Published on December 15, 2009 11:06 AM

Wikipedia editors abandoning online encyclopaedia

Online encyclopaedia Wikipedia is the fifth most visited website on the Internet.  Available in dozens of languages, it's produced by almost three million volunteers.  However, the number of contributors has been falling since 2007.  A recent study showed that 49 000 users had deserted the English language version.

The site's content relies on active participation from users, as anybody can edit articles.  For plenty of web users, the site is the definitive online reference source.  And although it may be reaching ever more people, the number of those willing to actually take part is falling, with ten times fewer in 2009 compared to the same period in 2008 according to researcher Felipe Ortega.

Not enough ideas, or too many restrictions?

The English language Wikipedia has almost three million articles, and the range of topics that have yet to be covered is obviously very different to when the project began and everything had to be built from scratch.  At the same time, Wikipedia has come under increasing pressure to modify its 'anybody can edit' model after a series of notable scandals, with more and more restrictions on who can edit which articles.
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