Wikimedia in CRISIS
I think the crisis comes not because the "current trend" is exhausted, but because it was usurped by one which is damaging. Specifically, I refer to "deletionism".
Obviously the growth of Wikipedia requires that articles be created and expanded about ever more detailed information. This means creating articles about more and more obscure things. The general notability guideline should mostly allow this - the creation of articles about anything for which good sources can be found. But in practice we see articles routinely deleted despite a great number of sources, not uncommonly out of personal bias. Information is disparaged because it is "too detailed" or "too technical". Knowledge needed to actually run a commercial operation, rather than merely act as a passive consumer, is deemed unworthy if not dangerous and faces an uphill battle.
These things create the impression that the resources for continued growth - active projects where people can make a difference - have become scarce. But the scarcity is artificial. End the deletionism, and growth phase will return.
It's more complicated than blaming one small group of Wikipedians for everything. The reality is that Wikipedia has processes for organization and decision-making that work well when you have a few users, a few articles, and very little scrutiny. Once you have thousands of users, thousands of articles, and all kinds of media attention, things become more complicated. It's easy for a few editors with similar values to figure something out. It's harder for hundreds of editors to actually agree on something, let alone when you have pressure of avoiding lawsuits and embarrassing errors in the background.
It's time for Wikipedia to improve how it makes decisions and resolves disputes. It's still a powerful and idealistic model that can be used on smaller articles. But for larger issues that affect a wide range of content and behavior, we need to empower change and progress. Allowing one or two editors to hold everything back prevents the whole system from evolving.
Which goes to Saeed Varadi's point: organizations that don't reinvent themselves every few years die out. Can Wikipedia really survive if the technology is basically the same as 2001, and the policies are basically the same as 2007?
The same stuff yet again :(
Blaming one group for everything that goes bad is always the easiest solution to not assume its own part of responsibility in the situation. Do people need so much bads guys so they can identify themselves as the good guys? Joke aside, there are plenty stuffs to be written about which would also pass inclusion guidelines but no one write about them. The reason is simple as What potentially can be written about != What i want to write about. This reflects what capabilities & subjects of interest our current contributors demography can offer.
My summary of how it is de-facto:
- Wiki initiative capability: Limited
- Wiki reaction capability: High
Bottom line on Wiki big changes happen near-exclusively through crisis.
Deletionists are not truly "a group of editors", but rather, the current users of bad policies and precedents. An editor is not born deletionist, and railing against them is not the same kind of thing as blaming everything on the Jews. Once policies are established which hinder deletionism, there will be fewer people trying to push things that way, and hence, fewer deletionists.