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Wikipedia Social Networks

Is Wikipedia's Popularity Causing Its Decline? 325

HughPickens.com writes: Researchers Halfaker, Geiger, Morgan, and Riedl have a new paper on the topic of open collaboration systems about how Wikipedia's reaction to its popularity is causing its decline. From the Abstract: "Open collaboration systems like Wikipedia need to maintain a pool of volunteer contributors in order to remain relevant. Wikipedia was created through a tremendous number of contributions by millions of contributors. However, recent research has shown that the number of active contributors in Wikipedia has been declining steadily for years, and suggests that a sharp decline in the retention of newcomers is the cause. This paper presents data that show that several changes the Wikipedia community made to manage quality and consistency in the face of a massive growth in participation have ironically crippled the very growth they were designed to manage. Specifically, the restrictiveness of the encyclopedia's primary quality control mechanism and the algorithmic tools used to reject contributions are implicated as key causes of decreased newcomer retention. Further, the community's formal mechanisms for norm articulation are shown to have calcified against changes – especially changes proposed by newer editors."
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Is Wikipedia's Popularity Causing Its Decline?

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  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:23PM (#51217191)

    What the hell?

    Wikipedia's asshole editors are causing its decline. It has been going on for a long time.

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:30PM (#51217241)

      Asshole editors, inability to allow a mediocre edit be improved by others, rules that only apply to casual editors and not "the elite wikipedians" (read as crazy nut jobs with no lives on power trips), inability to make changes to articles where the thing has changed over time (like standards), on and on and on... and at the end of it all you cannot delete your account/disassociate yourself from Wikimedia because assholes.

      • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TigerNut ( 718742 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:46PM (#51217365) Homepage Journal
        Exactly this. The requirement for "reliable references" and their method of vetting references (i.e., must be published in mass media or some equivalent) and the on-purpose rejection of "personal research" allow the perpetuation of inaccurate history even though current research may have turned up additional data that overturns the "common knowledge" of the day. A couple of years ago several of us actual Sunbeam Tiger owners had a discussion with the "editor" of the ST Wikipedia page, to attempt to present a viewpoint that adheres more closely to actual fact as opposed to some of the popular apochryphal tales that were put in print by some prolific automotive press writers. No go, because two of the editors had decided between them, without consultation of anyone that might have actual hands-on knowledge, that they had it "right" and therefore any counter viewpoint was without merit, regardless of how obvious the error was. Even attempts to go up the chain of authority had little success because of the established status of the editor in question.
        • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

          by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:55PM (#51217441)
          That's the biggest problem I see. People camp out on pages and claim that they're the editor for it. Any edit you make is reverted or rewritten to fit their style. Any source you pull that would make changes to the article will be discredited or simply deleted. Wikipedia has a metastasized cancer that it embraces as if it is healthy for the ecosystem, and it will be the death of it.
        • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @04:02PM (#51217865) Homepage

          What you are describing is original research and has been against policy since even before 2006. Wikipedia wants to reflect the mainstream press and most reliable sources. It makes no claims to represent a "truth" beyond that. If something is wrong in the mainstream press, fix it there.

          • Wikipedia wants to reflect the mainstream press and most reliable sources..

            The problem is that "reliable" is only as good as the background knowledge of the editor on the particular topic being discussed, and his/her willingness to be objective in the light of new information.

          • Wikipedia wants to reflect the mainstream press and most reliable sources.

            That's simply not true. Wikipedia wants to reflect the consensus of the most ACCESSIBLE and POPULAR sources, which include the mainstream press.

            In another reply in this thread, you also claim that Wikipedia doesn't want to get involved in scholarly debates or whatever -- but that's also not true. It wants to declare whatever appears in the most ACCESSIBLE AND POPULAR sources as correct, regardless of what the consensus of scholars is.

            The more obscure the field, the more likely you are to find this sor

        • If Wikipedia and its current admins had been around in 1890, they would have deleted the entry for Vincent Van Gogh due to "lack of notability".

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            And in 1890, van Gogh might not have qualified for inclusion in a general-interest encyclopedia such as Britannica. But decades later, he eventually [wikimedia.org] came to qualify, as other sources began to report more on his works.

