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Wikipedia

free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

Wikipedia is a Web-based, freely editable encyclopedia by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation.

Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing.

Contents

QuotesEdit

2000sEdit

2000Edit

2001Edit

  • At present I am overworked and the [Nupedia] project is suffering to some extent as a result… I just don't have the time to find lead reviewers for the articles listed [in "General and Other"]. The problem is that it is VERY difficult to find *specialists* on each of those topics.
  • It's an idea to add a little feature to Nupedia. …"Wiki," pronounced \wee'-kee\, derives from a Polynesian word, "wikiwiki," but what it means is a VERY open, VERY publicly-editable series of web pages. … I can start a page … Anyone else (yes, absolutely anyone else) can come along and make absolutely any changes to it that he wants to. … On the page I create, I can link to any other pages, and of course anyone can link to mine. The project is billed and pursued as a public resource. There are a few announced suggestions or rules. … As to Nupedia's use of a wiki, this is the ULTIMATE "open" and simple format for developing content. We have occasionally bandied about ideas for simpler, more open projects to either replace or supplement Nupedia. … [It] can be a place where additional changes and commentary can be gleaned… The content can be licensed under an open content license. On the front page of the Nupedia wiki we'd make it ABSOLUTELY clear that this is experimental…
  • We wouldn't call it "the Nupedia wiki" though that's what it would be. … On the "wikipedia" we would say that this is a supplementary project to Nupedia which operates entirely independently.
  • …why 2 sites, or 2 encyclopedias? My impression of them is Wikipedia is the "everyman's" encyclopedia and Nupedia is for the university elite. I looked at being a writer [for Nupedia] but I really felt I wouldn't be welcome since I'm just a college graduate of a two year program for corporate communications.
  • After a year or so of working on Nupedia, Larry had the idea to use Wiki software for a separate project specifically for people like you (and me!) who are intimidated and bored (sorry, Nupedia!) with the tedium of the process. As it turns out, Wikipedia is dramatically more successful on some measures, … The main thing about Wikipedia is that it is fun and addictive.

2002Edit

  • Larry Sanger resigned on March 1st, 2002. He won't even stay as a volunteer. The project now no longer has a leader (or, put another way, everyone is a leader now).
  • Now that Larry Sanger is gone, Wikipedia's owners will have to watch whether the project manages the transition to effective self-regulation and step in if necessary.
  • The bar to contribution is very low, and if there is any elite in charge, then with all due respect […], our elite would seem rather less than impressive compared to the leading members of the intelligentsia that contribute to the likes of Britannica. … The free encyclopedia movement […] doesn't seem to be travelling in the direction of being led by world-class thinkers, scholars, and scientists,… Basically, Wikipedia is the only game left in town as far as the free encyclopedia movement is concerned.

2003Edit

  • The Wikipedia, perhaps one of the greatest testaments to the generosity on the web, has just hit a milestone of 100,000 articles, a week after its second birthday. … What makes the Wikipedia so compelling – and this article so hard to finish – is the way everything is so massively linked. You read one entry, and before you know it, you're reading up on Anne Boleyn or Italian greyhounds. But more than that, anyone can add to or edit an entry, or even create another one.
  • The current versions of these [Wikipedia] articles aren't necessarily the best way to handle it; I think they would do better to discuss *and debunk* racist notions as much as possible, putting them in the proper context so when some kid hears about "racialism" or "reverse racism" and then looks it up on Wikipedia they'll see a rational, neutral explanation of what makes some people think and speak that way – so they'll _understand_ why to discount those ideas. … There are lessons to be learned from the evil that men do.
  • Even racists have the right to freedom of expression. But, not on wikipedia. … The policies of wikipedia, even the French wikipedia, are not constrained by French law. Yahoo caved in to French censorship efforts because they are a large company with many business interests in France. We do not have that problem. … Anyhow, no article in Wikipedia should ever directly contradict or directly support any controversial statement of moral principle such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That's not NPOV, and it's not our mission. … You are right not to tolerate this kind of sentence. … But, not becau[s]e of French law! Because of NPOV.
  • This may sound like a recipe for disaster, but the results are impressive. While many of the site's 130,000-plus articles are definitely works in progress, many are rich, concise, and polished. … Surprisingly, our time spent on Wikipedia turned up no junk entries and no defacements. … A few of the articles seemed a bit dated, and we came across many red links or blue links that led to single-sentence placeholders. But for the most part, the items were useful and thoughtful.

