So if you haven't been living under a rock the past few months, you might have noticed the wiki seems quieter than it once did. By that I mean users are editing less, users are taking part in community matters (such as discussions, RfAs etc.) a lot less and some users just don't visit the wiki as much. Obviously a drop in activity is cause for concern but in a way, it's an eye-opener to how things can affect a wiki so quickly.
What do I attribute to this?
There's not really one thing we can single out as a cause - it's many different things.
"Real life" gets in the way
Back when I registered in 2010, I'd estimate the median age of a user on The Sims Wiki to be between 13-16 years old and that's been more-or-less the same 3 years later. But as teenagers get older, education can place a burden. I've seen users who openly admit they don't have time for this place because of exams and coursework and obviously that's a priority.
Given that The Sims series mainly targets a teenage audience, that's the age group you would usually find here on The Sims Wiki. Sure we have some older users who education is nary a problem for but even then matters like job prospects and family (and Fallout: New Vegas) can be a barrier to one's wiki activity.
Technically speaking, editing a wiki does count as "real life". It's not as if we're all being Neo going into the Matrix because we only live one life, but there are some things that matter more than others.
Times are changing
We had a good trajectory of users getting involved with the wiki between 2010 and early 2013. The Sims 3 was still fresh back in 2010 and people saw promise. But fast forward a few years, has that promise really been delivered on? Expansion packs may sell by the truckload but it doesn't mean the quality is getting any better and with that in mind, maybe not as many people would care to get involved with an encyclopedia based on The Sims. Plus EA going quiet after Into the Future doesn't really help. If nothing's happening, what could we possibly do? If they leave it too long, we could be at an almost "mission complete" scenario.
And with that, people also lose interest. New users come, others go. I myself haven't played The Sims 3 in months (mostly because it's a grossly overrated buggy mess but w/e) and admittedly I've wanted to do other things. I still check in here (side effect of joining the PC master race) from time to time but me actually wanting to do something here isn't always the case.
Being one of the 2010 "baby boomers", I've seen users come and go - it happens all the time. This year however, I feel we've been unfortunate in seeing more users go, particularly admins, than new users to fill the gaps. Maybe everybody just wants to go their separate ways. Even IRC is only really that active when our resident Saints Row addict talks.
The wiki itself?
I see The Sims Wiki as a quality source of information, which is a great positive, and I can make a guess that we have some decent readership numbers. But is this wiki interesting enough to make new users want to edit here?
Well, that's more of a rhetorical question than anything. Personally I feel there's always room for improvement but there are far worse wikis out there. The community here gets along well (most of us do at least) and even when there is negativity, we forgive and forget.
Time and time again we've talked about what we can possibly do wiki-side but in all honesty, we can't do a lot. Sure we do get some good ideas that may help for a while but things grow stale. We need to adapt to survive, if you get my gist.
So what can we do?
Truth be told, there's not a lot that can be done but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. I for one feel that community interaction is very important. We see the same few faces every forum thread weighing in yet there are more users here than that. Could it be they're frightened to put across their views? Who knows.
I do feel at times however that within the community, things aren't as ideal as they could be. I feel trying to engage everybody in some way would be beneficial and even more so if it looked inviting to new users, but what can we do?
I feel a good social presence is also strong in times like these. Activity on our Twitter and Facebook feeds has gone up, though as of late it's dwindled again (possibly down to a lack of interest or something? idk). I remember I got several Twitter users playing a quiz when we hit 1,000 followers. It's things like that which stand out. We've tried branching out too, namely to YouTube and Steam, though we have unfortunately found little use for those, but it doesn't mean we should give up, even if we take to an out-of-the-box approach of managing them.