        • I know how you feel. I have books that pre-date the Internet with information on the engines and development team, from Alfa Romeo. The wiki page is so far off base on just about everything in that area. But try to correct it and it's a total no go.

          So these days, I look at wikipedia and a good starting point to find general information. If I want *accurate* information, I go elsewhere.

      • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @05:25PM (#51218377)

        Asshole editors, inability to allow a mediocre edit be improved by others, rules that only apply to casual editors and not "the elite wikipedians" (read as crazy nut jobs with no lives on power trips), inability to make changes to articles where the thing has changed over time (like standards), on and on and on... and at the end of it all you cannot delete your account/disassociate yourself from Wikimedia because assholes.

        https://upload.wikimedia.org/w... [wikimedia.org]

        The Wikimedia foundation spent $52.5 Million in fiscal year 2015 (an increase of $7 Million over the previous year). None of that money was spent on content creation and editing -- that's all done by unpaid volunteers.

        Until Wikipedia starts running itself like a real business, the decline will continue. That includes a full time staff of employees who are paid to oversee content creation, weed out the asshole editors that eventually drive away anyone interested in contributing, and who are held responsible if they don't do their job.

        • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

          by careysub ( 976506 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @07:41PM (#51219081)

          Mod this guy up. The perpetual fundraising machine has become very troubling. They have cumulatively raised well more than $200 million dollars, most of that in just the last few years. We are constantly greeted by banners about how far they are away from their current fundraising 'goals' but those goals seem to be exploding every year, with no explanation about what that money is actually 'needed' for.

          Jimmy used to boast about how little it cost to keep Wikipedia on-line, just a few million at most, and with the money raised in just the last two years they could easily have set up an endowment that would keep those servers running forever, without requiring another dollar in fundraising, ever.

          It appears that the 'goals' are being set by simple formula: whatever we raised last year, plus 20%, and with an additional 20% "stretch goal" [wikimediafoundation.org]. Seriously - that appears to be the only rationale I can glean from their reports.

          Oh, and they are finally starting an endowment now next year of $5 million, after having burned through $200+ million, and representing only 7% of their new $71.4 million base goal.

          With the cost of operating Wikipedia low and nearly fixed, and without paying any staff to actually produce their product (which is what this has become), why the 'need' for double digit annual revenue growth every single year?

          I am now telling everyone I know not to contribute to Wikipedia. They really, really, really do not need the money. Their days of paupery are long past. Jimmy is now in $profit$ mode.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:36PM (#51217291)

      It isn't just the shitty editors, though. It's the shitty editors who are enabled and empowered by the so-called "social justice" movement.

      The "social justice" movement is all about exerting control over what others think, believe and express. This is done by any means necessary, including hypocrisy and censorship.

      There is a huge overlap between those who support the "social justice" movement and those who participate as editors at Wikipedia. Both draw in the same sort of academically-minded people who can't function within the real world. So they build their bureaucracies in academia and online at places like Wikipedia where they can actively engage in the suppression of others.

      These are the people who will manipulate Wikipedia articles to match the narrative that they want to dictate. These are the people who will suppress any sort of original thought. These are the sort of people who claim to be "tolerant", while practicing what is an extreme form of intolerance. These are the sorts of people who will mislabel their opponents as "racists" or "sexists" or "intolerant" or "bullies", even when that's clearly not the case.

      The awful editing at Wikipedia is just a symptom of the "social justice" disease that affects society today.

      • Loving how the comments are proving your point.

      • by Dputiger ( 561114 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @03:23PM (#51217639)

        Wikipedia's core staff is overwhelmingly male (87%) and mostly white. There is no indication that "social justice" played a role in either the creation of the current system nor the difficulty the site has had in attracting greater participation from members of other races and the opposite sex.

        "The "social justice" movement is all about exerting control over what others think, believe and express. This is done by any means necessary, including hypocrisy and censorship."

        This is a meaningless attack when evaluated in the context of any other social movement or ideological argument. All ideologies seek, by their nature, to exert control over what others think, feel, and express. If you believe that the First Amendment should have absolutely no restrictions and you loudly advocate for this position and push for laws that would enforce it, you are attempting to create a rigid ideological framework that refuses to consider any challenge to the idea of free speech.

