Editors depart as Wikipedia becomes 'hostile'

News 26 Nov, 2009

A new report claims Wikipedia is losing volunteer editors.

Wikipedia's army of volunteer editors are deserting the crowdsourced site, according to a new report.

A study by researcher Felipe Ortega for the Wall Street Journal showed that the first quarter of 2009 saw 49,000 editors ditch the site - compared to 4,900 in the same period of year before.

Ortega, of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, said the decline in user numbers on the English site is because editing the site isn't as much fun as it used to be.

"Wikipedia is becoming a more hostile environment," he said to the newspaper. "Many people are getting burnt out when they have to debate about the contents of certain articles again and again."

The site has been hit by editing scandals - with some notable figures declared dead well before their passing - and volunteers face online arguments with every change.

Wikipedia has plans to try a new "flagged revisions" editing system, where changes would have to be approved by "top editors" before going live.

While the editor decline might be worrying some, Wikipedia is still one of the top visited sites on the web - and the most linked to by blog posts.