The future of Wikipedia

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Please see Three-year plan for an up-to-date discussion of what the future holds.
The discussion below primarily covers August 2001 to May 2003.

I think that we have grown a Wikipedia community. w:Wikipedia is a w:volunteer project that was made possible by w:Bomis. However, we have invested in our favourite project a lot of enthusiasm, time and (in some cases) money. It is quite natural that we want Wikipedia to prosper.
In my opinion it is a time to stop and discuss. Discuss the future of Wikipedia.
How does Bomis see it ?
How do we ?

The future might be or might not as bright as our imagination whispers into our ears.
Wikipedia is a great idea combined with a new, revolutionary software and it has a lot of brilliant committed authors. Her growth is explosive. But there are also weaknesses (Wikinesses ?) brought to light by some of us.

Scalability -- do we need distributed solutions?[edit]

There are two ways of Wikipedia growth - global or niche.
If we decide in favour of global growth - being slashdotted only first symptom of a serious problem.
I'll give you my (w:Kpjas) idea :

Nowadays distributed software solutions are the height of fashion. Why not devise a distributed Wikipedia? Programmers ?
We cannot "distribute" editing a single article, as that would result in several different versions of the very same topic in different locations. One reason to build wikipedia is to avoid exactly that! Of course, wikipedia could be split into "topic" groups, but even if we can decide which topic goes where, why should we do that? Not every fashion is worth following! --Magnus Manske
Having multiple versions isn't a bad thing, infact, it lets every user vote on what article is best. If there were an rss style feed between the P2P nodes, notifying user's systems of updates to subscribed articles (rss is a pull technology, I believe), every client, would also be a server for viewed pages, and possibly volunteer to hold other's pages, but the point is that I could subscribe to _all_ or _selectively subscribe_ to your wiki subscriptions, and my other friends. I trust you, and your friends.. rephrased, there would be a network of trust. (my computer is a bout a line behind as type, sorry I can't fix mistakes) http://escargot.icehouse.net/mediawiki/ then fractodendron ... fractodendron can also use servers to just collect article .. er diff notifications, and the users get the diffs from the peers.

Multimedia[edit]

The upload page has solved this for the time being - people just need to use it!

Internal data format[edit]

This point is connected with Software issue below.
Current data format is otherwise an example of excellent software solution. But understandably the creator of it did not envision the scale of Wikipedia. It poses numerous problems like searching through Wikipedia and others.

My (w:Kpjas) thoughts wander around w:XML data format in connection with a free w:database like w:MySQL. And your thoughts ?
You're reading text from a MySQL database right now:) XML would be "fashion" again, a useful one maybe, but it would become harder (=it would take longer) to edit a page. I might add a XML export function some day, if there is demand. --Magnus Manske
(This is done: Special:Export) R3m0t 12:00, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Software[edit]

Like any other open software project the software behind it should be free and open to all.
The same applies to Wikipedia software. As I said above wikipedia software (usemod wiki) is a revolutionary and of very good quality but needs of Wikipedia as a global encyclopedia of unrestrained growth go beyond that kind of software. See also above Internal data format.
On the Wikipedia mailing list w:BryceHarrington proposed making the Wikipedia software publicly available on w:CVS for further collaboration on its development.

This one is http://cvs.sourceforge.net/cgi-bin/viewcvs.cgi/wikipedia/

Commercial and organizational issues[edit]

I'm no good at it. But to me it seems to be one the most important issues, second to wide netizen involvement.

Please, share your feelings and opinions here.


  • Nupedia and Wikipedia - obsolete

Even if the Beta stage part of my suggestion isn't deemed worthwhile, I still think it would be a good idea to periodically (semi-annually or anually) make a frozen "stable" version for bibliographical and archival purposes (see the modifications in my comment above).

