Wikipedia
free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit
Wikipedia is a Wiki-based, openly-editable online encyclopedia created by the non-profit organization Wikimedia Foundation.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
Wikipedia has an article about:
The largest Wikipedia
The English Wikipedia is the largest Wikipedia edition with 1 014 340 595 edits, 6 285 255 articles and 139 878 recent contributors.
Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all humanknowledge. That's what we're doing.
Quotes
2000s
2000
What if we could get everyone in the world together to record what they know in one place?
Jimmy Wales, when recruiting Larry Sanger in January 2000, The early history of Wikipedia (part 1) (1:49), Larry Sanger, YouTube (7 May 2010)
A view of the Wikipedia App, the official app of Wikipedia. Any user can install Wikipedia, and you can install, before this, the Wikipedia App to download Wikipedia free and for this, a user need to go to
https://github.com/wikimedia/wikipedia-ios
or to https://github.com/wikimedia/apps-win8-wikipedia
2001
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.
Larry Sanger, Thread: General and Other editor and editorial changes?, Nupedia-l mailing list (5 January 2001)
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...
Larry Sanger, Thread: Let's make a wiki, Nupedia-l mailing list (10 January 2001)
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.
Larry Sanger, Thread: Re: [Advisory-l The wiki...], Nupedia-l mailing list (11 January 2001)
Hello, World!
Jimmy Wales, first edit on the UseModWiki home page on 15 January 2001, as cited by Biz Carson, The first words on Wikipedia were a nerdy programmer in-joke (13 March 2016), and confirmed by Wales in User talk:Jimbo Wales (24 October 2001)
...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.
Laura T. in Thread: LinkBacks?, Wikipedia-l mailing list (30 October 2001)
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.
Jimmy Wales in Thread: LinkBacks?, Wikipedia-l mailing list (30 October 2001)
2002
2003
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.
Ben Hammersley, Common knowledge, The Guardian (30 January 2003)
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.
Brion Vibber, in Thread: Jimbo ? Others advices ?, Wikipedia-l mailing list (31 January 2003)
Even racists have the right to freedom of expression. But, not on wikipedia. ... The policies of wikipedia, even the French Wikipedia, aren't 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.
Jimmy Wales in Thread: Jimbo ? Others advices ? and Thread: Racialisme, Wikipedia-l mailing list (31 January 2003)
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.
Sean Carroll, Site of the Week: Wikipedia, PC Magazine (6 June 2003)
2004
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.
Jimmy Wales, as quoted in "Wikimedia Founder Jimmy Wales Responds," by Robin "Roblimo" Miller, Slashdot (28 July 2004)
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.
Critique given by former Encyclopædia Britannica editor Robert McHenry in a frequently cited 2004 piece, The Faith-Based Encyclopedia
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.
Critique given by former Encyclopædia Britannica editor Robert McHenry in a frequently cited 2004 piece "The Faith-Based Encyclopedia"
2006
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.
Bertrand Meyer in Defense and Illustration of Wikipedia, ETH Zurich / Eiffel Software (6-7 January 2006)
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.
Lore Sjöberg, "The Wikipedia FAQK", Wired (19 April 2006)
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)
Shoppin' online for deals on some writable media.
I edit Wikipedia.
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "White & Nerdy", Straight Outta Lynwood (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.
Stacy Schiff, "Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?", The New Yorker (31 July 2006)
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, on The Colbert Report (31 July 2006)
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.
Stephen Colbert, "Be an Expert on Anything", Wired Magazine, 14:08 (14 August 2006)
Wikipedia's openness isn't a mistake; it's the source of its success. A dedicated community solves problems that official leaders wouldn't even know were there. Meanwhile, their volunteerism largely eliminates infighting about who gets to be what. ... Wikipedia's biggest problems have come when it's strayed from this path, when it's given some people official titles and specified tasks. Whenever that happens, real work slows down and squabbling speeds up. But it's an easy mistake to make, so it gets made again and again.
Aaron Swartz in Wikimedia 2006 Elections, Part 3: Who Runs Wikipedia?, Raw Thought (7 September 2006)
2007
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.
On "Douglas Hofstadter" article; Deborah Solomon, "The Mind Reader," New York Times (1 April 2007)
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.
Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell), The Office, The Negotiation 3.18 (5 April 2007)
As the popular joke goes, "The problem with Wikipedia is that it only works in practice. In theory, it can never work."
Miikka Ryokas (User:Kizor), quoted by Noam Cohen, "The Latest on Virginia Tech, From Wikipedia", The New York Times (23 April 2007); the earliest known variant is from the user page of User:Gareth Owen (20 January 2006): "The problem with Wikipedia is that it only works in practice. In theory, it's a total disaster.")
Hayek's work on price theory is central to my own thinking about how to manage the Wikipedia project.  ...  [O]ne can't understand my ideas about Wikipedia without understanding Hayek.
Jimmy Wales, cited by Katherine Mangu-Ward, "Wikipedia and Beyond: Jimmy Wales' sprawling vision," Reason (June 2007); also cited by Morton Winston and Ralph Edelbach, Society, Ethics, and Technology 4th ed. (Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2012), p. 200
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!
Clive Anderson, The Wikipedia Story, BBC Radio 4 (24 July 2007)
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.
