[Wikimedia-l] Editor retention (was Re: "Big data" benefits and limitations (relevance: WMF editor engagement, fundraising, and HR practices))

Oliver Keyes okeyes at wikimedia.org
Fri Jan 4 09:11:16 UTC 2013

On 4 January 2013 08:18, Federico Leva (Nemo) <nemowiki at gmail.com> wrote:

> Erik Moeller, 04/01/2013 08:02:
>  I'm wondering whether the key findings in Halfaker's recent "rise and
>> decline" paper resonate with you:
>> http://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~**halfak/publications/The_Rise_**
>> and_Decline/<http://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~halfak/publications/The_Rise_and_Decline/>
>> Existing data like the above supports strongly the notion that
>> well-intentioned, good faith contributors are much more heavily
>> discouraged in 2012 than they were in 2004 or 2005, but this can be
>> explained in significant part with the influx of bad faith
>> contributors that have necessitated increasingly heavy handed ways to
>> control against bad edits (Huggle, Twinkle, AbuseFilter, etc.) --
>> which catch good faith editors in the crossfire -- as well as
>> increasing expectations of what constitutes an acceptable quality edit
>> / page creation.
> The paper does contain good news though:
> ----
> To explore Hypothesis: Norm formalization & calcification, we first looked
> for changes in the rate
> of new policy creation following the introduction of a structured proposal
> process in 2005.
> Figure 8 shows that growth of policies and guidelines began to slow in
> 2006, just as Forte
> (2009) reports. The results from our analysis of new policy/guideline
> proposals show that the
> number of new policy proposals accepted via this process peaked in 2005 at
> 27 out of 217 (12%
> acceptance). 2006 saw an even higher number of proposed policies, but
> lower acceptance
> with 24 out of 348 proposals accepted (7% acceptance). From 2007 forward,
> the rate at which
> policies are proposed decreases monotonically down to a mere 16 in 2011
> while the acceptance
> rate stays steady at about 7.5%.
> ----
> In other words, it would seem that en.wiki, contrary to popular belief,
> has developed a good immune system against bureaucracy norms expansion. :-)
> The paper is actually of little use in this part IMHO, because:
> 1) we already know that users who joined in 2005/2006 are still
> disproportionately active in most community processes like deletion
> discussions and so on,
> 2) everybody knows that to influence how the wiki is run it's more
> effective to change a single word in an important policy than to establish
> ten new policies.
> As for (1), I doubt the Wikipedia thought police is keeping newcomers out
> of discussions, but one can make them look so hard that newbies won't
> participate. However, it.wiki recently switched from the established
> vote-system for deletion to a discussion system as en.wiki's, and a year of
> data for the "new" system seems to prove that it increased the words spent
> and drove away old/unexperienced editors (with 3+ years or 51-5000 edits),
> while newcomers resisted, presumably to defend their own articles.
> https://toolserver.org/~**mauro742/liste/pdc_stats.csv<https://toolserver.org/~mauro742/liste/pdc_stats.csv>
> <https://it.wikipedia.org/**wiki/Wikipedia:Elenchi_**
> generati_offline/Richieste/**Archivio/2011#Lavoro_per_le_**PdC<https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Elenchi_generati_offline/Richieste/Archivio/2011#Lavoro_per_le_PdC>
> >
> Nemo
> Well, I'd argue "we knew" is not the same as "we can prove"* ;*p. I
"know" lots of things - that's distinct from being able to prove them to
academia. In my mind, anything which academically substantiates an
internally-held assumption is A Good Thing: maybe not directly for us, but
indirectly, in the sense that it communicates to intelligent people who get
quantitative data the need to help out and work with us.

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Oliver Keyes
Community Liaison, Product Development
Wikimedia Foundation

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