2018 April

Wikipedia Metaphors

Metaphors for Wikipedia An ant farm. As discussed by Andrew Lih in his book The Wikipedia Revolution, many have made the comparison between Wikipedia and an ant farm. That comparison does not make sense if you think of ants as having a centralized authority in the form of queen. But actually ants operate in a… read more »

Why Wikipedia Has No Fake News Problem – Jimmy Wales – NPR

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales took part in a fantastic interview with NPR over the weekend. Here’s a highlight from the piece: Jimmy Wales, co-founder of the crowdsourced encyclopedia, has been thinking about how to tackle the problem of “fake news.” On Thursday, he delivered a keynote address on “the future role for evidence-based journalism” at… read more »

Wikipedia’s Siegenthaler Biography Incident

Andrew Lih’s The Wikipedia Revolution describes the drama and impact surrounding Wikipedia’s Siegenthaler biography incident (Wiki article). According to the subject’s Wikipedia article, In May 2005, an anonymous editor posted a hoax article in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia about journalist John Seigenthaler.[1] The article falsely stated that Seigenthaler had been a suspect in the assassinations of U.S. PresidentJohn F. Kennedy and U.S. Attorney GeneralRobert F. Kennedy. The… read more »

Takeaways from The Wikipedia Revolution

I’ve been reading Andrew Lih’s 2009 book The Wikipedia Revolution and finding it still has some great insights about how the encyclopedia got started and the encyclopedia’s key philosophical underpinnings. Here are some key takeaways thus far with the relevant page numbers in case anyone else is interested: Freedom of Cyberspace. “The tech elite who… read more »

Is Wikipedia the Good Cop? Fighting Fake News and Conspiracy Videos

Noam Cohen has a great article out this week in The Washington Post entitled “Conspiracy videos? Fake news? Enter Wikipedia, the ‘good cop’ of the Internet.” According to Cohen, Wikipedia is a great example of what the internet was intended to be: When Tim Berners-Lee conceived the Web, he imagined that it would look a… read more »

Best Wikipedia Quotes

An Ever-Evolving List of the Best Wikipedia Quotes Quotes from the Founder “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.” – Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales “I frequently counsel people who are getting frustrated about an edit war… read more »

Why Wikipedia Works – NY Mag

Brian Feldman wrote an interesting piece for NY Mag entitled “Why Wikipedia Works.” Here is his thesis in a nutshell: 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… read more »

St. Patrick on Wikipedia – Slate

I wrote a piece for Slate called “Why the Wikipedia page for St. Patrick is Surprisingly Good.” When I started doing research on St. Patrick’s page, I was pleasantly surprised to have the two top St. Patrick scholars tell me that the Wikipedia page was excellent. Writing the article also allowed me to learn more… read more »

Women’s Health on Wikipedia

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a fantastic profile of Barbara Page, a “Wikipedia Wunderkind” who “helps readers of the online encyclopedia understand women’s health, among other topics.” In addition to telling Page’s story, the article includes sad but unsurprising statistics: “Women make up 20 percent of Wikipedia’s writers and editors, while about 80 percent of Wikipedia… read more »