Question of the week/Archives/2009-11-30

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Every week, this page highlights interesting data in Wikimedia-pedia as a way of focusing the strategic discussion. On Monday of each week, some data and a question will be posted. Please discuss on the talk page, or join the IRC office hours to discuss in real-time. On Wednesday, there will be a number of possible solutions posted based on the discussion, and participants will be asked to prioritize them.

Question of the week (30 November 2009)

Please discuss on the Talk:Question of the week page.

The Wall Street Journal published an article last week detailing the research of Felipe Ortega, indicating that the number of editors has declined in recent years. Representatives from the Wikimedia Foundation, meanwhile, noted that a different methodology indicates that the number of active editors has in fact stabilized in the same time period--as opposed to having declined.

Regardless of the methodological differences, there appears to be a consensus that the Wikipedia community is becoming less friendly, particularly for new users. A few relevant data points:

  • Ed Chi's research (at the Palo Alto Research Center) indicates that new editors see 25% of their edits reverted
  • Comments left on the blog for the WSJ article indicate that a number of editors have left because of unfriendly treatment from other editors (e.g., edits reverted without explanations of why), and comments on this Wiki have echoed this impression
  • Proposals on this Wiki have indicated that a good reward system for contributions does not exist

Given all of the above, how could the community better reward contributions and nurture new editors? How can the Wikimedia projects become a friendlier and more welcoming place to share knowledge?