Dick Clark, in "Wikipedia: What Is It Good For?," Mises Daily (19 September 2007)
The man credited with founding Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales...was a finance major at Auburn University when the Mises Institute's Mark Thornton suggested he read "The Use of Knowledge in Society," a now-famous essay written by Austro-libertarian economist and Nobel laureate Friedrich von Hayek.  The essay argues that prices in the market represent a spontaneous order that results from the interaction of individuals with diverse wants, allowing them to cooperate to achieve complex goals.  According to a June 2007 Reason magazine interview, this insight of Hayek's is what led Wales to found Wikipedia.  The rather lofty vision that inspired Wales?  "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."
Dick Clark, in "Wikipedia: What Is It Good For?," Mises Daily (19 September 2007)
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.
Frank Schätzing, SF author, quoted in Stern (December 2007)
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.
Margot Käßmann, Lutheran bishop, quoted in Stern (December 2007)
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.
Sarah Wiener, TV cook, quoted in Stern (December 2007)
2008
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?
User Somey (24 March 2008), in response to Don Murphy - another Living Person who doesn't want a Wikipedia biography by user blissyu2, Wikipedia Review (7 September 2007)
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.
Lois McMaster Bujold, The Speculator, in the Minnesota Star-Tribune (28 April 2008)
Wikipedia's version of reality has already become a monopoly. And all the prejudices and ignorance of its creators are imposed too.
Martin Cohen, Encyclopaedia Idiotica, Times Higher Education (28 August 2008)
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.
Seth Finkelstein, "Wikipedia isn't about human potential, whatever Wales says", The Guardian (25 September 2008)
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.
Dick Clark, "Is the Free Encyclopedia a Democratic Encyclopedia?," Mises Daily (2 October 2008)
2009
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.
John Naughton, "Face facts: where Britannica ruled, Wikipedia has conquered", The Guardian (5 April 2009)
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.
Erik Zachte (Wikimedia Foundation data analyst), "Numbers and Strategy" (24 July 2009)
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.
Jaap Bloem, Menno van Doorn, and Sander Duivestein, in Me the media: rise of the conversation society, Ed. VINT printed by Bariet, The Netherlands (2009) , p. 277, ISBN 978 90 75414 22 6
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.
Don Murphy writing under username "ColScott" in Wikipedia Review (6 December 2009)
2010s
2010
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 propertyrelationships, 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.
Ryan Jordan quoted in Wikipedia – The Dumbing Down of World Knowledge, by Edwin Black, History News Network (19 April 2010)
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.
A posting by victim of censorship in Wikipedia Review (6 December 2009), as quoted in Wikipedia – The Dumbing Down of World Knowledge, by Edwin Black, History News Network (19 April 2010)
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.
Umberto Eco, interview by Wikinotizie:Wiki@Home​, Wikimedia Italia (24 April 2010)
So I finally gave in and coughed up a donation for Wikipedia.  It was no trouble at all, and feltgood.  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 propertyrelationships, this kind of micro-giving is part of that.
Jeffrey A. Tucker, "Fostering a Donation Culture," Mises Wire (29 December 2010)
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.
Michael Miller, in Sam's Teach Yourself Wikipedia in 10 Minutes (2010), p. 3 & 5 ISBN 978-0-672-33123-7
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.
Michael Miller, in Sam's Teach Yourself Wikipedia in 10 Minutes (2010), p. 163 ISBN 978-0-672-33123-7
2011
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.
Peter Roberts & Michael A. Peters, From Castalia to Wikipedia, in E-Learning and Digital Media, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 36-46 (2011)
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.
Casper Grathwohl, Wikipedia Comes of Age, The Chronicle of Higher Education (7 January 2011)
America's daily political vitriol is an undeniable fact. Against that depressing background, it is good to be able to celebrate an American invention which, for all its faults, tries to spread around the world a combination of unpaid idealism, knowledge and stubborn civility.
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); and "Look it up: Wikipedia is turning 10," The Los Angeles Times (14 January 2011).
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.
Yochai Benkler, "All-Star Thinkers on Wikipedia's 10th Anniversary", The Atlantic (13 January 2011)
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.
Mariette DiChristina, "All-Star Thinkers on Wikipedia's 10th Anniversary", The Atlantic (13 January 2011)
The generation of an infinite number of bogusly 'objective' sentences in an English of agonizing patchwork mediocrity is no cause for celebration, even if it eventually amounts to a Borgesian paraphrase of our entire universe. ... I liked the internet better before. The mistakes had flavor, passion, transparent purpose.
Jonathan Lethem, "All-Star Thinkers on Wikipedia's 10th Anniversary", The Atlantic (13 January 2011)
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.
Robert McHenry, "Viewpoints: what the world thinks of Wikipedia," Wired.co.uk (13 January 2011)
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.
Clay Shirky, "All-Star Thinkers on Wikipedia's 10th Anniversary", The Atlantic (13 January 2011)
Warm, kindly, humane Wikipedia didn't grow up in today's Internet. Now it's like a hothouse orchid the size of a barn.
Bruce Sterling, "All-Star Thinkers on Wikipedia's 10th Anniversary", The Atlantic (13 January 2011)
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.
Sue Gardner, as quoted in "Define Gender Gap? Look Up Wikipedia's Contributor List" by Noam Cohenjan, New York Times (30 January 2011)
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.
