Is the great experiment that is Wikipedia running out of steam? Possibly! Apparently the site's complex editing rules — you know, the ones that stop people from writing entries that make it sound like they are close, personal friends with Pokemon characters or claim that Dane Cook is a total douche — aren't exactly attracting new users. Which wouldn't quite so much of a problem if the site wasn't also losing many of its contributors:
Despite Wikipedia's wide-reaching popularity, Wales said the typical profile of a contributor is "a 26-year-old geeky male" who moves on to other ventures, gets married and leaves the website. Other contributors leave because, 10 years after the website was launched, there are fewer new entries to add, he said.
So… does this mean I'm going to have to get all my information about movies from the '80s, poisonous animals, and the history of Nintendo from, like, books? Maybe not. Because Wales is making changes that he hopes will help court new editors, like simplifying the editing guidelines and, uh…this:
The website has also introduced a new feature called WikiLove aimed at keeping users engaged. Visitors to the website select a graphic icon — choices include kittens, stars and the Mediterranean dessert baklava — and send it with a message of appreciation to a page contributor as encouragement. "It's like a 'like' on Facebook," Wales said.
Uh-huh. Luckily, Wales also said that while he wouldn't call the situation a crisis, simply an issue the site needs to keep an eye on. So here's hoping the allure of virtual phyllo pastry is enough to keep users coming back.