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The myth of “Power Users” at Wikipedia

By Tim Davenport /// “Carrite” (Wikipedia username) /// “Randy from Boise” (Wikipediocracy username) with some modest assistance from Yerucham Turing

 

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One of my pet peeves is the way that the WMF bureaucracy conceptualizes Wikipedia participants. They see the world as a potential drone army for them to manipulate into editing Wikipedia through “social networking” devices (such as their failed “Rate This Article” initiative) and artificially-sweetened raspberry-flavored software solutions (Media Viewer, Flow, Visual Editor).

There are billions of people in the world, after all, and golly, they should all be editing “The Encyclopedia Anyone Can Edit” because, ummmm, it’s an encyclopedia anyone can edit, after all. It’s just a matter of the Kumbaya San Francisco Friendly Spacers making it happen with good vibrations and their software programming brilliance! (Hurrah!!! Hurrrah!!! Hurrah!!!)

Of course this assumes that the community of volunteers that actually built the encyclopedia and governing apparatus behind the encyclopedia, are nothing but the Most Highly Perfected editing drones created by their Bay Area masters — who hold all the cards and call all the shots.

This is a matter of fundamental importance.

I was thinking during the Mediaviewer/Superprotection fiasco that it had finally sunk in with the WMF circle jerkers that the Wikipedia Volunteer Community was indeed a real entity, to be dealt with on the basis of partnership. No such luck. Get a load of the following slide from a presentation at the WMF Sept. 25 Mobil Metrics meeting held at Club Headquarters in San Francisco:

Once again we see WMF accepting as axiomatic the dangerous and erroneous model of linear “editor engagement” — casual visitors via Google become regular readers straight to the site; who become casual editors;

…continue reading The myth of “Power Users” at Wikipedia