Clay Shirky, "Wikipedia – an unplanned miracle," The Guardian (14 February 2011)
Watching pornography [...] is like going to a Wikipedia page. You search for a specific thing, a specific feeling, a specific result, and that's exactly what you find.
Meg Wolitzer, "The Sex Drive, Idling in Neutral", New York Times (15 April 2011)
Wikipedia was an idea whose time had come on an information-driven net whose consumers couldn't wait for the slow workings of expertise or the cost of proprietary content: a free encyclopedia written by anonymous users supposedly striving for an “unbiased” perspective. ... Wikipedia in practice has strayed from these utopian ideas because of the ease with which political and social bias trumps altruism. ... Finding examples of Wikipedia's bias is not difficult. One need only compare the entries of figures who do the same thing but from opposite sides of the political spectrum.
David Swindle in How the left conquered Wikipedia, Part 1, FrontPage Mag (22 August 2011)
I am astonished at the ethical blindness of Bell Pottinger's reaction. That their strongest true response is they didn't break the law tells a lot about their view of the world, I'm afraid.
Jimmy Wales on Bell Pottinger's admission of paid editing, Wikipedia founder attacks Bell Pottinger for 'ethical blindness', Independent (8 December 2011)
2012
But the blot on the encyclopedia's fair name is not just in the wrongness of the statement, but in its partisan and non-encyclopedic nature.... If Wikipedia wants to live up to its promise of being a reliable encyclopedic source, it will strike this and all sentences resembling it from its article on me. At most, it can use me as an example of how it was fooled by some of its all-too-partisan collaborators. Speaking of whom: the history page accompanying my page proves forever that some Wikipedia collaborators wanted to inflict on me the maximum harm possible, an attitude incompatible with work for an encyclopedia. Shouldn't Wikipedia fire them and wipe out everything they wrote? Of course they can still contribute blogs and columns, by preference under their own full names, but they have proven themselves not to be encyclopedic authorities...
Koenraad Elst, The Argumentative Hindu (2012)
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.
Rebecca J. Rosen, "Does Wikipedia Have an Accuracy Problem?", The Atlantic (16 February 2012)
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.
Brian Mossop, "How Wikipedia won Olympic Gold", wired.com (10 August 2012)
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?
Michael Savage, The Savage Nation (7 September 2012)
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.
Larry Sanger, What are Wikipedia's flaws?, Quora (2 November 2012)
2013
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.
Jimmy Wales, Exclusive interview with Jimmy Wales-Founder of Wikipedia, Corporate Valley (27 March 2013)
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.
Gwenda Bond, The Changing World of Reference: Focus on Reference 2013, Publishers Weekly (12 April 2013)
As they say, history is written by the victorious Wikipedia editors.
Marya Hannun, "The Wikipedia War Over Egypt's 'Coup'", FP Passport (7 July 2013)
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.
András Kornai, Digital Language Death, PLoS ONE 8(10) (22 October 2013)
It rarely tries new things in the hope of luring visitors; in fact, it has changed little in a decade.
Tom Simonite, The Decline of Wikipedia, MIT Technology Review (22 October 2013)
2014
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".
Jimmy Wales on 23 March 2014, answering 7,790+ persons who objected to Wikipedia's coverage of "holistic approaches to healing", as quoted by Alexandra Sifferlin in Wikipedia Founder Sticks It To 'Lunatic' Holistic Healers, Time (25 March 2014)
Today, this democratic federation [Wikimedia] controls a large proportion of the sum of human knowledge, largely displacing the former Britannica Empire which had once stretched from A to Zymotic Diseases.
W!k!ped!a travel guide April 1, 2014
...when I used to teach kids, there was a fierce debate between teachers on the pro versus the anti Wikipedia side, and I always came down very strongly on the pro side, and I told my students if they were researching something for me – like Wikipedia is totally OK. Copy and pasting from Wikipedia is not, but there is no place to get a better overview from things. ... it all depends on what do you need, and if you just want to check some quick fact about something, Wikipedia is totally reliable. Now there's reasons why you can't cite it as a source, but ignoring that for the time being, Wikipedia for a huge number of people's needs is totally fine. ... the thing that is disturbing is the number times that that source link does not go anywhere, or, I have found some times where the context of the source link says something that is completely contrary to the feeling that you got from the Wikipedia page itself ...
CGP Grey from 31:05 in H.I. #1: Being Wrong on The Internet, Hello Internet on YouTube (30 April 2014)
You'd be amazed at the number of times I've been with top professors in the field and I've asked them a question and they've said, 'I'm not too sure about that, let me check', and gone straight to Wikipedia.
Brady Haran from 31:30 in H.I. #1: Being Wrong on The Internet, Hello Internet on YouTube (30 April 2014)
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.
Dariusz Jemielniak, "The Unbearable Bureaucracy of Wikipedia" in Slate (22 June 2014)
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)
Most have simply washed their hands of the problem, claiming that the bigotry or bias on Wikipedia is just an unfortunate side-effect that we have to accept. But this is not a trivial unintended consequence of an open source system; bias goes against the very principle of Wikipedia and must be addressed. I have to deal with this bias and misinformation every time a journalist interviews me and references my Wikipedia article. I need to spend the first 30 minutes of interviews to correct all the misleading information from my Wikipedia article... Most of the skeptic editors on my article believe me to be a very dangerous man — and believe that it is Wikipedia's responsibility to warn the world of how dangerous my ideas are.
