A fundamental problem
I don't see any way they can get rid of the "biting" of newcomers without overhauling their policy. Mainly, the problem is that Wikipedia deletes a lot of useful content because it doesn't fall within their idea of what Wikipedia is supposed to be about. No matter how nice, polite and civil they are about notifying people that their useful content just got put up for deletion (or has already been deleted), it's not going to make those new editors very happy.
Yeah, there are a lot of other wikis out there where people can post their content. But those wikis aren't sufficiently integrated with Wikipedia to take advantage of the economies of scale that Wikipedia offers; therefore, those other wikis tend to fail. The WMF has not placed a high priority on interwiki integration, even among WMF wikis; there are no integrated watchlists, interwiki page existence detection, etc. That's probably a large part of the reason why those other projects haven't succeeded to anywhere near the extent that Wikipedia has. It's easy to complain about such problems, but I also intend to address them by coding some solutions.
For the record, these are some of the relevant bugs:
I think that one major issue that haunts Wikipedia is the speedy deletion process. In my opinion this requires a change of culture, or atleast a new implied rule to be put in place: If the first reason you come up with to put an article up for speedy deletion is that 'you have never heard of it', then you should immediately recuse yourself from the process and ask another editor to step in, or just leave the topic alone altogether. The speed with which perfectly reasonable material for the encyclopedia is deleted, most often without any notification in advance or after the fact, can only lead new editors to think that taking part in Wikipedia involves some sort of mystical process that is not at all obvious and very exclusive. I and a few others obviously have managed to fight through some of those early snubs. But it is easy for me to imagine that most editors-in-waiting, young and old, when faced with that first hurdle just decide to take their contribution potential elsewhere. This really needs to be addressed with concrete changes to policy, culture and practice, sooner rather that later.
They probably take their contribution elsewhere, e.g. to a personal blog or smaller wiki (e.g. Wikinfo), but then they lose a lot of the advantages of integrating their content into a massive project like Wikipedia. After all, who reads those smaller wikis? Not many people.
Nor do many people watchlist and improve the articles. People don't have time to be actively involved in a bunch of different wikis, especially when they have overlapping content. It's unnecessary duplication of effort that people generally seek to avoid. Fortunately, I think Inclupedia will solve these problems for us.
Last edit: 22:15, 7 February 2013
The thing is that Wikipedia is a lot stricter than it used to be. Wikipedia was like Wikia back in the day. I remember coming in back in 2005 and 2006 and never once bothering to include a reference with what I was writing because it was "obvious". References were only for those contentious things like "person X is of ethnicity Y" or something like that. Now every Wikipedia article needs to meet the high standards that are expected of articles. This leads to a lot of really great articles and prevents a heck of a lot of dross and stupid self-promotion, but it also makes it more difficult to write an article than it was back when Wikipedia was brand new. Also, Wikipedia doesn't devote the coverage to single subjects that some other sites do. For instance, take a look at the minor aliens in Doctor Who and Star Trek, they're all clumped together on single pages (because there's only a line or two about each of those aliens). These changes are mostly necessary. Wikipedia would conceivably get sued way more often, but it does make it more difficult to write an article. Articles aren't books, it's not about writing what you know, it's about research projects.