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Wikipedia Disputes Editor Exodus Claims 207

Posted by Soulskill
from the waiting-on-netcraft dept.
eldavojohn writes "The Wikimedia blog has a new post from Erik Moeller, deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation, and Erik Zachte, a data analyst, to dispute recent reports about editors leaving Wikipedia (which we discussed on Wednesday). They offer these points to discredit the claims: 'The number of people reading Wikipedia continues to grow. In October, we had 344 million unique visitors from around the world, according to comScore Media Metrix, up 6% from September. Wikipedia is the fifth most popular web property in the world. The number of articles in Wikipedia keeps growing. There are about 14.4 million articles in Wikipedia, with thousands of new ones added every day. The number of people writing Wikipedia peaked about two and a half years ago, declined slightly for a brief period, and has remained stable since then. Every month, some people stop writing, and every month, they are replaced by new people." They also note that it's impossible to tell whether someone has left and will never return, as their account still remains there."
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Wikipedia Disputes Editor Exodus Claims

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  • Liar (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tom (822)

    If someone starts off saying "it ain't so" by listing half a dozen facts that have nothing to do with the question, he's either terribly stupid, or trying to pull a fast one on you. It's called misdirection and confusion. Yes, it's actually a named trick in the arsenal of con artists.

    So much for that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      At Wikipedia, we are proud that we have more editors than readers

      • by Moryath (553296)

        You kidding? That's the goal of most admins - if you have new editors, there's the possibility that "consensus" on the little fiefdoms they control might actually change.

        Most Wikipedia administrators have the goal of driving off new editors as fast as possible.

        • by dgatwood (11270)

          It's definitely a joke. It is not possible to have more editors than readers unless people are editing without looking at what they are editing, in which case WP is thoroughly screwed.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            It is not possible to have more editors than readers unless people are editing without looking at what they are editing

            Given the tendency of some editors to edit without ever looking at any source material for what they are editing, it sounds about right.

    • Re:Liar (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stargoat (658863) <stargoat@gmail.com> on Saturday November 28, 2009 @09:29AM (#30254128) Journal

      There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

      But a Wikipedia administrator with a bunch of tags and article locks isn't too far away from inventing a fourth type of lie.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        But a Wikipedia administrator with a bunch of tags and article locks isn't too far away from inventing a fourth type of lie.

        Orwell has prior art, methinks.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          [citation needed]

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          A relevant Orwell reference... on the internet? Dear god, what is slashdot coming to!

          • A relevant Orwell reference... on the internet? Dear god, what is slashdot coming to!

            Yeah, really. Let's all stop posting. And then we can see if Taco edits out references to the mass exodus on Slashdot's Wikipedia page, replacing it with "The number of people posting to Slashdot peaked about two and a half months ago, declined slightly for a brief period, and has remained stable since then. Every month, some people stop posting, and every month, they are replaced by new people."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If someone starts off saying "it ain't so" by listing half a dozen facts that have nothing to do with the question, he's either terribly stupid, or trying to pull a fast one on you. It's called misdirection and confusion. Yes, it's actually a named trick in the arsenal of con artists.

      So much for that.

      Did you actually read the fine blog? It's titled "Wikipedia’s Volunteer Story" (emphasis mine). So it's not so much an answer to a question as a question about the relevance of the supposed question. It's like asking whether nuclear warheads or terrorism is the greater danger to world peace. (I'd answer both.)

      The Wikipedia blog raises an interesting point about the seemingly irrelevant statistic about an increase in the number of readers or users as against the alleged decrease in the number of editor

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by somersault (912633)

        It's like asking whether nuclear warheads or terrorism is the greater danger to world peace. (I'd answer both.)

        I think you mean "neither". They can't both be greater.

        And it can logically be argued that if anything nuclear warheads have encouraged world peace.

        Mod this "-2 pedantic and offtopic", I just had to point it out.

    • Re:Liar (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mdwh2 (535323) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @10:02AM (#30254242) Journal

      As opposed to simply reeling off ad hominems, and attacking his writing strategy rather than his argument?

      He didn't say "it ain't so". RTFA. In fact, it doesn't even dispute it even though that's presumably the intent, it simply talks of looking further into the figures.

      The first two things listed may not be directly related to the number of editors - but that's the point! "Number of editors leaving" is a rather meaningless figure. You have to look at the whole picture, which is what he's doing. And the second one is related - they're still getting new articles, so there's yet to be any problem.

      The third one is directly related.

      He then goes in depth in discussing the alleged claims of the 49,000 figure.

      Am I reading the same article as you?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)

        I think it's a bit much to say you're replying to a post riddled with ad hominems, I see a single one in the subject line, the rest looks looks conditional.

        I also think it's a natural response when we're used to seeing politically motivated people dance around a simple claim.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gilleain (1310105)

          Yes, this is an argument pattern I call "ad logicam" (I don't care if that is terrible latin, it's been 17 years since I used the language).

          What happens is that the arguer knows these terms like "ad hominem", "straw man", etc. and concentrates only on that aspect of an opposing argument. So, you could make the most well thought out reply that completely destroys their point, but end with "you idiot" and the argument is 'lost'. Not lost in the technical sense of having a better point, but lost to flame and b

      • What's the difference? Wikipedia is simply a means of promoting whatever is the accepted "common knowledge" about a subject at the time. Anything resembling original research is immediately stricken from the Wikipedia "Gospel according to the Experts." In this regard, Wikipedia resembles the kind of banal nonsense one reads in high school textbooks.

        • Still, when I was wondering the other day what Ochratoxin [wikipedia.org] (I was reading a dire warning to avoid certain foodstuff for my baby due to this), wikipedia gave a good answer right away, for free. I don't get the wikipedia hate; I find it an extremely useful source of knowledge, completely replacing the by-now obsolete and bulky encyclopedias.