Deepak Chopra, 05/15/2014 Wikipedia, A New Perspective on an Old Problem
2015
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.
Sharyl Attkisson in her TED​x​UniversityofNevada talk "Astroturf and manipulation of media messages", published 6 February 2015 on YouTube, quoted by Sarah Chaffee in Wikipedia and “Astroturf”, Evolution News, 30 November 2017
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.
Andrew Lih, Can Wikipedia Survive?, The New York Times (20 June 2015)
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.
Paul Ford, "The Chaotic Wisdom of Wikipedia Paragraphs", New Republic (8 October 2015)
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.
Pete Forsyth of Wiki Strategies, The Big Oops: Sunshine Sachs' Wikipedia Whitewash, Observer News (17 December 2015)
It is clear that our deep state is obsessed with controlling information and moulding it to fit its narrative. On Wikipedia, a number of 'users' and 'editors' have been planted to ensure that only Pakistan's official stance or the Nazaria-e-Pakistan [ideology of Pakistan] is reflected in the pages on Pakistan. Consequently, the pages on Pakistan's history read like a secondary school Pakistan Studies textbook... All alternative views on Pakistan's constitution, role of religion and federalism are stifled by this group...If one were to venture a guess it would be that these manipulators of the Pakistani narrative on sites like Wikipedia and others are operating out of some nondescript building in Islamabad's G sectors [where Pakistani intelligence agencies are located].
Yasser Latif Hamdani, Daily Times, "Manipulating the Pakistani narrative" [1]
2016
In India and Nigeria, over 75% of participants said they had never heard of Wikipedia. ~ Zachary McCune (Wikimedia Foundation)
A lot of students write a paper for a class, and eventually it winds up in the dustbin. When students write an article for Wikipedia, they have to learn to collaborate, to research and to write for a popular audience, and their work will benefit the millions of people using the site.
Phoebe Ayers, MIT Libraries' Phoebe Ayers accepts Erasmus Prize on behalf of Wikipedia, MIT News (5 January 2016)
Linux and Wikipedia (as well as other, less known achievements) show unambiguously that the idea of requiring any kind of payment for great tools, culture, or knowledge to come into being is an utter falsehood.
Rick Falkvinge, Copyright industry rhetoric ignores the existence of Linux and Wikipedia, TorrentFreak (10 January 2016)
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.
Jeremy B. Merrill, "On Wikipedia, Donald Trump Reigns and Facts Are Open to Debate" (1 February 2016)
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...
Jeb Bush (8 February 2016). Jeb Bush Remarks in Nashua, New Hampshire. C-SPAN.
... 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.
Martin Willcox, What Enterprise Information Management Can Learn From Facebook And Wikipedia, Forbes / Business (11 March 2016)
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.
Bob Garfield, Revenue? Who Needs Revenue?, Garfield at Large, MediaPost (14 March 2016)
Wikipedia is an exceptional case. If we can figure out how it becomes sustainable, that would be a major contribution. Because it's a new way of managing human resources.
Aleksi Aaltonen of Warwick Business School, in Wikipedia and the Momentum of Tiny Edits, by Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic (16 March 2016)
We thought, let's not fight Wikipedia, but instead teach students to use it better.
Ashley Downs, librarian at Mann Library, in Cornell takes big red pen to Wikipedia life sciences content, by Amruta Byatnal, CornellChronicle (22 March 2016)
About a decade ago I migrated into community work from a non-community background. This is the guide I wish I had read back then. When I say community work, I am talking about stuff like Wikipedia: large distributed groups of people doing something together, usually online, often unpaid. Usually international, often nerdy, often (but not always) FLOSS or FLOSS-adjacent.
Sue Gardner A little guide to working with online communities March 21, 2016
...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.
Linus Torvalds, interview with TED curator Chris Anderson, TED Talks (c. 3 May 2016)
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,...
Peter Thonemann, The all-conquering Wikipedia?, The Times Literary Supplement (25 May 2016)
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.
Jimmy Wales interviewed by Joe Pascal, Founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales on Creating Wikipedia, YouTube (June 2016)
In India and Nigeria, over 75% of participants said they had never heard of Wikipedia.
Zachary McCune (Wikimedia Foundation), People all over the world have yet to discover Wikipedia. We went to them to find out why., Wikimedia blog (11 October 2016)
Progress has been slow, but several independent ventures show how the attitudes of major players in the biomedical ecosystem are beginning to shift further, and take Wikipedia more seriously.
Thomas Shafee, Wikipedia is already the world's ‘Dr Google' - it's time for doctors and researchers to make it better, The Blog, Huffington Post (18 October 2016)
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.
Robert Gebelhoff, Science shows Wikipedia is the best part of the Internet, The Washington Post (19 October 2016)
2017
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.
Patrick O'Neill, Dark net crooks wage an easy and profitable phishing scheme on Wikipedia, Cyberscoop (27 January 2017)
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.
Mary Warner, JAPhA study shows incomplete and inaccurate patient drug information on Wikipedia, pharmacist.com (30 January 2017)
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.
Evan B. Goldstein, Three Reasons Why Earth Scientists Should Edit Wikipedia, eos.org (27 January 2017)
For the record the Daily Mail banned all its journalists from using Wikipedia as a sole source in 2014 because of its unreliability.
