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The State of Wikipedia

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Wikipedia is one of the most important websites on the Internet today. But you might be surprised to learn that it began as a side project of another online encyclopaedia. That was called Nupedia, to be a traditional encyclopedia written by experts free and online. But only one person had final publishing authority and it wasn’t quite taking off. As a founder of Nupedia I led the group to establish a farm team of sources for future Nupedia articles. We used a new software platform to make collaboration easy, the wiki, Wikipedia. It happened to be the perfect way to write mini pages very quickly. Soon enough Nupedia couldn’t keep up and Wikipedia took center stage. We were creating not just a free content encyclopedia, but a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Other language additions appeared quickly, over 270 on the last count, and it was soon followed by sister projects like Wikisource, Wikinews and Wiktionary. In 2003 I created a Wikipedia foundation to ensure that Wikipedia could keep up with its own growth. Wikipedia gets almost 400 million visitors every month, and the list of sites visited more often is very short and very famous. Wikipedia celebrated its 10th anniversary in January 2011, and in these 10 years it has become one of the most popular websites in the world. I still lead the community and the Wikipedia foundation helps us to make Wikipedia what it is today. Who does edit Wikipedia? Over time as many as 1.2 million people have contributed to Wikipedia. As of 2010 there are over 11 million monthly edits in all Wikipedia in all languages. According to one survey we have about twice the proportion of PHDs compared to the general public. And in the English Wikipedia almost 50% have no religion, and 14.6% of French editors claim to believe in Pastafarianism. It’ll be fair to say that most Wikipedians are not average. One reason may be is that editing a single page is easy, but getting heavily involved is harder. The community is defined by more than two hundred combined policies, guidelines and essays, to say nothing of the discussions, reviews, committees, and noticeboards, wikiprojects and more. All the site content is decided by Wikipedia's volunteer contributors. The Wikipedia foundation has no editorial role whatsoever. The foundation's job is to keep the service running in the right zone. But there is more to it than that. The foundation is also growing Wikipedia’s presence worldwide. More daily centers to speed up Wikipedia worldwide, and even bringing its first office outside the US to India. Wikipedia is already very popular in the west and in the north. A new challenge is making Wikipedia available to the developing world as well. The foundation is a charity, and runs entirely on donations. Some from corporations and institutions, but the vast majority from its millions of editors and readers. It’s incredible what has been accomplished already, but Wikipedia is far from done. As any reader knows, some articles are very good, but some are not. Wikipedia still needs a lot of work. Yet, this is a new challenge, not just building an encyclopedia from scratch, but making it better, more accurate, more citations, not just broad but deep. There’s never been anything like Wikipedia before, and it future horizon is very, very long. As Wikipedia enters its second decade, it’s up to all of us to make sure that it gets even better.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 42 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: JESS3 Labs
Director: JESS3 Labs
Views: 210
Posted by: bontips on Jan 30, 2011

JESS3 Labs releases the video with Jimmy Wales, one of the co-founders of Wikipedia,as the narrator.

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