        I profoundly disagree with your evaluation of so-called "social justice," as well as your characterization of it as a monolithic and uniform bloc. My problems with your argument, however, aren't rooted in my personal opinion.

        "These are the people who will manipulate Wikipedia articles to match the narrative that they want to dictate. "

        There've been multiple high-profile articles this year about how Wikipedia is actually prone to manipulation by PR firms and self-interested parties. Drug companies that write glowing entries about new medications. Celebrities and others who hire PR firms to write Wikipedia pages for them. Special interests and organizations that pay those same PR firms to edit entries to confirm points of view.

        "These are the people who will suppress any sort of original thought. "

        The reason Wikipedia bans personal research and "original thought" is because an encyclopedia is not supposed to be "The Collected Thoughts of Todd." The purpose of an encyclopedia is to present factual, well-researched, documented information. That simple-sounding goal is incredibly difficult in and of itself, before we leap into the quicksand of evaluating the personal opinions of any given person.

        "These are the sorts of people who will mislabel their opponents as "racists" or "sexists" or "intolerant" or "bullies", even when that's clearly not the case."

        Ironically, it has been Wikipedia itself that's been attacked for standing *by* such opinions in recent years. The debate has been over the degree to which this is true, and what should be done about.

        Your point is vague enough to be meaningless. I have no doubt that some people have been erroneously labeled as racist, sexist, and bullies. I have seen no evidence that this is unique or particular to Wikipedia, and no evidence that Wikipedians are more or less prone to this type of behavior than any other organization or group of people working together on the Internet.

        You throw a lot of invective, but you offer precious little research to back it up as it pertains to Wikipedia. It therefore seems appropriate to end this with a [Citation Needed.]

        • Wikipedia's core staff is overwhelmingly male (87%) and mostly white.

          Small nitpick. Being white and male does not prevent a person from adopting the "social justice" bully mindset. In fact, I've found it can often reinforce that mindset. In their minds, they're warriors, they're guilty about having these intangible privileges they think they have, so they're going to use those privileges to fight the good fight.

          Perhaps ironically, they miss the obvious privileges they do have. Having, say, parents who will pay for one's college education including room and board is a tan

      • The awful editing at Wikipedia is just a symptom of the "social justice" disease that affects society today.

        [citation needed]. You might as well say that systemd is a result of "social justice warriors" (it isn't).

      • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi@noSpaM.smokingcube.be> on Thursday December 31, 2015 @03:43PM (#51217749) Homepage

        Not just social justice warriors. The entire 'open' encyclopedia is rife with editors and people that have more control than others to make and roll back edits. Niche topics are controlled in and large by corporate shills, know-it-all armchair experts and others with interest to keep the status quo. Somehow the people with a special interest in a topic (aka payed for social media spin doctors) gained control, grew to the top of the pyramid and are preventing anything that doesn't fit their agenda to go in.

        For example any topic on Jehovahs Witnesses is controlled and edited by a Jehovahs Witness who rolls back any edit that is not published by their own official public releases and when pressed in the editor forums they mention that 'apostate' sources aren't trustworthy or independently confirmed (even things supported by journalists such as leaked internal doctrinal documents and publications, court cases and books) So are the Scientology topics (a few years ago at least) and to a lesser extent quite a few mainstream Christian doctrine topics.

      • "social justice"

        Wishing all of the family of Slashdot commenters a safe and happy New Year.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes. More to the point, the problem is asshole editors, editors who feel that they "own" hundreds of pages to the exclusion of anyone else, and the bots that enable all of this behavior.

      I've lost track of how many times I've made a factual, minor edit to a Wikipedia page, only to have said edit automatically reverted seconds later. I'm talking everything from a punctuation or grammar correction, to updating an NFL player's page when he was drafted by another team, to adding a fully cited reference with <

      • Agreed, this is the issue. I've had the same problems on multiple different pages, including on a math page where the editor who controlled it did not seem to understand the topic himself.
    • Re:What? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Cito ( 1725214 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:21AM (#51220387) Homepage

      Wikipedia admin accounts are bought and sold, and high end editors with more than X amount of edits get paid to post.