Spokesman for Mail Newspapers, Wikipedia bans Daily Mail as 'unreliable' source, by Jasper Jackson, The Guardian (8 February 2017)
The fate that befell the Mail happened for one reason, and one reason alone: it's terrible, and by banning it, Wikipedia sends a message that it values its credibility.
Matthew Hughes, Wikipedia just banned contributors from citing the Daily Mail as a source, Insider (10 February 2017)
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.
Andrew Orlowski, The Mail vs Wikipedia: They're more alike than they'd ever admit, The Register (13 February 2017)
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.
Kevin Rothrock, Russian Government Youth Group Wants to Make Wikipedia More Patriotic, Global Voices (24 February 2017)
...for an organisation that calls itself a ‘small non-profit' business and begs users for donations (‘the price of a cup of coffee') to keep it afloat, it enjoys bulging cash reserves. The Foundation's accounts show it has assets of more than $90 million (£73 million), and spent $31 million (£25 million) in salaries last year, up from $26 million (£21 million) the year before. ... Are these amounts not excessive?
Guy Adams, The making of a Wiki-Lie: Chilling story of one twisted oddball and a handful of anonymous activists who appointed themselves as censors to promote their own warped agenda on a website that's a byword for inaccuracy, The Daily Mail (4 March 2017)
...this ban has set a dangerous precedent, raising profoundly troubling questions about free speech and censorship in the online era. ...a social media giant whose pages are riddled with inaccuracies, unilaterally deciding, at the request of a handful of people, that a major newspaper is somehow not valid.
Guy Adams, The making of a Wiki-Lie: Chilling story of one twisted oddball and a handful of anonymous activists who appointed themselves as censors to promote their own warped agenda on a website that's a byword for inaccuracy, The Daily Mail (4 March 2017)
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.
Jillian Sequeira, The Strange Case of Wikipedia Zero, Law Street (5 March 2017)
Wikipedia, as it is currently run, is simply and literally out of control, and a potential menace to all kinds of institutions and individuals. This is an organisation that – quite scandalously – polices itself, judges itself, and legitimises itself. It is always right because it decides what is right. You are always wrong because it decides what is wrong. ... And it has power without responsibility or accountability. ... It is high time this arrogant, self-admiring, self-regulating, often bullying organisation be placed under the formal supervision of an independent watchdog.
Graham McCann, WIKI-LIES (Cont...) It's the self-policing web encyclopaedia that has banned the Mail as a source. But as these deeply disturbing accounts reveal, its pages are littered with inaccuracies - and God help the victims who dare complain, Daily Mail (13 March 2017)
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.
Tom Nichols in How America Lost Faith in Expertise – And Why That's a Giant Problem, Foreign Affairs (March/April 2017)
Despite being an American-born site, its popularity and utility have expanded around the world since its foundation in 2001.
Maria Barrios, A world without Wikipedia?, TheUpComing (11 May 2017)
Wikipedia has often been treated by news organizations like the black sheep of the information business. ... But as trust in the media wanes and news organizations struggle to engage with readers, Wikipedia has emerged as a leader in transparency and user growth...
Rebecca Iannucci, What can fact-checkers learn from Wikipedia? We asked the boss of its nonprofit owner, Poynter (6 July 2017)
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.
Anthony Kennedy on 24 July 2017 at the Salzburg Global Seminar, Austria, Salzburg Academy of Media and Global Change (25 July 2017)
For the benefit of Wales as a nation, it is crucial that Wikipedia contains a wealth of knowledge about its history and culture and that the range of articles on the Welsh language Wicipedia covers the widest possible range of subjects.
Pedr ap Llwyd, director of collections and public programmes at National Library of Wales, in UK First as National Library of Wales Appoints Wikimedian by Dan Foulkes, BusinessNewsWales (8 August 2017)
Unlike some commercial companies, Wikimedia has no incentive to cave into authoritarian demands to self-censor.
John Lubbock (Wikimedia Foundation), Authoritarian governments hate Wikipedia, which is why you should get involved, openDemocracy (11 August 2017)
The online crowd-sourced encyclopedia is perceived as increasingly trustworthy, [...] with immediate impacts on scientific literacy.
Thomas Shafee, et al. Academics can help shape Wikipedia, Science, Vol. 357, Issue 6351, pp. 557-558 (11 August 2017)
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.
Rodrigo Pérez, The Prospects for the Sum of All Human Knowledge in Wikipedia in Indigenous Languages, Global VoicesRisingVoices (6 September 2017)
As the originator of and the first person to elaborate Wikipedia's neutrality policy, and as an agnostic who believes intelligent design to be completely wrong, I just have to say that this article is appallingly biased. ... I'm not here to argue the point, as I completely despair of persuading Wikipedians of the error of their ways.
Larry Sanger, My $0.02 on the issue of bias, Wikipedia talk page: Intelligent design (8 December 2017)
In many ways Wikipedia pioneered the [fake news] phenomenon, and journalists' lazy reliance on using it as a source helped falsities to propagate on a scale never seen before.
Andrew Orlowski, Why is Wikipedia man Jimbo Wales keynoting a fake news conference?, The Register (12 December 2017)
As we are trying to deal with all this terrorism, [Wikipedia] makes us look like we work with terror groups.
Ahmet Arslan, Turkish communications minister, explaining the ban on Wikipedia imposed in April 2017, Wikipedia has itself to blame for ban in Turkey: Minister, Hürriyet Daily News (18 December 2017)
2018
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.