--w:Matt Stoker
I think that when the wikipedia has existed for a year it will be time to take a look. Who knows how big it will be by then? I have already captured one of the data tarballs, but don't know how often it will be updated. -- wwmike dill


I agree that for sustained expansion some organization is needed. At a minimun a clearly articulated vision of Wikipedia that rapidly and correctly introduces new browsers and potential contributors to the community and its w:social contract or charter. I have started a general discussion section regarding this issue at :Discussion on business models and organizational charters applicable to large free wikis. Perhaps the ideas and writings which have merit locally can be moved into a draft business plan and/or charter here at meta.wikipedia. Then after discussion and widespread consensus has been reached it can be appropriately ratified by the community and owners/sponsors and published on Wikipedia.com to reduce misunderstandings. [[user:mirwin}

Moving beyond the web[edit]

I think Wikipedia needs to move beyond the Web.

While an effort has been made to minimize the amount of HTML needed to edit pages they haven't been truly 'abstracted', and there's still a lot of non-portable HTML formatting in the database (for things like tables especially).

If an effort was made to completely separate content and presentation (by using XML to markup page content and removing all instances of hard-coded visual formatting) it would be much easier for people to leverage the database for non-web purposes (e.g. Wiki on cell phones and PDA's, Wiki incorporated into computer programs, etc.).

This doesn't, I don't think, mean we'd have to reinvent the wheel. HTML could still be used (since it is essentially XML), but tags and attributes that deal with formatting and layout should be disallowed and perhaps some Wiki-specific tags could be invented (e.g. a <refrences list> tag, so those common elements could be treated differently in different Wiki implimentations).

What do ya' think? - stewacide 05:09 Mar 2, 2003 (UTC)

Ensuring/Maintaining Article Quality[edit]

Issues related to the continued improvement, reliability, and control of articles in Wikipedia.

Wikiversial and DORS[edit]

Here are some ideas on a possible new approach to wikipedia: http://idiki.dyne.org/wiki/Wikiversial
http://idiki.dyne.org/wiki/Distributed_Oligarchic_Rating_System
Wed Feb 8 19:48:47 CET 2006

Wikidebate[edit]

Just a thought that it would be possible to make a wikidebate or wikiopinion community so that people posting opinions and debate in wikipedia have a place to discuss hot topics. This would be basically a seperate site from wikipedia as a seperate wiki. Whether this would end POV disputes in hot topics or not is uncertain. This could also include a functional wikiblog connection. Bloggers could post and link to other blogger's posts. Most primary opinions would be locked and be similar to a NYTimes article but the water cooler discussions could take place in a wikidebate forum with POV defended on each side. This certainly seems like something that could be done on a 3 year scale. It has been seen that people want their POV seen and others want to discuss it, why not let wiki have a place for POV seperate from areas already designated as NPOV. --Dave moeller 22:21, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

  • I would support this. I think the historical value would be considerable. In years time, we'd have a centralised database of what people thought of this and that and different spots of time. Nicolas M. Perrault (talk) 21:04, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Reliability[edit]

The other side of the free writing style in Wikipedia is quite possible lack of reliability.
This lack of reliability would in the end undermine Wikipedia's credibility and ultimately her success.
This issue must be tackled, and as soon as possible. I don't agree here with w:Larry Sanger and his view "self-healing". It is an example of elated wishful thinking that is misleading us.
I'd rather agree with w:Piotr Wozniak. His ideal of reliability is EB and he is anxious about the potential lack of it in Wikipedia.
I am very interested in other people views. To start the creative process of discussion I'll give you my (w:Kpjas) idea :

Why not create two parallel Wikipedias one public Wikipedia that is almost frozen (apart from Talk pages, Feature requests pages and the like). And the working Wikipedia for contributors. Foreseeing your criticisms of the proposal that it would hamper netizen involvement - Edit this page could lead into the working Wikipedia.
I'm pretty sure that this is exactly what will eventually happen: every Linux distribution will come with a frozen, local, HTML-only version of the Wikipedia. Clicking on an edit link will direct you to wikipedia.com. --AxelBoldt
What a brilliant idea ! This should be done ASAP. It is obviously a superb way of bringing to Wikipedia an influx of new authors !!!
BTW There should be two packages - client and server. The server one could be put on intranets and LANs. Imagine what knowledgable engeeners at Microsoft and IBM could add to Wikipedia.
--Kpjas
see the nupedia answer below
There will be a "stable" namespace in the PHP wikipedia that can only be updates by chosen users. That could be converted into "real" HTML pages, once a day or on demand.--Magnus Manske

This system is too slow. How do you decide when moving an article from the working Wikipedia to the public? And what do you do when a small change is made (i.e. a typo) is corrected?

