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Can Wikipedia Survive Popular Success and Community Decline?
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Can Wikipedia Survive Popular Success and Community Decline?

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SXSW 2010 talk - Can Wikipedia Survive Popular Success and Community Decline?

SXSW 2010 talk - Can Wikipedia Survive Popular Success and Community Decline?

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  • 1. Can Wikipedia Survive Popular Success and Community Decline? Andrew Lih University of Southern California February 22, 2010 @ UC Santa Barbara Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 2. THE WIKIPEDIA REVOLUTION US and UK editions Italian, Japanese, Russian THE WIKIPEDIA REVOLUTION U.S. $24.99 HOW A BUNCH OF NOBODIES CREATED THE WORLD’S GREATEST ENCYCLOPEDIA “Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing.” —Jimmy Wales With more than 2,000,000 individual articles on everything from Aa! (a Japanese pop group) to Zzyzx, California, written by an army of volunteer contributors, Wikipedia is the #8 site on the World Wide Web. Created (and corrected) by anyone with access to a computer, this impressive assemblage of knowledge is growing at an astonishing rate of How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopedia more than 30,000,000 words a month. Now for the ANDREW LIH at Wikipedia for more than four years, as well as a first time, a Wikipedia insider tells the story of how it all happened—from the first glimmer of an idea to the global phenomenon it’s become. Andrew Lih has been an administrator (a trusted user who is granted access to technical features) regular host of the weekly Wikipedia podcast. In The Wikipedia Revolution, he details the site’s inception in 2001, its evolution, and its remarkable growth, while also explaining its larger cultural repercussions. ANDREW LIH Wikipedia is not just a website; it’s a global community of contributors who have banded together out of a shared passion for making knowledge free. Featuring a Foreword by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and an Afterword that is itself a Wikipedia creation. Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 3. Motivations Media and press Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 4. Eugene Kim cancels his demo re: vandalizing pages Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 5. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/aug/12/wikipedia-deletionist-inclusionist Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 6. http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-wikipedias-growth-tumbles-2009-8 Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 7. http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1496429/wikipedia-dying Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 8. http://www.littleabout.com/news/27556,will-wikipedia-long.html Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 9. http://www.legalbrief.co.za/article.php?story=20090819085946131 Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 10. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125893981183759969.html Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 11. Background A brief history Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 12. Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 13. Larry Sanger by SimSullen, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 14. Jimmy Wales By WiLLGT09@flickr, file is licensed under Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 15. Ward Cunningham This file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 16. Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 17. Ranking ComScore Top 5 (Nov 2009) Alexa Top 6 (Feb 2009) Since 2006, overtook NY Times, Amazon, Fox Interactive, eBay, Time Warner sites Photo by: victoriapeckham@flickr, Creative Commons Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 18. Wisdom of Crowds (James Surowiecki) Diversity Independence Decentralization Aggregation Photo by: victoriapeckham@flickr, Creative Commons Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 19. Wisdom of Crowds Online (Derek Powazek, SXSW2009) Small simple tasks Large diverse groups Design for selfishness Result aggregation Photo by: iskanderbenamor@flickr, Creative Commons Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 20. Wikipedia features Modular/structured writing Radical inclusion Personal/social pages Tools to diff, inspect, monitor vandalism Photo by: Susan NYC@flickr, Creative Commons Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 21. Wikipedia’s Features (Lih, Wikipedia Revolution) Free Open Neutral Timely Social Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 22. 