Wikipedia sets off on new path

Oct 25, 2013
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Wikipedia sets off on new path

If you use the Internet, at one time or another, you've probably used Wikipedia even if you didn't realize it. For instance, if you ask Siri on your iPhone a question it often it pulls little tidbits of information from Wikipedia and other software platforms do the same thing. The problem with Wikipedia is that many of its entries are questionable and the staff of volunteers who maintain the site is on the decline.

Wikipedia is funded by a nonprofit foundation called the Wikimedia Foundation. The foundation pays for the legal and technical infrastructure that supports the website. The foundation is looking to rescue the site and help lure new volunteers and increase the quality of the content offered. The way this will happen is in part by tweaking the Wikipedia website and software in an attempt to bring the digital encyclopedia onto a better path.

The problem for the foundation charging Wikipedia is that you can't force volunteer editors to change anything on their own. The foundation hopes to do this with changes to the way the website works. They also hope to reduce some the bureaucracy behind the scenes thing goes along with contributing content to the website. This plan will bring the first major changes in years to Wikipedia, which is currently a throwback to the much earlier days of the web.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said:

This is very much our attempt to get caught up. The biggest issue is editor diversity. [We hope to]grow the number of editors in topics that need work.

Exactly how Wikipedia will grow the number of editors in an environment where established editors don't welcome newcomers remains to be seen. The people behind the scenes at Wikipedia gave no indication of exactly what changes will be made to the website or when those changes will be put in place. Whatever the changes are, they are incredibly important since Wikipedia is one of the top 10 sites on the Internet serving about 10 billion page views each month on the English version of the website alone. It's hard to imagine how simple changes to the website and backend might help turn the website around.

SOURCE: Technology Review


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