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Wikipedia drop-outs

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

The following people have left the project. The purpose of this page is to try to understand what can make people (especially good wikipedians) leave and what we can do to prevent it. If you decide to leave and wish to explain why, you could do that here.

For an up-to-date list of people who have left the English Wikipedia, see en:Wikipedia:Missing Wikipedians.

  • Optim: Administrator and Bureaucrat. Missed since 19:00 PM (UTC), March 6, 2004. Optim came to Wikipedia in 2003 because he wanted to help with the creation of free educational material. He started 115 new articles and contributed more than 19 photos he took using his digital camera. He decided to leave because he felt fed up with some particular Wikipedians. He wishes to everyone Good Luck and PEACE PROFOUND. Optim 19:15, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
  • Kat. Gone, see regular wiki page for reasons.
  • JHK still lurking around, but only because she'd really like to discuss some of the issues that make her want to permanently leave/boycott the 'pedia in favor of Nu. See regular wiki page. Generally worn down by several trolls, but idealistic enough to hope that the 'pedia will win, eventually. Happy that some of you have been especially encouraging (although this is the basic cause for aforementioned lurking...)
I have seriously contemplated a permanent departure (and to a degree still am), but many people encouraged me not too, and so I have put my dignity aside for the moment. Interestingly, the issue over which I left has still not been resolved, much to my great disappointment. As for my reasons, I can handle a dispute with a fellow Wikipedian, but this confrontation was with a Bomis employee, from whom I personally feel we should expect a higher standard of conduct. (Disclaimer - I get on very well with and have the highest respect for both Cunctator and LMS. My previous comment should not be construed as taking sides in the present Cunctator-LMS dispute.) BTW - To the antagonist in the dispute over which I nearly left - email me any time you like, I'd still like to sort this out. - MMGB
  • User:Piotr Wozniak left with no bad feelings, see his homepage for his detailed explanation.
  • User:Corvus13 "Fine. I give up. Delete everything I've ever written. There appears to be some personal thing here where if you're not part of the clique, you're not welcome. Goodbye. "
  • A user chose to disassociate himself from the Wikipedia without offering any explanation except to reassure people. Despite this another user continually tried to list him on this page.
  • The Cunctator Sharply curtailed editing, and will soon cease all together, due to treatment by LMS and the institution of what The Cunctator perceives as autocratic policies on Wikipedia.
  • LA2 left the Wikipedia project on May 21, 2001 after a disagreement with LMS on whether Wikipedia is a dictionary or not, and whether the distinction between an encyclopedia and a dictionary is even a useful one. He then did nothing for a long while, and finally on October 1, 2001 opened his own shop (in Swedish) at http://susning.nu/ using a slightly different policy. He is now back in the English and German Wikipedias, and the mailing lists, and is glad that he has a Wiki life outside of Wikipedia, so he doesn't have to fight battles for his opinions anymore. This removes a lot of pressure, which he can use for expanding his own site.

You know, People?? I still believe wikipedia is not your "free-for-life" encyclopedia. I know Jimmy Wales got a "brain hemorrhage" when I said something like that a few months ago. What's the point of wikipedia, if not to sell ads or get financial reward, even if hidden from the writers ? Nobody is going to convince me otherwise. There's a hidden agenda at work here. Wiki is not a tax deduction for Bomis, and all of us who DON'T earn a cent spending hundreds of hours a month, will eventually see this is true. That is WHY Larry needs good people around to play his little Tom Sawyer mind game, and let all paint the fence. After the paint dries, it's only history. You will not even get credit, because, as Larry said so often, "It's not your article, it belongs to wikipedia." There's no disclosure on Bomis' part about employees, salaries, or even why a free encyclopedia would be supported by any corporation. An educational institution might do this. So, "The game is a lot bigger than I think you know, and if you think you know then I don't think you know." (DMX) If we're all in it for ego's sake, then "swell-up" heads. You'll be having a nightmare when the whip comes down, and it will ! User:BF

For BF's benefit: I'm not aware of having a hidden agenda at work here. I want to build a giant encyclopedia. Also, as everybody knows, I am paid to do this. We have never made it a secret that, eventually, we will start making money with this website, at the very least to pay for my salary and other costs. (It's in the FAQ!) Eventually, I hope very much, Wikipedia will be able to pay for my salary and those of more people! But right now, Jimbo is taking a loss--quite a substantial loss, in fact, which makes me worried for my job. So, I fully and completely admit that part of my reason for wanting Wikipedia to grow is so that I can support myself and my family. Unless it does grow, I will be out of a job. So, understandably I hope, you can see that I make it a high priority that it continues to grow! But I hope it's obvious that I totally believe in this cause, and that I don't want it to grow just because I want to keep my job! --Larry_Sanger

While this is a little bit off-topic here, some food for thought: All content is FDL and can be downloaded for free. I have done so, and probably others have as well. What is the worst that can happen? We might lose a server, but we will never lose the data. And the bandwidth requirements for a trimmed down version of Wikipedia (account-only), should the need ever arise, may be more modest than you think. -- w:Eloquence

The worst that could happen is a post-failure fork. The only properties that Bomis owns that are relevant are the wikipedia.com domain and its associated mindshare and bandwidth. In the event that Bomis fails, then Wikipedia may never recover its momentum. Thus, it's in everyone's interest to see Bomis not fail and for Bomis to not encourage forking. -- SunirShah
I agree that a fork would be a bad thing, but as long as old-hands can be informed, I don't think that its consquences would be drastic, since their participation alone would guarantee a quick re-build. -- Eloq.

We'll certainly do all we can to avoid giving anyone reason to fork! --Larry_Sanger

While forking could be detrimental, reuse could be very beneficial. In short, while in some sense it's trying to cover "all human knowledge", Wikipedia has a particular style and scope, (which it should, though I might disagree with some of the particular choices made).

Ideally, at some point, there will be enough cross-pollinating sites that instead of there being the Wikipedia data which other people use, there will be this common pool of complementary information that all can draw. For example, there could be a news service which focuses on current events, using Wikipedia for background. And the news stories would provide background for new Wikipedia entries.

A project like CPAN to mirror content in some way, delink it from a particular server or URL (the content, not the creation process) might be a step in that direction. --The Cunctator

See also: Wikistress for some suggestions on how to avoid burning out and needing to leave.