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Happy 10th Birthday To Wikipedia 137

Posted by timothy
from the capricorn-like-brian dept.
Greg writes "Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, first launched on January 15, 2001. Today, the website is thus 10 years old. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Wikipedia is hosting some 400 conferences and parties across the globe. In traditional Wikipedia style, the events are being organized by its community of users. After a decade of growth, Wikipedia is an important source of information for millions of topics and remains among the Internet's top 10 most visited sites. It has over 400 million readers each month and has a very small budget for a website its size: just $20 million. Almost all its revenue comes from donations. In its last fundraising push, the organization saw 500,000 users donate $16 million."
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Happy 10th Birthday To Wikipedia

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  • by hessian (467078) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @05:20PM (#34891974) Homepage Journal

    Not notable.

  • Wikipedia's done a lot to damage the 'net. It used to be that autonomous entities acting under often well-known editorial control would be first ports of call for various subjects, but now everyone wastes their time in the edit war game that is Wikipedia. It's the worst example of centralisation of Internet control - Facebook may be larger, but it is primarily an entertainment service. Google's flawed popularity ranking algorithm (does anyone remember when nerds used to point out that popular does not imply

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      May the next decade see it turn into something perceived as valuable to humanity as Facebook.

      The best thing wikipedia could do is list subjects and the people or organizations that are considered useful sources of information on them. This would go some way to getting rid of the most-popular-is-correct bias of the thing.

      • Yahoo had its directory back in '94. Lists of lists would be good, where the source of each list is very clear and can be filtered on. Then I don't get an ever-increasing list of biased sources, but can stick to lists prepared by academics, professional organisations, recognised hobbyist groups, etc.

      • Re:may it die soon (Score:5, Informative)

        by tepples (727027) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [selppet]> on Saturday January 15, 2011 @05:49PM (#34892190) Homepage Journal

        The best thing wikipedia could do is list subjects and the people or organizations that are considered useful sources of information on them.

        Go to any article rated B or better. Scroll down to "References". You'll find a list of reliable sources that are useful enough to use for an article.

      • by Jawnn (445279)

        May the next decade see it turn into something perceived as valuable to humanity as Facebook.

        The best thing wikipedia could do is list subjects and the people or organizations that are considered useful sources of information on them. This would go some way to getting rid of the most-popular-is-correct bias of the thing.

        So what would keep Wikipedia from listing "Wall Builders" as a "useful" source for information on The Constitution and U.S. History? I don't see how turning it into a link farm is any improvement. What am I missing?

    • by fleeped (1945926)
      Competition usually leads to improvement. If the edit war game leads to more neutral and unbiased results, because of wars among biased opinions, I'm all for it. If I want opinions, I'll search elsewhere. Granted, I won't take seriously articles for companies, some people and generally heated subjects, but really if you find worthless the fact that you can type almost any word followed by "wiki" and find information conforming to a standardized format, I think you're hopeles..
      • Erm, competition can only work if the incentive is provided on achievement of part of the goal.

        There is no incentive for Wikipedia editors to produce an encyclopedia. Ssimilar applies to any Wikipedia-style project (though not necessarily any project using a Wiki: it's quite possible to have editorial oversight).

        • by fleeped (1945926)
          If there was no incentive at all, the site wouldn't grow to be as large as it is now. Comparatively, we've also seen how well Google's Knol has worked anyway.
          • You're missing the point entirely. The incentive in Wikipedia isn't to produce an encyclopedic information resource. Just because it's popular and large it doesn't mean it's achieved any of its stated goals.

            Imagine me setting up a large room and filling it with cans of beer. I then declare the purpose of the room is for scientists to gather and find a cure for cancer. It's likely that room will be very popular for a while while everyone rushes in to drink beer and have a laugh. But at the end of the day all

            • by fleeped (1945926)
              I see your point, but still disagree. When I'm writing scientific papers, where fact accuracy REALLY matters, I WON'T cite wikipedia.
              If I want to know a few bits of information about a plant that I saw with a friend while trekking, I'll look it on wikipedia.
              If I want to know the origin of some food recipes, I'll look it on wikipedia.
              If I want to learn approximately what happened regarding a historical fact, I'll go to wikipedia.
              If I want find about the discography of a band, without loading useless flas
    • Re:may it die soon (Score:5, Insightful)

      by macshit (157376) <.miles. .at. .gnu.org.> on Saturday January 15, 2011 @11:11PM (#34894196) Homepage

      Naw, you're completely wrong. Wikipedia isn't perfect, but it's very much a positive.

