MZMcBride, 24/08/2014 23:57:
> 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:
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Stupidity_of_the_reader
> 
> This essay looks fascinating. I hope to read it soon.

Heh.

> 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. 

I think evidence points to an important role that (desktop) visits
trends had in the editing activity trends. There are some research
papers proving this locally, which I still have to reference in the page
above; but I agree we need much more research to understand this globally.

> 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.

This is closer to the point I was trying to make. The internet is
different, the environment is not favourable and is probably getting
worse (pageview trends may be the tip of the iceberg: a useful warning).

No matter how well we try and how many good things get done which were
worth doing, it's entirely possible for some things bigger than us (like
worldwide shifts in consumer electronics and telecommunication) to
undefeatably beat us and make the Wikimedia projects fail (e.g. 27 or 28
in http://meatballwiki.org/wiki/WikiLifeCycle ). Sure, that would not be
the end of the story, because we try to get something done which will be
relevant for centuries to come.

But denial doesn't help anything.

> 
> 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.

The number of WMF staff has had practically zero consequences on the
success of Wikimedia projects, so I don't consider it a particularly
interesting topic for this decade. I'm more interested in discussing the
stuff you can't easily read on a balance sheet.

Nemo

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