2004Edit

  • However closely a Wikipedia article may at some point in its life attain to reliability, it is forever open to the uninformed or semiliterate meddler.
  • The user who visits Wikipedia to learn about some subject, to confirm some matter of fact, is rather in the position of a visitor to a public restroom. It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security. What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him.

2006Edit

 
If I want to say he didn't that's my right, and now, thanks to Wikipedia – it's also a fact. ~ Stephen Colbert on the ownership of slaves by George Washington
  • I take a half-full-glass view, based on a different understanding of what [Wikipedia’s competition is]: not the traditional professionally produced encyclopedias, but the legions of sites that, springing up all over the Web, purport to contain answers, unverified and often unverifiable, to every topic on earth. Against that standard, Wikipedia is a resounding success.
  • For some reason people who spend 40 years learning everything they can about, say, the Peloponnesian War – and indeed, advancing the body of human knowledge – get all pissy when their contributions are edited away by Randy in Boise who heard somewhere that sword-wielding skeletons were involved. And they get downright irate when asked politely to engage in discourse with Randy until the sword-skeleton theory can be incorporated into the article without passing judgment.
  • Wikipedia's promise is nothing less than the liberation of human knowledge – both by incorporating all of it through the collaborative process, and by freely sharing it with everybody who has access to the internet. This is a radically popular idea.
    • The Economist (20 April 2006)
  • When I visited the offices [in St. Petersburg, Florida] in March, the walls were bare, the furniture battered. With the addition of a dead plant, the suite could pass for a graduate-student lounge.
  • If I want to say he didn't that's my right, and now, thanks to Wikipedia – it's also a fact.
  • In the media age, everybody was famous for 15 minutes. In the Wikipedia age, everybody can be an expert in five minutes. Special bonus: You can edit your own entry to make yourself seem even smarter.

2007Edit

 
Hayek's work on price theory is central to my own thinking about how to manage the Wikipedia project.  …  one can't understand my ideas about Wikipedia without understanding Hayek. ~ Jimmy Wales
 
But how does such a polycentric – even anarchic – system, composed of editors acting independently and for their own reasons, result in such an utterly useful resource?  The answer goes back to the Hayekian inspiration for the project.  Because editors receive both psychological satisfaction and material usefulness from their contributions, the project has grown to include safeguards that help guarantee that the development of the project will move in a positive direction – towards broad, accurate articles that depend on reliable, verifiable sources. ~ Dick Clark
  • Hofstadter: The entry is filled with inaccuracies, and it kind of depresses me.
    Solomon: So fix it.
    Hofstadter: The next day someone will fix it back.
  • Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know you are getting the best possible information.
  • You just can't put something with commercial motive into Wikipedia. Admitting it is hardly better; it is still a crime. The Wikipedians and bloggers will attack hard and they will deserve what they get.
  • You set up this fantastic site, with people sending information all around the world, and you don't make any money of it! It's practically an un-American activity!
  • There are a lot of bad things said about Wikipedia, the ninth most-visited destination on the internet.  An encyclopedia that anyone can edit, critics argue, is one that is vulnerable to endless mistakes.  Such criticisms have been raised by skeptics since Wikipedia's creation in 2001.  …  While that ultimate goal imagined by Wales for Wikipedia has not yet come to fruition, there is no questioning the breadth and usefulness of Wikipedia.  Those who refused to believe that a user-generated encyclopedia could compete with the monolithic, traditional encyclopedia written by experts and organized by professional editors, were no doubt shocked when Nature magazine published a 2006 article comparing Wikipedia to the well-known Encyclopedia BritannicaThe article concluded that Wikipedia articles were comparable in accuracy and thoroughness to those of the older, paper encyclopedia.
  • But how does such a polycentric – even anarchic – system, composed of editors acting independently and for their own reasons, result in such an utterly useful resource?  The answer goes back to the Hayekian inspiration for the project.  Because editors receive both psychological satisfaction and material usefulness from their contributions, the project has grown to include safeguards that help guarantee that the development of the project will move in a positive direction – towards broad, accurate articles that depend on reliable, verifiable sources.
    • Dick Clark, in "Wikipedia: What Is It Good For?," Mises Daily (19 September 2007)
  • One could very aptly describe the Wikipedia system for directing the development of the project as being a common law system of sorts.  The encyclopedia has basic policies – the constitutional law of Wikipedia – which require that articles be written from a neutral point of view, make use of verifiable sources, and include no original research.  …  Whenever a content dispute does arise between editors on the "talk" pages that accompany each article, there are a host of dispute resolution options available.
    • Dick Clark, in "Wikipedia: What Is It Good For?," Mises Daily (19 September 2007)
  • Wikipedia's reflection of market dynamics is most easily observed in what many people view as the project's weakest areas: obscure articles that draw little traffic.  In articles about third-rate garage bands and other topics of limited interest, one will often find factual and typographical errors at a much higher rate than in high-traffic articles such as those on "England" or "Barry Bonds."  The much higher demand for information about the latter topics means that many more eyes will be combing those much-demanded articles for mistakes.  Since Wikipedia is open to correction by anyone, it stands to reason that the articles attracting more potential editors will be of a higher quality.  Rather than a failure, this is a great demonstration of Wikipedia's efficient allocation of resources.
    • Dick Clark, in "Wikipedia: What Is It Good For?," Mises Daily (19 September 2007)
  • The Tsunami article is well researched and extensive, only at two places a little inaccurate. The scientific Wikipedia articles are, according to my judgement, almost always good.
  • The article [Martin Luther] is ample and solidly written. Someone was really occupied with Luther and read some church histories. I give extra points for quoting from sources and the pictures.
  • There is nothing to add to that entry [Marinade]. In my view it contains all important information. I use Wikipedia often for food chemistry. Sometimes you find something you didn't even think about.

