[Foundation-l] Has Wikipedia changed since 2005?

Peter Damian peter.damian at btinternet.com
Sun Oct 3 13:20:52 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Marc Riddell" <michaeldavid86 at comcast.net>
To: "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2010 1:04 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Has Wikipedia changed since 2005?

> Much of what you say here is true, David. However, the task becomes an
> arduous one when the students rule the classroom. The prevailing culture 
> in
> Wikipedia, whose dogma seems to be, "this is our encyclopedia, and no
> 'expert' is going to tell us what to do", may seem liberating to some, but
> is preventing the Project from being the truly collaborative one it has 
> the
> potential to be.

This is so very very true.  And you only have to lose it your cool once or 
twice, and you are out with a block.

Using my earlier 'gardening' analogy I am going to make some suggestions 
over the coming week.  The analogy was a garden where the good plants are 
struggling to grow, and the place is becoming infested with weeds.  Rather 
than blaming the plants for not growing, a good gardener would apply small 
changes to help the good plants.  For example, trim back a tree that was 
causing shade.  Apply fertiliser (organic of course) in appropriate places. 
Perhaps (but this may not be neceessary) pull up a few weeds.  My experience 
of gardens is that small changes to the microclimate can make big positive 
changes to the garden.

Here are some initial ideas - all of them small incremental ones that would 
involve little or no change to Wikipedia policy or governance.

1.  Get someone from WMF or even Jimbo to make a keynote statement about 
philosophy - perhaps alluding to the problematic state of many of the 
articles, and the need for editors to collaborate together and help. 
Something is needed to improve the morale of the remaining editors there.

2. An initiative to highlight 5 "top importance" articles and get them to GA 
or FA.  There are very few FA status articles, compared to the rest of the 

3.  Another initiative to re-classify the top 50 articles in terms of 
importance and quality (I looked at this and some are wildly out of line).

More ideas next week.  Any ideas from the others here?


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