2 responses to “Value of a Wikipedian”

  1. H-stt

    If your post were true, Wikipedia would be fucked. But fortunately this is the single most moronic text, I’ve ever encountered regarding Wikipedia. Your premises is totally wrong. And that’s not just a problem of this text, it is the Grand Delusion of WMF.

    Wikipedians are self selecting. The vast majority of new authors come in contact with the project by reading, and as the single most important quality of a Wikipedian is curiosity, they click around and find out that they can contribute and how.

    All the projects by WMF to promote editing and grow the author base so far are miserable failures. WMF spent millions on this mission since 2010 and has absolutely nothing to show as a result. If you calculate the “value of a wikipedian” based on expenditures per won editor, the value would not be 10.000 USD but it would be infinite.

    The answer is not to hire paid editors or pay the existing editors. The answer isfor WMF to trust the community and support them in their work.

    For several years now the relationship between WMF and the communities is toxic. Time and again WMF intruded into existing structures, procedures and processes by changing software features without evaluation of the impact for the technical and social practise within the websites and the communities. Of all the projects since 2010 only “echo” is really an innovative and welcome improvement. SUL works fine and is useful, everything else is a disaster or at least was one when it was forced onto the communities for the first time.

    Now back to the question on how to get more editors: WMF should abandon their direct involvement. Yes, that means shutting down a whole department. The WikiEd project might be useful, but I am sceptical towards them too.

    But WMF must support existing volunteers in their work with and for the general public. Find Wikipedians who would like to set up a booth at a trade fair or street fair in their home town. Send out one employee with lots of stuff to support them, but make sure, that those who get in front line contact with the public are volunteers.

    Have volunteers set up “office hours” in their local library and support them with leaflets and give aways. But make sure the audience gets in contact with real volunteers.

    Set up grassroot groups, don’t fly in from San Francisco with paid staff.

  2. Masssly

    Excellent analysis! As controversial as paid-editing is I think you made some valid good reasons why it could be considered in some cases. Editing Wikipedia (voluntarily) is a hobby that makes perfect scene in affluent countries. However this may not be the case in most parts of the Global south; not because those people aren’t oriented towards voluntarism but because the economic circumstance and present levels of education will favor it.

    Meanwhile recent research has shown that more of global southerners are getting increasingly involved in this process and maybe in the future that divide (knowledge creators/knowledge consumers) might not be too obvious anymore. I’m just worried about what will happen to the project at this stage if editors from there are mostly paid-editors. Are they going to keep getting paid to edit? Can the Foundation’s resources support that, for how long? What happens to the credibility of our content?

    most parts of the Global south

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This is Lane Rasberry's personal blog. None of the information on this blog is private, but it is personal and I have not written it with the intent to make it of public general interest. Anyone visiting this site has my permission to use anything they find here for friendly, share-alike purposes.