2008Edit

  • I think there’s more information about culture in Wikipedia than anywhere else in the world, ever.
    • Tyler Cowen, "Why everything has changed: the recent revolution in cultural economics" in Journal of Cultural Economics (2008), 32, p. 266, DOI 10.1007/s10824-008-9074-y
  • Wikipedia is, at least to some extent, a revenge site. People (like [Don] Murphy) who have a knack for angering and upsetting others are primary targets for that sort of treatment. This is not rocket science, folks. … As the level of perceived “obnoxiousness” required to make someone a [Wikipedia] target continues to drop, the question becomes, how far will it drop?
  • Wikipedia is so dangerous. You go online to look up the definition of eclampsia, and three hours later you find yourself reading this earnest explanation of tentacle porn in anime.
  • Wikipedia's version of reality has already become a monopoly. And all the prejudices and ignorance of its creators are imposed too.
  • Beware corporate executives posing as social visionaries. The hype may be about the fulfillment of human potential, but the reality is the exploitation of digital sharecropping.
  • This term "democratic" gets tossed around a lot, usually in a positive, "power to the people rather than some arbitrary ruler" sense.  By that meaning, Wikipedia is indeed democratic.  Yet, unlike a state democracy, 51% at the polls will not necessarily trump a Wikipedia adversary.  So in the sense that the word "democracy" comes loaded with a "one man, one vote" ideology, Wikipedia is not democratic at all.  And it is a good thing that Wikipedia isn't a democracy.

2009Edit

 
It's said that aeronautical theory says bumblebees ought not to be able to fly. Likewise, the idea that a useful, serious reference work could emerge from the contributions of thousands of "ordinary" internet users, many without scholarly qualifications, would until comparatively recently have been dismissed as absurd. ~ John Naughton
  • It's said that aeronautical theory says bumblebees ought not to be able to fly. Likewise, the idea that a useful, serious reference work could emerge from the contributions of thousands of "ordinary" internet users, many without scholarly qualifications, would until comparatively recently have been dismissed as absurd.
  • Even the founders of Wikipedia had no clue when they started the project of what it would accomplish. They dug a hole to find water, and struck oil instead.
  • We now see the strong emergence of the Social Web instead of the Semantic Web, and a proposal has been made to use Wikipedia, the largest hierarchical collection of information in the world, as bottom-up input for the ontologies required to give shape to the Semantic Web.
  • The only solution is to shut [Wikipedia] down and scatter it to the four winds. The idea that experts don't matter but 12 year old Canadians in their basements do is beyond untenable. … What gives any anonymous douchebag the qualifications to write about ME and then call it encyclopedic? The project has failed from the top down. There is no fixing.

