Why is it difficult to find new editors for Wikipedia?

By Pamela Ofori-Boateng

Getting new editors who would be dedicated to advancing the course of Wikipedia has never been easy, not to talk about retention of new recruits.

People show interest in editing Wikipedia but varnish after their first training and there are others who start editing, gain more interest and slip away along the way.

The question is, why is it difficult to find new editors? dominates a lot of discourses in the community and a recent post on Wikipedia Daily - a Facebook page that allows editors from various countries to discuss pertinent issues around the movement asked the same question which attracted both interesting and diverging submissions from editors new and old alike.

The long-held view that harassment issues and the improvable user interface are partly to blame, but the main reason is simply that most people don't like the hobby that is Wikipedia, Ziko van Djik commented under the Facebook post.

“Most people don’t like to write, and also many other occupations in Wikipedia are not appealing to them," he added.

For a high retention rate on Wikipedia, he suggested the need to ensure that participants understand what the hobby - Wikipedia is before signing up.

Vicky Annwni made a slightly different submission. She noted that being a volunteer is more than a hobby. It is something very important because it gives you the opportunity to help society by contributing to knowledge and by giving something important to you - your time.

Felix Nartey, a co-founder of Open Foundation West Africa (OFWA), took it from the African perspective. He explained that it is difficult to find editors, especially in Africa because people don’t really know the value of preserving knowledge and writing about their countries, continent, heritage, and culture.

I think people are just focused on chasing the basic things in life forgetting that our stories are not being told and even if they are being told, they are not being told by the right persons or even told in the right manner and this can affect the unborn generation,” he further said.


One editor suggested that if schools and educational systems would include Wikipedia in their curriculum and it becomes part of teaching it will help garner a lot of editors in the next few years.

Additionally, harassment and rudeness from old editors on newbies can’t be overlooked as a major dispiriting factor that occasionally drives new recruits away.

  • July 14, 2021