Critical issues presentations/Should we take special care about neglected group of intermidiate Wikipedia users?

From Wikimania 2016 • Esino Lario, Italy
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Submission no. 58
Title of the submission

Should we take special care about neglected group of intermidiate Wikipedia users?

Author of the submission
  • Oleksii Boldyriev
Country of origin

Ukraine

Topics

other, Policy

Keywords
  • community development
  • new users
  • old users
Abstract

There is a lasting problem of editing rate slowing and reaching plateau in many large language Wikipedias. Statistical data show editor number decreasing in recent years. There are a few usually proposed reasons such as reaching article saturation threshold or increasing complexity of Wikipedia structure and rules. Though these are plausible explanations there is also an obvious unbalance between wiki-newcomers and wiki-retirements: more users leave Wikipedia than come and stay. In my opinion, reasons of this negative flow lie inside communities.

On example of my native Ukrainian Wiki I have made a few observations. It seems that main problem is not in influx or outflux of users but in the ability of the system to hold active elements. Most active are users with intermediate experience which they usually got after 1-2 years and 200-300 articles created. They already understand fine points of wiki-processes while are not accustomed to all community traditions and unwritten rules. Their willing to write articles is satisfied and they lead to next level: to improve Wikipedia and community qualitatively. Users of middle wiki-age try to improve rules, to simplify community procedures, to raise level of articles. In this activity they find themselves opposed by old wikipedians (like 'don't change this, it worked all these years' or 'it is impossible to change, all these no sources and old copyvio articles – there are dozens of thousands articles') and novice-defenders (like 'don't bully newcomers!' or 'allow novices to write bad articles, don't nominate for deletion – they are our hope for future'). As a result this wiki-strata members get disappointed and stop Wikipedia activities. In my opinion, special policy should be developed to help this community group to continue productive wiki-life, not by the way of survival of the fittest.

Result

Not accepted