2010sEdit

2010Edit

 
So I finally gave in and coughed up a donation for Wikipedia.  It was no trouble at all, and felt good.  …  It's true that giving this way doesn't make rational sense according to a neoclassical idea of what constitutes economic rationality.  Wikipedia is free and it will be there whether I give or not.  The same might be said of the Mises Institute.  If all we cared about were commercial exchange, I have every incentive to use the free good and never pay.  There is no harm done in free riding, right?  Mises himself had a broader view of rationality.  He said that all actions are rational from the point of view of the actor.  I'm glad to embrace that idea.  Giving in this way is not strictly a capitalist act if you define capitalism as only commercial exchange based on contract.  But if we see capitalism as the voluntary sector of society characterized by private property relationships, this kind of micro-giving is part of that. ~ Jeffrey A. Tucker
  • Wikipedia is effectively one-of-a-kind. No other mass-market or topically broad wikis have had meaningful success to date. Even Wikimedia's other wiki projects are not nearly as active as Wikipedia. If successful wikis are rare, Wikipedia might be a one-in-a-million lightning strike — some unique combination of factors succeeded in this case, but those circumstances are unlikely to replicate. If so, Wikipedia's rarity might also highlight its fragility.
    • Eric Goldman, Wikipedia's Labor Squeeze and its Consequences, Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology, vol. 8, p. 157 (2010)
  • There are a number of trolls, stalkers, and psychopaths who wander around Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects looking for people to harass, stalk, and otherwise ruin the lives of (several have been arrested over their activities here) … You will eventually say something that will lead back to you, and the stalkers will find it … I decided to be myself, to never hide my personality, to always be who I am, but to utilize disinformation with regard to what I consider unimportant details: age, location, occupation, etc.
  • 1. Wikipedia has no governance to speak of. It's a land of jungle law. 2. Wikipedia has no respect for people and their works. People are treated on Wikipedia like s--t. 3. Wikipedia cannot be trusted for accurate information, considering the agenda-pushing street gangs of wiki. 4. Wikipedia pollutes the internet as well as diminishes scholarship. It floods and pollutes the search engines on the internet and pushes out good scholarship and honest debate in favor of bad scholarship, defamation, and bold face intimidation and thuggery. 5. Wikipedia needs to be brought under the rules of slander, liable [sic], defamation, and copyright laws. 6. Wikipedia should be stripped of its 501c3 status.
  • When I write, I consult Wikipedia 30–40 times a day, because it is really helpful. When I write, I don't remember if someone was born in the 6th century or the 7th; or maybe how many n's are in "Goldmann"… Just a few years ago, for this kind of thing you could waste a lot of time.
  • So I finally gave in and coughed up a donation for Wikipedia.  It was no trouble at all, and felt good.  Now I have a sense that I'm a partial owner – a stakeholder of sorts – in this apparatus that I use every day.  …  Giving like this can be habit forming.  …  It's true that giving this way doesn't make rational sense according to a neoclassical idea of what constitutes economic rationality.  Wikipedia is free and it will be there whether I give or not.  The same might be said of the Mises Institute.  If all we cared about were commercial exchange, I have every incentive to use the free good and never pay.  There is no harm done in free riding, right?

    Mises himself had a broader view of rationality.  He said that all actions are rational from the point of view of the actor.  I'm glad to embrace that idea.  Giving in this way is not strictly a capitalist act if you define capitalism as only commercial exchange based on contract.  But if we see capitalism as the voluntary sector of society characterized by private property relationships, this kind of micro-giving is part of that.

  • Wikipedia is, for many users, the primary site for information on the Web … At present, Wikipedia hosts more than 2.9 million English-language articles, with a total of 13 million articles available in more than 250 different languages … Wikipedia is the second-most searched site on the Internet, behind only Google.
  • As Wikipedia founder Jim Wales revealed, back in 2005, 50 percent of all Wikipedia edits were made by just 0.7 percent of users; 75 percent of all articles were written by less than 2 percent of the user base. These numbers reveal that the active Wikipedia community is a lot smaller than you might think. It's understandable, then, for this active group to be somewhat self-centered, and not always accommodating to new or casual users.

