Hi Zubin, I'd like to respond to this in multiple ways.
1. Yes, there are lots of rules and guidelines with varying degrees of clarity and authority. This seems to me to be an understandable outcome of a bottom-up process for developing many of Wikipedia's rules and guidelines. I think that many of those rules and guidelines were created with good intentions, and the complex nature of an encyclopedia requires considerable thought being invested in the encyclopedia's structure. 2. However, the maintenance, coordination, organization, and harmonization of the guidelines and rules is difficult with the diffuse nature of Wikipedia and its community. A Wikipedia community, such as English Wikipedia or German Wikipedia, could by consensus delegate some responsibility to a committee for one or more of these functions. If a community wanted to make such a delegation, there would also need to be people who have the time, skills, and willingness to execute the role well. A chronic problem with Wikipedia communities is that we have far greater need that we can possibly fill with our limited human resources. 3. If we move up a level of abstraction to consider "user friendliness", of which the rules and guidelines are one aspect, we probably can make improvements, although again we are limited by human resource constraints (and also by financial constraints). I am working on a long term project to develop training resources for English Wikipedia, Commons, and Wikidata. I hope that these resources will decrease the steepness of the learning curve. I believe that similar work is already happening for Italian Wikipedia and German Wikipedia, and that at least one other person is working on improving the documentation for Visual Editor on English Wikipedia. 4. I think that in-context help for Wikipedia and its sister projects could be very beneficial. However, the Wikimedia Foundation is not Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, or Apple. WMF does not have dozens or hundreds of spare engineers, designers, and researchers who can be easily reassigned to work on improving the interface. WMF does have a significant amount of money its its reserves, and I believe that a good choice would be to shift the WMF's priorities away from increasing the size of the reserve and toward improving the interface. I realize that this is a complex and perhaps disappointing reply to your thoughtful email. I think that we can make improvements on user friendliness in multiple ways, that some of this work is ongoing, and that perhaps WMF can be convinced to spend more resources in this area. Thanks for speaking up. Pine ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine ) On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 5:42 AM, Zubin JAIN <jain16...@gapps.uwcsea.edu.sg> wrote: > Hello, > As a rare newcomer to the Wikimedia project, I've been thinking of some of > the factors that seem to discourage me from contributing and one of the > primary ones seem to be the fact that the way the administration is > organized and rules enforced is often vague and unclear. The definition and > the method of collection of the vague idea of "Consensus" aren't easily > found and take a lot of digging to get out. > > A lot of the guideline is often mixed with philosophical rants that often > seem to contradict each other and has grown in size to the point that it's > unreasonable for any newcomer to have read through it all. The project > designed to work on consensus and community often seems unresponsive and > automated as anarchic communication structure impedes effective > communication by forcing users to learn an obscure markup language just to > communicate. > > I'm wondering if there have been any whitepapers on addressing these > problems especialy the ones about bureaucracy, reading through the news I > remember a lot of hay being made about a decline in Wikipedia editor from a > few years back but that seems ot have faded. Is there any hard data on the > future trajectory of the project? > > -- > Sincerely, > Zubin Jain > _______________________________________________ > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/ > wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/ > wiki/Wikimedia-l > New messages to: Wikimediafirstname.lastname@example.org > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, > <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe> _______________________________________________ Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l New messages to: Wikimediaemail@example.com Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>