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Talk:Emerging strategic priorities/ESP 4 key questions/What are the factors currently preventing readers from contributing to the Wikimedia projects? What particular factors might have begun to inhibit participation in 2006, when we know it began to stagnate?

From Strategic Planning
  1. At least one large factor is "I don't have anything to contribute"; we assume that we need to be experts in order to edit.
People who can research don't need expertise; they can verify assertions from references ... and add related factual material that seems pertinent. Non-experts can be encouraged to add with, or work out, less technical language, which helps the readability level. Too many articles are written with the background bar too high.Twang 20:24, 24 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
The wikipedia policies specifically discourage original research. Since people may not know how "original research" is defined, this could discourage non-experts. Netmouse 01:20, 29 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
  • Wikipedia exclusively for Kids#Psychology : A continual motivation for adolescents to participate could require to delete their work after a given time. The age groups 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 could have their own content and probably wouldn't mind if it was removed after five to ten years because for a teenager that is "an eternity". A large group of adolescents used to contributing to Wikipedia would of course result in a group of adults who might like to continue on that path, at least now and then. That should solve most problems related to community stagnation. --Fasten 09:47, 28 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
  1. Another issue: many people don't know (in spite of all the promotion of this fact) that they can edit. It's not the dominant paradigm for web content. -- ArielGlenn 02:52, 22 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
  • A couple of thoughts about participation slump:
    • Once the 'easy' stuff got done, the time demands naturally rose
    • Public scrutiny of a subculture of infighting / 'academic standards disease'
    • The move to citations and "unverified comments can be removed" without facilitating that move for people generously contributing from their lifelong learning. Twang 20:24, 24 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
  • I have a small company in Mongolia, and quite many photos of Mongolia. I thought of contributing the photos of our province, hoping the signature in the photos corner would make a small bit of advert for us and the province. Wikipedia shifted from the GPDL to a Creative Common license which allows to delete the author's name in some circumstances. And Wikipedia culture is against any kind of advert and nearly any kind of work recognition. So I didn't choose Wikipedia but Wikitravel (which only accepts Creative commons license, though, but does accept discrete advert.) and tried with one signed photo, putting a link from Wikipedia page to the corresponding Wikitravel's one. I had no problem with Wikitravel but our photo got copied into Wikipedia and the signature got erased by a zealous Wikipedist, in spite of the terms of the license and of some countries law (France, for instance). I protested and reverted the signature deletion, not to avail. We're not ready to release any photo under a Creative common license any more. If we want companies to get involved, there should be more work recognition. Or maybe Wikipedia will soon erased Picasso's signature for his paintings because it's scandalous advert for the museums they are in? On the one hand, Wikipedia requires sources of information, not in a hidden technical page but in the article itself. On the other hand, Wikipedia doesn't accept signed photos and contribution. What is the logic? In what forbidding signatures on photos and below major contributions improves Wikipedia's quality? In The Encyclopedia, the first one, published by Diderot in the 18th century in France, articles were signed, and it's still the case in some encyclopaedias. --Fiable.biz 02:26, 25 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
I too have not posted photos to wikipedia, but mainly because I have no idea a) how to post them and b) how to demonstrate that I have the right to post them. Both aspects of this process lack transparancy and ease. Netmouse 01:27, 29 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
  • We made verifiability an important standard, but we haven't made it any easier to do. Citation templates are tedious. Nobody knows where to look for reliable sources, even though there are tons we can use. If it were easier to just pull a quote from an article, more people would do it. Instead we've created a standard that is hard for a newbie to understand and meet.
    That may be true: many users hate Verifiability. They would rather just put in their beliefs or even just make stuff up. However, I would say the solution is not to abolish Verifiablity, but to spread the word that Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia, and is supposed to contain actual information and knowledge (an unpopular message, but unavoidable). - Brya 08:03, 28 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
    Agree with Brya. Verifiability isn't going away. So let's make it easier to verify content. Have some kind of automatic citation tool, maybe. Or make it dead simple to flag a news article on a topic, which automatically puts it somewhere that editors can mine it for verifiable facts.
    Actually, that won't do it. Some of the content on the most easily verifiable topics is wrong, because users hate the very idea of verifying anything. It is more fun just to add in beliefs. - Brya 17:22, 5 December 2009 (UTC)Reply
  • this page itself demonstrates that there is no obvious standard way to go about having a discussion in wikipedia. People are using different bullets and indentation techniques and it is very awkward. When people don't know how to start or participate in a discussion even just from a formatting standpoint it is discouraging. Netmouse 02:19, 29 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
That is a good point: the desire of case-hardened Wikipedians to standardize for standardization's sake is certain to be an important factor in driving contributors away. - Brya 06:21, 4 November 2009 (UTC)Reply
  • When I asked for comments about this on my journal just now, the message that came through most clearly was that people had tried editing and were discouraged from it by the actions and comments of other editors and admins, and from having the content they had put effort into over-written or deleted. Netmouse 03:30, 29 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
  • This question is rather biased towards en:wp and some of the other largest Wikipedias. Let's not forget that we should aim for solutions that drive participation in all the projects. After a lot of reading I am coming to the conclusion that we need to:
  • Many times the editors erase articles too easy and cruelly, instead of making contact with the new author (that is the case with Hungarian wikipedia).
  • The expanations for new authors are usally useless. --Mzolta 06:15, 19 November 2009 (UTC)Reply
  • Harsh behavior towards new users. Had I known about some of the discussions I have seen during my 2 years as a Wikimedia contributor, I wouldn't even have considered joining in the first place. The way some "experienced" editors treat newcomers is unbelievable. -- JovanCormac 23:32, 23 November 2009 (UTC)Reply