Mark Levin in Mark Levin: Avoid Wikipedia like the plague, Chris Pandolfo, Conservative Review (19 January 2018)
Why is Wikipedia so good? I'm not sure, but part of it is the internal review process started by Jimmy Wales. Other Wikis fail miserably; I no longer look at WikiAnswers, because I rarely get good help from it. So a publicly edited encyclopedia isn't obviously going to work, but somehow Wikipedia pulled it off.
Richard Muller in I'm A College Professor, And This Is Why I Encourage My Students To Use Wikipedia, Tech / #OnCampus, Forbes (1 March 2018)
Facebook's introduction of a new feature that uses [Wikipedia] to combat “fake news” [...] poses arguably the greatest test in years to the volunteer-run online encyclopedia, constituting a massive threat to the internet's largest and ostensibly most trusted source of free knowledge. ... It also highlights the risks posed by Facebook's efforts to seemingly outsource its problems to the online encyclopedia. Indeed, Wikipedia has struggled to defend its standards in the face of its new role as the internet's “good cop.” As more and more tech giants like Facebook and YouTube make use of its content, a new influx of users has flooded the website [–] not all of them well intentioned.
Omer Benjakob in Breitbart Declares War on Wikipedia as Encyclopedia Gets Drafted Into Facebook's 'Fake News' Battle, Haaretz (11 April 2018)
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.
Brian A. Feldman in Why Wikipedia Works, select/all, New York Magazine (16 March 2018)
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.
Omer Benjakob in Gun Enthusiasts Are Waging a War of Attrition on Wikipedia, and It Looks Like They're Winning, Haaretz (18 March 2018)
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.
Sven Milekic in How Croatian Wikipedia Made a Concentration Camp Disappear, BIRN (23 March 2018)
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.
Lisa Gruwell (Wikimedia's Chief Revenue Officer) in Are corporations that use wikipedia giving back?, Brian Heater, techcrunch.com (24 March 2018)
The Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the New Yorker reported incorrectly last month that Pompeo was an Army officer who served in the 1991 Gulf War. ... The situation shows how much major media outlets have come to rely on Wikipedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia run by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit that employs less than 300 people.
Heather Timmons & David Yanofsky in A lie about Mike Pompeo's Gulf War service started with an anonymous Wikipedia edit, Quartz (21 April 2018)
... 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.
Larry Sanger in Wikipedia co-founder's 8,000-word essay on how to build a better Wikipedia, TNW (23 April 2018)
In this era where we've seen the rise of these fake news websites and so forth, Wikipedia has had almost no problems with this at all. Simply because our community is quite – you know, it's their hobby to debate about the quality of sources, and it's very difficult to fool the Wikipedia community with this.
Jimmy Wales in Wikipedia Founder Says Internet Users Are Adrift In The 'Fake News' Era, by Ari Shapiro, kacu.org (28 April 2018)
[Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee], which typically decides matters of user behavior, not content, doesn't lean left or right. Occasionally you could say there are people who are stricter or more lenient in terms of the spirit of the law or letter of the law.
Ira Matetsky, quoted and paraphrased in The 15 People Who Keep Wikipedia's Editors from Killing Each Other, Fordham Law News (7 May 2018)
... 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.
Fiedler and Pohlmann quoted in Like Foxes Guarding the Henhouse: How Public Opinion is Manipulated on Wikipedia, sputniknews.com (1 June 2018)
Deeply inappropriate for the European Commission to be lobbying publicly *and* misleading the public in this way. ... the Wikipedia community is not so narrow minded as to let the rest of the Internet suffer just because we are big enough that they try to throw us a bone. Justice matters.
Jimmy Wales commenting in two tweets on a tweet from the European Commission and the impending EU voting on Articles 11 and 13 of the EU directive on copyright, as quoted in Wikipedia goes dark in Spanish, Italian ahead of key EU vote on copyright by Natasha Lomas, techcrunch.com (4 July 2018)
...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?
Royce Kimmons, assistant professor at Brigham Young University, as quoted by Megan Zahneis in Some Colleges Cautiously Embrace Wikipedia, The Chronicle of Higher Education (19 July 2018)
[Wikipedia's] worst failing, much like BBC Radio 4's Today programme, is to portray subjects that are racked with unresolved controversy as if they were settled. ... and while I was inside it, it was a tiny, infuriating nightmare of totalitarianism. One day soon, I suspect this particular dream is all too likely to come true in the solid world.
Peter Hitchens in War of words: my battle to correct Wikipedia, The Spectator (18 August 2018)
[YouTube,] a megacorporation with billions of dollars and thousands of brilliant employees is relying on a volunteer-run platform anyone can edit to fact-check information? It is odd. But it's also a validation of Wikipedia's mission and a reminder of its importance.
John Naughton in In a hysterical world, Wikipedia is a ray of light – and that's the truth, The Guardian (2 September 2018)
[Wikipedia] is therefore a reflection of the world's biases more than it is a cause of them. ... If journalists, book publishers, scientific researchers, curators, academics, grant-makers and prize-awarding committees don't recognize the work of women, Wikipedia's editors have little foundation on which to build. ... We may not be able to change how society values women, but we can change how women are seen, and ensure that they are seen to begin with.
Katherine Maher in Wikipedia mirrors the world's gender biases, it doesn't cause them, Los Angeles Times (18 October 2018)
... 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.