          Oh, and I am impressed with your highschool textbooks! If only they could bring the students up to this level ;)

      • Re:Liar (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @11:52AM (#30254812)

        Sorry, but I have been working for a (dead tree) magazine for a while. It might be different for online media, but editors leaving is NOT a good sign for a paper. Even if you bring more new people on board than are leaving, you're usually losing out. It's like in every business, when your skilled, experienced workers leave and you have to replace them with new, inexperienced people, quality suffers. First, by the very law of tenure, it's not the "bad" people that stay for long. They won't be kept long, in a business they'll be fired, in a volunteer area like wikipedia they'll either be asked to leave or, if they're disruptive, banned. So you can assume that 100% of what is leaving is "good" people. Else they would not have stayed around for a year or longer. On the other hand, you don't know what you get in. It's like hiring a new guy. Can he do his job? Is he a slacker? Is he even sabotaging you (unlikely in a professional environment, but for wikipedia? How do you determine if some new guy is going to be a dedicated editor or just a troll)? You won't know for a while.

        Out with the good, in with the new is not necessarily something good...

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Did you seriously just assume that the first poster had RTFA?! I found it shocking that he even read TFS.
      • Re:Liar (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DerekLyons (302214) <`fairwater' `at' `gmail.com'> on Saturday November 28, 2009 @02:02PM (#30255586) Homepage

        He didn't say "it ain't so". RTFA. In fact, it doesn't even dispute it even though that's presumably the intent, it simply talks of looking further into the figures.

        Simply looking deeper into the numbers is one thing - spouting facts and figures in an attempt to impress and overwhelm the reader and thus distract him from actually thinking about the numbers is a different thing entirely. The latter is precisely what is happening here, and you fell for it hook line and sinker.
         

        The first two things listed may not be directly related to the number of editors - but that's the point! "Number of editors leaving" is a rather meaningless figure. You have to look at the whole picture, which is what he's doing. And the second one is related - they're still getting new articles, so there's yet to be any problem.

        Looking at the whole picture, and actually thinking about the numbers he presents rather than being impressed by their size, doesn't paint the rosy picture you and he want us to be dazzled by. If the number of editors is remaining stable, while the number of articles is going up - that means each editor is overseeing an increasing number of articles, which means the amount of attention he can pay to any given article goes inevitably down.
         
        In actuality, since editors tend to cluster, that means that more and more articles are out on the fringes - under (at best) only loose or rote supervision, or not actually watched on a regular basis but only checked when someone happens to wander by. The first means that edits are often reverted without the editor actually spending much time looking at the new edit. The latter means the articles are (often) increasingly out of date. (I now routinely find articles weeks to months out of date, and found one a couple of weeks back that was three years out of date.) Articles out on the fringes are also especially vulnerable to vandalism.
         
        Your last statement is particularly troubling to me. Just because there isn't a problem "yet", doesn't mean one can safely ignore trends. To use the traditional Slashdot automobile analogy: If your "check oil" light comes on, and your engine is still running normally, only a fool places a bit of tape over the light and pretends it doesn't exist.

    • by Ilgaz (86384) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @11:20AM (#30254638) Homepage

      As Slashdot is open source, Perl based, it won't be a problem.

      Lets merge Slashdot code to Wikipedia so people, semi-randomly selected can moderate Wiki editor responses. It will have karma system too. If an editor does too much flamebait or "troll", his karma will go negative and by default, his editing powers will be reduced to normal levels and eventually taken off.

      You have no clue how your type of editor responses makes users and the real deal (one off editors) feel right?

    • Like the Chewbacca Defense?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Geek Prophet (976927)
      If you think that he is "listing half a dozen facts that have nothing to do with the question", then you don't understand the question. The question is not, "Are editors leaving Wikipedia in droves?" The question *he* cares about is, "Does this claim that editors are leaving Wikipedia in droves mean Wikipedia is dying?" So, he states outright that this claim is being made, and then disputes it. Only after he takes care of the important stuff does he address the question of number of editors. So, no, this wa
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tom (822)

        Thanks.

        Yes, correct all you say.

        So, we've now established that people in charge of Wikipedia consider themselves more important than their audience. Yes, I can confirm that from my own experiences and feelings. You know, it may be the problem.

    • Re:Liar (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Saturday November 28, 2009 @01:33PM (#30255406) Journal

      Well I can't speak about him, but I can speak for myself and say the deletionists ran me off. I originally found the idea of Wikipedia fascinating-- Kinda like a bugzilla for knowledge. Anybody could supposedly help by finding the "bugs" or adding to the knowledge base, sounded cool to me.

      So one day I found an error. It wasn't a big error, or one that would make a big difference to pretty much anyone (or so I thought) just a tiny error where a character in a TV show was supposedly A as far as sexual orientation and it was actually B. I knew this because I had just read an interview with the creator and head writer discussing this very thing. So I did what you were supposed to do when you found a bug- I fixed it and cited the page along with a second source with a video of the author discussing it at a convention.

      Well within hours my change was deleted and I found myself banned from editing. Apparently the page was watched by a deletionist and he/she didn't like the thought that a character they liked may not be the sexual orientation they wanted them to be. So that was the end of that and now I mainly go to answers.com when I need a quick bit of info. After it happened to me I looked into the "behind the scenes" stuff floating around the net and Wikipedia seems to have its own version of trolls, sadly though the trolls have gained quite a bit of power there--the deletionists.

      From what I saw it pretty much doesn't matter if the info there is correct or not, just as long as the page stays the way the deletionist likes it. Which is kinda sad as it distorts the whole thing, just look at the CoS follower that watched the page on Scientology like a hawk and changed anything bad about LRH or the church no matter how much documentation there was about their activities. So there is my little anecdote to add to the pile. I just wonder how much of this exodus is being caused by the deletionists running off or frustrating those that don't fit their mindset. I have found that Wiki is fine for more obscure info that the deletionists don't care about, say info about some minerals properties, but anything that has to do with current events or pop culture is pretty much off limits if there is a deletion troll lurking it. That is my take on it anyway.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Theleton (1688778)
        That sounds like a bad experience, but it doesn't really have anything to do with deletionism. It's just a dispute over facts.

        Deletionists are editors who think that Wikipedia shouldn't include "non-notable" information, and therefore delete it. Their argument is that the vast majority of the trivia that people try to add to Wikipedia every day has no interest to anyone but the person writing it, is impossible to verify, reduces the level of quality of the articles, is vulnerable to spamming, astroturfin
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014)

      Well, perhaps. But it seems to me that what you describe also happens when people have different *conceptions* of a problem.

