I wish it was true that we have reached a level of maturity and need fewer people, But unfortunately, even the the largest language Wikipedia, Wikipedia English, still needs much improvement.

For example,  the readership base of our health related articles is much larger that the number of editors working on them. We don't have enough people to improve the health related articles to make them useful, then keep them up to date, and watch them for the inclusion of errors or poor quality edits. Much of this work needs to be done by real people not bots or gadgets. 

We do our best to watch the articles with the highest readership, like the Ebola. A great article highlighting one success  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/27/business/media/wikipedia-is-emerging-as-trusted-internet-source-for-information-on-ebola-.html 

But there are many other important medical articles that are read thousands of times a day and are start class articles or have outdated content. .  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Medicine/Popular_pages

We are out recruiting new editors to help.. We are hopeful that connecting with health organizations with a common interest in disseminating health information will draw in enough  people to make a noticeable change.

It would be helpful to avoid giving a mixed message and not tell the world that we are mature and need less people. :-) 

Sydney Poore
Wikipedian in Residence
at Cochrane Collaboration

On Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 11:25 AM, Nicolas Jullien <Nicolas.Jullien@telecom-bretagne.eu> wrote:

to follow up on that troll, I invite you to (re-)discover the work by Marwell and Oliver
"The Critical Mass in Collective Action" (1993)

which points that fact that after some times, project are "mature" and need less people to participate. Maybe Wikipedia has entered in adulthood (which is, sometime, boring)


Le 28/10/2014 16:14, Pierre-Carl Langlais a écrit :
Hi everyone,

I cannot resist the temptation to troll a bit on this thread:
*"we need 10K or even 100K new active editors": would it not result in
even higher levels of bureaucracy?  Internet technologies have certainly
allowed to keeps large community running with fuzzy rules. Yet, I'm not
so sure it has completely relieved us of bureaucracy: there's probably
still a maximal ratio of participants/fuzziness. With about 30,000
active contributors during the past month, the English Wikipedia is by
far one of the largest autonomous web community. By experience (I do not
have any statistics at hand, sorry), I know that smaller communities
like the Italian Wikipedia, Wikidata or OpenStreetMap (all around
2,000-5,000 contributors) manage to avoid the same level of bureaucracy
sophistication. A lot of agreements can be done on a case per case
basis, while with 10 times more contributors regular rules become
necessary to avoid repeating the same discussions constantly. If you
want to keep a community of 130,000 users consistent, I guess you would
have to set up some kind of kafkaïan nightmare that would make the
current english wikipedia looks like a libertarian paradise…
*"English Wikipedia is suffering from a lack of adaptive flexibility". I
would rather point a lack of communication between the community and the
WMF. I have made some wiki archeology to document my last paper
<http://www.cairn.info/resume.php?ID_ARTICLE=NEG_021_0021> on Wikipedia
politics, and what strikes me in the 2001-2007 period is the high level
of interaction between programmers and contributors. A lot of important
features (like footnotes) were first suggested by users who do not have
any kind of programming knowledge. We clearly need to reestablish this
link (perhaps launching a wishlist would be a first step…).
*Is Wikipedia decline an exception? It seems to me that all communities
tends to attain a maxima, after which they slowly regress and stagnate.
The growth of OpenStreetMap has for instance slowed down
<http://scoms.hypotheses.org/241> after 2012. This is not because these
communities cease to be cool (a case could be made that OpenStreetMap is
way cooler than Wikipedia), but mainly, because having free time (in
addition of motivation and ability to contribute on the web) is still a
rare resource. Beginning a demanding job, having a child: all these
current events of life strongly limits the level of implication within
the population that would likely participate. Free time would certainly
not account of the whole gender gap, but is still a bigger issue for
women than for men: in a society that has not completely given up
patriarchal cultural schemes, women are still required to do a lot of
home-related tasks. On the French Wikipedia, we have long focused on
enhancing contribution from the inside (through a very active project
<https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Projet:Aide_et_accueil> to greet
newcomers) with little results (at most, we have only slowed down an
inevitable decline). Apparently, the most efficient (but hardest) way to
enhance participation would be to make some global change on society
(reforming evaluation rules for researchers, reducing working time,
creating a basic income, you name it…).