      They get paid to edit and add bias, remove defaming info, add defaming info.

      add SEO, by creating a "pseudo source" on a webserver that a webmaster wants to boost the pagerank on, they'll create a professional looking article with circular cited sources so you are in a long chain of sources that will eventually link back on itself.

      these get cited often as source in articles when they are fake sources, just used to boost SEO on a website.

      Here's just a few examples proving Wikipedia is useless, and only used to add/remove specific info, add bias that's not easily detected with logic fallacies, typical propaganda tricks.

      Paying $1 per edit: http://www.blackhatworld.com/b... [blackhatworld.com]

      Hiring a few different editors (various accounts from different ip's to look legit) to modify articles: http://www.blackhatworld.com/b... [blackhatworld.com]

      Wikipedia admin selling services: http://www.blackhatworld.com/b... [blackhatworld.com]

      Hiring editors to make edits: http://www.blackhatworld.com/b... [blackhatworld.com]

      There's thousands of links on that one site, then other sites as well.

      "Paid to write wikipedia articles" is supposed to be against the rules, but you can find thousands, most even include usernames, but wikipedia don't really give a shit. unless you are a new account of course, if a 1 day old account writes a really good article you get banned. The reason for banning is they accuse you of being a professional or paid writer since they think no brand new account can write a complete article including sources by themselves so the admin accounts are bought/traded/ even hired out as well as editors of all levels that have a successful history.

      http://www.wizardsofwiki.com/h... [wizardsofwiki.com]

      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3f72... [ft.com]

      Getting paid to edit wikipedia for leading companies:
      http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

      moral of story, never use wikipedia, it's all a facade of ads.
      like southpark this past season, it's a "cloaked" ad. :P

  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:23PM (#51217193) Journal

    It's the editing cabals that are causing the decline. No new user will put up with that kind of bullshit and stick around.

    • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:33PM (#51217265)

      Wikipedia at this point is just a site that has one point of view on something. It's assuredly not a neutral point of view, and massive swaths of data on the site are suppressed or banned, including entire social movements. In many cases, discussion and topics are deleted, and their policies on original research often eliminate uncontroversial but interesting things. The fact that their primary method of debate is deletionism, there's no possible way to debate them. It's a private website with an agenda, much like any other slanted website.

  • by Sebby ( 238625 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:24PM (#51217201)
    ...when a simple (small, perfectly accurate, in accordance with the guidelines) edit I did to clarify a definition apparently warranted no less than 3 separate "warnings" about it; I could only conclude that they didn't, in fact, wanted contributions.
    • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:39PM (#51217309)
      Been there, had that happen to me. In my instance, I even provided a link to the transcript of the TV show to justify what I had written. At that point, the editor rejected it because of a grammatical error (i.e., wrong tense on a verb). Why couldn't the editor just fix the verb's tense? Geesh.....
      • by Sebby ( 238625 )
        Kinda like some AC's about my original post :) Too bad ./ doesn't have some sort of moderator-monitored editing of posts itself! ;)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:39PM (#51217313)

      I added the DOB to an article about a noteworthy deceased individual. It got removed as it violated the privacy of the individual. I argued the case in the Talk Page and pointed out that the information was available elsewhere on a tribute site. I also pointed out there were loads more personal pages that mentioned the DOB. Why were they not in violation of the rules. Got warned off and the account disabled. Days later a long time Wikipedia luminary inserted the exact same information without any objection. I guess everyone over on Wikipedia is equal only some people are more equal than others.

      • by tsotha ( 720379 )

        Days later a long time Wikipedia luminary inserted the exact same information without any objection.

        I've heard this complaint from dozens of sources: "I made an edit that got rejected. Then some short time later an established editor added the same information."

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      From one perspective I can understand that they want to try to keep an unified structure, but from another perspective they also need to accept some variations on how stuff is written and the structure and don't waste time on changing formalities that aren't necessary to change.