      Looked at dispassionately, the idea that as editorial standards are imposed, the number of contributors would be reduced seems *obvious*. If one imposed the requirement that firefighter recruits were able to bench press 80% of their body weight, you'd expect the number of applicants who enter the training stage to drop. It is quite possible for that to happen, while the number of *co

  • Oh, you can tell (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Saturday November 28, 2009 @09:22AM (#30254092) Homepage

    They also note that it's impossible to tell whether someone has left and will never return, as their account still remains there.

    I stopped editing Wikipedia in 2004, IIRC. There were plenty of cases who people left and you could tell they weren't likely to return, as their User or Talk page had some spectacular meltdown where they cursed the entire project and -- in the cases of the more qualified editors -- they vowed never to write anything about their field outside of academic rounds ever again.

    • by ACS Solver (1068112) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @09:49AM (#30254188)
      Cursing or not, I can understand why people stop editing. I used to contribute stuff but stopped some 3 years ago. One problem is that Wikipedia has gotten very bogged down in its own bureaucracy. For making non-minor edits, there's the distinct impression that you're supposed to know a huge amount of rules and guidelines, proper procedures and whatnot. Then there's the problem with other editors that won't accept your edits as valid unless you can show them a citation they understand. Requiring citations is great, but if I'm making edits related to a fairly small European language only spoken in one country, what can I show? I can cite books or online resources written in that very language - citations that some editors don't find satisfying because they don't understand what it says.
      • by mdwh2 (535323) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @10:13AM (#30254296) Journal

        The funny thing is, elsewhere on this artice will be people bitching about "Well I left Wikipedia, I got fed up of people coming in an making changes to articles, without discussing with people or following basic guidelines". I'm not saying you're in the wrong, I'm just saying there's no right answer here, and the fault is not with "Wikipedia" as an entity.

        The fallacy is referring to "Wikipedia" as if it was some single entity. The problem is between the editors - and when you edit, that includes you. There's no you-and-them, as the them may well be other people who are complaining about "Wikipedia", when by "Wikipedia" they actually mean their experience with you.

        The only plausible time when a them-and-us argument is valid is when discussing Wikipedia admins (who are granted special privileges). But this doesn't apply to editors. You were an editor, and are just as much a target of Wikipedia criticism as any other editor.

        The bottom line is that when you have a massive collaboration between people online who don't even know each other, there are going to be disagreements. Unfortunately, rather than debate it with each other, sometimes both sides of an argument will take it out on "Wikipedia", each of them referring to the other side's view as wrong, and an example of how doomed Wikipedia is.

        Thankfully, criticisms on Slashdot comments or in the tabloids don't change the fact that out of this collabaration, we nonetheless actually have a resultant free encyclopedia that's pretty damn good.

        • by ACS Solver (1068112) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @10:44AM (#30254468)

          I actually agree with what you're saying for the most part. But part of the general criticism of Wikipedia comes because people on the outside see it as a single entity. Which is unsurprising. So whenever they see something bad/wrong/unlikeable, they are going to blame "the Wikipedia" as a whole. It's to be expected, really, most readers have never edited Wikipedia. According to TFA, the amount of active editors peaked at over 54k while last month the amount of unique visitors was 344m. Granted, more people than those 54k have ever made edits, but how many? 200k? A million? Even in that case it would be a very low percentage of readers, what I'm saying here is, to non-editors Wikipedia will be a single entity.

          I see one big difference between Wikipedia and some other great collaborative projects like the Linux kernel, X11, Wine, Haiku, etc. For open-source programming projects, there's a fairly significant entry barrier. You have to know programming, you have to be able to figure out how the project works in general before you can contribute code. Essentially, by the time you can submit a code patch, you'll have learned a few things about the internal working, whether you like it or not. To edit Wikipedia, though, the entry barrier is much lower. If you're already reading Wikipedia, all you need to edit is the ability to write in whatever language you may want to edit in. That's it. So you can easily start editing without even knowing there are Wikipedia admins, without having any clue about the (by now fairly complex) internal organization of Wikipedia and its editors. And, of course, not knowing anything about the various "camps" of editors (deletionists vs inclusionists, anyone?).

          As such, a fairly new editor to Wikipedia can go edit a few things and then be very surprised when they discover all the internal stuff, scaring them away.

          And as a disclaimer, yes, I do overall think that Wikipedia is one of the greatest achievements of the Internet. It does seem rather US-centric, it does suffer from partisanship on articles regarding certain topics, etc., but on many, many subjects it's the best place for quick, all-in-one-place information.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by evilviper (135110)

          The fallacy is referring to "Wikipedia" as if it was some single entity. The problem is between the editors - and when you edit, that includes you. There's no you-and-them, as the them may well be other people who are complaining about "Wikipedia", when by "Wikipedia" they actually mean their experience with you.

          The problem is not between two individuals... The problem is a system which has an extremely cumbersome bureaucratic process for (eventually) addressing conflicts between editors.

          Wikipedia is not m

      • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @12:26PM (#30255012)

        the problem with other editors that won't accept your edits as valid unless you can show them a citation they understand

        Aggravated further still by the fact that the "other editor" is, in real life, a self-absorbed Starbuck's barista whose only claim to precedence arises from the fact that he got involved in editing Wikipedia when it was the cool thing to do for sociopathic high school geeks who didn't have the motor coordination to play online shooters. He was navigating manufactured bureaucracy while you were navigating jungles leading that archaeological expedition; now you want to correct something on the article about the very same cache you unearthed, but "Would You Like Extra Foam On That?" Boy is throwing up speed bumps, mainly because he he lacks any basic understanding of your field of expertise, but also because he just had a fight with his mom and he's in a real foul mood.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Saturday November 28, 2009 @01:13PM (#30255308)

        A large part of the internal Wikipedia war is Inclusionists and Exclusionists. Inclusionists believe by and large that a page should never be deleted - simply moved, merged, or filled out until it is eventually up to par. Exclusionists believe pages should be held to a certain standard, and pages that can't reach that standard within a few days after their creation should be deleted.

        I myself am an Inclusionist. In the days of cheap storage and bandwidth, there is not really a good reason not to have a page on there because it doesn't have references or citations yet. The key word there is "yet". Higher-ups are too quick with the delete button and so if you cannot write a large article with proper citation within a few days you might as well not bother at all.

