Let \(n\) be Wikipedia’s age in days. Yesterday, \(W(n-1)\) people edited Wikipedia. Today, \(W(n)\) people are editing Wikipedia. Tomorrow, \(W(n+1)\) shall edit. What determines \(W(n)\)? How are \(W(n+30)\) and \(W(n+365)\) related to \(W(n)\)?
Members of the Wikimedia community have been thinking for nearly a decade about questions like these. For example, a quick search for “wikipedia more editors” yielded these historical references:
|2003||Meta: Wikipedia needs editors|
|2006||Wikipedia: Recruiting Editors Brainstorming|
|2006||Aaron Swartz: “Making More Wikipedians”|
|2011||Sue Gardner: “Nine reasons why women don’t edit wikipedia (in their own words)”|
|2012||Signpost: “Foundation restructures to focus on editor retention”|
|2012||NPR: “As Wikipedia gets pickier, editors become harder to find”|
|2012||Wikipedia: Editor Engagement|
Unfortunately, despite the long-standing interest that these questions have engendered, answers that are both convincing and comprehensive remain few and far between.
In the following series of posts, I will suggest several ways that I have been learning to think about systems of questions like these. Some specific perspectives that I hope to touch on include:
and perhaps others as I discover them. :-)