      In areas where it "works" -- science, engineering, other technical subjects, reference information (e.g. documenting the stations of a country's rail networks) -- Wikipedia has vastly increased the consistency, coverage, and quality of easily-available information on a huge number of subjects. Prior to Wikipedia, even with a good search engine it was much less likely you'd find information on a particular subject, and if you found something, it was often very incomplete and of lower quality, or if high-quality, was often behind a paywall. What's on Wikipedia now is often a little less well-written than a professional reference would be, because of the multiple authors -- but that's in fact often not really a bad thing, because many wikipedia articles end up covering subjects in a way that's approachable to multiple levels of ability (e.g. they'll have sections targeted at experts, and easy examples for novices)

      There are other references on technical subjects that are occasionally of higher quality than Wikipedia., but they're balkanized, often less complete even within their specialty simply because of the effort required to be complete, and far, far, more difficult to find in the first place (often the best way is through the references at the bottom of a corresponding Wikipedia page!). Of course these are useful as a sanity check or different of view for the corresponding information in Wikipedia, but Wikipedia's role, of binding together multiple subjects, and covering all the gritty details, is very valuable, and increases the usability and accessibility of these other sources (much as a traditional encyclopedia or survey might for more specialized sources).

      Wikipedia is so useful for these technical subjects that I'm not sure what to think about people whining that "Wikipedia is crap!1!", other than they've never actually used it for anything other than looking up "George W Bush" and "abortion"...

      • In areas where it "works" -- science, engineering, other technical subjects, reference information (e.g. documenting the stations of a country's rail networks) -- Wikipedia has vastly increased the consistency, coverage, and quality of easily-available information on a huge number of subjects.

        It would be good to think that it "works" at least in those areas --- but I'm afraid that's not true without qualification.

        There are many technical and scientific topics where there are popular misconceptions around.

      • by evilviper (135110)

        If you want to claim WP is so wonderful on technical articles, I suggest you take a stroll over to "Digital Audio Broadcasting". Its a complete piece of crap, filled with blatantly factually incorrect information. For years it was zealously guarded by a couple individuals with a heavy anti-DAB bias, and financial interest in the same. Numerous appeals to admins have been made over the years, with absolutely no mediative action ever taken. In fact the admins will dutifully block people for the 3RR with

    • by tgeller (10260)
      I disagree. I'm a professional writer who often covers subjects I don't know well. After following my editor's leads, Wikipedia is my first stop for general background. (The trick is to not let it be your *last* stop.) Among other things, Wikipedia helps me understand jargon: Even an inaccurate article will describe the issue at hand with industry-standard words.
  • What's their source on the age of Wikipedia? A Wikipedia article?!

    • What's their source on the age of Wikipedia? A Wikipedia article?!

      I read that, in the last six months, the Wikipedia's age has tripled.

      • What's their source on the age of Wikipedia? A Wikipedia article?!

        I read that, in the last six months, the Wikipedia's age has tripled.

        In that case, Wikipedia must be nine months now.

  • just $20 million

    Uh. Yeah. That's a really small budget . . . ?

    • by the linux geek (799780) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @05:41PM (#34892128)
      For one of the most-used websites on the Internet, that budget is tiny.
      • by blair1q (305137)

        That revenue stream is tiny.

        Can you imagine how much it'd be worth if it was ad-supported?

        Zuck would be Jimbo's bitch.

        • by Urkki (668283) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @06:05PM (#34892330)

          That revenue stream is tiny.

          Can you imagine how much it'd be worth if it was ad-supported?

          Zuck would be Jimbo's bitch.

          Better yet, imagine if advertisers were allowed to buy space in the articles itself, and to buy removal of links to their competitors? Yearly bidding, highest bidder gets ownership of an article for a year (to improve it and make it more accurate, of course)

          • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @06:42PM (#34892574) Homepage Journal

            That revenue stream is tiny.