        That's why I (and many others) just don't bother at all anymore. I was fortunate enough to be able to write for a little while when Wikipedia was still fairly new. I loved watching the articles I created get built up by other people and grow, but this takes time. Nowadays, the current policy is basically unwilling to provide the time to let the weekend and occasional contributors pitch in to build an article slowly, so instead the people writing the articles are the people who have a vested interest in getting them written. That is a good and bad thing.

      • by whoever57 (658626)

        Requiring citations is great, but if I'm making edits related to a fairly small European language only spoken in one country, what can I show? I can cite books or online resources written in that very language

        No, you never cite online resources -- you cite books that you know other editors will never be able to read, then you can make whatever claims you want about the citation. That's my experience of how content disputes work.

        Next step -- wiki admins with mod points are going to mod this as "troll"!

    • by mdwh2 (535323) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @10:06AM (#30254264) Journal

      The point being, there's no automated way to do this, in order come up with statistics about the site.

      An anecdote of "Well I stopped editing in 2004, and so did some people I know" may make for interesting discussion, but doesn't tell us anything useful about trends in Wikipedia editing as a whole, and certainly doesn't support the recent story.

      Unfortunately, Wikipedia is one of Slashdot's blindspots - where the usual thought out points go out of the window in the groupthink, and mod points are dished out purely on who can criticise Wikipedia, for whatever reason, be it a personal bad experience of editing there, or some axe to grind against its policies.

      • by zoney_ie (740061) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @11:05AM (#30254574)

        It nevertheless should tell you something that criticism of Wikipedia is now so widespread, and particularly by ex-editors/admins (one could argue that is nothing surprising - but the sheer numbers of such "exs" surely is extraordinary).

        Anyway, it is interesting, sometimes useful in a sort of "ask a friend" way, and sort of a real-life H2G2, but basically, it's a bit of fanciful nonsense to think it's anything particularly special or proper (the same goes for the web in general, and "web 2.0" in particular). People are the same as always, and the information online is neither necessarily persistent, and is mostly noise (and any influence on offline "hard copy" information may be overall detrimental due to the noise/inaccuracy added).

        Also too many people still haven't realised that the Internet is not some special mystical place but is in fact just part of the real world, and ultimately has to be subject to real world social, political and judicial norms, despite the difficulties in applying some of those.

        A lot of the idealists who want to belief the fluff about a free magical Internet are people who in the real world would try to push their idealistic nonsense and simply allow the strongest elements in society to abuse any "freedom" to impose horrible restrictions of freedom. It's the same kind of mindset that believed the nonsense accompanying certain failed political ideologies of the 20th century, which we now have ample evidence that they are fanciful ideas that in reality just bring misery.

        People need to stick to boring old tradition and the lessons we have learnt over and over again over centuries.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Abcd1234 (188840)

          It nevertheless should tell you something that criticism of Wikipedia is now so widespread

          By that argument, the fact that there are all those anti-vaxxers and creationists tells us something...

          But, of course, it doesn't. What it tells us is that there's a loud group of people who like to criticize Wikipedia, many of which are disgrunted ex-editors and ex-admins, and a bunch of bandwagon jumpers.

      • Reading your lengthy post shows anectodal evidence of why people doesn't like Wikipedia editing.

        Trust me, people likes Feynman, Einstein, Hawking like scientists not just because their amazing breakthroughs... They like them because they were friendly to average people.

        "Editing an article, dealing with editors feels something like snail mailing a typed letter to Britannica HQ in 1980s. At least, Britannica guys were polite people."

        Here is another "anecdotal" evidence, a quote told to me by a very very impor

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Theleton (1688778)
          So you're telling me that a "very very important scientist" doesn't have any publications s/he could cite? No articles in peer-reviewed journals? No books or book chapters? No proceedings from conferences held by scientific societies?

          Or is your scientist friend just not used to providing references for claims that are based on others' work? (That would certainly explain the lack of publications.)

          I can understand that "ordinary people" have problems with the "citation needed" thing on Wikipedia. Most p
      • Unfortunately, Wikipedia is one of Slashdot's blindspots - where the usual thought out points go out of the window in the groupthink, and mod points are dished out purely on who can criticise Wikipedia, for whatever reason, be it a personal bad experience of editing there, or some axe to grind against its policies.

        Which should tell you something... because in years past, the situation was precisely the opposite. In any article about the Wikipedia posts praising it and explaining how it was the most wonder

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday November 28, 2009 @09:25AM (#30254108) Homepage Journal

    In October, we had 344 million unique visitors from around the world, according to comScore Media Metrix, up 6% from September.

    That's a lot of eyeballs.

    If nothing else they deserve an award for not plastering advertisements on their site. I know some major newspapers that would love to see their sites get that kind of traffic.

    • If nothing else they deserve an award for not plastering advertisements on their site.

      They do plaster advertisements 'all over' the site. Right now, there is a huge banner ad begging for donations right at the top of every page.

  • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Saturday November 28, 2009 @09:28AM (#30254126) Homepage

    The online encyclopedia, knowledge base, social networking site, essay repository, blog, search engine, news aggregator, dessert wax and floor topping Wikipedia has reached its three millionth article and ceased all editing [today.com] as everyone gives up this "free" foolishness and goes home, to read newspapers and watch network television for the rest of their lives.

    Dr Felipe Ortega reported that only 1% of edits by random users were kept. "They were all unspeakable shit," said burnt-out administrator WikiFiddler451. "All of them. No, I'm not exaggerating. Go to Special:Newpages and read a day's entries some time. You'll start by deleting the whole database, before you get onto plotting the doom of humanity. Christ, why go on?"

    Recent media coverage has highlighted the "inclusionist/deletionist" wars of 2005, including enquiries from Endemol looking for a "passionate deletionist" to join Big Brother 11, "preferably one with big tits." It is thought that Wikipedia could have had ten million articles by now had they not viciously abused their editorial powers by deleting your valuable contributions about you, your teacher at school, your garage band or your dog or the many cameraphone pictures you uploaded of your penis.

    "Everything's already been written," said WikiFiddler451, burning the last of his Star Wars figurines before leaving for his rehabilitation course in social interaction skills and basics of hygiene. "Do you have any idea how big THREE MILLION articles is? A BILLION GODDAMN WORDS! Are you going to read more than a droplet of that in your life? No you aren't. You're following your goddamn Twitter.