      I have been a bit annoyed by some changes that are performed by automated bots that Wikipedia has as well, some of those changes are completely redundant and don't enhance the content at all. All those small changes are quite annoyin

    • Wikipedia is a pretty decent reference for any subject that hasn't attracted much attention, either by trolls, vandals, or an overbearing editor. Avoid using it for any sort of controversial subject (religion, politics, current events), and it's still a pretty decent source of information.

      The sheer breadth of knowledge contained there still continues to be very helpful to me personally. Need to know something about a particular computer algorithm? Wikipedia will likely have a pretty decent article explai

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:24PM (#51217207)

    Most organizations when they start there is rapid growth, for Wikipedia, there is a lot of information to be loaded in and maintained. Now for the most part a lot of this information is in, and may be taking minor edits or changes for most articles. Many things do not have new insights or new discoveries in generations. So the bulk of the articles don't need to be updated with latest and greatest, because they are already there.

    So a decline in contributions is expected as it is now one of the great repositories of information.

  • by Cigaes ( 714444 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:26PM (#51217219) Homepage
    There is another point to consider: at the beginning, there was a lot to do, including easy stuff. You only had to know well a subject and be the first to write the article. Nowadays, almost everything is already written. To make a significant contribution, you would have to be an expert on an obscure topic.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is the problem. To have experts on specific topics you will by definition need to expand the contributor base, not shrink it. I will no longer donate to Wikipedia since the organization is essentially a "club" or "gang".

    • by TigerNut ( 718742 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:49PM (#51217385) Homepage Journal
      That's thin ice because of the requirement of verifiable sources. If you are an expert and have access to obscure sources (eg. club publications that are not widely available) or personal knowledge, that actual knowledge must not be allowed to taint the previously published tripe because the "tripe" is a "verifiable reference" and your actual knowledge is not.
      • The problem is that many sources that are conflicting with a certain viewpoint, even if they are true are rejected by editors with an agenda. That's particularly true when you go to subjects on cults or things that are particularly controversial such as the social justice issues. It's also the case for any political issue, candidate or corporation that has the money to hire editors to continue editing 24/7. There are simply too many sources (opinion blogs and PR releases) that are frequently copied and thus

    • To make a significant contribution, you would have to be an expert on an obscure topic.

      No. The problem is contributors to topics are not experts and the experts don't want to contribute because their contributions will be reverted by non-experts.

    • I have tried twice to go through the process of having my students create, or edit, an entry for the school. Both times the process made it impossible.

      • by Sowelu ( 713889 )

        Hate to say it, but that seems pretty legit. Articles about organizations ought to be of interest to people outside of the organization.

  • revert jerks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:29PM (#51217237)

    I tried to make some corrections to some pages a few years back...you guessed it - totally reverted almost instantly! No recourse or reason, totally turned me off trying to help...

  • Translation.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:31PM (#51217253)
    Wikipedia is overrun with territorial asshats who decry even sane edits. The tools used to promote change are in their hands, so newcomers are alienated. Big surprise. As others have mentioned, good edits get warned and deleted constantly. It is not a fun place to be.

    Now some may argue that this is part of an effort to keep out slanted/paid content, but that ship has sailed, and the interests that can afford to pay editors to push articles a certain way have the power and funding to push through the curmudgeons. The current attitude actually only serves those interests, as small, independent editors are more likely to get discouraged and leave.

    Mr. Wales doesn't care though, as long as he can do his yearly beg for money dance all is good in his world.

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      Oh.. and this: http://weknowmemes.com/wp-cont... [weknowmemes.com]
    • by Uecker ( 1842596 )

      My favourite example is the article about researchgate. This company has spammed every scientist on this planet hundred times. But for a long time this very well known and obvious fact could not be mentioned in the wikipedia article because there was no secondary source... on the other hand, every questionable statement put out by researchgate in a press release about themselves was immediately copied into some article by a lazy journalist and so became reliable knowledge. It didn't help that they had paid

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:33PM (#51217263)

    Go ahead and try to make a contribution to a Wikipedia article.
    Watch as it's reverted within minutes by the veteran editor who is babysitting that article.
    Go ahead and try and cite sources when trying to add something.
    Watch as your sources are labeled as biased or not trustworthy.

