Contributors Flee Wikipedia's Stricter Rules

Effort to combat bias, vandalism has thinned ranks by 49K
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2009 10:18 AM CST
Contributors Flee Wikipedia's Stricter Rules
The Wikipedia home page.   (Wikipedia)

In an attempt to rein in the lawlessness and veiled opinion running rampant among its volunteer editors, Wikipedia may have shot itself in the foot. In the first 3 months of this year, there's been something of a stampede of contributors exiting the crowdsourced online encyclopedia, leading to a net loss of 49,000, analysis shows, compared to just 4,900 in the same period a year earlier. And some blame new restrictions meant to curb vandalism in a community where one of the rules used to be “Ignore all rules.”

“Wikipedia is becoming a more hostile environment,” the researcher who noticed the trend tells the Wall Street Journal. “Many people are getting burnt out.” The new rules require a more thorough vetting of certain articles after a recent uptick in blatant lies and biased articles, and at least one expert thinks the falloff may be a good thing. “It's too many cooks in the kitchen,” he says. Perhaps so—though participation has fallen off, the number of visitors is booming. (Read more Wikipedia stories.)

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