    "But hey, only two million articles are The Simpsons in popular culture or Doctor Who in popular culture. No-one actually reads this stuff, they just write it. We have LiveJournal for stuff people write that no-one wants to read. 'Oh, I wandered lonely as a cheeseburger/ My passionate angst filling my Coke with darkness.' Or Knol. KNOL! I'll just Bing that one."

    Shell-shocked veterans of Wikipedia are at a loss now that it's all over — wandering the alleyways of the Internet, mumbling to themselves about "ANI" and "we had to delete the village in order to save it," threatening the policemen moving them on with "arbitration" and bursting into tears when the policeman answers "citation needed." Mere children, sent into the culture wars to save knowledge from horrors they barely understood, and coming home as crippled wrecks. No victory parades for these brave men and women. There is only so much Citizendium, Uncyclopedia and 4chan can do for these child heroes. With your help, we can build Potemkin wikis for these honorable veterans, where they can safely ban and unban, revert and edit-war, and correct the naming of Danzig^WGdansk^WDanzig^WGdansk without the possibility of damage to actual human readers. Please donate so that they may never bug you again.

  • by paul248 (536459) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @09:31AM (#30254134) Homepage

    The number of Wikipedia editors is not declining. In fact, their population has tripled in the last six months.

    • Is that the number of people editing, or the number of users? I'm still a Wikipedia user. I still have a talk page, I think it still gets autoedited by a newsletter or two. I've not logged in in about three years.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mdwh2 (535323)

      Elsewhere on this page: "Wikipedia is crap! I tried to make an edit on the Elephant page, about a sudden increase in numbers, and it got reverted! Everytime! Well, that ends my experience of editing with Wikipedia, I don't know why I bother! And obviously therefore no one else will, and Wikipedia is doomed."

  • Well I looked for and article about this and couldn't find it on Wikipedia, so it must not be true.

    And this damn well better be modded as funny if at all.

  • I think the original article was talking about English Wikipedia, but Eric quotes statistics from all Wikipedias combined.

  • My own experience. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by taxman_10m (41083) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @09:50AM (#30254194)

    I joined recently to update the page of a candidate running for Ted Kennedy's seat (election will be done and over with by January). I wasn't updating much, adding the candidate's birth date, linking to a book he had written, and adding the part copied from other candidate's wiki pages that links him to the Senate race. After a full day of back in forth with an editor deleting whatever I had just added, the only think that made it through was the link to the book he had written. And I think that just slipped through. Not worth the effort at all trying to update a page with new info. That ends my time working with Wikipedia.

    • by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @09:59AM (#30254222) Homepage

      I've had similar experiences.

      I think the editors probably do a lot of good overall, but they tend to be heavy handed, deleting whole articles without warning rather than striking parts they find objectionable (which I think is more the intended role of the editor).

      Further, I've seen cases where one editor will request better sources, and a second will just delete it (rather than nominate it for 7-day deletion). Kind of annoying.

      • But you were an editor too, along with everyone else giving their experiences here.

        Editors can't delete articles, so that is factually wrong. Admins can, but that is not "without warning", it's after a debate when comments are invited from editors (including you), so again that is factually wrong.

        There's also Speedy Delete which can be more contentious, but that's still not without warning, and again only Admins can do that. And it's a balance, without it, Wikipedia would be bogged down with thousands of no

        • by mdwh2 (535323)

          *sigh* Now we have a mod abusing "overrated" on a post that was never uprated, and thus escaping metamod.

          I'll say it again: editors can't delete articles, and articles aren't deleted without warning. Those are facts. The OP was mistaken, I'm afraid.

          (Rather than complaining about Wikipedia editors (who can be anyone), perhaps we should complain about the poor state of moderation on Slashdot, especially as mod points now seem to be given out to a subset of people, also making it far easier to abuse...)

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dangitman (862676)

            *sigh* Now we have a mod abusing "overrated" on a post that was never uprated,

            There's no logical problem with that. A comment doesn't have to be modded up to be overrated. A stupid post might be highly overrated at slashdot's default score of 1 or 2, yet still not fall into a category like 'troll' or 'flamebait.'

        • by Kagato (116051)

          Of course they can't just delete articles. But they sure as shit can get on IRC and get their other editor friends to stack the vote an article for deletion.

        • But you were an editor too, along with everyone else giving their experiences here.

          Editors can't delete articles, so that is factually wrong. Admins can, but that is not "without warning", it's after a debate when comments are invited from editors (including you), so again that is factually wrong.

          There's also Speedy Delete which can be more contentious, but that's still not without warning, and again only Admins can do that. And it's a balance, without it, Wikipedia would be bogged down with thousands of nonsense articles that editors create, as this can be done at a faster rate than they could be deleted through the AfD debate. And if anything, this is another reason why more editors is not necessarily a good thing, as it also means more work generated - the number of editors is meaningless, without telling us what those editors are doing. And indeed, perhaps the editors leaving are the ones you dislike, in which case, you should be glad :)

          Actually, admins can delete new articles as spam without any warnings. I have only seen this misused on the Danish wikipedia, which quite frankly has terrible editors. The article was one about the "controversial" subject if "lower bound", which one admin hadn't heard about in whatever schooling he had had --- and therefore deleted immediately as spam. Some protesting got me a string of warnings, demands, threats and whatnot... but I note the article was resurrected and is essentially unchanged. Not much o

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BlueBoxSW.com (745855)

          Actually, mdwd2, you are wrong.

          This did happen, without warning. Was it admins instead of editors? I can't say.

          Do I believe the same rush you felt, telling me my experiences were invalid, is behind many of the bad experiences people have with Wikipedia?

          You betcha'.

    • by rs232 (849320)
      "After a full day of back in forth with an editor deleting whatever I had just added"

      I sympathise with your experience. Myself gave up after repeated abuse from the so-called unbiased editors (after a simple request for some citations). One even posted a private email from me to the forum in order to deride it with a fellow unbiased editor. Wikipedia, a heap of self-serving corporate propaganda and free advertising pretending to be an Encyclopedia ..
      • Re:My own anecdote. (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mdwh2 (535323)

        So wait, one editor is rude to another editor, and you blame "Wikipedia"?

        Perhaps if a troll upsets me here, I should blame "Slashdot".

