The problem we have is well measuring the community and the activities. I am
looking forward that the UNU-MERIT survey will be a huge step to knowing
Activity on malinglists and Wikimedia Statistics can only give hints, but
not tell us about the quality of mails and edits. This is again trying to
read something from Statistics that cannot be read from them.
A decrease of the total number of edits in a WP language edition can mean,
for example, a decrease of vandalism. Or: WP rules have been discussed
largely, now Wikipedians do less discussions. Or: Wikipedians have learned
to do more within one single edit when writing an article etc. Or: The
Poplar Bluff syndrome (bot generated geographical stubs / pseudo articles)
with its aftermath has settled.
A "New Wikipedian" can be simply a vandal, having made 5 edits in a month
(en.WP will not ban him so fast). Maybe the potential vandals have lost the
fun, or are all blocked, that's why we have less new Wikipedians etc.
It is also natural that people create less articles or edit less because
many articles already exist and are well written.
It may be true that "there is a stagnation or decline", but I cannot see
substantial evidence for ... well, what is it exactly we mean that shows
"stagnation" or "decline"?
Ziko van Dijk
2008/10/30 Milos Rancic <millosh(a)gmail.com>
On Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 10:07 AM, Yaroslav M. Blanter
>> They do not use any mailing lists at all
as far as I know. At least I
not aware of existence of any mailing lists for ru.wp
First, as you (Yaroslav) is active here, I would like to know what
Russian Wikipedians are using for communication. Just wiki? Some other
ways of communication? Wikipedia in Russian is not a small project, as
well as it is growing -- which demands some level of systematic
coordination. I think that the answer on this question may be very
significant at least in understanding some part of lists traffic
The main channel of communication is wiki: basically, the village pump
which is structured as a number of pages, for instance for instance,
general, news, rules, technical issues and such. So far it worked.
Important issues are branched out as separate rfc's.
Some of the Wikipedians (not me) are full-time present on irc channel.
A creation of a mailing list for sysops only was recently proposed but
There is of course personal communication, and there are even some
Wikipedians (not me again) who insist that most of the issues should be
The Russian chapter is in the creation stage and does not have its own
communication channel as far as I know.
I am not aware of any other signifgicant communication channels (I
recollect there is a collective blog which is half-dead and there is a
decision of arbitration committee that this blog is not a part of the
community), may be there are some more I do not know of, but it is
unlikely. There are information channels of course, for instance, similar
to wikizine. but they do not involve any discussions and are not
widespread (at least now).
Some of the prominent ru.wp editors are subscribed to this list, I assume
they will correct me if they have a different perspective.
Hm. At the first sight, I haven't found anything interesting. But, I
took a look to statistics (stats.wikimedia.org
) and I realized that
one of the possible answers is laying in ru.wp community.
First, I didn't see anything special; just different communication
channels. But, it may be the part of the answer, too. Using wiki as a
communication channel is more productive.
Then I went to stats (statistics are from May 2008) and compared the
data for the next Wikipedias:
- (English and German are not so relevant because statistics are old.)
- I took French and Italian as "the ordinary cases" -- as their lists
- Russian and Japanese are "not so ordinary cases".
- I took Serbian, too, to compare data with my knowledge.
So, before I started, I had supposed the next:
- French  and Italian  should show signs of stagnation and
decline (according to the data from the lists).
- Serbian  should show signs of stagnation and decline (according
to my knowledge: it is in the similar situation as other "ordinary
- Russian  should show signs of stagnation: it started to raise,
but it should be around the peak. So, if not decline, stagnation is
- Japanese  should show signs of low raising (according to the data
from the list).
I was just partially right:
- I was right for French, Italian and Serbian Wikipedias.
- Russian doesn't show signs of stagnation, but signs of linear raise
(not exponential, like it was during the first years of Wikipedia, of
- Japanese is in stronger decline than French, Italian and Serbian.
Before the particular analysis, just to explain what which behavior
means to us in the case of new users:
- Linear growth: (a) in the sense of project growth: exponential
growth (n^m); (b) in the sense of long term sustainability: linear
- Stagnation: (a) in the sense of project growth: linear growth (n*m);
(b) in the sense of long term sustainability: stagnation (which is
just fine at the position where Wikimedia is globally now).
- Decreasing: (a) in the sense of project growth: logarithmic growth
(n*1/m); (b) in the sense of long term sustainability: decline.
Here is the explanation of importance of charts:
- Contributors: This is not the best chart to look in. Number of
contributors can't fall and it is reasonable to expect some raise
every month -- if it is not about really small projects nor very big
problems at some project. Also, changes are not so visible (analysis
by just looking into it assumes measuring of curve angle).
- New Wikipedians: This is a very good and visible indicator. Linear
raising of the number assumes exponential growth; stagnation in
numbers assumes linear growth (the best possible development for us in
this situation), while decreasing number of Wikipedians means problems
- Active and very active Wikipedians: They are connected to the new
Wikipedians. If the number of NW (per month) raises, the number of AW
raises, if number of NW stagnates, number of AW stagnates; if number
of NW decreases, number of AW will decrease. The connection is simple:
some Wikipedians are leaving; if there is a number of others to
replace them, the number will stagnate; if there are more new
Wikipedians, the number will decrease; if there are more than enough
newcomers, number of active Wikipedians raises.
- Edits per month. This indicator has one more important value than
just signaling the number of active and very active contributors. A
lot of house keeping tasks may be done automatically, so this number
has to be in more or less constant correlation with the number of
- Other charts are relatively straight-forward. One more created
article means growing of database size and growing of number of
articles; and similar.
So, conclusion related to analyzed Wikipedias (and according to the
data up to May 2008) is:
- There are problems with French, Italian and Serbian Wikipedias. If
such trends continues, we would loose sustainability there.
- Japanese Wikipedia has serious problems; even data from the list
(from January to May) shows different situation. Again, it should be
good to hear, this time because the opposite reason, what is going on
- Russian Wikipedia (up to May 2008, of course) is going fine (linear
growth at the project level, stagnation at the long term
sustainability). Why is it so -- it should be analyzed.
The only reasons which I may detect is a very strong ArbCom. If ArbCom
is able to say "that something is not a part of the community", then,
AFAIK, it is stronger than (still strong) en.wp ArbCom.
 - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaFR.htm
 - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaIT.htm
 - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaSR.htm
 - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaRU.htm
 - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaJA.htm
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