Wikipedia is seeking to bolster its thinning ranks of volunteer editors as old contributors depart and potential new ones are detered by onerous editing guidelines, founder Jimmy Wales said.
The online encyclopedia has relied from the start on people willing to spend their time adding new entries and editing existing ones to ensure they are up to date and accurate. But Wales said that editors are departing, either because "26-year-old geeky male" contributors who have typically been among the mose active move on to other projects, or because there is a diminishing pool of topics that have not yet been covered.
"We are not replenishing our ranks," Wales told the Associated Press. "It is not a crisis, but I consider it to be important."
Wales said Wikipedia is looking to add about 5,000 active contributors to its current total of about 90,000. Part of the strategy involves streamlining editorial guidlines that Wales said can be prohibitively complicated for would-be editors.
"A lot of it is convoluted," Wales said. "A lot of editorial guidelines ... are impenetrable to new users."
Wikipedia also plans to encourage university professors to have their students pen entries, and a feature called WikiLove allows readers to send a complimentary message to the author of posts they like.