What is Wikipedia?

Do you really know?

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What is Wikipedia?

Do you really know?

What is Wikipedia? Thanks for asking!

On January 15th 2021, Wikipedia turned 20 years old, believe it or not. 

Wow, thanks for making me feel old!

OK so everybody already knows what Wikipedia is, but let’s look closer at its history, how it works and the limits of this collaborative, volunteer-produced internet encyclopedia.

Nowadays, Wikipedia has over 55 million articles in over 300 different languages. But everything started with a single post titled Hello World, published by American founder Jimmy Wales. He invited internet users to join his encyclopedia project with the radical aim of changing how knowledge was created and shared online.

That’s a pretty ambitious objective!

The main novelty was allowing anyone to contribute and edit the encyclopedia’s articles, regardless of education or social origin. So with Wikipedia, knowledge on a subject isn’t produced according to some kind of hierarchy whereby a minority of experts have all the control. Instead we place trust in collective intelligence. 

Editors, also known as Wikipedians, combine their efforts on a voluntary basis, to help the collaborative community to exist, with no director.

Can the information really be considered reliable if anyone can contribute? 

Interestingly, the sheer number of contributors is seen as a guarantee of Wikipedia’s reliability, even if they work on a voluntary basis. The more editors there are, the greater the number of peer reviews and edits which can be made to reach the general consensus on any given subject.

 

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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The podcast Do you really know? has been added to your home screen.

What is Wikipedia? Thanks for asking!

On January 15th 2021, Wikipedia turned 20 years old, believe it or not. 

Wow, thanks for making me feel old!

OK so everybody already knows what Wikipedia is, but let’s look closer at its history, how it works and the limits of this collaborative, volunteer-produced internet encyclopedia.

Nowadays, Wikipedia has over 55 million articles in over 300 different languages. But everything started with a single post titled Hello World, published by American founder Jimmy Wales. He invited internet users to join his encyclopedia project with the radical aim of changing how knowledge was created and shared online.

That’s a pretty ambitious objective!

The main novelty was allowing anyone to contribute and edit the encyclopedia’s articles, regardless of education or social origin. So with Wikipedia, knowledge on a subject isn’t produced according to some kind of hierarchy whereby a minority of experts have all the control. Instead we place trust in collective intelligence. 

Editors, also known as Wikipedians, combine their efforts on a voluntary basis, to help the collaborative community to exist, with no director.

Can the information really be considered reliable if anyone can contribute? 

Interestingly, the sheer number of contributors is seen as a guarantee of Wikipedia’s reliability, even if they work on a voluntary basis. The more editors there are, the greater the number of peer reviews and edits which can be made to reach the general consensus on any given subject.

 

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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