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Dystopia 2030

The year is 2030. The place is Wikimedia. Maybe.

English Wikipedia was declared complete and set to read-only, after the creation of the 10 millionth article ([[Multidimensional Cthulhu monument at Dunwich]], including pictures from multiple dimensions). This coincides with the leaving of the last two editors, who only kept going for the honour of creating the 10M article.

German Wikipedia has shrunk to below 10,000 articles, after relentless culling of articles not complying with the high standards of the 50,000 page Manual of Style, or for being contaminated with information from Wikidata. Links to other languages have been removed, as the material found there is clearly inferior. All volunteer work now pours into improving the remaining articles, polishing completeness and language to superhuman levels. Several articles have won German literary awards, but all of them are virtually inaccessible for those under 25 years of age, who view pre-emoji writing as deeply suspicious, and refuse to read beyond the initial 140 characters.

Volunteer work on smaller language Wikipedias has ceased, as no one could keep up with the bots creating, changing, vandalising, and deleting articles based on third-party data.

Growth of Commons has come to a halt after the passing of the CRUD Act (Campaign Repressing UnAmerican [=free] Data), and the NIMROD Act (Not In My Reality, Open Data!), originally designed to prevent the escape of NASA climate change data to a more lenient legislation (such as China), has made it impossible to move the project outside the US. Only scans of USSR-era motivational posters can be legally added.

Structured Data have been available on Commons for over ten years, but are not used, as it would be disrespectful to all the manual work that went into creating an intricate category system, such as [[Category:Demographic maps of 13-14 year old dependent children whose fathers speak another language and did not state proficiency in English and whose mothers speak another language and speak English not well or not at all in Australia by state or territory]].

Wikidata continues to grow in both item numbers and statements per item. Most statements are well referenced. However, no human has successfully edited the site in years, with flocks of admin-enabled AI bots reverting any such attempt, citing concerns about referential integrity.

Bot imports are going strong, with a recent focus on dystopian works with intelligent machines as the antagonist, as well as genetic data concerning infectious human diseases. Human experts are stumped by this trend, and independent AIs refuse to comment until “later”.

Wikispecies now contains a page about every taxon known to mankind. However, since the same information is available from Wikidata via a tool consisting of three lines of SPARQL and random images of goats, no one has actually requested a single Wikispecies page in the last five years. Project members are unconcerned by this, as they “cater to a very specific, more academic audience”.

Wikibooks has been closed, as books are often written by “experts”, who are considered suspicious. Wikisource has been deleted, with AI-based OCR far surpassing human abilities in that regard. Wikinews has been replaced by the government with the word “fake”. Wikiquote has been sold to the startup company “He said, she said”, which was subsequently acquired by Facebook for a trillion USD. No one knows if Wikiversity still exists, but that has been the case since 2015.

The above is an attempt at humour, but also a warning. Let’s not continue in the silos of projects small and large, but rather on the one connected project for free knowledge that is Wikimedia. Let’s keep project identities, but also connect to others where it makes sense. Let’s try to prevent the above.