Monday, November 23, 2009

Speeding up

There's been a bit of discussion lately about why so many editors are leaving the project. Here's one possible reason: the editing tools have become too powerful. Many of the more inferior editors appear to pride themselves on the number of edits they make, and these powerful tools allow them to vastly increase their rate of "productivity." What kind of quality can one expect from an editor who dashes madly about, making hundreds of edits a day? What kind of edit can one expect from an editor who is just spending seconds on each "contribution"? Mostly what one sees are reverts or deletions, since adding content takes a fair amount of time.

By and large, deletionists don't write articles--their primary activity is to delete the work of other people, and they do this not out of principle, but simply because this is the fastest way they can increase their edit count. Deletion is not in itself bad, but it is bad when done without sufficient thought. In most cases, thinking over a bad piece of text will enable an editor to rewrite it. WP's improvement requires thoughtful rewriting, not frantic deletion.

It would be nice to see a change in attitude toward edit counts--if there were a bit of a stigma to generating hundreds of edits a day, the deletionists would become a much weaker force on WP.

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