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Wikipedia losing many of its English-language editors: Study

Published on Jan 5, 2013 8:28 AM
 
Screengrab of Wikipedia, one of the world's biggest websites. A study says Wikipedia is losing many of its English-language editors, crippling its ability to keep pace with its mission as a source of knowledge online. -- SCREENGRAB: WWW.WIKIPEDIA.ORG

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Wikipedia, one of the world's biggest websites, is losing many of its English-language editors, crippling its ability to keep pace with its mission as a source of knowledge online, a study says.

The study led by Mr Aaron Halfaker of the University of Minnesota found that the number of "collaborators" or volunteer editors has been on the decline from around 56,000 in 2007 to some 35,000 at the end of 2012.

The researchers said there are a number of reasons, including the rise of automated programs or "bots", but also noted that some potential contributors are being discouraged by Wikipedia's structure.

"Several changes the Wikipedia community made to manage quality and consistency in the face of a massive growth in participation have ironically crippled the very growth they were designed to manage," the researchers wrote in last week's American Behavioural Scientist. "Specifically, the restrictiveness of the encyclopaedia's primary quality control mechanism and the algorithmic tools used to reject contributions are implicated as key causes of decreased newcomer retention."

 
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