    Wikipedia is a nepotism-fueled hellhole. Truth doesn't matter, only "verifiability". And "verifiability" is entirely subjective depending on the editor you're fighting against. You'll see sources like Buzzfeed considered higher-priority than official sources, if the editor feels like it. You cannot contribute to Wikipedia. You'll get crushed between the different editing factions, or "projects" as they're officially called.

  • Is this a problem? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:33PM (#51217267) Homepage

    Is the lack of new contributors to Wikipedia a good thing or a bad thing?

    Wikipedia started with 0 pages. Now it has 38 million pages. There are fewer articles to write than their were before, and they have realized that having fandom pages for every character of every new anime series isn't what Wikipedia is for. That restricts the easy-to-write new articles and means new contributors leave because they don't have anything to contribute.

    • There are fewer articles to write than their were before, and they have realized that having fandom pages for every character of every new anime series isn't what Wikipedia is for.

      But why not? What harm does it do for Wikipedia to host those fandom pages (as it once did)? It's not as if the Pokemon pages are going to bleed over into the pages on the history of WW2. Wikipedia is a digital encyclopedia; the economic limits of page count don't matter. Wikipedia's decline began when they started cracking do

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @02:36PM (#51217293)

    ...suggests that a sharp decline in the retention of newcomers is the cause....

    That's the symptom.

    In order to solve the problem, go after the causes, not the symptoms.

    .
    The reason for the sharp decline in retention of newcomers is the way their edits are treated. Fix that and you'll have more contributors.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    After having four new pages in a row deleted that had four or more citations each, I gave up. One of the pages was for my uncle who was nominated for a grammy and has two platinum records, but his page was deleted for not being "notable."

  • I've tried to contribute to Wikipedia. Nothing ever made it past the editors.

    I don't try any more.

    Case closed.

    ...laura

  • by darkain ( 749283 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @03:29PM (#51217675) Homepage

    I still remember the very day that Wikipedia's homepage strictly stated "DON'T POST THIS ON SLASHDOT", which of course I found through Slashdot. Back when the site first launched, that very first day. For the first couple of years, I contributed quite a bit, but don't really do much of that ever anymore. Why?

    It is the "low hanging fruit" problem: http://www.urbandictionary.com... [urbandictionary.com]

    Essentially, all of the easy and common knowledge topics have already been covered. We're at the point now where only two types of edits can really happen. First is highly specialized knowledge, so yes, only a fraction of the community can do that properly. The second is new and emerging ideas, which is generally also highly specialized knowledge that has yet to become common knowledge, so again a very small subset of people who can contribute.

    If anything, this isn't a problem. It means they've achieved a very significant goal. They have a huge percentage of human factual knowledge all in one place.

    • You make sense, damn you.

    • "First is highly specialized knowledge..." Explain then why people with exactly that kind of knowledge can't get their information through page sitting editors.
      • by Lisias ( 447563 )

        "First is highly specialized knowledge..." Explain then why people with exactly that kind of knowledge can't get their information through page sitting editors.

        It's exactly what i was going to post.

        I'm in a group of retrocomputing enthusiasts. We dig, bid, pursue and beyond for pisces of history of he computer industry - mainly from my own country. Problem is, n this process, we find out facts and curiosities that we just can't publish on Wikipedia.

        That would be alright - except that someone else had published facts and misinformation that we know for sure about the veracity - as we own the product, the official advertising material (sometimes even the original pi

  • But all I heard was that the new editors get raked over the coals, and that it isn't worth the time.
  • I'd love to spend some time trying to make it better, but every edit I've had has been declined. So ya, good luck with that
    • by DamonHD ( 794830 )

      Pretty much all my edits have stuck so far as I can tell, or at least not been reverted per se, other than one which was briefly (somewhat aggressively) queried then reinstated.

      I make a mixture of micro (eg typo), and more substantive corrections/additions.

      I have no axe to grind: maybe that helps?

      Rgds

      Damon

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @03:38PM (#51217719)

    i believe wikipedia's own "humorous" article on WikiSpeak [wikipedia.org] explains a lot about the issues it's having.