            Can you imagine how much it'd be worth if it was ad-supported?

            Zuck would be Jimbo's bitch.

            Better yet, imagine if advertisers were allowed to buy space in the articles itself, and to buy removal of links to their competitors? Yearly bidding, highest bidder gets ownership of an article for a year (to improve it and make it more accurate, of course)

            Then it would be worth almost nothing.

            • by roman_mir (125474)

              Just like FB.

            • by Anonymous Coward
              Whoooooooooosh.
            • by Urkki (668283)

              That revenue stream is tiny.

              Can you imagine how much it'd be worth if it was ad-supported?

              Zuck would be Jimbo's bitch.

              Better yet, imagine if advertisers were allowed to buy space in the articles itself, and to buy removal of links to their competitors? Yearly bidding, highest bidder gets ownership of an article for a year (to improve it and make it more accurate, of course)

              Then it would be worth almost nothing.

              I don't think an average marketing manager would realize that, so it doesn't affect viability of the business model, at least not during the first few quarters... And majority of the articles would stay "non-sponsored" anyway, and there's no real competition, and people are dumb, so it might even be a viable long term strategy...

              Long term strategy to make money that is, not a long term strategy to create a reliable encyclopedia, of course... ;-)

        • by syousef (465911)

          That revenue stream is tiny.

          Can you imagine how much it'd be worth if it was ad-supported?

          Zuck would be Jimbo's bitch.

          I'm sure that was in a recent movie? But they broke up didn't they?

          Jimmy Whales: I think we should just be friends.
          Mark Zuckerberg: I don't want friends.
          Jimmy Whales: I was being polite, I had no intention of being friends with you. As if every thought that tumbles through your head was so clever it would be a crime for it not to be shared. You are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But you're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want

      • by Seumas (6865)

        Yeah? All the grunt work is free and they don't use $20m worth of hardware and bandwidth.

        • by Nethead (1563)

          Having seen and toured Wikipedia's cage in Tampa I was impressed with the actual quality of the equipment and Internet feeds. $20M worth, no. But I would say at least half that. Lawyers, staff and office get the rest.

          (In Tampa look for the building with the big gecko on the side.)

      • This slide [wikimedia.org] pretty much sums it up.

        The Wikimedia Foundation is extremely efficient in its server operation.

  • Her Majesty The Queen
    Buckingham Palace
    London SW1A 1AA
    United Kingdom

    Is that sufficient payment?

  • Two tenth birthdays in one week - that's impressive!

  • I don't have to puke everytime I visit wikipedia anymore, Mr HappyFace is gone and I hope he won't make another appearance.

  • by blair1q (305137) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @05:58PM (#34892258) Journal

    Shouting nonsense, throwing tantrums when you try to make it do the right thing, always trying to get more out of you.

  • The 10th Birthday of Wikipedia

    - Introduction
    - History of Wikipedia
    - In Animé
    - In Manga
    - In Graphic Novels
    - In Western Animation
    - External Links

    Anybody have a blurry, grainy cell phone camera to take a shot of the main page?

  • I saw the giant banner at the top of the page. Good thing people donated - thereby ensuring that they don't need to move to an ad-supported model - adding giant banners at the top.

    The irony.

  • Due to recent edits on wikipedia, wikipedia is today, in fact, having it's 250th anniversary.
    • by 1s44c (552956)

      Due to recent edits on wikipedia, wikipedia is today, in fact, having it's 250th anniversary.

      That was ten minutes ago. It's on its 8 billionth birthday now.

  • by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @06:28PM (#34892456) Journal

    Sir,

    My name is Jimmy Wales. Ten years ago not a lot of people believed a second-rate day trader turned pornographer would be able to follow the Rand dream by exploiting thousands of people across the Internet into wasting their time writing a successful web site for him, the only purpose of which was to further his fame and bank account.

    At that time it would have been silly to suggest that antisocial twenty-somethings would spend months - sometimes years - warring over some irrelevant fact to establish their bias in an atrociously written article covering some topic related to their political belief or esoteric interest. I would have been laughed at if I'd have suggested that people across the world wouldn't consider me bordering on racially exploitative if I suggested that people should donate toward this project to help the "child in Africa".

