|Reasons editors leave
Reasons editors leave
Not all reasons that editors leave can be "fixed", as many simply move onto other interests or have lifestyle changes that limit their participation. This list focuses on the reasons that can be addressed at Wikipedia. These problems, in no particular order, are within the scope of this project. Feel free to modify.
- Negative behavior of other editors
- Interaction with biased, reckless editors with POV issues
- Ownership of articles by one or more editors
- Uninformed but relentless 'Randy in Boise'-type editing, with WP:OWN regularly cited to justify it, leaving editors to watch their work deteriorate
- Civil point of view promotion
- Tendentious editing. For articles that lack a significant following, it is difficult to find enough editors (particularly in a way that avoids accusations of canvassing) to establish a consensus. If a problematic editor does not respond to reasoned argument, time can be wasted trying to build a greater understanding but with no net result. Tendentious editors can ignore Wikipedia's bold, revert, discuss cycle and re-introduce their problematic edits; in cases where they are not amenable to dispute resolution mechanisms, there is no clear way to resolve the content dispute, and their edits become fixed in place.
- Sockpuppeting causing insurmountable obstacles to editing enjoyment
- Edit warring from other editors
- Personal attacks, accusations, incivility, and wikihounding, with the targets often discouraged from speaking out in case they are blamed
- Outing of personal, off-site information
- Perceptions of an anti-social atmosphere within a clique
- Regular templating of user talk pages
- Negative pressures from the wider community
- Deletion, threatened deletion, and the ubiquitous tagging of articles ("nag tags")
- Frustration caused by the plethora of policies and guidelines
- Poor dispute-resolution processes
- Too many editors who focus on dispute-resolution discussions (AN/I, RfC, RfAr), as opposed to content creation; their involvement can cause requests for dispute resolution to become bogged-down and protracted
- Experience of peer review processes as confrontational and hierarchical rather than collaborative
- Claims that long-term editors are "vested contributors" in a negative sense, which suggests that the project has no respect for experienced volunteers
- Pressures related to admins or admin actions
- Frustration caused by bad blocks, threats of blocks, or other administrative actions, particularly against long-term editors
- Regular attacks on administrators both as individuals and as a group, leaving them unwilling to deal with anything contentious, which in turn leaves editors to cope with disruption without support
- Permanence and indelibility of the block record. Admins make bad blocks. Once an editor has a block record s/he is obliged to sport it in perpetuity. Blocks do not expire from the record, and they cannot be removed from it.
- Failure to defend high-quality work, leaving it to deteriorate over time
- Difficulty attracting or retaining expertise
- Experienced editors leave because others do, leading to a deterioration in the quality of discourse, which in turn dissuades potentially serious editors from joining.
- Personal feelings
- Exhaustion of patience
- Lack of recognition of contributions, or negative feedback for time spent editing in good faith
- Attempts to fight an addiction to editing
- Wider perceptions
- Perception that Wikipedia has been used for political or monetary gain (e.g. the SOPA initiative and the paid editing/advocacy/COI debates)
- Perception that the Wikimedia Foundation focuses more on bringing in new editors, than on finding ways to encourage experienced editors
- Perception that involvement in Wikipedia is pointless: a bottomless pit
- Frustration that poor BLP editing continues to cause problems for living people
More data on this issue is available from the Former Contributors Survey Results.
Some information can be gleaned by looking in the retired editors list at the final edit summaries retired users left
|Damage to the editorial climate
Things causing damage to the editorial climate
- Tags that are more BITEY than necessary.
- See Wikipedia talk:First contact#un-intentionally biting a New Editor for an example.
- Having a generally constant but limiting "We are Adversaries" mindset rather than a habitual far-reaching "We are Collaborators" mindset.
- One is a closing. The other, an opening.
- Choosing words that degrade or attack the other editor or his edits vs. taking the time to realize the fragile nature of the novice editor.
- Forgetting that conversation is the natural way that humans think when they are together and that, at times, it can get messy.
- Sarcasm rarely works in RL. It is certainly out of place here. It leads to confusion, hurtfulness and trouble, even when tagged as sarcasm. It is an aggressive, dishonest form of communication.
- Alienation through use of aggressive idiolects or slang.
- Highly personalized or slangy writing styles are fine for friendly chats but not when debating serious issues with other editors, for whom such productions, which are not even amenable to machine translation, may turn out to be effectively more obscure than a different language.
- The interplay between (1) our affirmative and prompt deletion of certain types of articles (copyvio, unref BLP, attack, etc.) and (2) the complete lack of guidance to new article creators of those critical requirements before or during the article creation process.
- The combination of these two factors is the moral equivalent of a 20' pit lined with punji sticks. We can cover the punji stakes, but the problems remains; the pit, the lack of warning signage, and the stakes themselves. Please read Attractive nuisance doctrine. Suggestion; Since we are unlikely to give up the punji sticks (the copyvio deletions, etc), we put up a "sign" i.e., give new editors instructions in our policies before they create an article.
- Most times the new editor is concerned only with the article. But, the experienced editor is more concerned with the encyclopedia.
- The new user holds the article and his edits and his word choices as precious and can't bear to see them changed. They have great pride in their work and saving it becomes a mission. They need to be reminded that editing is not just a matter of deciding what to include. It's more a matter of what NOT to include. Because they misunderstand this fact, they see experienced editors as having a "cruel hand".
- Not enough praise for a new editors' hard work. Sorry to say but some veteran editors think new editors are "clueless n00bs with a burr under their saddles."
- Everyone likes to be appreciated. When the new editor feels attacked instead, sparks start to fly and somebody gets burned (usually the new editor).