Another solution would be to have articles that are "certified" or "accredited" by experts in the field. Often, wikipedia isn't taken seriously by universities and other academics because the articles aren't peer reviewed like normal encyclopedias. If some real experts in the field could be the administrators of articles relating to their field, and the articles were marked as "certified", when a researcher cites those articles in a paper, it would have more clout and make wikipedia a more respectable source of information.

The most organic solution as I see it is an evolution of the trust metric idea of Advogato. Solving this problem, incidently, opens up very intriguing possibilities for new forms of governance. Self-healing is a valid concept in the long run, given an underlying commonality at our core as human beings. Yet it seems many are quite distant from that commonality, creating situations where humanity acts out against itself, much like confused cancerous cells. Is resolving this issue beyond the scope of the wiki project? --Dreamer 04:24, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Editorial process[edit]

Much has been said about it but not much done.
We have an excellent and hard-working editor-in-chief - w:Larry Sanger but I think Wikipedia in current form needs several such editors and when it reaches 100,000 pages 1000 Larrys.
My idea (w:Kpjas is :

Create editor teams online that would cross national Wikipedias borders. The teams would need tools to work effectively. One, the simplest, in terms of setting it up are separate mailing-list devoted to editorial groups like Architecture, Philosophy and so on.
I'd say the best thing is to have several editors that are not assigned to a specific field, but work together on common topics and have their self-defined specialties. I'm a biologist, but my specialty is biochemistry, which means I know nothing of the different wing spans of all the bat subspecies, but (a little) about organic chemistry. Wikipedia is run by mutual trust, and we should trust the editors to stay away from judging topics they are not qualified to judge.--Magnus Manske
I agree totally. See Referees#Collegiate approval. Andrewa 16:06, 1 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Are new admins quitting faster than ever before. Is Wikipedia stagnated. Or are they all terrible lies

Caution: peer review can slow progress to a crawl[edit]

MichaelTinkler's comments Who is going to choose the 'contributor' group as opposed to the 'reader' group. Do we know that there is a reader group anyway? I have a distinct feeling that those using wikipedia are those who are contributing.

The self-healing model is an incredibly optimistic one that depends on a civil society of the web to work. I am (so far) incredibly impressed with it, sleep/learning aside. I have had no trouble with my submissions; many of them have been improved by editing and additions (thanks rmhermen!). P.Wozniak's idea that the best writers are the least tolerant of others edits may mean that I am not a very good writer. Or that humility is a virtue that all of us, however good we think our writing or contributions are, have to cultivate if we're going to participate in a Wiki-format encyclopedia. If a contributor wants to feel pride in ownership as well as craftsmanship, that contributor should, at present, find another venue¿Nupedia, for one.

There is in my field (Early Medieval Europe) an excellent peer-reviewed project, the Ecole Initiative (http://www2.evansville.edu/ecoleweb/). The peer-review editing process has slowed its growth to a C-R-A-W-L. One thing I like about wikipedia is that I can dash off a fairly stupid little biographical entry and then come back and flesh it out later. I'm building up a network of 8th and 9th century entries which are starting to satisfy me. Every now and then someone else takes a stab at 'em, and I'm grateful. w:MichaelTinkler

Evidence against self-healing theory?[edit]

I'm sorry, but this drive for increased hierarchies, control, and rules is crap. Wikipedia doesn't need anal retentive people to chain and gag it. Read Hackers by Steven Levy to get some understanding of the difference between a free, open project driven by pride and quality, and the standard fear-driven system led by administrators, bureaucrats, and incompetents. Calling the "self-healing" theory "wishful thinking", without any evidence to back up your derision, is galling. I do support the distributed Wikipedia, and maybe trying to figure out multimedia, but that's rather ugly. --w:The Cunctator

