It seems that our natural reaction is to immediately question the numbers and the
underlying studies. We are Wikimedians and will not rest until we are sure that we are
looking at 100% accurate numbers.
We could also look at this another way. Looking around me and talking to people about
Wikipedia (and sometimes the other projects) I hear a lot of stories which demonstrate our
inability to welcome everyone and motivate them to become regular contributors. The data
strongly suggests the same thing. Instead of doubting the numbers, lets just assume that
we are not doing well enough in this department. As one "old timer" told me last
week: "Over the past years I have seen the community become more inward focused, more
unfriendly to newcomers and more rigid.... and there was nothing I could do to stop it...
While discussing this at the board meeting I heard examples of people that are doing great
work in this area, but we need to do more. At a past Wikimania I asked someone what they
did within the projects, her answer was: "not much"...."I just welcome new
people and help them find their way". At that time (and I think this still persists
on some level) we seem to value "true editors" more than those that perform
other tasks. I don't have enough insight to see if this still the case, but my view
is: helping new users find their way potentially has an impact that is way higher than
While encouraging those that are doing this hard work now, I invite others to stop
doubting the data, and simply focus on the fact that we have a lot of work to do and lets
try to solve this together. It could be something simple like really helping out a new
user once a week or sharing a great idea which we can execute together. Our projects are
growing, and our contributor numbers are not growing with them. That is hurting quality,
and at the end of the day... thats what we are judged on.
Jan-Bart de Vreede
Member of the Board of Trustees
PS: Copied to Talk page on Wiki
On 27 mrt 2011, at 22:18, Ting Chen wrote:
> Dear all:
> The Wikimedia Board of Trustees just completed its two-day meeting 
> this weekend in Berlin. We devoted the longest time to discussing
> declining trends in editing activity and our collective response to it.
> I encourage everyone to review Sue’s March update , and the editor
> trends study itself . It is a deeply important topic, and each report
> is only a few pages long.
> The Board thinks this is the most significant challenge currently facing
> our movement. We would encourage the whole movement - the communities,
> wikiprojects, Chapters, Board, Foundation staff - to think about ways to
> meet this challenge. We know many contributors care about this and have
> worked on outreach and hospitality in past years. We are considering how
> we can help make such work more effective, and ask for suggestions from
> the community to this problem now and to invite discussion and
> suggestions .
>  http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Board_meetings/March_25-26
>  http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/March_2011_Update
>  http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Editor_Trends_Study
> Ting Chen
> Member of the Board of Trustees
> Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
> E-Mail: tchen(a)wikimedia.org
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