Given the mission is sharing information, I'd suggest that if we have a 95%
drop in readership, we're failing the mission.  Donations are only a means
to an end.


On 24 August 2014 22:57, MZMcBride <> wrote:

> 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, 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 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 <> 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.
> MZMcBride
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