2011Edit

  • Concerns among the academic community about the reliability of information from Wikipedia are unlikely to ever be fully alleviated, but this has never been Wikipedia’s fundamental goal. Much greater speed in adding and updating information, and involvement of the many rather than the few, have always been seen as ample compensation for any inaccuracies that emerge in the initial posting of entries. Wikipedia, like Castalia, is a flawed ideal but it is, as far as can reasonably be predicted, here to stay.
  • Intuitively [students] are using Wikipedia as one of those [new] tools, creating a new layer of information-filtering to help orient them in the early stages of serious research. As a result, Wikipedia's role as a bridge to the next layer of academic resources is growing stronger.
  • It can be stunningly good on obscure corners of popular culture, and strikingly weak on mainstream matters.
    • Timothy Garton Ash, "We've seen America's vitriol. Now let's salute Wikipedia, a US pioneer of global civility", The Guardian (12 January 2011)
  • The kind of social production that Wikipedia represents has turned from a laughable utopia to a practical reality. That's the biggest gift that Wikipedia has given to us – a vision of practical utopia that allows us to harness the more sociable, human aspects of who we are to effective collective action.
  • Wikipedia underscores an evolutionary lesson: We've always gotten farther as a species collaborating than going it alone. … In the past, the groups that cooperated best lived longer and had more kids – and we inherited those tendencies. Groups would correct cheaters (people who didn't share info or goods) through social pressure. So Wikipedia is like humanity's social nature writ large electronically, complete with ongoing disputes and corrections.
  • The fundamental flaw in the way Wikipedians think about what they do is that they are entirely absorbed in rules and procedures and arguing fine points with one another and earning merit points; it has all the flavour, as has been suggested before, of a great online game. Users – the ostensible audience – are hardly considered.
  • An authority isn't a person or institution who is always right – ain't no such animal. An authority is a person or institution who has a process for lowering the likelihood that they are wrong to acceptably low levels. … And this is what I think is really worth celebrating as Wikipedia begins its second decade. It took one of the best ideas of the last 500 years – peer review – and expanded its field of operation so dramatically that it changed the way authority is configured.
  • The difference between Wikipedia and other editorially created products is that Wikipedians are not professionals, they are only asked to bring what they know. Everyone brings their crumb of information to the table. If they are not at the table, we don’t benefit from their crumb.
  • Every single day for the last 10 years Wikipedia has got better because someone – several million someones in all – decided to make it better. … Wikipedia is best understood not as a product with an organisation behind it, but as an activity that happens to leave an encyclopedia in its wake.

2012Edit

  • We don't want Wikipedia to be just as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica: We want it to have 55 times as many entries, present contentious debates fairly, and reflect brand new scholarly research, all while being edited and overseen primarily by volunteers.
  • Despite being staffed entirely by an army of volunteers, Wikipedia – which is not, strictly speaking, a news site – is keeping pace with conventional media outlets. Official results make their way to athletes’ Wikipedia pages within hours, and sometimes minutes, of their finish. With dedicated editors working 24/7, Wikipedia pages are proving to be faster, leaner and more popular alternatives to traditional reporting.
  • Wikipedia, as you well know, is a fraudulent encyclopedia. It's sort of invented. And we all go to it. The entry under Michael Savage – I have one person who keeps trying to correct the truth. But the soviets, that is the communists, that is the liberals, that is the democrats, have at least ninety-nine people who attack my site, every time he makes a correction. For example, when he reenters that Michael Savage single-handedly stopped the Dubai Ports Deal? They take it out of there. They don't want anyone to know it. In other words, they revise my history, the way the soviets did to individuals that they wanted to destroy in their country. Now you understand why I'm not allowed on any television station. Why Michael Savage is an unknown individual in America, except to its millions of listeners. And why this show is number two on the Internet and radio. And why I have six best sellers in a row. Because somehow the truth is getting out. But I'm warning you about Wikipedia. If Wikipedia doesn't stop these ninety-nine democrat liberal soviets from modifying things that are true, then how could you rely upon a website that's so fraudulent? You can't. You can't! But I can't fight every battle every day, you understand that?
  • Wikipedians […] act as de facto topic moderators, they often end up being biased and frequently quirky. … Articles are often edited with the sensibility of adolescent too-clever-by-half males[, which] describes a lot of Wikipedians.

2013Edit

  • It is partly a product of history, where we came from in the early days. We were really a child of the dot-com crash. There was no investment money. We were just a group of people on the internet trying to do something cool. A lot of the volunteers wanted to put it into the non-profit [Wikimedia Foundation] – made sense to me.
  • The site I avoid at all cost is Wikipedia, which for many subjects I’ve found to be a trove of misinformation. I don’t even have any desire to read my own Wikipedia article.
  • Of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken today, some 2,500 are generally considered endangered. …less than 5% of all languages can still ascend to the digital realm. We present evidence of a massive die-off caused by the digital divide. … To summarize a key result of this study…: No wikipedia, no ascent.
  • It rarely tries new things in the hope of luring visitors; in fact, it has changed little in a decade.

