Wikipedia's demise to continue if editing tools and system are not fixed - reports

By Rizza Sta. Ana

Nov 23, 2013 10:34 AM EST

Wikipedia, one of the primary purveyors of open information on the Web, is experiencing an overall decline. According to a report by the MIT Technology Review, Wikipedia needs to address some important features in order to get things back on track - its number of active editors and its complex editing system and guidelines.

Since 2007, a chart made available on Business Insider indicated a steady decline of active editors for the open information project. The editors working on the project had shrunk to just two-thirds of its original number of staff in 2007. The importance of these pro-bono editors was highlighted such that the mass and sheer size of the entries in the site requires the quality expected of a real, physical encyclopedia or a literature reference.

A University of Minnesota report pointed to Wikipedia's bureaucratic system and a collective of editors that are seemingly abrasive. As such, the report said this had reduced the number of prospective editors to join and help out with the project.

University of Minnesota graduate student and a former Wikimedia Foundation contractor, "I categorize from 2007 until now as the decline phase of Wikipedia. It looks like Wikipedia is strangling itself for this resource of new editors."

Aside from the declining number of editors, Business Insider noted that a whopping 90% of the editors are male. As such, certain entries on Wikipedia are mainly skewed.

Tom Simonite, who wrote for MIT Technology Review, said, "[Wikipedia's] entries on Pokemon and female porn stars are comprehensive, but its pages on female novelists or places in sub-Saharan Africa are sketchy. Authoritative entries remain elusive."

The popularity of Wikipedia had attracted advertisers who intended to capitalize on the project's visitor traffic without violating Wikipedia's guidelines. Last year, Erez Safer and Aaron Wertheimer launched MyWikiPro in order to build a sponsored Wikipedia entry without being taken down by the site. MyWikiPro charges USD300, and at the time of reporting by The Wire, it seemed that the startup was able to circumvent Wikipedia's rules. However, Safer doesn't take as many clients as they would like to have.

"A lot of people aren't Wiki worthy. There are not a lot of articles on them to cite. We turn down a lot of people," Safer disclosed to the Daily News.

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