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

Kim Bruning kim at bruning.xs4all.nl
Tue Jan 8 23:27:06 UTC 2013

On Thu, Jan 03, 2013 at 11:02:57PM -0800, Erik Moeller wrote:
> More disruptive technical solutions could include:
> * safer alternative work/collaboration spaces that don't suffer from
> the contention issues of the main article space (sandboxes on
> steroids)

> * easier ways for new users to re-do an edit that has been reverted
> (cf. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Improve_your_edit )
> * real-time mechanisms for coaching, collaboration (chat, real-time
> collaborative editing) and mentor matchmaking
> More disruptive policy-level changes would include rethinking some of
> the more problematic quality-related policies, especially notability.

I think that the requirements for a wiki (open, welcoming, anyone can edit,
eventualism) are always going to be at tension vs the requirements for an
encyclopedia (reliable, good sourcing, etc).

Right now, en.wikipedia rules are more complex and potentially more
strict than nupedia ever was, and we're running on inertia. 

But we already have a known solution to the nupedia problem: to wit:
start a (new) wiki.:-P

Many mature open source projects (such as eg. the linux kernel) are
split into 2 or more  branches: typically called "stable" on the one
hand, and "unstable", "experimental", "testing", or similar on the

The stable branch aims to be reliable, while the unstable branch
provides space to try out new ideas. When things are tested out
sufficiently, they are ported to "stable"

Many of the roles that en.wikipedia has become bad at (creation of new stubs,
training new users, exploring areas of knowledge in a more general way) are
actually roles that an open wiki is i(supposed to be) EXCELLENT at.

The very best thing a wiki is good at is to take texts from stubs and
data-dumps to decent articles, collaboratively. But everyone on
en.wikipedia is now encouraged to create articles in their own
userspace and/or use a strapped-on new article creation process.. So
the section of the process where a wiki develops the most "torque" has
effectively been sealed. 

So perhaps we'd like to have a "stable" and "unstable" branch of
wikipedia. The stable branch continues with current rules (or perhaps
might use sanitized nupedia rules) concentrating on the encyclopedic
trifecta NOR, RS, V.  The unstable branch concentrates more on the
wiki trifecta NPOV/DICK/IAR(+BOLD).

When articles on unstable are deemed good enough, they can be transferred to
nupedi...pardon... wikipedia stable.

	Kim Bruning

More information about the Wikimedia-l mailing list