2010 Jan 31 Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 23. Articles in en: Wikipedia, Projections Various, Wikipedia:Modelling Wikipedia's growth Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 24. Text 2003 Feb 9 Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 25. 2004 Jun 15 Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 26. 2005 May 30 Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 27. Wikipedia questions How radically inclusive is it? User friendliness? Welcoming social spaces? How much writing is left? Community shrinking? Photo by: Susan NYC@flickr, Creative Commons Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 28. Wikipedia Culture Norms evolving over time Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 29. AGF IAR NPOV Gen1 Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 30. Gen2 3RR Dispute resolution RfA CSD AGF IAR Gen1 Monday, February 22, 2010 NPOV Semiprotection
  • 31. Gen2 Dispute resolution AGF IAR 3RR RfA CSD Semiprotection NPOV Reliable sources Gen1 CSD G1-12 CSD R1-3 CSD I1-8 CSD C,U,T,P BLP Anonymous article creation Unsourced nontagged fair use images No spoiler tags Monday, February 22, 2010 Gen3
  • 32. Gen2 Dispute resolution AGF IAR semi-flagged protection 3RR flagged protection CSD G1-12 CSD R1-3 CSD I1-8 CSD C,U,T,P Semiprotection NPOV BLP Anonymous article creation RfA gauntlet Unsourced nontagged fair use images No spoiler tags Monday, February 22, 2010 Intermediary flagged protection CSD Reliable sources Gen1 Gen4 Gen3
  • 33. Wikipedia norms Policies not necessarily additive Norms depend on entry time into community Photo by: User:Zzubnik, Creative Commons Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 34. Wikis: people talking to each other THEN mailing list talk pages Village Pump mailing lists NOW irc Wikipedia-L Wikien-L Foundation-L Internal-L .... #wikipedia #wikimedia #wikipedia-en-admins ... talk pages WP:Portal pages RFC pages Community portal Village pump(s) Foundation employee communications Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 35. Wikis: trusted/administrative users THEN “No big deal” Here’s your mop... NOW Edit count Editor Review 3 months, 1000 edits? “Optional” questions Hypothetical scenarios Soapbox issues Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 36. Actual RfA questions • As an administrator, what would be your approach to tendentious editing? • Does a sign have copyright? When can a Wikipedia image include a sign, or conversely when would a sign appearing not be appropriate? • ...how you intend to proceed with CSD in the future - ie, how certain will you need to be before you delete an article, and under what circumstances would you seek the opinion of other editors? • When is the last time you told a lie? What were the circumstances, and do you regret it? Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 37. I CAN HAZ ADMINSHIP? Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 38. User Friendliness Editing and Usability Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 39. 90/9/1 communities 90% lurkers 9% contributors 1% hard core Photo by: Susan NYC@flickr, Creative Commons Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 40. Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 41. Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 42. Editing followthrough • Wikitravel: only 5% of those who press “edit” actually save • Wikipedia: 1/8 to 1/4 • WikiHow: 30% with guided editing • Wikia: WYSIWYG editor >> 50% Sources: Jack Herrick, WikiHow; Erik Zachte, Wikimedia Foundation Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 43. Wikimedia Usability Study “Every user in this study struggled to get a basic grasp of the editing interface... largely failed to make edits correctly without repeated attempts and efforts” http://usability.wikimedia.org/wiki/Usability_and_Experience_Study#Feeling_Stupid Photo by: Susan NYC@flickr, Creative Commons Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 44. Example: Wikia Muppet Wiki page http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Wiki_feel_stupid_v2.ogv Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 45. Example: Wikia Muppet Wiki page Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 46. Example: Editing in MediaWiki markup mode Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 47. Example: Editing in Wikia-developed WYSIWYG mode Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 48. Example: Editing in WYSIWYG not always possible Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 49. Pressing down • Arcane wiki editing/markup • Intimidating adminship system • Internecine rules, overinstruction? Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 50. Why now? • Stats missing since Oct 2006 to 2009 • Database “dump” process was not finishing • Q4 2009 - full dumps available Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 51. en: new articles/quarter %#!!" July 2007 %!!!" $#!!" $!!!" #!!" !" &*+"%!!$"&'("%!!$"&*+"%!!%"&'("%!!%"&*+"%!!0"&'("%!!0"&*+"%!!/"&'("%!!/"&*+"%!!#"&'("%!!#"&*+"%!!."&'("%!!."&*+"%!!-"&'("%!!-"&*+"%!!,"&'("%!!,"&*+"%!!)"&'("%!!)" http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediaEN.htm Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 52. Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 53. Contributors en: Wikipedia (!!!!" '!!!!" &!!!!" '" #!" $'" #!!" %!!!!" $'!" #!!!" $'!!" #!!!!" $'!!!" $!!!!" #!!!!" !" )*+,!%" Monday, February 22, 2010 )*+,!&" )*+,!'" )*+,!(" )*+,!-" )*+,!." )*+,!/"
  • 54. Articles in en: Wikipedia &#!!!!!" &!!!!!!" %#!!!!!" %!!!!!!" $#!!!!!" $!!!!!!" #!!!!!" !" '()"%!!$" '()"%!!%" '()"%!!&" '()"%!!." '()"%!!#" '()"%!!-" '()"%!!," '()"%!!+" Dangers of applying projections Monday, February 22, 2010 '()"%!!*"
  • 55. Projecting to infinity? Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 56. Standard logistic curve Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 57. Articles in en: Wikipedia, Projections Various, Wikipedia:Modelling Wikipedia's growth Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 58. Articles in en: Wikipedia, Projections Various, Wikipedia:Modelling Wikipedia's growth Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 59. Article “supply” • Fruit on the ground • [[Dog]], [[Music]] • Low hanging fruit • [[History of England]] • Higher hanging fruit/deletion • [[Medical research related to low-carbohydrate diets]] Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 60. !"##"$%&' Articles in en: Wikipedia, Projections (#$" (" '#$" Higher hanging fruit '" &#$" Low hanging fruit &" %#$" %" !#$" Fruit on the ground !" )*+,!%" Monday, February 22, 2010 )*+,!&" )*+,!'" )*+,!(" )*+,!$" )*+,!-" )*+,!." )*+,!/" )*+,!0" )*+,%!" )*+,%%" )*+,%&" )*+,%'" )*+,%("
  • 61. Hypotheses • Human knowledge always expanding, but... • Steep exponential logistic curve of Wikipedia 2001-2005 was to “catchup” with existing knowledge • Will settle into a less dramatic curve, even linear? Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 62. The Singularity is Not Near: Slowing Growth of Wikipedia (PARC) Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 63. Articles in en: Wikipedia, Projections !"##"$%&' Based on Chi, Suh, PARC Augmented Social Cognition group (#$" (" '#$" '" Higher hanging fruit &#$" Specialized/ Maintenance/ News/ Pop culture &" Low hanging fruit %#$" %" !#$" Fruit on the ground !" )*+,!%" Monday, February 22, 2010 )*+,!&" )*+,!'" )*+,!(" )*+,!$" )*+,!-" )*+,!." )*+,!/" )*+,!0" )*+,%!" )*+,%%" )*+,%&" )*+,%'" )*+,%("
  • 64. Research/Stats • UN University MERIT study • Wikimedia Foundation usability study • PARC Augmented Social Cognition • Felipe Ortega, Libresoft • Erik Zachte, Wikimedia • User:Dragonsflight (Robert Rohde) Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 65. 2009 Summary Wikipedia survival analysis (Ortega) in WSJ challenged WMF conclusion: decline in contributors, but steady now Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 66. Other communities? Wikipedia languages Crowdsourced projects Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 67. DMOZ - directory.mozilla.org Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 68. DMOZ “DMOZ chose to place editorial control in the hands of a small cabal of editors, and in so doing, made the directory opaque, unresponsive, and outdated. The editorial policy of DMOZ killed DMOZ.” http://forum.psychlinks.ca/search-engines-and-seo/17335-on-the-irrelevance-of-odp-dmoz.html Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 69. New horizons Lack of theoretical models in comparable socio-technical systems (Chi, Suh) Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 70. Scenarios Slow steady quality decline Flagged revisions, quality increase Inability to update in timely manner Infiltration of spam and non-neutral content Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 71. Next steps? • Research, literature on the charting of human knowledge • Find better way to determine community “departures” • Social media fatigue/distraction? • Efficacy of technical features in lieu of editors? Locking, flagging, bots Monday, February 22, 2010
  • 72. Andrew Lih Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism University of Southern California http://andrewlih.com Twitter: fuzheado Monday, February 22, 2010