Wikipedians are the reason Wikipedia is dying

Here’s a rant.

I love Wikipedia and I hate Wikipedia. It offers the potential to store near-infinite amounts of information and is one of my go-to sources for quickly learning about new stuff.

But dude, Wikipedians suck and are the reason Wikipedia is slowly dying. People are hesitant to create new articles because there is always some rabid deletionist standing in the shadows waiting to get rid of it. Oftentimes the information is completely valid, it’s not spam, it’s not completely unnotable, but once something reaches the “deletion” process, it’s pretty much a given that it will be gotten rid of.

People who are bored/looking for something to do/trying to convince themselves they have control/authority/power over others flock to the deletion discussions and often overwhelmingly vote to delete stuff.

Yet, they are never able to answer the simple question: What harm is there in keeping it? They can’t answer it, because they usually do not have an answer – they do the whole deletion thing not for the sake of improving Wikipedia, but to makes themselves feel like they have control.

TLDR: Fewer people are contributing to Wikipedia because Wikipedians scare them away. No one is going to spend their time adding to it when someone is always lurking there to delete their work.

This isn’t my experience (I have written articles and added to others with no problems), but yes, just like any other open Internet forum there’s a cadre of cowardly assholes lying in wait to ruin whatever they can.

If it gets bad enough maybe the way things are run there will change, but it’s pretty much going to be impossible to keep everyone happy.

I’ve written hundreds of articles myself, it just pisses me off when they are nominated for deletion. The capricious nature of the editors is one of my biggest peeves – they decide to keep X article because of X nonsense reason, but delete Y article, even though Y article is just as notable as X article, for some other nonsense reason.

They never offer valid reasoning for deleting things, just the same canned responses that they cannot back up when called out. Like I said, they do what they do just to make themselves feel important, not because they wish to contribute positively to the site.

How do you know? Perhaps it’s just a lot of the easy subjects have been written now.

I’ve been with Wikipedia for ten years. Being among the culture, though by my own choice not actually part of it, has clued me into a lot dark sides of Wikipedia.

OK, is there some kind of evidence of Wikipedia’s death?

I will agree there is a lot of Wiki-nazis out there. The most astonishing this is how often it is one sided and if you read the “talk” pages you can find great info there that cannot be put in the main article, even though it’s well sourced and documented. People get sick of fighting.

Wikipedia is a great place to start, but it’s far from the definitive source.

Yes –

First, if you Google “Wikipedia is dying,” a ton of articles come up regarding its demise.

But also, there’s this:

In January 2007, the English Wikipedia had 48,000 active users (5+ edits per month). In January 2010, that number was down to 38,000. In January 2013, that number was down to 33,000 and in January of this year, it was down to 31,000. At its height, Wikipedia had nearly, 51,000 active editors. The number didn’t even drop below 35,000 until midway through 2010. But within the past year, the number has dropped below 30,000 with increasing frequency … the last time Wikipedia had that few editors was in early 2006, before Wikipedia became “big.”*

One of two things is going to happen, in my view. Wikipedia will stabilize at 25,000-29,000 active users per month, or in a couple years we will see an exponential decrease in editors dropping out, since they see no effort in continuing since “no one else” participates anymore – like with a forum that see a drop in membership, once a critical number of members disappear, the site’s death is basically imminent since posting and activity dry up.

“We are not replenishing our ranks,” said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

*https://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediansEditsGt5.htm

Hmm. I guess I would be one of those that dropped off; mid-2009 was probably the last time I was a frequent editor. I don’t feel that anybody deterred me, though.

It kinda seems natural that there’d be less people participating as the project matured, just because of a reduced number of things to write about. The english version has something like five-million articles, compared to say, 40,000 in Encylopeida Britannica. Obvoiusly it’ll never be “finished”, new stuff will happen that will need articles or updates to old articles, and there’s probably endless fine-tuning that can be done even on relatively static subjects.

But still, with five million topics already covered, the number of new articles that are needed, or that can even be conceived, is going to shrink, and the pool of people capable of writing about those ever more obscure topics will also presumably get smaller. At the same time, the interest of editors is naturally going to shift away from getting more new content, and more towards quality control.

It should be noted, perhaps not surprisingly, that participation on the non-English Wikipedias (Spanish, for example) has increased in recent years.

I just stick with helping out with files (images, audio files, etc). There’s much less contention there. The one time I did try to improve an article (about a Russian prepubescent supermodel) by removing a “pedo” vibe from it, I got trashed by a 16 year old who kept reverting me. It just wasn’t worth the effort of getting him to understand the problem.

I’ve actually watched people tell others that they need to leave Wikipedia. I’ve seen many such attacks, yet no punishment for the people. Only really, really bad people get anything.

And then there are the people who are actually paid who seem to have absolutely no faith in the system and keep coming up with different ways to work around it, angering the community. Things as simple as font changes wind up pissing people off because they don’t use the basic systems in place to handle it.

I also don’t think there are a dearth of articles that need to be made or updated. Wikipedia has not been significantly different in years in terms of uncovered subjects. People aren’t really leaving because they have less to do–they just are leaving naturally, but not being replaced. Yet Wikipedia is no more finished than it was in 2012.

I think, if Wikipedia wishes to remain viable, it needs to slowly expand what it considers “notable.” A lot of editors, like myself, prefer to create rather than edit the nitty-gritty. When you exhaust the ability to create new content, you drive away many current and potential editors.

I don’t really see why just continuing with a smaller number of editors as the needs of the project shrink is “un-viable”. For most people, the value of the project is the content of the articles, not the number of people actively working on it.

Plus, there are plenty of other projects for documenting more ephemeral topics, if that’s what people want to do. I’m not sure trying to fold all that into one giant ur-project under wikipedia would be a good thing. Even under the wiki-banner, there’s a host of other projects that could absorb a lot more people that like to contribute to such things.

I’ve helped on a few Wiki pages; mostly about local events and historic places. I must admit that anything I read on it I verify from other sources or take with a grain of salt, but its still the first go-to for a basic start looking at almost any subject.

I know little about the politicking of Wiki editing, but my very limited personal (actually sort of second hand) experience supports the idea that Wikipedia is being strangled by its own people. I am involved in a somewhat esoteric Indonesian musical tradition (Javanese gamelan). Individuals and universities in the US have been at the forefront of preserving the original forms and spreading the music globally.

You can’t effectively study or play this music in isolation, since it entails a large set of heavy bronze gongs and people to play them. Americans who want to pursue gamelan must figure out where they can find a gamelan set and other players. Fortunately, the US actually has a number of academic and community gamelan groups. But they can be hard to ferret out if you are not already part of the gamelan community.

So anyway, one of the gamelan people wanted to have a Wiki page devoted to “where you can play gamelan in the US.” This was denied by the Wiki editors, because “it’s just a list.” Yeah, kind of, but it is a very valuable, hard-to-come by list!

This was a number of years ago - I don’t know if the Wikipedia folks ever relented.

I stopped editing years ago (usually just typo fixes) because people started to be dicks.

Wikipedia has a strong atheist/skeptic bias, so their content on anything paranormal is highly compromised.

:confused: Wikipedia is full of lists.

And lists of lists of lists.

See, sometimes the system works.