        Wikipedia, a heap of self-serving corporate propaganda and free advertising pretending to be an Encyclopedia

        Now we're getting silly - believe it if you like, but your anecdote of a bad experience from another editor does not support this view! I can't see how these two issues are even remotely related? That editor was likely just a random other person (who for all we know, is

        • by ivucica (1001089) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @12:58PM (#30255236) Homepage
          It is fascinating how ofter Wikipedia apoogists seem to repeat this same argument in other comments of this article.

          It's the fault of culture of rules and bureaucracy propagated and promoted by ... whom? Wikipedia?

          When there's police brutality without punishment, do you blame the policeman or the government?
          When there's a massacre perpetrated by your authoritarian government, do you blame the army/policemen, or the government?
          When Madoff steals money over there in the US, do you blame Madoff or those who didn't stop him?

          Of course, you can blame the person who directly committed the crime (or the immoral act, depending on laws). But sometimes, just sometimes, the act is a product of the culture. I have a pratical example of bad culture influencing otherwise smart and good people in my country, but stating my personal experiences directly would make me a racist.

          Is it core Wikipedia management's fault that I had problems [wikipedia.org] adding a short stub article about a well-known Croatian band [wikipedia.org]? I don't know. Is it Wikipedia's fault? Yes. Wikipedia is more than just the site, it's also the community. Whoever created the rules is responsible for making active editors and admins behave like shit. Why did [citation needed] have to become a joke?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Surely these are false dichotomies? There's no reason why in any of those examples that only one person or entity can be ascribed guilt. It can be neither, either, or both, depending on the situation.
    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      Anecdotes are not evidence, and tell us nothing about trends in contributions.

      But yes, basically some people have a bad experience about working with other people online anonymously. But it is a mistake to think that this means Wikipedia is flawed - for all we know, the other person is also here complaining about people who kept adding "rubbish" to an article... I'm sure you think your change was valid, and maybe it was, but that's not always the case [slashdot.org]. There's no right answer, yet people will always come aw

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mdwh2 (535323)

      PS - what was the article (or name of the candidate)? If you're in the right, maybe other people such as myself can have a look, and put the changes back.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Dulimano (686806)

        I have seen hundreds of posts on Slashdot about incompetence and abuse of power by Wikipedia editors. NONE of these posts contained reference to the events described. Citation needed, indeed.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 28, 2009 @10:46AM (#30254476)

      The popularity of Wikipedia is one of the clearest symptoms of the human condition on the Internet: a state where truth is not authority or accessibility, but authority and accessibility are truth. Put in practical terms: people refer to the top Google hit for anything they search for, and informed researchers / educators are finding it increasingly hard to reach out to the layman via the Internet.

      Yes, by quantity alone, Wikipedia wins - but only after my stack of 500GB drives, filled with random bits. Yes, any printed Encyclopedia Generica also contains errors. So what? What are you doing using either, beyond Middle School / Junior High? Every subject has well-known compendia of knowledge and well-used text books for an introductory exposition, so why aren't you reading there? The problem is not that people aren't using traditional generic encyclopedias any more; the problem is that people are using Wikipedia where previously they would never have gone to the first random person they meet in the street and asked them for information about a subject.

      So much for Wikipedia's effect on everyone else. What is most damaging, I think, is that Wikipedia itself has grown as a cult. My girlfriend is from a JW family, and I've seen what a mild cult is like: people who criticise it are met with jargon, misdirection (TFA is a fine example!), denial, and finally anger. Ritual is more important than enlightenment, because ritual which was initially aimed (if you're feeling generous) to fulfil the cult's vision instead becomes a method of maintaining existing power structure. A cult convinces you that you are educating yourself in the best way by propagandizing successes while ignoring endemic inefficiencies. You will learn some things from getting involved in Wikipedia, just as you will gain philosophical insight from many cult study groups - indeed, some cult / Wikipedia articles are technically brilliant - but you're unlikely to improve your condition. You're not there to promote scholarship, or pedagogy: you're there to support the rules.

      I thrive in an academic environment. I am thoroughly scrutinised by peers. I interact with experienced educators and students so my ability to impart information is improved. I feel I've made advances to my discipline, and that those tutored by me have benefitted from my efforts in preparing myself to help them. But I've not got past first base trying to teach cult members, whether the more fundamentalist JWs I've known or through contributions to Wikipedia. The challenges are always the same:
      - "But [authority] imparting [belief], which means [policy];"
      - "But [inability to understand source], which means [conspiracy];"
      - "But [disagreement], which means [call on authority to suppress dissent]."

      This isn't how scholarship works. The worthiness of scholarship is measured by the question: "Have I exposed some truths?" The worthiness of cult contribution is measured by: "Have I provided an argument which pleases my masters?" The majority of non-trivial Wikipedia articles are neutrally titled subjects presenting the result of a dominant viewpoint being transformed into a supporting argument, just as a cult article on "X" will end up being "why X is right/wrong"; the majority of scholarly articles are works written to support a transparent abstract.

      The Internet was a lot easier to find introductory information from before Wikipedia: search engines returned, at the top, accessible subject-specific sites contributed to by researchers, professionals or keen amateurs (N.B. an "amateur" in the sense of an expert doing something on his own dime, often with a level of qualification, such as a radio ham). Now it's Wikipedia, Wikipedia scrapes, answers.com style aggregators, random stores with products related to words, and - if you're really lucky - a subject-specific site. The latter remain popular because they're introduced to you by experts, whether on forums, at college, or among colleagues - but to find these among search results always takes more effort than just hitting "en.wikipedia.org" right at the top.

      And that's the only reason's Wikipedia's popular: she's easy and you're lazy.

      • by dangitman (862676)

        And that's the only reason's Wikipedia's popular: she's easy and you're lazy.

        You say that like it's a bad thing.

    • by labradore (26729) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @10:50AM (#30254496)
      I am not surprised by your experience. I have recently found that I was unable to make spelling and grammar changes to several pages that were locked. Lots of the pages that I was interested in contributing to were in some kind of locked state. It seems strange that someone could justify locking a page and controlling it without satisfying the basic requirements that he or she be fluent in the language in which the page is written. I found myself hoping that some other group with less anti-social tendencies would fork from wikipedia.
      • Did you try registering for an account and making a few edits to unrelated pages to establish yourself as a serious editor [wikipedia.org]? If so, what was the your Wikipedia username?