Please be moderate in your appeals for unrestrained author's activity on Wikipedia. This could ruin results of hard work of many Wikipedians. Please consult w:What Wikipedia is not and follow the rules.
--w:Kpjas
w:Kpjas illustrates the classic problem with anal-retentiveness . . . anal-retentives can't comprehend how they appear to others. They don't have the capacity to step outside their world view and imagine how destructive their effect on others can be, and how they look to others. Fortunately the "What Wikipedia is not" page w:Kpjas refers to has been deleted, but his brusque, in fact rather rude, command to w:The Cunctator to "consult" an w:Anal retentive page and "follow the rules" illustrates what i think is the major challenge Wikipedia is going to face in the near future. I entered discussion after encountering several instances of competely unwarranted targeting for deletion based on absurd, nit-picking claims by people who clearly have no idea how pompous and control-freakish they make themselves appear. Perhaps we should call it the w:Get a life issue? I think the broader Wikipedia community will have to address it if Wikipedia is to avoid developing a reputation as a censored, blinkered information source that can't be trusted to include the whole story, the interesting media resources, etc..
I agree with w:The Cunctator. w:Ignore all rules was the greatest achievement of wikipedia. LARS 09:25, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Nature, through its evolutionary history, seems to have already solved this problem of "rules". Its solution is a balance of both. Starting from nothing but the laws of physics, it has evolved a more-or-less harmonious, orderly ecosystem. Yet, within it, each being holds an immune system which imposes certain order on each cell to prevent the organism from turning into goo. Wikipedia could go on with "Ignore all rules", but the energy that would have to be expended by the current simple immune system may become so great that it would perish and go extinct. To understand nature's immune system is to see the solution to this problem. --Dreamer 04:50, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Having "Stable" and "Development" versions[edit]

Main article: Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Stable versions

I agree that some manner of ensuring Reliability would be a good thing. However, my implementation would be slightly different. Rather than a Public and Working Wikipedia, I would recommend a Stable version and a Development version. This emulates the development of open source software, where a stable (hopefully bug-free) version is periodically released for users, while the latest and greatest development version is also available to anyone interested in adding to the code or who is willing to take the risk of using a possibly less reliable version.

In my implementation, the Stable version would be frozen for a period of time (perhaps a few months, up to a year) and then updated from the Development version. The difficult part is determining what should be updated. I would suggest that shortly before the update, the Development version would go into a Beta phase, where wikipedians were encouraged to compare the development version of articles to the stable version to ensure the update would really be an improvement. The advantage of this approach is that authors would not have to constantly monitor their particular subjects to make sure an error wasn't added by someone else, instead they'd only have to review their subjects periodically against the stable version (during the Beta period).

It may also be worthwhile to impose some controls during the Beta period, such as only allowing editing of the talk pages, so these articles are relatively stable. People would then get a chance to review the beta articles and perhaps vote for or against them. Articles facing significant opposition would require review by Larry or other editors prior to being incorporated into the stable version. In this case the new development version would be released at the start of the Beta phase, so those who so desired could continue making contributions.

Having a set of "Stable" versions would be useful in the event of widespread vandalism (perhaps by a malicious script), since the last "Stable" version could simply be restored instead of having to sort through each individual article to find the last non-vandalized version of that particular article. In addition the "Stable" versions would be useful for the purpose of bibliographical referencing, since an author who quoted text from Wikipedia could cite it as (Wikipedia, v1, 2001) and wouldn't have to fear that the quoted text would be changed. In other words, text may change in future stable versions (e.g. Wikipedia, v2, 2001), but the text in (Wikipedia, v1, 2001) would never change.

--[[w:Matt Stoker]

A very, very interesting suggestion. Does it lead to some sort of Wiki-CVS?