2014Edit

  • Dealing with the Wikipedians is like walking into a mental hospital: the floors are carpeted, the walls are nicely padded, but you know there’s a pretty good chance at any given moment one of the inmates will pick up a knife.
    • Anonymous Wiki-PR client, cited by Judith-Newman in Wikipedia-Mania, New York Times (9 January 2014)
  • Every single person who signed this petition needs to go back to check their premises and think harder about what it means to be honest, factual, truthful. Wikipedia's policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals - that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately. What we won't do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of "true scientific discourse".
  • With such a massive amount of rules and regulations to adhere to, how is it not absolutely deterring for newcomers to join Wikipedia? Most likely, because they do not even know these rules exist. Counter-intuitive as it may sound, in spite of all the regulations, it is perfectly fine and acceptable to just use common sense when editing Wikipedia, relying on one’s best judgment on how to make it a better encyclopedia. In fact, one of the Wikipedia policies goes even further and states that “If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it,” and one of the five pillars of Wikipedia claims that “Wikipedia has policies and guidelines, but they are not carved in stone; their content and interpretation can evolve over time. Their principles and spirit matter more than their literal wording, and sometimes improving Wikipedia requires making an exception.” In a similar spirit, there is a rule stating that instruction creep should be avoided and that pettifogging is not welcome. One policy, which describes what Wikipedia is not, insists that Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy.
  • Whether or not Wikipedia has managed to attain the authority level of traditional encyclopaedias, it has undoubtedly become a model of what the collaborative Internet community can and cannot do.
    • The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, "Wikipedia", Encyclopædia Britannica (28 October 2014)

2015Edit

  • And then there’s Wikipedia – astroturf’s dream come true. Billed as the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit, the reality can’t be more different. Anonymous Wikipedia editors control and co-opt pages on behalf of special interests. They forbid and reverse edits that go against their agenda. They skew and delete information, in blatant violation of Wikipedia’s own established policies, with impunity – always superior to the poor schleps who actually believe anyone can edit Wikipedia, only to discover they’re barred from correcting even the simplest factual inaccuracies. Try adding a footnoted fact, or correcting a factual error on one of these monitored Wikipedia pages, then poof! Sometimes within a matter of seconds you’ll find your edit is reversed.
  • Could the pressure from mobile, and the internal tensions, tear Wikipedia apart? A world without it seems unimaginable, but consider the fate of other online communities. … The real challenges for Wikipedia are to resolve the governance disputes – the tensions among foundation employees, longtime editors trying to protect their prerogatives, and new volunteers trying to break in – and to design a mobile-oriented editing environment. … The worst scenario is an end to Wikipedia, not with a bang but with a whimper: a long, slow decline in participation, accuracy and usefulness that is not quite dramatic enough to jolt the community into making meaningful reforms. No effort in history has gotten so much information at so little cost into the hands of so many – a feat made all the more remarkable by the absence of profit and owners. In an age of Internet giants, this most selfless of websites is worth saving.
  • When Wikipedia launched, it raised immediate concerns about the sanctity of accreditation – could knowledge be created by amateurs? But its steady rise in utility meant that, in time, nearly everyone made their peace with it – some more happily than others.
  • The Wikimedia Foundation has gotten far off track. Every year, it builds its campaign around a budget many millions larger than the year before.
    • Pete Forsyth (Wikipedia consultant and former member of Wikimedia Foundation’s fundraising team) in Wikipedia Has Lots of Money, by Caitlin Dewey, The Washington Post (6 December 2015)
  • If you’re selling to customers that you’re familiar and competent with new media, and you can’t manage something like Wikipedia, that’s a failure.

2016Edit

 
In India and Nigeria, over 75% of participants said they had never heard of Wikipedia. ~ Zachary McCune (Wikimedia Foundation)
  • For a website with no paid writing staff that is still overcoming an out-of-date reputation for inaccuracy, Wikipedia punches above its weight. …it is especially powerful in an election season: On the day of the 2012 election, Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s entries alone were read 1.6 million times. […] you can see a virtual version of the presidential race playing out every day.
  • It turns out there are people, typically they're probably unemployed kids with student debt you know that are stuck in their parents' basement with Cheetos stains on their t-shirts that haven't been able to get their first job so what they do is they play games to see how long they can edit Wikipedia pages in order to have games with their friends all around the world. So my advice to you is, if you do have a Wikipedia page, check it once in a while…
  • ... what Wikipedia and Facebook teach us is that social models of content curation and collaboration do scale. …organisations will increasingly need to crowd-source a lot of their meta-data. … In other words, [organisations] will need to build a Corporate Data Catalogue that looks and feels a lot like Wikipedia, but which borrows the “like” and “share” concepts from Facebook.
  • Wikipedia is the most comprehensive compendium of up-to-date knowledge assembled at gargantuan scale almost entirely by volunteers. It works, too, because they form a huge community that for reasons of camaraderie, rivalry, vanity, purity and sometimes just deep suspicion constantly monitor and vet one another’s work. There are flaws in the process, but each entry is a living organism that matures and self-corrects over time.
  • ...people have talked about open politics and things like that, and its really hard sometimes to say that yes, you can apply the same principles in some other areas… So, obviously open source in science is making a comeback. Science was there first. But then science ended up by being pretty closed with very expensive journals and some of that going on. And open source is making a comeback in science with things like arXiv and open journals. Wikipedia changed the world too. … So there are other examples. I am sure there are more to come. … It is up to you guys to make them.
  • Like many university lecturers, I used to warn my own students off using Wikipedia (as pointless an injunction as telling them not to use Google, or not to leave their essay to the last minute). I finally gave up doing so about three years ago,…
  • Two years before Wikipedia, I had the dream, the vision, of a free encyclopedia written by volunteers in all the languages of the world. This inspiration came to me from watching the growth of free software, open-source software, as most people know it. And watching programmers coming together and giving away their work for free online.
  • Regardless, this new research shows that Wikipedia editors of different opinions have strived for consensus over time. That’s opposed to Facebook or Twitter, where people are siloed into their own self-reinforcing echo chambers. … Consider this a version of the “miracle of aggregation” – that large groups of people are able to act rationally and solve problems despite having vastly different interests.

