EditQuality and Quantity

"Your edit count is not your IQ, value as a human being, or a score in a video game. It does not determine your worth as a [wikiHowian]. It does not cure cancer or grant you a seat on the secret spaceship that will be traveling to Mars when the Krulls return to destroy the planet in 2012... Don't let it bother you. It's just a number in the database." ~~ Slashdot

"It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters.” ~~ Seneca

"A user's edit count does not reflect on the value of their contributions..." ~~Found in Wikipedia

"Zen wisdom: A novice was once curious about the nature of the Edit Count. He approached the Zen master and asked, "Zen master, what is the nature of the Edit Count?" "The Edit Count is as a road," replied the Zen master. "You must travel the road to reach your destination, and some may travel longer roads than others. But do not judge the person at your door by the length of the road he has travelled to reach you." And the novice was Enlightened." ~~Found in Wikimedia Meta

Another interesting phenomenon that arises every now and then is a rash of editcountitis. Yes, it is marvellous, rewarding and jolly nice to know how many edits one has made here and as volunteers, it is a neat way to measure one's progress and to surprise oneself occasionally.

As a measure of overall contribution to wikiHow, however, it is not a good indicator. For instance, the patrollers do not have their patrols marked as an edit count and yet most of our patrollers have patrolled in the thousands and even 10s of thousands. Without their dedication to wikiHow, we'd have some messy and dicey nonsense sitting on the site that would detract from all the fabulous, good faith and excellent work done by everyone else. So, the worth of all this work is not evident as an edit count but it is a palpable, real and significant input that warrants daily cheering. There are also other unseen ways to help wikiHow, such as coaching on forums and in IRC, or sending each other ideas for brainstorming through e-mails and chats. All of these count towards making wikiHow the great place it is but they aren't necessarily registering as an edit count.

Edit counters exist as a small personal reward for volunteer authors, editors and patrollers to be able to keep a track of their own input. But to take the edit counter and suggest that this means that any one of us outranks any other one of us is a misuse of it and is misleading. It is misleading because it misses these invisible inputs I mention above and because it doesn't reflect in any way the value of each edit count contribution - an edit count could be an entire article or it could be a full stop (period). It could be a single word or it could be a new summary. Should we weigh these? No, we shouldn't and the reason is this - every single contribution made in good faith to wikiHow is worthy and somebody who has added, say 5 articles, is as worthy as someone who has made 500 edits. Both inputs are equal in importance as they both contribute to the betterment of wikiHow.

There is also an imbalance in that some contributors simply have a lot of time for one reason or another and others don't. Yet, every single moment a contributor gives to wikiHow is highly valuable, so we should treat the large and the small contributors with the same respect for their input. Every single good faith contribution to wikiHow matters. There is no competition, there is no outranking, there is no top of the pile mentality on wikiHow. Each one of you hauls his or own weight on wikiHow and each one of you earns high respect for your contributions, no matter how large or small.

Many pieces make up this incredible tapestry of shared knowledge and every weaver picks up the threads and weaves them back in - some are single threads pored over with great care and others are bunches of threads equally woven in with great care. But whether wikiHow is richer for an article or an exclamation mark cannot something to be measured in numbers but is reflected by the enjoyment of being a part of a special community and of helping to preserve human knowledge on wikiHow.

And in case you're curious, editcountitis isn't a wikiHow phenomenon alone, nor is it a new one:

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