That's all, folks


Le 28/10/14 14:27, Aaron Halfaker a écrit :
Hey folks,

I'm breaking this thread of discussion out since it's not really
relevant to the thread it appeared in.

Personally, I'm not studying Wikipedia.  I'm studying the nature of
socio-technical communities with Wikipedia as an interesting case
study. Wikidata might be an interesting case study for something, but
personally, I'm mostly interested in how mature communities/systems
work & break down.  When it reaches maturity, I hope that Wikidata
will benefit from what I have learned.


On Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 8:01 AM, Gerard Meijssen
<gerard.meijssen@gmail.com <mailto:gerard.meijssen@gmail.com>> wrote:

    I  agree when it is the only thing I said.

    Yes, I asked you personally and Toby ... and Erik (both of them
    and several times) and I always hear "good idea, should be easy,
    we ill look into it and we get back to you". But as I said, your
    reply is relevant when it is the only thing I said and it is not.

    On 28 October 2014 13:43, Aaron Halfaker <aaron.halfaker@gmail.com
    <mailto:aaron.halfaker@gmail.com>> wrote:

        Gerard.  Did you file the feature request?  If not, you are
        ranting at the wrong mailing list.

        On Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 3:20 AM, Gerard Meijssen
        <gerard.meijssen@gmail.com <mailto:gerard.meijssen@gmail.com>>


            Despair is a personal emotion. What makes you think that
            despair is an attack on a person? It is not. Oliver, I
            despair about what the Research list has become and, I
            will explain why.

            What I despair about is the overwhelming amount of
            Wikipedia related noise. Noise because it feels to me like
            the same subjects are covered in endless similar ways. I
            despair because when something new happens OUTSIDE of
            this, the English Wikipedia it is completely ignored.

            Much of what I hear feels like noise because it lacks
            practical relevance. Research, statistics could show "What
            are people looking for most in Wikipedia but cannot find".
            We do not have that because of no reason I can think of
            and, it has been promised often enough for years now. The
            Swedish Wikipedia finds that their bot generated articles
            has rejuvenated their Wikipedia but the research community
            is quiet about it.. Ignores it ? Wikidata has statistics
            [1] its data has a real meaning about Wikipedia, about
            Wikidata and about the sum of all information AVAILABLE to

            The consequence of all this self promotion is that there
            is no attention for anything else.. Yes, we know there is
            a gender disparity but what about people with a mental
            health problem.. We have way more people editing who are
            "enriched" with a diagnosis than is average. What do our
            projects mean for them, does it help them with their self
            awareness, does it help them recover, is our community
            aware of it and how does it cope or fail to cope. What
            practical steps can we take to make these valuable
            contributors more secure, less anxious?

            Researching the same things over and over does not help us
            understand WIkipedia, our "other projects", our
            communities. It does not help us achieve our aim; it is
            "share in the sum of all knowledge", we do not even share
            all the knowledge that is available to us. Why not? How
            can we do this?

            Jane knows the tool that provides a selection of
            Wikipedias with search results from Wikidata. It works,
            Ori looked at it from a performance point of view. NOTHING
            NEEDS TO BE DONE TO IMPLEMENT IT. It does not happen. A
            research question would be "Why".

            The statistics for Wikidata are not up to date because the
            dumps are faulty. It is not clear, obvious that it is of
            real concern to the people responisble. However this data
            IS used to run specific bots based on what the numbers
            show. The numbers matter, the statistics matter they have
            a real demonstrable impact.

            What I am looking for is relevance and I find only
            research for more fine grained explanations not for
            solutions. It is why I despair, it is because it feels so
            much like a colossal waste of time when you consider that
            researching subjects with a different objective would help
            us forward so much.

            Maybe my expectations are unrealistic and people doing
            research are just another incrowd doing their own thing.