2017Edit

 
As the originator of [the neutrality policy,] I completely despair of persuading Wikipedians of the error of their ways. ~ Larry Sanger
  • …phishing on Wikipedia is effective enough – and lucrative enough – to retain the interest of the dark net’s richest dwellers. … Although Wikipedia’s editors work to root out the false links, it’s a slow and never-ending fight.
  • The researchers […] found that the Wikipedia entries were written at a much higher reading level compared with the medication guides and well above the average consumer reading level, which could contribute to patient misunderstanding of medication information. … The study authors conclude that as the public use of Wikipedia increases, the need for health care professionals and the pharmaceutical industry to actively educate and provide reliable resources to patients remains important.
  • Page views of Wikipedia are immense compared with views of primary literature articles. As a result, if you edit a page to include results from your research, your audience will likely expand by at least an order of magnitude.
  • For the record the Daily Mail banned all its journalists from using Wikipedia as a sole source in 2014 because of its unreliability.
  • Wikipedians this week added greatly to the amusement of the internet after around 40 contributors loftily declared that the Daily Mail was not a reliable source for citations. Much public hilarity ensued – for the reason that The Mail and Wikipedia are really far more alike than either would care to admit. … Both can resemble a real chamber of horrors.
  • However clumsy the Youth Parliament’s approach to Wikipedia may be, it’s still an improvement on a government order issued by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last August, when he established a working group to study the creation of an all new Russian-engineered Wikipedia clone.
  • False information is being disseminated at a far greater rate when it seems to have been vetted by a brand name and Wikipedia’s branding is global. It would be ideal if a more credible site like Encyclopedia Britannica or a useful news site like Reuters could be granted the “zero-rate” – but those sites […] do [not] have the same foundational interest in spreading their content without financial gain that Wikipedia has.
  • I fear we are moving beyond a natural skepticism regarding expert claims to the death of the ideal of expertise itself: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laypeople, teachers and students, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those with achievement in an area and those with none.
  • Despite being an American-born site, its popularity and utility have expanded around the world since its foundation in 2001.
  • The cyber age has tremendous potential, as indicated by Wikipedia. But if it bypasses space and time where there’s just this obsession with the present – this neglect of our heritage and history – then our world will change.
  • The online crowd-sourced encyclopedia is perceived as increasingly trustworthy, […] with immediate impacts on scientific literacy.
  • Wikipedia, like other new, non-commercial information technologies, can be used to open new public spaces for [indigenous] languages, and gradually recover the ground lost to more dominant languages. ... However, the representation of indigenous languages on the platform is very low,… [In Latin America indigenous communities speak 420 different languages.] To date, only four official indigenous-language versions are represented: Quechua ..., Náhuatl ..., Aymara ... and Guaraní.
  • It’s one of the tragedies of the Internet age that a work of [Encyclopedia Britannica's] quality is displaced by this techno-nerd online descendant – with no consistent standards, no genuine respect for ideas, and few identifiable authors or editors ready to take responsibility for their treatment of knowledge or their abuse of scientists and others far more accomplished than they’ll ever be.
  • Deleting [Günter Bechly]’s entry and his “perspective” was an exercise in censorship, not “neutrality.” No one could demonstrate how objective criteria for being “notable” are applied in an even-handed manner across the philosophical spectrum. …for anything contentious, such as intelligent design, [Wikipedia is] a masked mob and it conducts itself that way. … Gainfully employed people with families and other commitments generally don’t join mobs. They don’t have time for it. … There is little to be done about it by way of fighting the editors… Because they have such ample time on their hands, they’ll always win.
  • What readers most need to understand about Wikipedia is that the editors are almost all pseudonyms of volunteer non-authorities. Many have an axe to grind. They wield power over mass opinion not because they’re objective or knowledgeable but simply by virtue of being dedicated to Wikipedia, on call at a moment’s notice to “fix” any correction they don’t like. The sociological profile there, someone with that kind of free time on his hands, guarantees that the page will attract people unfriendly to an idea like the design hypothesis.

