Response #7 – Wikipedia

Encyclopedia…wikipedia…huh?

The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, plainly stated the concept of an encyclopdia is that it should be radical…let’s just stop and think…do you consider reading Encyclopedia Britannica radical?  I think not…

Enter Wikipedia.  In layman terms, wikipedia is a freely-licensed encyclopedia, using wiki software to give anyone the ability to edit its text.  All edits and posts are managed by a volunteer staff who monitors very closely.  Wikipedia is owned by Wikimedia foundation (owned by Wales) whose mission is to get free encyclopedia’s to all – thus combating poverty worldwide, giving people empowerment commercially and non-commercially.  Wikipedia has about 600k articles in English, and over 2M total articles.  The other popular languages include German, Japanese, and French.  An interesting note – only 1/3 of all traffic goes to the English version.  The website is global in popularity, ranking in the Top 50 –  above the New York Times.

When I first encountered Wikipedia, I thought – “wow…this doesn’t sound like a reliable source.”  But, there is literally a team of of workers constantly editing new posts by users.  In favor of Wikipedia, just read Nature’s assertion that Wikipedia is just as reliable at Britannica.  

The service and its community are built around a self-policing and self-cleaning nature that is supposed to ensure its articles are accurate.   – Jimmy Wales

One, like Jimmy Wales, could argue that the vast majority of users on Wikipedia is vested in the information posted on the site.  Users, as well as the team of editors, constantly ensure Wikipedia information’s accuracy.  

However, as with any new concept, there are growing pains – such as the article about journalist John Seigenthaler.  The post was on Wikipedia for some time, until Seigenthaler himself edited the text.  But, that’s the beauty of the resource – than anyone can edit its text.  You take that ability away – and you inherently have something called Britannica again.  Possibly some new avenues to ensure accuracy?  Possibly.  How about the “Team” review every post – if that’s possible?  But, they cannot take away the foundation that made Wikipedia successful – that is the authority of the entire population to post.  Just think of the creative juices that would be removed if that were to happen? 

I love using Wikipedia, as do so many others…and I believe its founders recognize that fact.  We don’t want to see a Britannica 2.0.

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One Response to “Response #7 – Wikipedia”

  1. […] #9 – Wikipedia (Part Dos) (Sigh).  As I mentioned in my last Wikipedia post, the website is an interesting addition to the Internet.  As I’ve attempted […]

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