Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wikipedia Brown (video)

The sound quality's mediocre. But it's so, so worth it. Link, for feed readers.

Friday, March 14, 2008

"With all the energy expended on uppercase vs. lowercase, the debate over whether to prominently mention lang's sexual orientation and animal-rights activism barely heats up at all. Some issues are just more important."

Read all the way through; most of the 12 entries are funny.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wikipedia traffic

Sage has some interesting analysis: the long tail is also wide, and quirky unexpected articles do well on the main page.

Similarly, Kelly's taking apart the writing style of the most popular articles.

Wikipedia begins to interlock with physical reality (think phones, and GPS).

If you read one thing about Wikipedia this year, you're a better man than I
it's probably that list of porn stars you found on google
you're reading it right now! stop!

Ahem. If you read one thing about Wikipedia this year, make it this article in the New York Review of Books. It totally captures how Wikipedia works, and also the excitement of stumbling across it for the first time.

Plus, it's the best defense of inclusionism ever. The author, Nicholson Baker, even joined the Article Rescue Squadron. *blush*. On-wiki, he's user:Wageless.

Actually, it might even be the best general-media article about Wikipedia ever, taking the torch from 2005's The avatar versus the journalist.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Three new Wikipedian blogs

Infoholics Anonymous, NonNotable Natterings, Wiki-Observations. Good luck, kids.

There's also a new podcast: "NotTheWikipediaWeekly is a grassroots and utterly 'unofficial' attempt to build on the fine work of the good people over at Wikipedia Weekly." Cool.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wikipedia:Drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass. See also

Former chief scientist at Novell claims Jimmy Wales traded Wiki edits for donations.

When it rains, it pours. Jeff Merkey, the scientist, has been involved in several lawsuits -- he sued slashdot, for example. So this may not be credible, though it's getting press attention.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wikipedia's tin-cup approach wears thin. Timely LA Times article.

Wikipedia, the "encyclopedia anyone can edit," is stuck in a weird Internet time warp, part grass-roots labor of love, part runaway success.

A global democracy beloved by high school term paper writers and run largely by volunteers, the site is controlled for now by people who seem to view revenue with suspicion and worry that too much money -- maybe even just a little money -- would defile and possibly ruin the biggest encyclopedia in the history of the written word.


How about selling advertising space like most big-time websites do? Don't go there unless you want to start a Wikipedian riot. Some members of the foundation's board of trustees and most of the site's editors and contributing writers zealously oppose advertising. [Are you reading this, Danny?]

After a staff member in 2002 raised the possibility in the Wikipedia community, a facet of the Spanish-language branch quit and created the forever ad-free Enciclopedia Libre Universal en EspaƱol. Its founders said that advertising "implied the existence of a commercialization of the selfless work of volunteers."


As Wikimedia adds features to its pages, such as videos, costs will rise. "Without financial stability and strong planning, the foundation runs the risk of needing to take drastic steps at some point in the next couple years," said Nathan Awrich, a 26-year-old Wikipedia editor from Vermont who supports advertising.

Outsiders find it hard to see how the site can avoid selling ad space.

"They either have to charge people or run ads, or both," said Greg Sterling, an analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, which specializes in consumer behavior online.


Wales said that the free culture movement, as it's called, has to think creatively if it wants to keep spreading information to computers around the world.

"There are some real problems with a nonprofit structure," he said. "One of the basic problems is funding: We can get enough money to survive but don't really have the funding to push forward or innovate."

List of countries without armed forces

Sue Gardner (wikimedia executive director) defends jimmy wales on CNET TV:

We don't want to get into a long back-and-forth on somebody's blog [danny wool's]. The foundation -- I don't know if you know this -- we have 12 employees. So if we have one person sort of duking it out on a blog with people, then that's 11 people doing the actual work. We have important work to do.

I don't know if you know Jimmy -- have you met him? He's a good guy; he's a really good guy. I'm feeling sorry for him. He's a modest guy, he's a frugal guy. Jimmy has never done anything wrong.

So, I've been with the foundation since june -- so, for 6, 7 months. And in that period of time I think jimmy's expensed a total of eleven hundred dollars worth of stuff. He took one trip to new york for us to do some media related to our fundraiser just before christmas. And that's it.

He doesn't "live well" -- he doesn't live a lavish lifestyle. And to the extent that he does live whatever lifestyle he does, it's not out of Wikimedia's coffers.