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Proposal:Dumb Down Wikipedia

From Strategic Planning
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The status of this proposal is:
Request for Discussion / Sign-Ups

Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

Edit this page to help identify the priorities related to this proposal!

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


English Wikipedia has been reported to be written at a graduate/post-graduate level. Much of the popular media in the US is written at roughly an 8th grade level. Additionally, Wikipedia covers many complex and specialized subjects which are inherently difficult to understand.


The expressiveness of Wikipedia should be constrained so that readers do not need to undertake as much effort to understand it. Inherently complicated concepts should be presented as simplified strawmen which can be easily read.


A goal of Wikipedia is to be inclusive. Some people are not very smart and many smart people are not well educated. Dumbing down Wikipedia would make it more inclusive. Wikipedia is only used by some 300 million people in a month, by being more inclusive Wikipedia may attract more readers and thus more donation income.

Key Questions

  • What education level should Wikipedia be limited to?
  • Should the target level change from language to language?
  • Should it be possible for administrators to bypass any automated filters against difficult words?

Potential Costs

Foundation mandated changes to project policy could be applied with effectively no monetary cost. The "abuse filter" mediawiki extension could be used to prohibit the addition of words deemed "too difficult" for the lowest common denominator, so no new software development should be required.


Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal Talk:Dumb Down Wikipedia.

Want to work on this proposal?

  1. .. Sign your name here!