Re: [Wikimediauk-l] new book on Wikipedia




Hi all,   Thanks to Simon for the link. I noticed a comment by Mark Devlin, founder of Newslines. I started writing a response, as a Wikimedian, but as I explored his background I discovered that he see Wikipedia as a rival to his project (which is a bit like the Chinese Baike.com website). Then I noticed several critical articles on Wikipedia, which generally lead to why Newsline is so much better.   As I am temporarily an employee of Wikimedia UK, I feel uncomfortable about posting a comment on the THE comments page. However  would be interested in hearing other peoples views on this.   For what its worth here is what I drafted before I abandoned my posting:   I am a long term contributor to Wikipedia and would like to respond to Mark's comment above.

Whilst I agree that the symbiotic relationship between Google and Wikipedia is worthy of further consideration, Mark's conclusion that people such as me who actually create the content get nothing is not really valid. Were we to live in the somewhat constrained universe created by economic theorists where money is the proxy for everything, he might have a point. But such a world is a fantasy. Humanity cannot be reduced to Homo Economicus.
We, and here "we" is not just restricted to the Wikimedian community, get a free online encyclopedia. When asked by people why I contribute to Wikipedia my response is not based on altruism (a useful side product), but on pragmatic utility. Wikipedia functions as a "magic notebook": when I come across an interesting fact which I would like to remember, Wikipedia offers an extension to my natural faculties. I can record the fact, along with any appropriate reference, on the relevant Wikipedia page. I can even start a page where no page existed before. And I don't even have to remember where I made the note. If I have put in suitable links from broader topic pages, I can use the links to find my way back to the information I recorded. But that's not all. I often find that others have contributed more information. The seed I planted has grown, has been watered by many hands. My knowledge expands. And in time I have become part of a global community that shares my interest in learning.   That is a public good which is very far from being "nothing".   Thanks   Fabian aka Leutha     On 02 January 2015 at 16:04 Simon Knight <sjgknight@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Hi all

New book on Wikipedia & a review in the Times Higher (no paywall): http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/books/wikipedia-and-the-politics-of-openness-by-nathaniel-tkacz/2017640.article  including a short interview/bio-sketch with the author.

 

Might be of interest.

 

Cheers

Simon


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