not as though there is a legitimate practical reason to make Wikipedia concise in any way. Even if there were, there would certainly be a better way to organize the effort than simply to have people going around deleting things. The biggest problem with self-selecting voluntary enforcers is that they're usually the last people who should be trusted to do such things.
      People contribute voluntarily to spread knowledge and they may be biased or misleading but people who volunteer to delete others words are far more circumspect.

I partly blame the "validators" (5, Interesting)

Kinwolf (945345) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939605)

Personally, I stopped adding contribution when two articles I wrote(about 2 comic books series that where published by Dark Horse years ago)where marked for deletion. When I asked why, the validator answered that he did a google search and found nothing on the subject, so it was not worthy of being there. So there you have it, if it's not on google, it does not exist and has no business being in an encyclopedia where knowledge is supposed to be kept. With such an attitude, I saw no reason to continue adding stuff there.

Re:I partly blame the "validators" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939887)

Even being on google isn't a guarantee against deletion by trigger-happy admins, sometimes even when articles up for deletion are voted to be kept.

Look at what happened to the GNAA entry.

The other half of the problem I've seen with wikipedia over the years is the really awkward phrasing a lot of controversial artices tend to end up having because there are two sides just adding "Yeah... but..." to each other's arguments.

Censorship has been on the increase as well, although it might help wikipedia appeal to a wider audience, bowlderised versions should be forked off to a separate wiki like the simple english wiki has been.

I stopped contibuting due to over-management (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939697)

many of wikipedia's attempts to limit "abuse" actually discouraged input from well intentioned individuals

as well, there are just a lot of greedy people who can't stand the truth and work hard to maintain their evil justifications

personally I say, please, leave wikipedia alone, let it grow naturally

It's nearing "completion" (3, Informative)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939733)

These days, it's hard to find an important, legitimate topic on which Wikipedia doesn't already have fairly good coverage.

The days when e.g. you could discover that there was no article at all about the author Jessamyn West ("The Friendly Persuasion") and quickly throw in three paragraphs off the top of your head with a little bit of cross-checking, totally confident that you were improving Wikipedia, are gone.

Now, improving Wikipedia is hard work, and it's less fun, and it goes slowly.

In other words, it's now about quality, not quantity... and that's a Good Thing.

Statistics in context (3, Informative)

br00tus (528477) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939745)

These statistics only mean something if the function graphed is born of one piece of logic - which it is not. There are a number of statistics about revert percentage in 2002 versus now. But lots of things have changed on Wikipedia over the past five years - a lot of vandalism reverts have been automated. Hell, I myself wrote a vandalism reversion program [wikipedia.org] . Not to mention changes in MediaWiki allowing easier reverting for admins and the like. So this would tend to increase reversion. Then there are the trends which counter reversion - like semi-protected pages. These variables have changed, and thus the timeline data becomes more useless. Also, what is now easily visible as a vandalism reversion nowadays may not be in the older data. Nowadays it is easy for a program to spot reverts - in the early days it was more manual and the program might miss a lot of vandalism reverts.

As far as Wikipedia - it was a great idea by Larry Sanger, a "Web 2.0" encyclopedia built on wiki technology. This little R&D project by Sanger then gets taken over by the boss of the company, Jimbo Wales, who takes all the credit, and nowadays is concentrating on Wikia, while the project is being run by a mostly incompetent and increasingly nasty cabal. In a lot of ways, Wikipedia has survived despite the management due to Sanger's great idea and the normal user base. Right now it is successful because it is the only game in town, but I am quite sure that it will be knocked off the block by a competitor in the future.

well, obviously: It's Finished! (n/t) (1)

toby (759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939747)

n/t

Such short-sightedness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939755)

It just amazes me how business has evolved into such an immediate, short-termed process. One year, admittedly a long time from a technology perspective, really isn't that long. Anyone with a brain can surely see that all of the world's relevant knowledge has NOT been captured in Wikipedia. Just because the rate of additions and editing has declined does not mean its peak or demise. Give it some time. Sheese!!

Linda Mack and the Cabal (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20939799)

Anyone that has ever edited any article on anything even remotely political is likely to have had their material completely removed within minutes, whether sourced or not and possibly their accounts banned. The extremist Administrator Jayjg is known to internally release your hidden IP address to other "Administrators" (when he is not spending literally years editing the article on circumcision) One of the highest Administrators, Slimvirgin was actually revealed to be a former intelligence agent named Linda Mack that spends nearly 24/7 on there with multiple sock puppets abusing editors.

