Is there a peak to user-generated content? Wikipedia contributions are on the decline in an age of decline

The ecosystem of Wikipedia, and probably other wikis in the Wikimedia group, appear to be suffering from an over-vigilant team of editors who are increasingly quick to revert changes from less-active contributors. The newness and community-driven aspect of Wikipedia is suffering, in tandem with a decrease in fresh registrations. Let’s not be rash here, but the research presented below (by Ed Chi and colleagues at the Palo Alto Research Center) points out a freaky decline in distributed knowledge-creation—a decline that we just don’t need in this age of, well, decline.

rever-twikipedia
Jim Giles in New Scientist writes:

“Occasional” editors, those who make just a single edit a month, have 25 per cent of their changes erased, or reverted, by other editors, a proportion that in 2003 was 10 per cent. The revert rate for editors who make between two and nine changes a month grew from 5 to 15 per cent over the same period.”This is evidence of growing resistance from the Wikipedia community to new content,” say the Palo Alto team. Chi told New Scientist that the changes could harm Wikipedia in the longer term by deterring new editors from taking part and so reducing the number of people available to spot and correct the vandalism that constantly threatens the encyclopaedia. “Over time the quality may degrade,” he warns.

Chi thinks that Wikipedia now includes so much information that some editors have turned from creating new articles to improving existing ones, resulting in more disputes about edits. Such disputes are not a level playing field because established editors sometimes draw on extensive knowledge of Wikipedia’s guidelines to overwhelm opposition in a practice dubbed “wikilawyering”.

via: New Scientist

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