Matt's "stable" version made me think that it could be a good idea to have periodic "snapshots" of wikipedia. Each page has its history, but I'm not sure exactly how it works, and it is clear that not all the history is saved. It might have some archival value, or could be consulted in case something is inadvertidly changed, and the version needed is not availabe on the history any more. I would not be practical have it like a "live" wikipedia, but a compressed tarball every month or so, doesn't sound too farfetched too me. All the voting stuff though... i think there has been enough talk about editorial controls, aristocratic or democratic...the system seems to be working as it is.--w:AN

Letting local experts "freeze"/"unfreeze" an article[edit]

Why not using some kind of voting? I mean, let say some very good historian will do excellent page, some other will improve it, and few others will see that it is good and there is no need to change it. Or that there is article, where after heated debate some consensus have been achieved. Then there come some new user (or some user who isn't new at all) and change everything as he likes. Yea, of course anyone can change it back, but perspective of watching every article is frustrating me.

Why not just after _many_ persons, without specifying who has right to do that or who is not, would vote that that article is stable enough to be considered brilliant prose and further changes can't be made without consulting, and they have to be requested in some way? No small editor team, just few random people who worked on the article earlier.

Take some example: There is country named Beaveria. Some person, nice lady named Elisabeth Jones, is thinking that it is centre of the world and all her contribution are biased, But few other reasonable guys, Bear Giggler, Pavel Wetter, JFK and others agreed to construct entry which is quite NPOV and complete. But nobody of them had patience to deal with constant changes from Jones or random newcomers who will all the time change their carefully chosen words, and watch that article every day (watch list is cool, but i mean not everybody had a will to lose time over and over again - sometimes is hard to track down what change was done to article, if i would be a vandal, i would just cut and paste whole text and chacking that would be really difficult..). So those few vote that article is good enough to be stable and moved to stable part of wikipedia and all other further changes are to be put into request page first (beaveria:request_change or something) or to beaveria:beta_page.


These are just ideas floating through my head while i am waiting for my program to end compiling, but maybe something of that could crystalise into something useful? w:user:szopen

Agreeing - "The self-healing model is an incredibly optimistic one that depends on a civil society of the web to work" but we don't have any bridge to that civil society if we adopt strictly academic, or economic, or populistic criteria. What this really says is that wikipedia needs a value system of its own, even if that is hard to characterize in objective terms. For instance we might say that we do not intend anyone to be enabled to do direct harm to others based on what's written here, i.e. we would not explain how to make anthrax. We might also say that we consider it essential to "trickle down" konwledge from the over-priveleged over-civilized "w:developed nations to the under-priveleged struggling angry debt-ridden "w:developing nations - all pretty non-controversial goals of real world "w:civil society". So I don't mind the optimism as long as we are aware that we cannot do this if we do not understand and respect the world views of such political neutral groups as w:Medicin Sans Frontiers, w:World Wildlife Fund, w:Amnesty International who make a cult out of w:harms reduction and w:neutral point of view. We could do much worse than adopt their criteria or even invite them to form an editorial board and pour in their considerable knowledge of field medicine, ecology, and peacemaking activity.

Nothing wrong with optimism. We definitely need some visions here too to balance the threats, real or imagined, that some people seem to see under every w:cosmology or w:foundation ontology - as if people believed in these things simply to make wiki's job harder. We have a diversity problem and a groupthink problem too, e.g a small clique or cult of w:particle physics believers and w:Karl Popper devotees who don't actually see how seriously deranged most of the world sees their w:dualism and w:reductionism to be. Certainly no w:civil society thinks that way.

To me the future hinges on this point of tolerance for diverse views that do not appeal to minds trained in Western mathematics and physics, incapable of perceiving moral or ethical foundations to reality as such, as most people in the world do. Some further discussion on three billionth user issues may well be in order. Over the long run, keeping track of threats, visions, best cases, worst cases, and the status quo in terms of those is going to be essential just to know what the heck we are doing now.

Reputation systems to attract serious contributors from academia[edit]

I've been doing a little lurking and editing at various wikis over the past couple month. I've been thinking about the the nature of open-source collaboration, as defined by ESR in The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Also, A professor I'm working with at OSU is currently the Editor in Cheif for the upcoming edition of the Encyclopedia of Religion.

