No One Wants to Edit Wikipedia These Days

Online encyclopedia struggling to find fresh blood, says Jimmy Wales
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2011 5:40 AM CDT
Wikipedia administrators are working to simplify "convoluted" editing templates which may be discouraging volunteers from contributing, Wales says.   (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, Files)
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(Newser) – Wikipedia is in danger of wasting away as contributors jump ship and aren't replaced by new ones, founder Jimmy Wales says. "We are not replenishing our ranks," he tells the AP. "It is not a crisis, but I consider it to be important." Wales—who describes the average contributor as "a 26-year-old geeky male" who eventually moves on to other things—says the online encyclopedia is working to simplify its "convoluted" editing procedures to keep contributors on board.

The director of the nonprofit that runs Wikipedia says the site has around 90,000 active volunteers and aims to add 5,000 more over the next year, partly through a program encouraging university professors to assign the writing of Wikipedia entries to students. Adrian Chen at Gawker has another suggestion: Wikipedia needs to make itself "cool again, somehow" and harness the "fickle hive mind" of young Internet users who now devote their energies to Twitter and Facebook, he writes. "Remember when hordes of Beliebers descended on Esperanza Spalding's Wikipedia page and ravaged it after she beat out Justin Bieber for the Grammy? All you've got to do is get 15-year-old girls as interested in, say, Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Good luck with that, Jimmy Wales!"

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