I guess your query is about India-related pages in the English Wikipedia. I do subscribe
to the view that it is becoming increasingly tough for newcomers to contribute. This
toughness can be looked at in two dimensions - syntax-related and collaboration-related.
I will first deal with the syntax-related issues: While on the face of it, there has not
been much of a change in terms of the basic syntax and in fact, increased ease in finding
syntax, the difficulty has been due to the increased expectations of community on what is
acceptable as syntax. For instance, previously if someone had to use a webpage as a
reference, all that they needed to do was to link the URL; today, for an article to be
accepted, such URLs need to be referenced in a prescribed manner, using in-line citations
etc. - this puts off new users unneccesarily. Originally, Wikipedia was known more for its
(breadth & depth of) content than its form (writing style, flow, referencing etc.). Of
late, the form has become more important - this is not surprising because, as time goes
on, the growth in the amount of knowledge that is yet to be added keeps decreasing and the
need to reorganise existing knowledge to make it appear more reliable and valid becomes
paramount - however, the unintented consequence is that it becomes difficult for new
contributors. On a slightly different note, it also becomes difficult for old-timers who
come back after a long break to contribute to Wikipedia.
Coming to the collaboration-related issues, one can always find a core group of people
who actively contribute to Wikipedia - the membership of this group itself may be changing
but a core group is always present. While there may be no common characteristics among the
people who become the core group of editors, one common characteristic is that all these
people have contributed for a long time on Wikipedia (over 6 months). They find that
different sets of new users keep making similar sort of mistakes and in a view to reduce
such errors, make the process more streamlined - for example, deletion without discussion
etc. if it goes unchallenged. This makes it difficult for a new user who may find herself
inadvertently at the wrong end of such a policy - once bitten, twice shy and that new user
is put off, so to say.
Thus, I believe that on both these dimensions, it has become tougher for newcomers to
contribute - hopefully, this price could be outweighed by the benefits in the long run.
Sidin Vadukut <sidin.vadukut(a)gmail.com> wrote:
I am working on a news story about the people behind the India-specific Wikipedia pages
and how a bunch of really eclectic personalities spend tons of time to ensure pages are
clean and useful. However one of them mentioned that it is slowly becoming more and more
difficult for new writers to join in as contributions have become extremely complicated.
Some of the simplest things lead to disputes and trivialities cause locks on certain
I was wondering if you guys had an opinion on this? Is Wikipedia increasingly becoming
more and more difficult for first-timers? I am talking about those who intend to
specialize in certain topics and be active and regular. I work for the mint-Wall Street
Journal in Mumbai. I was asked to mail this group by Angela Beesely.
Thanks and regards,
Sidin Sunny Vadukut.
Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
Bollywood, fun, friendship, sports and more. You name it, we have it.