            [1] https://tools.wmflabs.org/wikidata-todo/stats.php?reverse

            On 28 October 2014 00:15, Oliver Keyes
            <okeyes@wikimedia.org <mailto:okeyes@wikimedia.org>> wrote:

                If it's that trivial to implement, implement it.

                That's a very compressed way of saying; I think it's
                fine for us to disagree on this list. But, really?
                Pine's email made you "despair"? It, by inference,
                made you conclude he doesn't accept new things? You
                find the absence of a feature actively irrational?

                It's okay for Pine's vision to be different from
                yours, or mine, or Aaron's, or anyone else's.
                Wikimedia's ethos is not built on any one person's
                vision: it is built on the sum of all of our hopes (in
                an ideal universe). It's not a one-in, one-out system
                where ideas must be harshly and actively countered so
                that yours can take primacy.

                So let's try and stay non-hyperbolic and civil on this
                list, please. As a heuristic; if even /you/ feel a
                need to write an apology for your email into an email,
                don't hit send.

                On 27 October 2014 17:14, Gerard Meijssen
                <mailto:gerard.meijssen@gmail.com>> wrote:

                    I read your mail again. It makes me despair.

                    Wikimedia research is NOT about Wikipedia, not
                    exclusively. When I read what is an inspiration to
                    you I find all the reasons why Wikipedians do not
                    accept anything new. Why we still do not have a
                    search that also returns information on what is
                    NOT in that particular Wikipedia. It is only one
                    example out of many. It is however so easy to
                    implement, it defies logic that it has not
                    happened on all Wikipedias. It is just one example
                    that demonstrates that we do not even share the
                    sum of all information that is available to us.



                    On 20 October 2014 08:23, Pine W
                    <wiki.pine@gmail.com <mailto:wiki.pine@gmail.com>>


                        Both of the presentations at the October
                        Wikimedia Research Showcase were fascinating
                        and I encourage everyone to watch them [1]. I
                        would like to continue to discuss the themes
                        from the showcase about Wikipedia's
                        adaptability, viability, and diversity.

                        Aaron's discussion about Wikipedia's ongoing
                        internal adaptations, and the slowing of those
                        adaptations, reminded me of this statement
                        from MIT Technology Review in 2013 (and I
                        recommend reading the whole article [2]):

                        "The main source of those problems (with
                        Wikipedia) is not mysterious. The loose
                        collective running the site today, estimated
                        to be 90 percent male, operates a crushing
                        bureaucracy with an often abrasive atmosphere
                        that deters newcomers who might increase
                        partipcipation in Wikipedia and broaden its

                        I would like to contrast that vision of
                        Wikipedia with the vision presented by
                        User:CatherineMunro (formatting tweaks by me),
                        which I re-read when I need encouragement:

                        "THIS IS AN ENCYCLOPEDIA
                        One gateway
                        to the wide garden of knowledge,
                        where lies
                        The deep rock of our past,
                        in which we must delve
                        The well of our future,
                        The clear water
                        we must leave untainted
                        for those who come after us,
                        The fertile earth,
                        in which truth may grow
                        in bright places,
                        tended by many hands,
                        And the broad fall of sunshine,
                        warming our first steps
                        toward knowing
                        how much we do not know."

                        How can we align ouselves less with the former
                        vision and more with the latter? [3]

                        I hope that we can continue to discuss these
                        themes on the Research mailing list. Please
                        contribute your thoughts and questions there.



                        [1] youtube.com/watch?v=-We4GZbH3Iw


                        [3] Lest this at first seem to be impossible,
                        I will borrow and tweak a quote from from
                        George Bernard Shaw and later used by John F.
                        Kennedy: "Some people see things as they are
                        and say, 'Why?' Let us dream things that never
                        were and say, 'Why not?'"

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                Oliver Keyes
                Research Analyst
                Wikimedia Foundation

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Maître de Conférences (HDR) / Associate Professor.
LUSSI - iSchool, M@rsouin. Institut TELECOM Bretagne & UEB
In charge of the Master "Information Systems Project Management and Consulting"
Co-animator of the "ICT and Society" Institut Mines-Telecom's research network

Skype: Nicolas.Jullien1
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