Volunteers Log Off as Wikipedia Ages

Julia Angwin and Geoffrey Fowler report for the Wall Street Journal:

Wikipedia.org is the fifth-most-popular Web site in the world, with roughly 325 million monthly visitors. But unprecedented numbers of the millions of online volunteers who write, edit and police it are quitting.

That could have significant implications for the brand of democratization that Wikipedia helped to unleash over the Internet — the empowerment of the amateur.

Volunteers have been departing the project that bills itself as “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” faster than new ones have been joining, and the net losses have accelerated over the past year. In the first three months of 2009, the English-language Wikipedia …

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  • Word Eater

    This should be completely expected.

    As major articles are written and every obscure topic you can think of is covered, there are only two types of editors needed: those who handle the trickle of new entries, and those who police / update existing ones.

    Most of the “exciting” work has been done. Those who were there for the thrill of being in on something ground breaking are moving on to the next big deal.

    The diligent workers left behind, those who take special care of the integrity of Wikipedia, may not get their names in the press, but they are the reason Wikipedia hasn't devolved into a cesspool of PR and misinformation.

    Yes, there are issues with the upper management of Wikipedia and yes there are edit / revert wars and definite biases present.

    But these issues are known and armed with that knowledge, you can read an article at Wikipedia as one piece of your information gathering and weight what you learn there appropriately.

  • Anonymous

    what are you waiting for? get it up so i can eviscerate it.

  • tonyviner

    All the exciting work has been done? They don't even have an article up explaining the differences between the SNES and Genesis versions of the Beavis and Butthead game that was released in the 90s.

    • badhamster

      what are you waiting for? get it up so i can eviscerate it.