It seems to me that what's missing from the current wikipedia model is a reputation system. That's one of the incentives of open-source work -- that you gain recognition and respect for the work you've done. This is what drives most academics -- certainly not pay, but their influence in their respective fields.

The benefit of the reputation system is that newbies to the system know where to go. Start with the big names in the field. So, when you first log on to wikipedia, there is a slashdot-style filter that only shows highly-rated content, or content from highly-rated contributors.

There would be two kinds of ratings: content and contributor.

Actual content itself will be rated on its own merits, regardless of its contributor. (Note that content ratings will reflect on their contributors reputation, though.) This way an anonymous, beginning contributor who makes useful contributions will not have their work filtered out. However, there has to be a system to rate new, incoming content. This requires some work.

A contributor will have a rating, too. There are three parts to this: the sum rating of their collective contributions, personal ratings granted by other wikipedians, and finally, personal vouchers.

The collective rating will help independent, armchair experts who do not necessarily have any expertise recognized outside of wikipedia. As they contribute more, and their contributions are recognized as valid, their reputation in the wikipedia will improve.

The personal rating is kind of a shortcut for the collective ratings. If you've read enough stuff from a person, you've come to the conclusion that they know their stuff, they're serious about contributing, and they are unlikely to troll, then you can rate that person.

Finally, the personal voucher is for recognition of an expert new to the wikipedia system. For instance, a well-respected and highly recognized professor who's new to wikipedia might one day decide to contribute some articles. Instead of wasting time building up a reputation the traditional way, other wikipedians can give personal vouchers to the newbie. It's sort of like instant credit. Face it: the internet has a bad name in academia as far as research ( I remember in my undergrad days a few years ago, professors would specifically tell us not to use the internet -- not that you couldn't find good data, but too many students were careless with the quality of their sources ). Ideas like wikipedia *scare* scholars who are used to peer-reviewed journals and the reputation systems in academia.

The goals of this reputation system is

1. To reduce the workload of editing and removing trollish content. Users with high reputations will require less oversight. Filters would prevent crap from being presented in the first place.

2. To improve the quality of content for newbies. Default filters can be set high for casual browsers.

3. To increase the incentive for contributing. For instance, my professor at OSU likes the idea of the wikipedia, but probably won't be adding any content. Why not? Because there's no gain in it for him. In his line of work, reputation is everything. If he can't get recognized for his contributions to wikipedia, he won't do it. Why should he waste his time?

4. To better implement the idea of peer review from previous knowledge-seeking endeavors.

So, all in all, I think a reputation system would make for higher quality content on the wikipedia. I'm aware of Nupedia (currently defunct) -- but they seem to *only* want Ph.Ds. My system doesn't discriminate between those recognized outside of wikipedia, and those whose expertise is only apparent in the wiki world. User:Lawpoop

This system uses an algorithm that approaches democracy, non-bias, and balance of information. It is somewhat reminiscent of Google Page Rank, which gives priority to websites based on several factors, including the quality of links from other sites and their Page Ranks. Using a similar algorithm, contributors and content could be rated based on several factors.

Reputation system: Must be simple (kudos based?)[edit]