2018Edit

  • Wikipedia is basically a format in which people who hate you can go into your ... , I don't even know what you call these, into the search of your name, and then there I have a profile of sorts, into my profiler page, and poison it. … "Views on political issues, groups and politicians" – […] what happened between 2009 and 2017? Well, doesn't matter. … What was my context for [calling Bernie Sanders a "radical Marxist who believes in violence"]? They don't even discuss it, the shooting in Alexandria. … [That paragraph] is all mickey mouse stuff. It is cut and paste cherry picking. … I've written about [progressivism] in great length, but not a word in my "political views". … Who has a section on "controversial views"? It is as if it is written by Media Matters. … "Levin compared supporters of the Affordable Care Act to Nazi brown shirts." … No I didn't! Completely taken out of context! … If you want to know about me, you should go as far away from the Wikipedia page as possible… … What they're supposed to do, if they're a responsible organisation, is to get the basic information on me […] and lock it so that miscreants and malcontents can't abuse and post it. … Very, very dishonest information in there. … The book reviews are scores positive, maybe one or two negative by leftists and so forth. You would have no idea reading their comments about my books on Wikipedia.
  • I’d argue that Wikipedia’s biggest asset is its willingness as a community and website to “delete.” It’s that simple. If there’s bad information, or info that’s just useless, Wikipedia’s regulatory system has the ability to discard it.
  • Communities of so-called “amateur experts” linked together by shared interests are the bread and butter of Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia actively encourages editors to congregate in “projects” and “portals” covering hundreds of articles that all fall under a single broad topic. … So while it’s easy to lament the dangers of the Wikipedia gun lobby, it is important to remember that groups with competing worldviews are what fuel the crowdsourced encyclopedia – where the question of what is true is always secondary to the question of what the community of different users can agree on as being true.
  • With its nationalist sentiments, factual mistakes, lack of academic references and omitted facts about World War II history, Croatian Wikipedia is not a reliable source, analysts have told BIRN.
  • When [people] get their information not from us – but […] through something like Siri or […] Alexa – that opportunity to either contribute back as an editor is broken, and that opportunity to contribute, to donate is also broken.
  • … Wikipedia is just one type of online community, which appeals to a fairly narrow (geeky, combative male) demographic. And, importantly, it doesn’t appeal to many other demographics. … if, as inevitably happens in such a place, some people get impatient and upset at [the] unfair treatment, they must tolerate the passive-aggressive condescension of the basement-dwellers who inform them, apparently with no awareness of the ironies involved, that courtesy is an absolute requirement.
  • … independent bloggers Markus Fiedler and Dirk Pohlmann have found [that Wikipedia's] 'freely editable' model definitely doesn't mean an absence of censorship and biased political activism. …the online encyclopedia is home to a major edit war where corrections are constantly added, information removed, and value judgements made to fit a specific narrative. … [An inner circle of manipulators] are referees and players combined into one.
  • …Wikipedia has forced academics to re-examine how they validate sources. We should have been doing that all along. We should have been approaching an Encyclopaedia Britannica article with a certain level of distrust and questioning: What are the biases of people writing this? What are they leaving out? What communities are not included in this conversation?
  • … debilitating factors – such as excessive bickering and poorly worded arguments – have led to about one-third of RfCs [i.e. Request for Comment deliberation processes] going unresolved. … the experience of participants and the length of a discussion are strongly predictive of the timely closure of an RfC.
  • Medical images and articles found on Wikipedia may help patients better understand their radiology reports, … And despite both internal and external metrics concluding Wikipedia’s health information to be variable in quality, but continually improving, the authors believe the website’s detailed information could pair well with the lay-definitions housed within the PORTER [i.e. Patient-Oriented Radiology Reporter] glossary.

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