[Wikimedia-l] Thanking anonymous users
delirium at hackish.org
Thu Jan 16 22:02:30 UTC 2014
On 1/14/14, 5:56 AM, Tim Starling wrote:
> On 14/01/14 15:38, Marc A. Pelletier wrote:
>> On 01/13/2014 11:20 PM, Tim Starling wrote:
>>> The English
>>> Wikipedia edit rate has been declining since about January 2007, and
>>> is now only 67% of the rate at that time. A linear regression on the
>>> edit rate from that time predicts death of the project at around 2030.
>> That's... come /on/ Tim! You know better than to say silly things like
>> The abuse filter alone could very well account for this (the prevented
>> edits and the revert that would have taken place). :-) I used to do a
>> lot of patrol back in those years and - for nostalgia's sake - I tried
>> doing a bit over a year ago. The amount of "surface" vandalism has gone
>> down a *lot* since.
> Reversing the decline in editor population has been a major strategic
> priority of WMF for many years. You are saying you have never heard of
> it before? Well, here is some reading material for you:
I have heard much about the strategic priority, but much less about the
rigorous data analysis. In particular, I have yet to see a demonstration
that there is actually a decline in what we might call the "productive
editor" population, people adding things to articles or otherwise
improving them. Instead what's usually quoted are raw counts, things
like "number of accounts that have made >5 edits in a month". But of
course this kind of "blind quantitative" analysis is not a legitimate
social-science methodology, at least not if some extremely strong
ceteris-paribus assumptions are first validated.
To just pick one hypothesized confound among many that have been
discussed on and off, there may have been a decline in the joint
population of "vandals + vandal-fighters". These are counted as editors
by the ">5 edits" criterion, but between them produce no net editing, so
a decline in their joint population is not a real editor decline, and an
increase in their joint population is not a real editor increase.
Another hypothesized confound is that there has been a wholesale
replacement of "recent changes patrollers" with bots. A loss of net-95
editors because 100 people who solely did recent-changes patrol were
replaced by 5 bots that do the same job would be a decline of 95
raw-data editors, but not really a net loss in productive editors.
These confounds might, in the end, not account for much after all. But I
have been looking and haven't found even an attempt to *really*
substantiate claims that the number of actual encyclopedia editors has
declined, versus just superficial quantitative analysis of the
accounts-making-edits raw data.
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