Talk:Wikimedia Fellowships/Project Ideas/Expert retention - a qualitative study of those, who left
Occasional contributors from academia are being discouraged by regular editors (often not from academia), who enforce guidelines they designed for "controlling" users.
"Community consensus" claims actually denotes the views of a tiny fraction of the community: regular editors. Good contribution can only be occasional, as articles require a high level of specialized expertise (this expertise is clearly not recognized by regular editors, as shown by their excessive reliance on WP:synth or WP:secondary to disrupt constructive contributions. Investigation into the "talk pages" of those policies will make you understand the problem.
Wikipedia seemed perfect for aggregating different sources. Wikipedia has the potential to outperform "prestigious" journals, which still rely on rudimentary peer-review protocols). Personally, I feel able to contribute substantially to 10 articles max.
For example, see the policy: "A primary source may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that any educated person, with access to the source but without specialist knowledge, will be able to verify are supported by the source."
Besides its obvious lack of intellectual ambition, this policy is clearly designed to fit the interests of regular non-specialized editors. This policy still allows the unrestrained growth of information for current events (this is WP's main success), but it blocks the flow of more advanced knowledge. Educated persons read newspapers, not academic stuff. You wanted an accessible encyclopedia, you got a human-generated "google news".
Of course, primary sources can easily be manipulated, but it is better to rely on the next specialist who will come across the article (and better organization of the reference list could help manage the huge flow of primary sources resulting from the relaxation of this policy). And personally, I prefer relying on this manipulation than on the manipulation made by those writing secondary sources in peer-reviewed journals (as I prefer WP over NYT/WSJ for balanced news).
If I knew those rules before, maybe I would not have contributed (but fortunately, editors did not recall me them, they were busy elsewhere...).
Also, articles should be "good enough" for inclusion into an encyclopedia, but they should not be "too good", so as not to be flagged original research. It is ridiculous.Dynsys 12:23, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for submitting this idea! Although we agree this project could bring valuable insight into why experts leave Wikipedia, it was passed over for fellowship at this time. At present, the fellowship program is funding only research most likely to result in actionable outcomes, and we're just not sure what might come of this in absence of other projects looking pilot new methods using these results, so other projects have been prioritized higher for now. I'm archiving the idea, but the proposer or anyone else interested in helping develop it further would be welcome to reopen it in a future open call for fellows. Siko Bouterse (WMF) (talk) 05:19, 31 May 2012 (UTC)