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Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2009-11-23/In the news

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In the news

The Decline of Wikipedia, and more

WSJ & the decline of Wikipedia

The Wall Street Journal ran a front-page article about Wikipedia on Monday, 23 November. The story, written by Julia Angwin and Geoffrey A. Fowler, is subtitled "Volunteers Log Off As Wikipedia Ages" and focuses on a decline in participation by editors. According to the story, "Volunteers have been departing the project ... faster than new ones have been joining", quoting data by Felipe Ortega, a researcher of Wikipedia who recently wrote a dissertation on comparing contributors across language editions of the site. The article also quotes research by Ed Chi of PARC (see previous story) about occasional contributors' edits getting deleted. The article writes that "Wikipedia's popularity has strained its consensus-building culture to the breaking point", but also writes about the WMF's goals to increase contributor diversity, including starting the "Bookshelf" public outreach project (see previous story).

The article also quotes Ortega, Anikut Kittur (a researcher at Carnegie-Mellon who recently presented his work on participation in Wikipedia at the WikiSym conference), Nina Paley, Sue Gardner, Jimmy Wales, Kat Walsh, Samuel Klein, Andrew Lih, Frank Schulenburg and Mathias Schindler.

There is also a blog post about the topic, and a video interview with the reporters. Julia Angwin also interviewed Andrew Lih, author of The Wikipedia Revolution, and that video interview is also posted. Lih also discusses the topic (and asks for comments) in his blog.

The story was picked up by several other outlets, including CNET and Gawker.

On the Foundation-l mailing list, Felipe Ortega commented that " ... even though the numbers doesn't [sic] seem really good for the sustainability of the project in the long term, I struggle daily to fight against fatalist claims or headlines speculating about the end of the project", pointing to his recently published interview with the Strategy Project for an explanation why the causes might not necessarily be negative.