Rob Matheson paraphrasing Amy X. Zhang and co-authors in Why some Wikipedia disputes go unresolved, MIT News Office (6 November 2018)
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.
Matt O'Connor paraphrasing T. Martin-Carreras and C. E. Kahn Jr. in Wikipedia articles, images may improve radiology resources for patients, HealthImaging (7 November 2018)
The magnitude of [Wikipedia's visitor] numbers piqued the interest of Matthew Kock, website manager of the prestigious British Museum in London. "I looked at how many Rosetta Stone page views there were on Wikipedia... That is perhaps our iconic object, and five times as many people go to the Wikipedia article [...] as to ours." This realization inspired him to propose a novel idea to British Museum administrators – invite a Wikipedia contributor into the institution as the first ever "Wikipedian in Residence" to serve as a liaison within the Museum. Despite his fears about proposing collaboration with unknown and uncredentialled Wikipedia volunteers, [...] he met with enthusiastic interest from numerous departments at the museum.
Andrew Lih in Leveraging Wikipedia: Connecting Communities of Knowledge, p. 9, American Library Association (29 November 2018)
2019
Science Wikipedia pages aren't just for non-experts. Physicists – researchers, professors, and students – use Wikipedia daily. When I need the transition temperature for a Bose-Einstein condensate (prefactor and all), or when I want to learn about the details of an unfamiliar quantum algorithm, Wikipedia is my first stop. ... Despite [this], it is rare for professional physicists to contribute, in part because there are few, if any, professional incentives to do so. ... only a small fraction [of them] have edited even a single Wikipedia page.
Kaden Hazzard in Peer-reviewed physics for Wikipedia: PLOS ONE Topic Pages, Plos Blogs (4 January 2019)
Many professors are ditching the traditional writing assignment and instead asking students to expand or create a Wikipedia article on the topic.
Stephen Harrison in How Wikipedia became the responsible adult of the internet, Financial Review (15 January 2019)
Like other social media platforms, Wikipedia has evolved into an echo chamber where the user is presented with only one type of content instead of being shown a balanced narrative. This disinformation is powerful since the articles are written in an academic style and users do not see other sources that disagree with the article.... Some editors of Wikipedia are failed academics with demonic energy who wish to conquer anonymously what they were unable to do in their normal careers. And spending much of their working life editing Wikipedia articles and by the use of multiple anonymous handles they have obtained administrative status which entitles them to block opposing views. The anonymous persona of the editors and the low stakes have made Wikipedia politics much more vicious than real politics.
Subhash Kak, April 9, 2019 Wikipedia or Trashpedia?
Wikipedia is not going anywhere. It's definitely part of everyone's life. But the question of accuracy is one of the most important aspects of it. ... Our purpose here is not to evaluate whether Wikipedia is good or bad. ... It's not so much about warning people about what Wikipedia is. It's about showing what it is. ... Librarians are interested in trying to broaden our community's education with information in general, be it digital or otherwise.
Lorie Kloda, associate university librarian at Concordia University, quoted in Brownstein: Wikipedia to get respect at Concordia University by Bill Brownstein, Montreal Gazette (16 January 2019)
Wikipedia's extreme form of democracy sounds even stranger in 2019 than it must have sounded in 2001.
Caille Millner in Wikipedia hasn't lost sight of its mission 18 years after launch, San Francisco Chronicle (18 January 2019)
Wikipedia has become an ideological battleground in recent years, with zealots from both left and right using it to mock and smear their enemies.
Jasper Hamill in Sick vandals mark Martin Luther King Day with pornographic attack on Wikipedia page celebrating the great man, Metro (22 January 2019)
Supporting Wikipedia is [...] a shrewd business decision that will likely benefit Google for years to come.
Louise Matsakis in Google Gives Wikimedia Millions—Plus Machine Learning Tools, Wired: Business (22 January 2019)
Whereas a true scientist, confronted with a glimpse of the unknown, would pursue the inexplicable, the Skeptics close their eyes and ears to anything that challenges their Newtonian world-view. Worse, armed with the formidable propaganda tool that is Wikipedia, they force their lack of curiosity on others, closing the lines of inquiry for millions who might otherwise be interested in pursuing some healing modality not fully explained by scientific orthodoxy.
Gary Null and Helen Buyniski in Wikipedia: Supporting the dark side of medicine?, PRN.FM (February 2019)
Wikipedians in residence (WIR) have been around since at least 2010, with the first one hired by the British Museum in the U.K. Since then, other museums as well as universities, archives, libraries, art galleries and health organizations, have followed suit with a total of 165 WIRs hired worldwide. According to the Wikimedia Foundation [...], right now 65 WIRs are actively working — and registered — with the foundation.
Sharon Aschaiek in Advancing academia with Wikipedia, University Affairs (26 February 2019)
Indeed, Fram seemed like the perfect test case for a new kind of enforcement from the foundation – a prolific user whose bad behavior warranted a severe sanction short of a lifetime ban. But as is the case in so many enforcement decisions on social platforms, the ban created more questions than it answered.
Joseph Bernstein in The Culture War Has Finally Come For Wikipedia, BuzzFeedNews (27 June 2019)
The real cause of the Fram flare-up wasn't the sudden overreach by the foundation, but the community's own laissez-faire attitude about toxic users. ... The community is currently blaming the foundation for their own mess, in my opinion, which was caused by our abject failure to develop procedures to enforce civility without Foundation intervention.
