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Joanna Newsom: "Wikipedia is amazing."
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  • Paul Ford's article is both informative and frustratingly misdirecting. He calls the Wikimedia Commons just "Wikimedia" (if anything, it's simply "the Commons", so as not to be confused with the Wikimedia Foundation), and mentions but not Wikidata, which is more than two years old. Those are relatively trivial errors; the frustration is ignoring how problematical the markup is for newcomers. Yes, he says "Peek under the hood, and it’s pretty horrifying", but he's not horrified at all - he's impressed. At least a brief mention of VisualEditor would have been appropriate. No, VE doesn't enable the kind of complexity that Ford admires, and which has done so much for Wikipedia's readability and value, but it does shield novice editors from being overwhelmed by that complexity. And that's critical if Wikipedia is going to succeed in turning around the trend, since 2007, that has seen a substantial loss of editors and of edits each year. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 16:51, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • I was also disappointed in the lack of mention of the VisualEditor, but that might just be a result of the backlash against it by the English Wikipedia. It's more likely that Ford never heard of it since it isn't on by default and I think recent tests only gave returning users the option to use it. As much as we'd like to think otherwise. WYSIWYG is the way most people edit these days, markup languages require people to learn strange syntax that they won't see the result of right away. It's true that in their quest to hide complexity from users these kind of editors also introduce bugs, especially for a system as complex as Wikipedia's, but the average editor is probably only going to rely on the bare minimum of its functions like text editing and footnote addition. Wikipedia is already hard enough to get into, we should strive to make editing for new users as easy as possible. It'd be interesting if the other language Wikipedia's have statistics to report after enabling the editor by default. Opencooper (talk) 01:40, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • @John Broughton - It is simply not correct to contend that there have been a "substantial loss of editors" each year. The all-important count of Very Active Editors (100+ edits/month) on En-WP has been up consistently over previous-year numbers for a number of months running — and this essentially without Visual Editor. The FIGURES FOR SEPTEMBER show 3338 Very Active Editors at En-WP. This is more than September 2014, September 2013, September 2012, and September 2011. So please dispense with the gloom and doom, the contention that editing figures are in a death spiral is not accurate. Carrite (talk) 09:44, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • @Carrite: I'm aware of the recent upturn in editor/edit counts - for example, I'm the one who has been updating this page for the past year. I don't consider a discussion of the longer-term trend, the trend during the past eight years, to be equivalent to saying that Wikipedia is in a "death spiral"; please don't put words in my mouth. Nor do I consider myself of the "doom and gloom" type - otherwise I wouldn't have spent so much time on helping to improve VisualEditor, and helping with major revisions of its user manual. My main point, to reiterate, is that using the classic wikitext editor has become significantly problematical for new editors, and that admiration for the complexity of what underlies Wikipedia articles should be tempered by the realization that such complexity has a significant downside. And that's true regardless of whether the 8+ year trend of declining editors and editing has (finally) been turned around, or whether what we're seeing is a temporary lull before the long-term trend resumes. [I very much hope the long-term trend has been reversed, of course]. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 16:17, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • The title is yet another example of using hyperbole and over-generalization to push an agenda. I suspect the large majority of the editors are merely indifferent rather than being specifically hostile to female editors. Praemonitus (talk) 17:59, 30 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]


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