        If the page was fully protected, did you try blanketing the talk page with {{editprotected}} requests? Did you try checking the page's deletion log (View history > View logs for this page), seeing why the page was protected, and then seeing if the problem had blown over? If it has, request unprotection at Wikipedia:Requests for page pro [wikipedia.org]

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 28, 2009 @12:55PM (#30255218)

          Look at all the bullshit you have to go through just to fix some spelling mistakes. That's why people leave Wikipedia and why it sucks.

          • by Culture20 (968837)

            Look at all the bullshit you have to go through just to fix some spelling mistakes. That's why people leave Wikipedia and why it sucks.

            And why the level of spelling errors will increase geometrically as less-experienced editors and contributors fill the empty seats.

        • by ivucica (1001089) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @01:03PM (#30255262) Homepage

          Did you try registering for an account and making a few edits to unrelated pages to establish yourself as a serious editor [wikipedia.org]? If so, what was the your Wikipedia username?

          What happened to "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit"?

    • You know the tiny fastmail.fm Aussie company who just does mail business and stays afloat with their fast, simple, modern UI and advanced/up to date tech/software usage?

      Someone dared to write the unique features of Fastmail, when I referenced it to a server admin (in mail business) friend, he joked back at me for using a "spammer mail company"... I asked "how?", some idiot "citation needed" type went to article and marked it as spam. Imagine you claim your local pharmacy to sell drugs, it is the same thing

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      It gets into the field of bizarre when you see editors revert cleanups.

      My personal story: I read a (probably little read) article to find it being vandalized (something like "$whateverperson is gay" sprinkled into the article) so I went and edited it. I admit, I didn't bother to register just for that. It was neither a locked article nor was it in any way controversal, so anonymous editing was possible. I removed the "xxx is gay" parts and checked it in with a remark noting that it was a vandalism removal.

      2

  • I never really could understand the title "deputy director". Isn't that just an Assistant? Does s/he get paid more if s/he is a deputy as opposed to an assistant. Or is it just another pretentious affectation? Please explain.

  • by daveime (1253762) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @10:26AM (#30254362)

    The number of people reading Wikipedia continues to grow. In October, we had 344 million unique visitors from around the world, according to comScore Media Metrix, up 6% from September.

    I don't think the number of readers was actually a point of contention. How long those readers actually stay on Wikipedia and how useful they find it now that everything is getting culled by overzealous moderators citing "lack of sources" etc. is possibly more the point.

    Wikipedia is the fifth most popular web property in the world. The number of articles in Wikipedia keeps growing. There are about 14.4 million articles in Wikipedia, with thousands of new ones added every day.

    Wikipedia's own article on Wikipedia has a nice graph of article count. Since Jul 2007 it seems they've typically been adding about 2000 articles a day ... so "thousands" is being used in it's most literal sense. But without the number of articles being edited down to nothing, or simply being culled, this data is useless, and they damn well know it. Tell us how many articles are being deleted each day, and that that number isn't increasing !

    The number of people writing Wikipedia peaked about two and a half years ago, declined slightly for a brief period, and has remained stable since then. Every month, some people stop writing, and every month, they are replaced by new people.

    Interesting this is exactly the point at which the increase in articles per day flatlined, meanign that the number of editors they ave maintained since means a linear addition to the total volume of articles, and not the "projected doubling that they expected" on the graph.

    They also note that it's impossible to tell whether someone has left and will never return, as their account still remains there.

    So they don't maintain a timestamp of "last activity by author" ??? Fucking nonsense, pardon my language.

    The report touched a nerve, and their response with half-assed, half-complete figures does nothing to convince me the report was incorrect.

    And they have the gall to ask for 7.5 million US in donations for a diminshing product. Jimbo's days of champagne, caviar and jet planes are numbered methinks.

    • So they don't maintain a timestamp of "last activity by author" ??? Fucking nonsense, pardon my language.

      There is a most recent contribution for each username, and this contribution has a timestamp. But the blog post discounts inferring things based on this date as it "doesn’t predict whether the same person will make an edit in the future". I'd make a comparison between this view and the concept of a lapsed Catholic [wikipedia.org].

  • by DeanFox (729620) * <.spam.myname. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday November 28, 2009 @10:30AM (#30254396)

    [Citation Needed]
    A more robust citation is needed. Marked for Deletion.
    • by rs232 (849320)
      [Citation Needed]
      A more robust citation is needed. Marked for Deletion.


      - unquote -

      You have violated Wikipedia posting standards WP:NPOV, WP:NPV, WP:NEU, your account is hereby deleted.

      signed ~~~~ some smug-self-absorbed-know-it-all-with-no-social-life
  • How About Those (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DeanFox (729620) * <.spam.myname. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday November 28, 2009 @10:54AM (#30254512)
    And then there are those who won't even try. I have subjects I could contribute too. But a wise man might be described as someone who doesn't make the same mistake once.

    I heard long ago complaints about elitism and the elitist top grand master guru cabal who control the website. New comers are scoffed, 'good 'ol boy' network prevails.

    I suspect the editors who are still left are well suited for their post - elitist power hungry control freaks who validate themselves stepping on others. I want nothing to do with them. [Citation Needed] and [Marked For Deletion] have become memes I suspect from people who have been burned by the wikipedia process and the control freaks who consider themselves demigods.

    I pass. The frustration I hear from others who have tried to contribute I won't accept in my life let alone seek it out. The expertise I have in a subject or two will never make it to wikipedia. I won't even bother to get started.

    -[d]-
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The expertise I have in a subject or two will never make it to wikipedia. I won't even bother to get started.

      Why don't you write it for everything2? Writeups are rarely edited there, only superseded.

    • Ha! I thought about contributing to some articles relevant to my engineering work, but when I read some of the discussions that went on forever about obscure grammatical points or trying to decide between two perfectly (and probably equally) valid words, I ran (clicked) away very quickly.

      I love Wiki, but it's the land of the obsessive compulsive. I'm terrified to even read the discussion for the article on the TV show Monk. ;-)

  • by the_raptor (652941) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @10:58AM (#30254530)

    How did they dispute it? Did they just edit the wiki article about editors leaving?

