My Web 2.0 Surfings for 10-16-2008

Jimmy Wales: How a ragtag band created Wikipedia

  • Wales begins by saying that there is nothing radical about Britannica since 1962.
  • Wikipedia, began with a very radical idea where anyone has access to the 'Sum of all knowledge'.
  • It is written using wiki software and is run by volunteers.
  • It is owned by the non-profit Wiki media Foundation founded by Wales.
  • The goal of Wikipedia is to empower anyone, which is why it has an open licensing model so that entrepreneurs can use the content anyway they like.
  • It is funded by donations and it takes surprisingly little to run.
  • It has 2 million entries.
  • Only 1/3rd of the traffic is to English websites.
  • It is more popular than New York Times.
  • NY times has several employees.
  • Wikipedia has only one employee, a lead software developer.
  • They have 90 servers in 3 locations managed by volunteers.
  • It is like having a standby crew 24/7
How good is it?
  • When quality checks are done, Wikipedia wins hands down.
  • It is not perfect.
  • The Bush-Kerry controversy articles were edited too often and had to be locked for a while.
  • The controversies in Wikipedia, the media fusses about, are overblown.
  • Most people seek neutrality.
  • No side has a monopoly on ideas.
How is quality managed?
  • Keeping the point of view neutral.
  • Wikipedians do not talk about the truth and objectivity.
  • Wikipedia does not take a stand on any subject.
  • Every change goes to a 'recent changes' page that many have as watchlists.
  • If someone vandalizes a page, the volunteers can restore that page.
  • Wikipedia does have edits by many users. -Only 18% is done by anonymous users.
  • It has 40 IRC channels and the people who work on the site are always in communication.
  • These are semi professional smart people.
  • Within the community the rules are left open ended.
  • Deleting is done based on a voting system, the 'Google' test, etc.
  • This is a more a dialog than a vote.
How is it Governed
  • A confusion but a workable mix.
  • Some amount of democracy
  • The deleters are elected by the community.
  • Some aristocrats in the community(Rick Kay and Angela)
  • Wales is the monarch. ;)
In closing the Wikipedia people are not anarchists.
See the presentation here.

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