  • From the conclusion: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ronabop ( 520121 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @03:40PM (#51217725)

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

    The former turned out to be a monumentally bad idea, creating a space filled with weird conspiracy editors, tendentious axe-grinding, automated submission systems, random drive-by vandalism, massive amount of astroturfing, and general trolling. Hence, the latter.

  • by Improv ( 2467 ) <pgunn01@gmail.com> on Thursday December 31, 2015 @03:52PM (#51217797) Homepage Journal

    It's not a social club, it's a mission-driven org. A lot of people are not suitable for participation, and they'll get weeded out. Others just have knowledge that's very common and don't want to do boring stuff. How many people does the project need? How many can it productively use? I don't think the answer is everyone on the planet.

    Doesn't mean that some of the other criticisms are not also right.

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @04:22PM (#51217981) Homepage

    Let me cancel out the comments like "Heck, just try editing wikipedia! Everything I post is reverted instantly!" by posting my experience.

    I edit Wikipedia maybe once every few months. None of my edits have ever been reverted or debated. I've anonymously edited things I know about like the article on sorting algorithms. I've edited things I know nothing about, like the article on depth charges. In the latter cases, I was usually reading the article and misunderstood something, so I read more elsewhere, then went back to reword or clarify the section that was unclear. I've fixed citations and spelling errors randomly. No complaints, reverts, or edit wars.

    Given the rather... opinionated... Slashdot culture, I would love to know what articles people are editing that cause flame wars. Because I just don't see it

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So lots of people, here on Slashdot and elsewhere, for quite a while now, relate how they've been put off contributing to Wikipedia due to reversals of perfectly reasonable edits and the unwelcoming attitude of the established editors and you dismiss it with levity because it hasn't happened to you?

      By your logicl, since I haven't been mugged in a big city yet, all the people who've told me they have are surely to blame somehow.

      • by FunkSoulBrother ( 140893 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @08:32PM (#51219309)

        If someone is going to claim that a big city is a crime-ridden hellhole, I'd at least like to see a news article about their mugging, or their black eye, or something.

        Wikipedia is basically a big city with all-seeing cameras on every intersection. I'm not saying it's never corrupt or abused, but the people making such accusations could at least post a link to the edits in question so we can look at the issue as an objective 3rd party. It might just have the effect eliminating some tinpot shithead editor by putting the spotlight on them!

        But in all the Slashdot articles about Wikipedia, I never see anyone link to the outrageous reverts they are constantly bitching about.

    • Question: when you post "anonymously", are you using the same ID (e.g. "MobyDisk")? If so, then you have a history, and perhaps credibility, which goes into how you are treated. I'm just mildly curious...never had an interest in contributing anything to Wiki myself.
  • by FunkSoulBrother ( 140893 ) on Thursday December 31, 2015 @08:35PM (#51219325)

    Can any of the people who have anecdotes about asshole editor grievances please actually post some links? Seriously, I don't think you a lying, give us a chance to overthrow the assholes with actual evidence.

    • Can any of the people who have anecdotes about asshole editor grievances please actually post some links? Seriously, I don't think you a lying, give us a chance to overthrow the assholes with actual evidence.

      It's really easy to find. Imagine a controversial topic -- any topic you imagine people would tend to get in fights about. Now go read the "Talk Page" on Wikipedia on an article about it. In a significant number of such articles, you're likely to find all sorts of dysfunction with minority views either summarily suppressed or sometimes arbitrarily held up over the clear consensus of the majority (and sometimes even the clear scholarly consensus).

      Better yet, imagine some topic that there's some common

  • Want to see what scojus thought control looks like on wikipedia?
    MGTOW page has been deleted all the time, because the scojus feminists believe it shouldn't be included, and since they only need a few editors to vote "delete" it gets removed.

    This is AFTER it had tons of negative updates added, just view the talk page [wikipedia.org], its a damn warzone.

    Here is it before http://i.imgur.com/Nni5Z13.jpg [imgur.com]
    And after http://i.imgur.com/MQ89wYO.jpg [imgur.com]

    This is why I will never donate a cent, and actively remind people of their censorship.

     

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