[OSM-talk] Wikipedia article

Simon Poole simon at poole.ch
Sat Oct 26 09:28:03 UTC 2013

I think you are jumping to conclusions (just as the TR piece does in a
big way). Sure in the Web 2.0 (isn't that really dated by now btw?)
world any project that doesn't show exponential growth and the potential
to have participant numbers in the billions is not really interesting
and the fact that you can single out a number in Wikipedia that is
actually declining with time,  guarantees damnation.

In reality Wikipedia is and continues to be a huge success, and there
are aspects of that success that we would be happy if we could emulate
them. Sure they have challenges and the TR article does touch on some of
them a bit. Attracting contributors with knowledge outside of the
mainstream is clearly one and that their barrier to entry is now rather
high (editor, complexity of the expected article structure) is not
really a secret. But then on the other hand it is a fairly mature
project and the easy stuff simply has been done, we probably can show
similar trends in extremely well mapped areas.

I would question if Wikipedia really has a general issue with being nice
to new editors (outside of turf wars that we have had in OSM too), a lot
of the complaints seem to originate from fringe groups (creationists
etc.) that thrive in the US of A, but are of little or no consequence
outside.  Luckily for us, our idealogical fights tend to be about
cycleway tagging and tend not to get as much media coverage :-).

Our main challenge is simply covering area and detail, there is no
difference between a street name entered by somebody with a PhD  in
social sciences and one added by a 1st grader. We don't need anything
outside of knowledge of your surroundings to contribute in the first
place, and to become a regular contributor, it is really only necessary
to have a certain love to detail and enough interest to dedicate a
significant amount of time to OSM. The later is clearly the largest
barrier to contributing to OSM
(http://www.slideshare.net/manuelaschmidt1/poster-dresden-icc) and while
we may be able to motivate more and more diverse groups to contribute,
we shouldn't expect that limiter to go away.


Am 26.10.2013 06:11, schrieb Jason Remillard:
> Hi Tom
> Your blog post is very interesting.
> Just in case anybody thinks that the rapid growth of OSM is inevitable
> at this point,  this study shows how Wikipedia turned off its growth
> like a switch when they starting clamping down on first time editors.
> Since 2007 the number of active editors has actually decreased.
> http://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~halfak/publications/The_Rise_and_Decline/
> Unless the map in your area is 100% perfect and complete, be extra
> nice to those new editors!
> Jason
> On Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 5:21 PM, Tom MacWright <tom at macwright.org> wrote:
>> I wrote an article somewhat in the same vein:
>>> http://macwright.org/2013/10/15/point-and-shoot.html
>> Perhaps something to note is that, beyond technical and policy issues, one
>> of the more common complaints about Wikipedia is that there's an unfriendly,
>> elitist attitude amongst the established editors. My article asks for some
>> relatively deep changes to infrastructure and user experience, but the more
>> actionable and immediately useful thing that everyone can do is to be
>> friendly.
>> On Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 5:06 PM, Jason Remillard <remillard.jason at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> The MIT technology review just published this article on Wikipedia.
>>> http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/520446/the-decline-of-wikipedia/
>>> It is sport criticizing Wikipedia, but two things stuck out.
>>> Wikipedia is trying to get more editors. However, they seem to have
>>> some additional problems that OSM does not have.
>>> Wikipedia failed to roll out the new GUI article editor.
>>> If you read the discussion on hacker news, and Slashdot.
>>> http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/10/23/1643228/wikipedias-participation-problem
>>> https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6612638
>>> It seems like Wikipedia has revert first policy on questionable edits.
>>> It makes it unpleasant to start with the project, since probably every
>>> bodies first edits are questionable.
>>> OSM policy/culture of discussing a change *before* reverting is really
>>> good thing.
>>> Jason
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> talk mailing list
>>> talk at openstreetmap.org
>>> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk
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