Fast Company

10th Anniversary of Wikipedia

The edits made to the Wikipedia entry for the Iraq War can fill 7,000 pages -- and they do, in this fall's The Iraq War: A Historiography of Wikipedia Changelogs. (We appreciate the simplicity of the edit "Saddam Hussein was a dickhead.") But as the encyclopedia rounds its first decade, it's beefing up its veracity with the Public Policy Initiative, in which college students write fully vetted entries. "Our courses are rigorous," says Rochelle Davis, whose Georgetown public-policy students will produce entries. "They do all the research, and then the work is for Wikipedia." Smart, indeed. -- Margaret Rhodes

Sat, January 15
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10th Anniversary of Wikipedia

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2 Comments

  • Christopher Graves

    Yes, Greg, smart indeed. Wikipedia is a testament to the power of the internet - just like open source software development. One of the largest problems in the realm of teaching has always been outdated materials, as textbooks change every few years and institutions don't have the money to buy new sets that often. Wikipedia is an ever changing landscape of information that continually reforms itself based on new information on subjects.

    If you actually looked into the Wikimedia Foundations message to people, it specifically mentions that their technical infrastructure is low cost in comparison to other major websites, and that they are in the works for improving and expanding the features of the websites they control. $17 million may be a stretch, however to make judgments this early is premature indefinitely.

    The Wikimedia Foundation is also a large supporter of Open Source software. In case you're unfamiliar with the development side of the technological world, Open Source is an idea in which a program can be developed across the world by thousands of people for free - which means the piece of software is free. Wouldn't that be nice, not having to pay for software ever again? Someone like you, Greg, would appreciate some penny-pinching.

    Freedom of information is crucially important in our modern world. Why let academia isolate the information from the people when it can be spread far and wide to everyone who knows how to click a mouse? That is the true crime, Greg.

    The decision of certain 'paid, professional scholarship' being replaced by contributing to centralized knowledge isn't bad, Greg. Those professors that expect you to learn through Google (Yes, they are out there) aren't much better. Instead of insulting people who are looking farther ahead than their own lifetime and using an over-familiar tone by mentioning first names, try expanding your own point of view Greg. Going to Charity Navigator and doing other research does not mean you know what it is like inside of that company. Ironically, that is similar to Wikipedia articles themselves.

  • Gregory Kohs

    "Smart, indeed"? How is that "smart", Margaret? You advocate the replacement of paid, professional scholarship with a freely-licensed environment where the study of Pokemon characters, hogtie bondage positions, and analysis of appearances by amphibians on Family Guy episodes is an advancement for knowledge?

    After a full decade of the Wikipedia scam, I wonder when the news media will figure out that the Wikimedia Foundation spends on program services only 41 cents of every dollar they beg from donors, which earns them ONE STAR (out of four!) from Charity Navigator in organizational efficiency. In fact, their KPMG audit discovered that it only takes about $2.5 million to keep the servers running, provide ample bandwidth, and staff a team of code developers to keep things running smoothly. Why, then, is the ask for $20 million?

    I also wonder why the news media never thought to cover the 2009 story of how the Wikimedia Foundation needed extra office space, and as if by magic, they hand-picked Jimmy Wales' for-profit corporation to be their landlord, THEN obtained competitive bids, THEN asked Wales' for-profit company to match the average of the competitive bids.

    I too wonder why the media don't seem to care that the 2010 market research study of past Wikimedia Foundation donors was awarded to the former employer of the WMF staffer running the project, without any competitive bidding whatsoever. And when the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation was asked how much the project cost, the guy asking the question was banned from the online discussion.

    Way to go, Margaret. Don't come asking me in a few years where your job went. Ask the Free Culture Movement.