    But it's 2011, guys, and, fuck me! I did it.

    So, if you learnt just a little bit about how a lack of scruples and a solid cult of personality can earn a creepy middle aged man world-wide fame while diminishing the usefulness the world's most important information medium, why not donate at least £5/$5/€5? After all, if I can do it, maybe you can. Let me sell you a drop of the most pathological corruption of the capitalist dream. And that's why you're really donating, isn't it?

    Sincerely,

    Jimmy Wales
    Sole Founder
    Wikipedia.org

    • by Elbereth (58257)

      Ouch. Harsh.

      Despite the fact that I agree with your assessment of the situation, I've contributed a bit to Wikipedia here and there, to clear up some obvious issues in the articles that bothered me. For that, I've been accused of many things, including being someone's publicist, because I removed a clear personal attack on a living person from their biography. It's pretty clear to me that the vast majority of people editing Wikipedia are not interested in following the guidelines, and they're merely inte

      • As someone who has witnessed the removal of an article on a mens rights activist and author by a radical feminist and lesbian moderator without a trace of irony or concern about conflict of interest or the evils of censorship I would state that Wikipedia is the finest example of group think and social conformity available in the western world outside of Face book of course!
        Fuck Wikipedia

  • i have history as my hobby and i do a lot of reading. before, it was quite burdensome. finding the right subject article, finding it in right detail. then, needing to get more detail on a sub-section and having to go all through that over and over again with horrible half assed results from google, altavista, yahoo searches etc, enthusiast forums this that.

    wikipedia changed it for me. sufficient detail on each article, sufficient detail in each of the relevant topics you can go into from in-site links, a
  • Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit

    Really, when was the last time you edited a Wikipedia article via Tor or an anonymous proxy server? So, no, the "anyone" part needs to be changed since Wikipedia discriminates against users of those services, who can only edit when their proxy is fresh enough not to be included in the list of banned IPs. Yeah, I know, there's a reason behind the anti-open-proxy policy but, still, not everybody (who wishes to maintain their anonymity) can edit Wikipedia.

  • by drb226 (1938360) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @08:47PM (#34893412)
    1. Look up an article on Wikipedia
    2. Find the facts you were looking for
    3. Check the sources for given facts, or Google for them if not present
    4. Profit!!!!

    Honestly, so many slashdotters crying about the suckiness of Wikipedia are just using it wrong. Wikipedia is not the source of all truth. (protip: neither is Britannica)

  • by blubadger (988507) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @08:53PM (#34893452)

    You think that article X is [wrong] [incomprehensible] [incomplete]? So fix it yourself.

    There's too much on X and not enough on Y? Go on then, write the Y article.

    The editors are [self-serving] [elitist] [evil]? Come back and complain after you've done a thankless stint reverting vandalism.

    Wikipedia is crazy not to take ads? Would you work for free in order for someone else to get paid?

    The Wikipedia criticism industry is a pure product of the me-me-me consumer age. The marvel of Wikipedia is precisely that it is not a consumer product. It is about the producers and their astounding feat of working together, unremunerated, while sorting out their differences, to create an incredible body of written knowledge that didn't exist before.

    • by kiore (734594)

      Wikipedia is crazy not to take ads? Would you work for free in order for someone else to get paid?

      Wikipedia is run by a non-profit. I am a Wikipedia editor (same name there as here), and I would happily continue editing if Wikipedia had a small amount of advertising to pay server costs and the costs of running the foundation. Just as I make other donations to charities I support.

      I'd rather see small Google style ads every day than those ugly banners for a couple of months a year solid

      • by stewski (1455665)

        Advertising can/will have editorial impact on information and bias.

        • by kiore (734594)

          If an information site carries advertising but does not control that advertising (e.g. through a hands off use of adsense) and does not have a pressure to maximize advertising revenue then there is no reason I can see why it should affect information or bias.

          This is especially so on Wikipedia where the editors and the foundation largely interact at arms length and nearly all communications and discussions are in public.

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