[piw] Slashdot Article on wikipedia
heide.hermary at gaiacollege.ca
Sun Apr 24 11:08:48 EDT 2005
That's exactly what I hope will happen to this database. For sure, the
Wikipedia comes up frequently in my searches. They've only been around
for a few years, and already the information is staggering.
Richard Morris wrote:
> Slashdot had a couple of long articles on wikipedia:
> Good read, particularly interesting to us is an analysis of why
> wikipedia has taken off.
> 1. Open content license. We promised contributors that their work
> would always remain free for others to read. This, as is well known,
> motivates people to work for the good of the world--and for the many
> people who would like to teach the whole world, that's a pretty strong
> 2. Focus on the encyclopedia. We said that we were creating an
> encyclopedia, not a dictionary, etc., and we encouraged people to
> stick to creating the encyclopedia and not use the project as a debate
> 3. Openness. Anyone could contribute. Everyone was specifically
> made to feel welcome. (E.g., we encouraged the habit of writing on new
> contributors' user pages, "Welcome to Wikipedia!" etc.) There was no
> sense that someone would be turned away for not being bright enough,
> or not being a good enough writer, or whatever.
> 4. Ease of editing. Wikis are pretty easy for most people to figure
> out. In other collaborative systems (like Nupedia), you have to learn
> all about the system first. Wikipedia had an almost flat learning curve.
> 5. Collaborate radically; don't sign articles. Radical
> collaboration, in which (in principle) anyone can edit any part of
> anyone else's work, is one of the great innovations of the open source
> software movement. On Wikipedia, radical collaboration made it
> possible for work to move forward on all fronts at the same time, to
> avoid the big bottleneck that is the individual author, and to burnish
> articles on popular topics to a fine luster.
> 6. Offer unedited, unapproved content for further development. This
> is required if one wishes to collaborate radically. We encouraged
> putting up their unfinished drafts--as long as they were at least
> roughly correct--with the idea that they can only improve if there are
> others collaborating. This is a classic principle of open source
> software. It helped get Wikipedia started and helped keep it moving.
> This is why so many original drafts of Wikipedia articles were
> basically garbage (no offense to anyone--some of my own drafts were
> sometimes garbage), and also why it is surprising to the uninitiated
> that many articles have turned out very well indeed.
> 7. Neutrality. A firm neutrality policy made it possible for people
> of widely divergent opinions to work together, without constantly
> fighting. It's a way to keep the peace.
> 8. Start with a core of good people. I think it was essential that
> we began the project with a core group of intelligent good writers who
> understood what an encyclopedia should look like, and who were
> basically decent human beings.
> 9. Enjoy the Google effect. We had little to do with this, but had
> Google not sent us an increasing amount of traffic each time they
> spidered the growing website, we would not have grown nearly as fast
> as we did. (See below.)
> We fit with some of these point, 1,2,3,8,9 and hopefully 7,
> but not quite 5 or 6.
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