On Fri, 04 Jan 2013 11:56:52 -0600, Mark wrote:
On 1/4/13 9:57 AM, Yaroslav M. Blanter wrote:
On Fri, 04 Jan 2013 16:41:06 +0100, Nikola Smolenski wrote:


I guess I could write much more. But at the end, I have no solution. I could imagine some partial solutions for some of the problems, but
nothing that could really bring Wikipedia to days of old.


Certainly, it will not. For the very same reason you mention: less not covered topics, more complexity, higher editing standards.

Yes, this is the main problem I've run into trying to recruit new
Wikipedia editors: less low-hanging fruit, at least on en.wiki (things
are different on smaller wikis). Fewer topics of widespread general
interest are completely article-less compared to a few years ago, so
there's less scope to e.g. write a 1-paragraph stub about [[Mahmoud
Abbas]] and feel you've contributed significantly. *And* you can no
longer do so just by jotting down a few things you remember off the
top of your head, since the standards for verifiability have gone up
considerably.


Concerning the low-hanging fruit, I am ambivalent on this point, and I was arguing both ways on this list in the past.

On one side, I personally had no problems finding my topics in English Wikipedia. Just several examples: 1. The bulk of my contribution are the topics related to human geography and history of Russia. The sources for these topics are predominantly in Russian, this is why most of these articles are one-line stubs or do not exist. As a Russian speaker, having access to Russian sources, I am able to source these articles. 2. Sometimes I write articles about NRHP listings, often to be able to use my own photographs. This is not particularly difficult, since some of them have the nomination forms online, and others usually have enough info. It just requires some time to search for the sources and to digest them. 3. I have a number of books on art and artists at home, in all possible languages, and sometimes I use them to write or expand existing articles. 4. I tried my own field, which is nanophysics, and it did not go very well. Once I had an incident on Wikiproject:Physics, trying to argue that some stuff is textbook material, but was overruled by majority. Then I just unwatched the project and never came back. Occasionally, I edit the articles in my field, and I have several in my watchlist, but ths is certainly not my main activity.

The conclusion is that I never had problems to finding topics (and I have more interests and more special sources, even if these get filled up at some point), but on the other hand I am not exactly a typical person from the street - I speak several languages, have extensive academic experience, including writing books and review articles, and I have a broad range of interests. Whereas this is kind of our picture of a Wikipedian, the reality is much more broad. An American teenager speaking only English and only interested in computer games may feel it differently.

Cheers
Yaroslav

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