Trends in Ed 8.6.09
Could Wikipedia be waning? A recent article
in New Scientist reports that the number of new articles added monthly to Wikipedia has sharply declined, in addition to the number of edits and the population of active editors.
Why is this the case? Researchers at the Palo Alto Research Center suggest that the Wikipedia community has shifted from a larger, more expansive body of infrequent, casual contributors to a smaller, highly active group, making the site less friendly to new editors. In addition, the focus of many editors has shifted from creating new content to improving old content, which results in many disputes and (as it's apparently termed) "wikilawyering."
While I think it makes sense that the number of new articles would decline (since content would be expected to accrue rapidly in initial phases), I do find the shift in editors interesting.
In informal learning communities such as this one, does the balance of power inevitably shift towards a core group of hyper-involved members, or is it possible to maintain a community built around the casual contributor? Also, does the fact that Wikipedia is getting older make it seem more "established" and thus less "editable" in the eyes of the general public?