Proposal talk:Stupidity of increasingly smaller crowds

From Strategic Planning

To me this does not look like a proposal; it merely points out an issue (a very important issue), without suggesting a way forward. - Brya 06:29, 10 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I think that's okay. We'll probe into it some. :-) -- Philippe 07:10, 10 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Ok, just to give some direction forward (I was going to leave it up to others.. but: recognizing other roles than editing, lowering barriers to entry, raising barriers to departure, creating a physical/virtual social environment, reduce the amount of written/unwritten rules... etc .etc.. (fill in the details yourself, we can all come up with examples) --Jan-Bart 17:35, 24 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

An observation

Although in theory it is good to have as many users as possible who contribute what they can contribute, in practice not everything anybody puts in is equally valuable. It is assumed (silently) that every user be self-aware enough to know what it is he/she can contribute and will govern him/herself not to just react, and not to just carry out some agenda. In practice this is not always the case.

It may well be that the key to success of the encyclopedia is to have more support for those who are working on the encyclopedia, by creating an atmospere where working on the encyclopedia is what is encouraged, rather than just encouraging community sense. The question may be how to get more actual contributors (rather than just 'monkeys behind keyboards'). A crowd does not necessarily get more stupid by getting smaller, or brighter when it grows. If you gather the right crowd it may well grow and prosper, while just going for numbers may not get you anything.- Brya 05:35, 12 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Well the proposal's title is just to get attention ;) But I agree with you, the numbers don't translate directly to wisdom. However, we have linked the number of contributors of an article to its quality, and numbers remain essential... There should be some kind of balance, a balance which I feel is currently missing (look at the balance within the proposals on this wiki)-- 17:27, 24 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Of relevance, an idea of mine

I have added an idea of my own that may be relevant to this at Proposal_talk:Community_sustainability. Do you think I should make it a separate proposal? --Bodnotbod 17:14, 13 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I will l

Best proposal yet

Even if it doesn't have specific actions, I really like this proposal and agree with its core premises. Sj 04:25, 14 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I agree to that statement. One thing I've noticed in my (almost) 7 years of involvement with Wikipedia is that a surprisingly large percentage of good editors burn out quickly. Many of these are the ones who handle the ugly conflicts, do the heavy lifting, become the targets of vandals & malcontents -- & then there are the ones who quietly work on improving articles until one day they notice no one notices their work & then just stop contributing. Good volunteers need to be identified & encouraged; the traditional libertarian lassez faire approach followed at Wikipedia is no longer working. -- Llywrch 05:15, 14 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Oh boy. I only signed up the day before yesterday, so please forgive me for intruding here. But "the traditional libertarian lassez faire approach followed at Wikipedia is no longer working" seems to be a non sequitur. Everything you said before that makes perfect sense and it is clearly said out long experience, but I can't for the life of me see the logical connection with that conclusion. Am I being thick? Thamus 07:19, 14 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Sorry, Thamus, I was being a little too concise in alluding to a comment I made elsewhere. That link ought to explain how I got from point A to point B. -- Llywrch 23:25, 14 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]


Having article starts deleted WITHOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF RECOVERY is really off-putting. For whatever reason you started something and then lost track of it, it's gone (7 days after it's marked) and you have NO WAY OF RECOVERING YOUR WORK. This is not acceptable. Yes, you could do this, this, and this, and maybe you should but you got interrupted or sick or whatever.

There is FAR TOO CASUAL an attitude about this lost work ... and there's little question that in some cases the deletion can be motivated BY POLITICS. Deleted work *should* remain accessible (I don't have time to write to some admin) for at least a year so that work already done does not have to be recreated (I'm damned if I'll do that.) Twang 04:35, 14 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]


The templates that say in effect "you need to add cites or this work may be deleted" are too easy to add and too threatening.

They can be overused as well. Take a look at the date timelines ("August 13") for example ... very few of those pages have been marked up with WARNING WILL ROBINSON templates. Yet last night I found a timeline on a particular subject that was broken up into centuries, and someone had gone through the whole page adding threats BEFORE EVERY SECTION. Why? I suspect it's political.

CITATION IS HARD WORK. It can take a LONG TIME to find quality references for some topics. It's made even harder by of the clumsiness of the interface and by the LACK OF TOOLS. I've done enough of it and it's easy enough for me, but I can understand that someone without a research background and WP experience might not be able to figure out how.

The clumsiness of the present citation process is yet another part of the burden added on prospective editors. Twang 04:35, 14 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

are you there, Mr. De Vreede?

As I said above, I have began working here only the day before yesterday (not a figure of speech), and besides a few minor orthographic edits, I have only contributed my point of view in a couple of discussion pages. Actually, some of those "contributions" are just good humoured answers to people who use those pages as a forum of general discussion instead of focusing in improving the article (actually, it seems to be such an irresistible temptation that I wonder if a wikiforum might be a potable proposal). So don't mind me if you don't want to, but here's my say.

I begin to see that WP is at a crossroads, with two main tendencies vying for materialisation. Let’s call them the down tendency and the up tendency. One is illustrated to perfection in the proposal “dumb down wikipedia”. This proposal has the virtue of giving the down tendency some sort of phantasmagorical body, a vision of WP’s sure future if the problem pointed out by Mr. De Vreede is just ignored. If it is addressed, that future becomes that much less likely, but there are a number of other (blind) forces making for it. Of the present discussion page, I am glad to see that every participation is pertinent, positive and constructive, but I almost ignored the one superlative contribution, simply because it appears in the form of a link. Shame on me. Bodnotbod, it’s time to shed a little modesty; work as mule and defend it as lion.

The issue is human nature. We need rewards for our work. Since WP is “nonmonetary”, we need to come up with different sorts of recognition. Bodnotbod suggests one and there might be others I am sure.

A different point.

About fostering the up tendency (for which I confess an uncontrollable bias), in the recent election for the board of trustees’ candidates profiles, someone propounded a strategic alliance with the Smithsonian Institution, with the specific goal of obtaining publishable material. I believe that the up future of WP is inevitably linked with a systematic pursuit of such alliances. Universities, specialized television channels, Museums, are some of the first that come to my mind. Naturally, I am not thinking exclusively about content. The scope of possible benefits of such alliances for both partners is such that, well, it blows my mind, really. Saludos, Thamus 09:43, 14 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

yep, so lets start rewarding people who focus on THOSE kinds of activities rather than just editing. The point being: lets start recognizing people for other activities which help out the mission!-- 17:27, 24 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Those funny oxymorons

Funny features of English: "increasingly smaller" and "grow smaller/thinner"! Nevertheless, this proposal is about something social, f.ex. having not so strict regular chat sessions or something oriented towards wikiprojects and team members sharing ideas about a common interest, without any ambition to make articles from it. Why not link up to mail fora for socializing in the wikiprojects main pages and make a calendar scheme for regular conferencing? Or from those WikiFauna creature pages, like me being a en:Wikipedia:WikiSloth? That might add to the coherence of the communities, hopefully without any social pressure, so that hermits can remain hermits, if they wish so. Rursus 20:06, 18 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Agreed, a certain group of users would appreciate such an environment, and it would help overcome certain barriers to entry.-- 17:27, 24 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I am here now :)

Hi all, thanks for the good comments. I wasn't aware that we had already reached this stage in the proposals, so I wasn't watching this page. I will respond in detail later today or tommorow!-- 17:27, 24 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]


Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 00:17, 3 September 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Well the major thing is this: we have a LOT of users who simply browse wikipedia (and its other projects). This proposal should make sure that we convince these users to become part of a community of editors.