Contributors Flee Wikipedia En Masse

Has Wikipedia's ethos of crowdsourcing sabotaged the Web site? In the first quarter of the year, the Internet encyclopedia lost more than 49,000 editors, compared to one-tenth of that number during the same period in 2008. Contributors to the site speculate that the open democracy has led to infighting among them when it comes to controversial topics, a "too many cooks in the kitchen" dilemma. Another problem with crowdsourcing is that at some point, after inaccuracies, spammers, and "virtual graffiti" littered the site’s entries, executives from the Wikimedia Foundation had to tighten the reins on contributors. The renewed approach led to hundreds of rules and a byzantine hierarchy in which it became difficult to post or edit information at all. The open policy that was the foundation of the service has slowly narrowed, but executives from the Wikimedia Foundation aren’t too worried about the dwindling number of contributors. They say their concern is quality, not quantity.