    But seriously wikipedia started dying the second they handed out enhanced powers for being a no lifer trolling Wikipedia all day. Later on top management showed no interest in reigning in abusive admins, and even rewarded several who were shown to be taking part in out right fraud and lying.

  • by Stachybotris (936861) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @11:06AM (#30254580)
    I just spent the last fifteen to twenty minutes perusing the Special:NewPages [wikipedia.org], and it's terrifying. For every actual encyclopaedic or even semi-valid article, there seem to be a handful of pages that are pure garbage. There are "articles" about fictitious bands [wikipedia.org], self-promotion [wikipedia.org], slander [wikipedia.org], and things that really don't matter [wikipedia.org]. On top of that, many of the new submissions seem to be very poorly written from a grammatical point of view. They're not quite as bad as the average YouTube comment, but they're close. If I was in charge over there, I'd be deleting things left and right as well.

    There are probably a number of reasons for the lack of quality, but certainly the ability for anyone to contribute has got to be a big part. Is there an easy fix? No, probably not. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the barriers to approval are lop-sided, so raising them won't necessarily help. It's not like potential users will put up with taking a written exam just to be able to edit a single page...

    I would suggest using privilege escalation to grant users more power and control based on how long they've been members and require that when people create accounts, they specify a number of areas that they possess knowledge of. Say I create a new account. When a user creates a login, he has to pick five to ten topics that he thinks he's qualified to write about (and these can be fairly broad, otherwise we'd have far too many checkboxes). He can't make any changes or contributions for a week (to prevent people from signing up just to vandalize articles) and can only lurk and learn the rules. Then, after that time period is up, he's allowed to only make changes to existing articles in his self-proclaimed fields. If he makes enough good and accepted changes, then allow him to start writing new articles in his self-proclaimed fields. Finally, after a period of time has passed where he's acknowledged as knowing what he's talking about and not a jerk who does things for the lulz, let him make changes/create articles anywhere.

    One thing I would love to see done more than anything else, however, is the clear separation of fiction and non-fiction, by at least a subdomain, if not an entirely different FQDN. Star Wars as a film and a cultural institution in America? That goes in Wikipedia as non-fiction. Luke Skywalker as a person? That's in-universe and belongs in Wookiepedia, or at least in the fiction section. A biography of Luke doesn't belong in the same encyclopaedia as one about Louis Pasteur, plain and simple.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by careysub (976506)

      ... I would suggest using privilege escalation to grant users more power and control based on how long they've been members and require that when people create accounts, they specify a number of areas that they possess knowledge of.....

      I think that this is the right track for an enduring and effective Wikipedia. The ethos of "anyone can edit" (including anonymous IP addresses never before used) and pretending that all are equal seems to be the source of most of WIkipedia's problems.

      For example, I read that anonymous IP address edits are the source of most vandalism, and have very low quality over all, and that anonymous edits are usually reverted, and that dealing with all of this is a substantial work load for the active editors and Adm

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @12:22PM (#30254988)

    Wikipedia was a very interesting concept. A free online encyclopedia that everyone could contribute to. Everyone could fill his knowledge and information in, contribute to the common knowledge and, eventually, this should lead to possibly the best, most complete collection of human knowledge ever assembled. A quite noble goal, and for a while it worked out well.

    Then came the trolls, the spammers, the corporate shills, and we noticed that human is appearantly not able to cooperate without rules and boundaries. Sad. But we're humans. Driven by base interests, instincts and egoism. So the idea of editors and supervisers was born, people who should take it into their hands to make sure these shills, spammers and trolls are kept out and tossed out. A noble goal, and for a while it worked out well.

    But editors are just as much human as the spammers, trolls and shills are. When you are given the power to shape and regulate the knowledge of humankind, it becomes quite tempting to not only shape and regulate it, the big temptation is to dictate it. You are the keeper of knowledge, the overseer of truth.

    No nobel goal this time and behold, it doesn't work out well.

    It's the same "who watches the watchers" problem we see a lot today. If there's nobody overseeing your use of power, the temptation to abuse that power becomes strong. It seems we are unable or unwilling to self regulate ourselves when we are not held accountable for what we do. As we see here (as well as in politics or business) if you are only held accountable by your peers, it's unlikely that anything but the most gross transgressions will ever be punished. And with "gross", of course I mean "whatever goes against the interests of your peers". Not what goes against the interests of your "inferiors", your users or even the project or duty itself that you agreed to oversee and manage.

    So what could be done? Another superstructure above the editors? I think it's already been done, and it doesn't change jack. A broader base has to be founded, not a smaller top. Power in the hands of more people, not less. The meta-moderation system of /. comes to mind, where some (or many, computers can handle it) can vote for or against a certain moderation. One person may err. Some people may conspire to push an agenda. A few millions are hard to bribe, convince or sway.

    Wikipedia allegedly has millions of users. Ok, so use them. Again, certain people may have a dislike of a certain editor and will vote his edits negative no matter how much they might remove vandalism because they feel slighted by them. The majority won't. And IF the majority feels slighted by a certain editor, it might be a good idea to remove that editor. Quite obviously he's not doing a good job.

  • WSJ (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @01:01PM (#30255246)

    What is this? Wall Street? That's the only place I know of where when something stops growing, because infinite growth of any human enterprise is not possible in reality, it's a signal to mark the time of death and run screaming into the hills. Oh noes! Company XYZ's growth is not going to be 50% a year forever! They're projecting 49.9%! Sell! Sell! Oh woes is we! Buy more bad loan products! Those are safer!

    I would have thought hitting a level of stability in something like Wikipedia would be a good thing.

  • It will have to taper off at some point and as most information get put in there then some people will wander off.

    I don't think the fact the admins generally seem to be assholes helps much but it would have happened without them.
  • Fire them all (Score:3, Informative)

    by PietjeJantje (917584) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @02:47PM (#30255840)
    Wikipedia should fire all its editors and start over. Otherwise the bad editors who are causing all the troubles, will destroy it. In case any good editors might complain, explain how saying you are a Wikipedia editor, at a party, is equal to saying you have some sort of contagious disease, and this is not something to strive for and is caused by the deletionists. Now wikipedia is just a collection of the saddest people, and no one wants to be affiliated with that. The only good thing is that they are collected in a single point of potential damage, and can also be named and shamed.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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