Originally posted on Gizmodo:
Wikipedia is a wonderful resource, the kind of website that makes you marvel at what the internet can achieve. But it’s only as good as its contributors and, while some are extremely committed, the sad truth is that the project is running out of editors and new admins.
The Atlantic reports from Wikimania, the official Wikimedia conference, that “volunteer editing of Wikipedia is on a long decline”. Of course, you want figures.
Try these. The total number of active English Wikipedia editors making five edits or more a month is down from a peak of over 50,000 in the summer of 2007 to just 30,000 this year. In October 2005, Wikimedia elected 67 administrators, and a typical month around that time would see the number reach at least 40 or 50. Nowadays, that figure is in the single digits.
This brings up an interesting thought. What motivates volunteers to contribute? Where do they get the time to do it, and if it is a hobby, how do you prevent people from becoming bored of it? Back in February I wrote Why Wikipedia Should Allow Public Advertising, and I briefly talked about how it would affect volunteering. Is now the time to generate some type of revenue sharing program to promote more people to help edit/manage the site?
It will be interesting to see what the future brings. I think it will only continue to grow, but without [enough] dedicated editors, the site will fall apart very fast.