In praise of Wikipedia – Wiki birthday to you

If you have found that a Wikipedia reference for your Masters or PhD dissertation doesn’t quite cut it – I still reckon its where you might start if you are searching Google’s incredible “About 1,200,000,000 results (0.08 seconds)” for a search on Wikipedia itself or any other  topic you hadn’t even heard of yesterday – a homage and the perennial questions from The Economist.com, nicely set out  with the familiar superscript tags one sees in a wikipedia entry:

It is an astonishing success story [Further explanation needed]. On paper, the idea that volunteers could collectively produce the largest and most popular encyclopedia the world has ever seen sounds implausible. Surely reference works need to be compiled by experts [Disputed]? Yet Wikipedia now has over 17m articles, 3.5m of them in English, and its popularity—it is one of the ten biggest sites on the web and is used by around 400m people each month—shows how much people value it. As well as being a useful reference work, Wikipedia is also the most striking example of the idea that volunteers working together online can collectively produce something valuable. Not everyone can contribute to (or even understand) open-source software projects, but anyone can see how Wikipedia’s “crowdsourcing” model works. It showed that the wisdom of the masses could be harnessed, inspiring many other crowdsourced projects—a further reason to celebrate its success [This article reads like an editorial or opinion piece and may require cleanup].

For all Wikipedia’s achievements, however, it inspires three worries: that it contains too many inaccuracies; that it is not financially sustainable; and that it has lost touch with its founding ideal of being open to all [Verification needed].
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