User:BU Rob13, as quoted by Joseph Bernstein in The Culture War Has Finally Come For Wikipedia, BuzzFeedNews (27 June 2019)
It’s been tradition that our communities are by and large self-governing, except for issues around child protection, threats of suicide, threats of violence, and legal matters.
A veteran Wikipedia editor according to Wikipedia’s “Constitutional Crisis” Pits Community Against Foundation in Slate Magazine posted July 02, 2019
The Commissioner sees the ongoing blocking of access to Wikipedia as forming part of a broader pattern of undue restrictions on the right to receive and impart information on the internet, and more generally as an illustration of the disproportionately heavy-handed approach currently prevailing in Turkey to any content or information the Turkish authorities consider offensive. ... Commissioner Mijatovic concludes that the way Turkish administrative authorities and courts routinely have recourse to internet blocking is unacceptable in a democratic society and not compatible with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects freedom of expression. ... The systemic nature of the problem requires far-reaching measures, including the complete overhaul of the relevant Turkish legislation.
Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in a submission to the European Court of Human Rights, as quoted in Human rights commissioner says Turkey's blocking of Wikipedia a violation of freedom of expression, Turkish Minute (26 November 2019)
2020s r
2020
History is written by the victor, except on wikipedia
[Wikipedia comprises millions of articles that are in constant need of edits to reflect new information. That can involve article expansions, major rewrites, or more routine modifications such as updating numbers, dates, names, and locations. Currently, humans across the globe volunteer their time to make these edits.] It would be beneficial to automatically modify exact portions of the articles, with little to no human intervention.
Darsh Shah, PhD student at CSAIL, as quoted by Rob Matheson in Automated system can rewrite outdated sentences in Wikipedia articles, MIT News Office (12 February 2020)
History is written by the victors … except on Wikipedia haha
Elon Musk [2] (Aug 16, 2020)
[I have not seen a single practical use-case to convince me to integrate cryptocurrencies or blockchain into the platform. To reward content creators and editors with digital assets] is a really bad idea. ... By integrating cryptocurrencies, Wikipedia would be taking a step back by making it easier for people and companies to pay for the content they want on the platform. Creating a mechanism where you effectively authenticate that type of behavior ... isn't going to help with the quality of Wikipedia at all. ... To say to them, you're going to have to pay or put money at risk in order to edit Wikipedia is completely insane.
Jimmy Wales on 21 February 2020 while speaking at the CoinGeek Conference in London, as quoted in Wikipedia Co-Founder Says Crypto Integration Would Be ‘Completely Insane', coindesk.com (21 February 2020)
If it is a mistake to keep comparing Wikipedia to Britannica, it is another kind of category error to judge Wikipedia against its peers in the internet's top 10. Wikipedia ought to serve as a model for many forms of social endeavor online, but its lessons do not translate readily into the commercial sphere. It is a noncommercial enterprise, with no investors or shareholders to appease, no financial imperative to grow or die, and no standing to maintain in the arms race to amass data and attain AI supremacy at all costs. At Jimmy Wales' wedding, one of the maids of honor toasted him as the sole internet mogul who wasn't a billionaire.
Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet, By Richard Cooke, Wired, (17 Feb 2020)]
The site has helped its fellow tech behemoths, though, especially with the march of AI. Wikipedia's liberal content licenses and vast information hoard have allowed developers to train neural networks much more quickly, cheaply, and widely than proprietary data sets ever could have. When you ask Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa a question, Wikipedia helps provide the answer. When you Google a famous person or place, Wikipedia often informs the “knowledge panel” that appears alongside your search results.
These tools were made possible by a project called Wikidata, the next ambitious step toward realizing the age-old dream of creating a “World Brain.” ... As platforms like Google and Alexa work to provide instant answers to random questions, Wikidata will be one of the key architectures that link the world's information together...
Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet, By Richard Cooke, Wired, (17 Feb 2020)]
Why do Wikipedians perform these millions of hours of labor, some expended on a giant straw goat, without pay? Because they don't experience them as labor. “It's a misconception people work for free,” Wales told the site Hacker Noon in 2018. “They have fun for free.” A 2011 survey of more than 5,000 Wikipedia contributors listed “It's fun” as one of the primary reasons they edited the site.
Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet, By Richard Cooke, Wired, (17 Feb 2020)
I can't tell you what the cause of the bias on Wikipedia is, I can only tell you that it's really obvious now. It used to be quite obvious, like even 10 years ago it was already pretty obvious 10 years ago. Now it's just embarrassing.
Larry Sanger. (co-founder, Wikipedia) Sep 2, 2020. Larry Sanger, founder of Wikipedia, Interview with Nupur J. Sharma. Larry Sanger, founder of Wikipedia, talks to Nupur Sharma
There is a massive irony in the fact that Wikipedia is so extremely biased: it was started by someone who cares unusually deeply about neutrality (me), who developed and defended its neutrality policy at great length.
Man makes plans, and God laughs.
Larry Sanger. (co-founder, Wikipedia) Tweet on Twitter, on Sep 3, 2020. [3]
2021
Making social media liable would mean Twitter, Facebook, even Wikipedia and Yelp couldn't exist as we know them
Scott Pelley on Why victims of internet lies want Section 230 repealed broadcast January 3, 2020
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