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

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at gmail.com
Sun Jan 6 03:11:03 UTC 2013

On Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 5:48 AM, Risker <risker.wp at gmail.com> wrote:

> We have been, to some extent, the victims of our own success.  We grew
> exponentially and not organically, and given the roots of our community,
> the usual group structural forms were eschewed. There was also practically
> no money for anything for a very long time (our fundraisers now raise as
> much in a day as they did in the entire year when I first joined up), and
> very few employees who kept the operation together with shoestrings and
> sealing wax, while everything else was left to the editorial communities
> (and the volunteer developer communities) to keep things going. This
> "flattened hierarchy" of leadership worked reasonably well with a smaller
> editorial community that had barely scratched the surface of content
> creation, but quickly showed itself to be impractical when editors joined
> in droves - many of them focusing on hand-to-hand combat with vandals.
> Those who loathed wasting their time cleaning up after vandals were glad to
> have this newer cadre join them; however, there was a palpable difference
> in their reason for becoming part of the community, and when the number of
> highly active contributors more than doubled over a short period of time,
> it was impossible to provide an effective process to help them learn the
> technical, policy, and cultural expectations. Efforts to try to remedy some
> of these issues have been largely unsuccessful, with an overwhelming
> proliferation of often-conflicting policies that are nearly
> incomprehensible to the uninitiated, an overabundance of badly written and
> poorly descriptive templates, and a dependence on automated tools for
> social interaction.

The lack of flagged revisions is a key contributor to this state of
affairs. The English Wikipedia is ridiculously vulnerable to vandalism. Is
it surprising that that vulnerability attracts large numbers of vandals and
vandal fighters?


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