August 24, 2008

Wikipedia researcher about being right losing to persistence and arguing

The researcher said it, not me (remember, I'm an idiot who just wants to engage in conspiracy mongering and FUD):

From today's SFGate Wikimedia Foundation article, my emphasis:

Ed Chi of the Palo Alto Research Center is the creator of WikiDashboard, a social dynamic analysis tool created independently of the foundation that allows readers to analyze all of the edits made by their peers. In October, Chi discovered a huge drop-off in the number of edits, to the point that 1 percent of editors were editing 50 percent of the content. While Wikipedia remains strong in page views and overall ranking, Chi said the waning interest among editors does not bode well for the site or community.

"The edits have leveled off and remained steady," Chi said. "We don't yet know a reason for the decline, but we suspect it is due not to the wisdom of crowds but to the increased level of conflict among community members. Often it is not the one with the right answer who has their say, but the one who sticks around the longest and is best able to argue his case."

When one cuts through all the hype, Wikipedia is not very hard to understand. As I say, it's a cult, and the people who win in that sort of system are the people who best play clique-status games. There's sadly too many prominent people who know better, or should know better, who have peddled a mystification so as to profit from that.

Update: Welcome, readers. You might enjoy my newspaper columns at Seth Finkelstein |

In particular, regarding Wikipedia, see:

Inside, Wikipedia is more like a sweatshop than Santa's workshop

Wikipedia's school for scandal has plenty more secrets to reveal

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive

I'm on Wikipedia, get me out of here

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in wikipedia | on August 24, 2008 10:52 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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This is not surprising in the least, and I don't think anyone really contests the cliquish-cultish nature of Wikipedia except those in the midst of it.

The problems I encountered by simply adding a standard spoiler tag in a film entry were epic. A couple of editors didn't like spoiler tags so removed them all, harassed and threatened and even banned people who disagreed with them. Someone I used to know via Usenet is now an administrator (or whatever it's called) and his own pet pages are filled with manipulated facts to serve his own purposes. And the less said about what happened when I caught a barnstar-winning editor in blatant plagiarism, the better.

In all these examples, there was only one underlying problem -- a small group of people using Wikipedia for their own egotastic reasons. People are finally getting tired of it.

Posted by: Stacia at August 25, 2008 01:18 AM

Even the largest clique would not be able to impact more than a small percent of wikipedia's articles. The problem is that they impact rather a lot of the articles people want to write an extension of the problem that most of the stuff people want to write has been written.

Posted by: dghdfgh at August 25, 2008 06:58 AM

What's the alternative or alternatives to the wikipedia template?...

Posted by: the zak at August 26, 2008 06:42 AM