Federico Leva (Nemo) wrote:
>First, let's make one thing clear: the reader doesn't exist; it's just a
>rhetorical trick, and a very dangerous one. For more:

This essay looks fascinating. I hope to read it soon.

>Page views, however brute a concept, exist; and I think they're telling
>us we do have a readership problem. For it.wiki, in the last year I see
>a suspiciously similar decrease in desktop pageviews and editing
>activity (possibly around –20 %). It would *seem* that every user
>converted to the mobile site is a step towards extinction of the wiki.
>Long story:
>       The page above is just a collection of pointers that I probably won't
>be able to pursue in the coming months, to study an unprecedented
>collapse of editing activity and active editors on it.wiki. However,
>there /are/ several things worth looking into and we do have a huge
>problem (or several).

I don't know enough about the Italian Wikipedia to comment on it
specifically. But generally I think it's important to re-emphasize that
correlation and causation are distinct, as are readership and editorship
rates. The two items of each set can be interrelated or connected
sometimes, of course, but we need to make sure we're drawing accurate and
appropriate conclusions.

At <https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=62811#c10> Jared
Zimmerman writes, "We have a reader decline, its backed by hard numbers,
any creative solution for bringing more readers and contributors into the
project should be seriously discussed without being dismissed out of
hand." There's substantial discussion in the subsequent comments.

Let's temporarily accept the premise that pageviews suddenly drop from 20
billion per month to 1 billion per month. The easy argument is that we'd
save a lot of money on hosting. But unlike most of the Internet, Wikipedia
doesn't rely on advertising. Why does it matter how popular we are? Does it
affect donation rates? Does it affect editorship rates? I'm not sure how
much of this we know. It's increasingly clear that much of the rest of the
Internet _is_ different: it doesn't require much thought of participants,
it's user-focused, and it's built on the idea of selling (to) people. This
difference in how we want to treat users, as collaborators and colleagues,
rather than as clients or customers, will permeate the site design and
user experience and that's okay.

If the number of pageviews suddenly drops, for whatever reason, what
happens next? The most likely "worst case" scenario seems to be a
reduction in annual donations, which results in a smaller staff size
(sometimes referred to as "trimming the fat" or "optimizing"). There's a
lot of talk lately about the imperiled future, but we could end up with a
smaller, more decentralized Wikimedia Foundation staff in what some would
consider one of the least desirable outcomes. Eh.


Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: 
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, 

Reply via email to