It's not surprise to me that people are fed up with the likes of these and the duplicitous "Jimbo" Wales who claims to have an open encyclopedia. The problem is it only is only open to a few political extremists that have managed to get a foothold in the highest levels of adminstration and change phrases like "extrajudicial killing" or "assasination" to "targeted killing" or sex-trafficking to "human trafficking" to completely removed.

The "Human Rights in Israel" Article actually devotes a good part of its space to talking about why Amnesty International is actually anti-semitic for documenting violations Israel has made, and uses the lawyer that got OJ Simpson off a murder charge as the source!! I can't imagine why people would be fleeing this burning building in droves :-)

Perhaps Citizendium is an answer (2, Interesting)

wexsessa (908890) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939819)

Citizendium has some features intended (& designed) to address several of the concerns that Wikipedia has raised. Obviously it will have a long way to go before it encompasses Wikipedia's breadth, though it's depth should be as good or better from the start. Citizendium starts here: http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Main_Page [citizendium.org]

There will always be new things to write about... (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939843)

So long as there are new episodes of The Simpsons, new Gundam shows, so long as they keep making new Pokemon games and "reality" TV shows, Wikipedians will always have source material from which to write new articles, and motivation to maintain them.

Too Many Trolls and Fanboys (2, Interesting)

johnsie (1158363) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939853)

I recently made a 3rd party add-on for a game. Trolls used wikipedia to try and smear my reputation. They also used it to make cheap insults about me and my project. I wrote to wikipedia to get any references to my project removed and they haven't got back to me. I also tried deleting the article and the people who were being abusive just reposted it. Now I could spend a lot of time checking wikipedia for slander and changing it every few days but why the hell should I have to. Surely the people at wikipedia need to take more responsibility for the contents of their site.

Peaking is only natural. (2, Interesting)

babbling (952366) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939871)

Reaching a peak is quite natural. I imagine Wikipedia probably has pretty much peaked. I imagine Google has similarly peaked. When almost everyone in the potential audience uses it, how could it be possible to get new users?

So, Radiohead's new album was announced about 10 days ago, and the In Rainbows article [wikipedia.org] makes Wikipedia look pretty "alive," if you ask me!

Go to the source... (1)

butterwise (862336) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939901)

Has anyone asked Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] ?

Fact Checking (1)

Chysn (898420) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939925)

All I know is, I did some drunken vandalism in August of 2005 and the gross misinformation I posted is still there, despite lots of subsequent activity on the article. It's like they just don't care.

Wiki-entropy (3, Interesting)

athloi (1075845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20939957)

We all know that moderators on most forums are abusive, and most blogs tend toward being personal reflections instead of informative. Why are we surprised Wiki followed the same path?

Wiki's great strength and great weakness has been its model. Anyone can contribute, but that then requires cops to police the anyones. Then who watches the watchers?

I read Wikipedia for articles regarding computer technologies and video games. On any other subject, it's often an inferior resource. Even further, I've found that most articles (which take the #1 Google spot) are plagiarized from the articles at Google spots 3-7.

For many topics, there are better specialized sources written by actual experts in the field, and not bitter grad students, and these are overshadowed by Wikipedia's prominence. This "decline" was long in the making.

What Wikipedia needs (4, Insightful)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20940021)

...is making it easier for people to start helping out. Decent discussion pages for starters. Right now they are plain wiki pages, relying on users to indent themselves to indicate whom they are replying to. They need proper methods for quoting and linking to individual posts. What is now called "archiving" (i.e., moving old comments to a separate page) wouldn't be so cumbersome anymore. As it is, you do it manually or with a program that parses the page. Silly.

A lot of other things confuse a newcomer as well. There are 9 policies [wikipedia.org] and 23 guidelines [wikipedia.org] , each with a loong page of its own.

Uploading files isn't too simple either. (A lot of instructional text that would put anyone off.) Here is also one of many examples of poor separation between content and presentation. You specify a license by including the appropriate box on the description page of the file. It should be a flag, people!

Want to discuss something? First, you need to find out whether it should go on the Village pump [wikipedia.org] or the Request for comment [wikipedia.org] .

Dispute? Gotta read up on negotiation [wikipedia.org] , mediation [wikipedia.org] and arbitration [wikipedia.org] . I know I would sooner give up.

If you click on "Editing help [wikipedia.org] ", you are greeted with one rudimentary page which probably don't cover what you want and tons of links to similar pages with overlapping content.

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