According to Monday's Wall Street Journal, volunteers have increasingly been quitting Wikipedia en masse for a variety of potential reasons.
An excess of 49,000 editors left Wikipedia's English-language edition during the first three months of 2009, compared with only 4,900 for the same quarter a year earlier. This information is quoting Spanish researcher Felipe Ortega, who analyzes Wikipedia's online data. Although the service still boasts about 3 million active contributors, volunteers are leaving more rapidly than new ones are joining the website.
Among the top 10 most-visited sites, Wikipedia is always under pressure to expand the scope and police the accuracy of its data, a task that will become increasingly difficult with fewer volunteers. Errors, both accidental and deliberate, have always plagued Wikipedia.
Several reasons for the decline in volunteers have been offered by Wikipedia contributors as well. One of the most worrisome being that many subjects have already been fully written about. This would mean that growth in certain areas has reached its peak. The site has also enacted a system of operational rules in order to limit conflict among people who contribute to the same entries, especially on controversial subjects. But the rules often trip up new contributors who find their content removed, without ever understanding why.
Despite those rules, arguments over various articles have also taken their toll. "Many people are getting burnt out when they have to debate about the contents of certain articles again and again," Ortega told the Journal. Courtesy of news.cnet.com