In the first three months of 2009, Internet encyclopaedia Wikipedia ‘lost’ 49,000 of its volunteer editors, according to a university research.
Over the same period in 2008, just 4,900 people, who voluntarily amended and updated the information on the website, had stopped contributing.
Felipe Ortega, from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, who carried out the study, believes the site could face major problems ahead.
He said: “If the negative trend is maintained for too much time, say one or two years, eventually the project could enter a problematic phase.” However, Wikimedia UK, a chapter of the organisation that operates Wikipedia, has denied that it means the site is struggling. It says that it is seeking more expert contributors.
“We’re trying to engage a bit more at the moment with people who are very knowledgeable, people who are experts, so working with museums was the obvious next step,” the BBC News quoted Michael Peel of Wikimedia UK, as telling the Times newspaper. Peel is confident that the knowledge website will continue to run smoothly.
He added: “Wikipedia is definitely not dying. It’s freely licensed, which means that content that has been added will be there forever.”