User:Lawpoop — I think you're on the right track and several of the other contributors on this page are converging on similar ideas. A few comments I would add:
I'm a dispensationalist when it comes to turning on such a system -- there annointed time is not yet come as the median quality of articles is still low & we are better served by letting lots of wild and wooly editing go on for now. I do think the need will continue to grow over time though.
With regards to a heavy-duty peer-review system, I'm sceptical it would ever be heavy duty to cause professors/academics to list their wikipedia contributions on their CV. I say this because I suspect that wikipedia will never be able to out peer-review the professional peer-reviewed journals. We don't have anywhere near the mental horsepower, especially since all our horses are volunteer horses. But that doesn't mean the general idea of peer-reviews is bad, I just don't think it can be made weighty enough to get the seal of approval of the professional academic community.
Something closer to the ebay reputation system may make more sense -- the main thing is that it has to be easy. Perhaps a kudos system -- if you see a previous edit you admire, you click a kudos button located somewhere on the diff page. If you're a respected wikipedian your kudos are worth more. Or even if the editor has not received any kudos but he's made a number of edits over a number of days he's trusted to some degree.
But a user rating system is only half the battle as I'm beginning to realize. You're not done until you come up with a article rating system (which must be based on the user rating system (how else can we rate articles if we don't rate wikipedians who review those articles? -- there is no way). What is the best model for a page that is going to have restricted editing applied? Is the model cold, colder, coldest reflecting progressively higher accomplishment (and requiring correspondingly high level wikipedians to edit)? Or just two states: frozen (requiring a group-decision or some level expert to unlock) and open-edit (any newbie can cut their teeth on it).
... or is The Cunctator right — a free and open society with a minimum of controls is the best we can do?
Fun to contemplate...
Technopilgrim 00:58, 11 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Suggestions[edit]

I'm not sure if such possibilities already exist, but I was wondering three things for possible future Wikipedia adaptation or spin-offs:

1) Is there a collaborative site already available where people can voice their ideas and dreams on any topic (e.g., ideal software not existing, ideal modifications to existing software, invention ideas, artistic or musical concepts that were offered to others to develop, etc.)? Although Wikipedia may understandably not be designed for this, I would think that in addition to having discussion pages for each page (which mostly focused on editing comments about the information page), it would be conceivable I would think to add a link for each page to link it to a free-for-all discussion on the topic and/or to a "future visions and concepts" page (e.g., concepts and future visions of furniture, Star Trek, political reform, etc. etc.). Wikipedia has evolved such a nice categorization scheme, I think it is a pity not to be able to use it as an umbrella for other topics (like a fully collaborative Yahoo but without users needing to know HTML to submit their pages).

--Reply: here it is: http://idiki.dyne.org/

2) Are there plans in the future for Wikipedia to be able to host collaborative databases which could be flexibly edited, searched, browsed, and sorted? For example over at Wiktionary, it would be most useful, I think, to have a collaborative database to be able to edit, search, browse and sort a database of the most common words of various languages all at once (i.e., our Swadesh list). However, countless other sites could also benefit from database interactivity. Knowing little about the technical challenges to this, all I can offer is that I understand Filemaker Pro allows databases to be hosted interactively. Perhaps it or something like it could be accessed from within Wikipedia/Wiktionary.

3) As I mentioned on the Wikipedia freeware discuss page, I thought it would be nice to keep track of more commercial items (in a neutral way of course) such as by listing all software available by platform and by whether it is freeware/donationware/crippleware/etc. (or any other type of commercial product--like a collaborative "Consumer Report"), as existing sites dedicated to this purpose may either include advertising, consist of misleading propaganda by the company, or otherwise be not able to benefit from a collaborative process (e.g., by allowing the evolution of more refined categorizations of content, etc.). - Brettz9 21:00 8 Apr 2003 (UTC)

4) Is no one thinking about the slightly further out evolution of Wikipedia that possibly or probably will occur? Looking at the logarithmic growth curves of the data and article count, does it not seem likely that Wikipedia will continue to grow and eventually become a unified single bank of all human knowledge? And would the world wide availability of this knowledge not allow advancement of knowledge to grow at an ever faster rate than previously? There seems to be so many positive feedback systems in the concept of Wikipedia that it's never ending growth to a point where it encompasses all knowledge seems almost inevitable.

In regards to quality of information I think this will only be a small problem and will only delay rather than prevent Wikipedia becoming a resource such as this. Campaigns should be launched to encourage professionals, academics and anyone who has a certain specialist knowledge to contribute to Wikipedia. Although ideally such a project as Wikipedia would have no advertising I think discreet and targeted advertising should be introduced to fund such campaigns. I think Wikipedia in the next decade has the capability to revolutionise the knowledge industry worldwide and in doing so create an economic gain equating to several percent of worldwide production.

However, in tearing open the knowledge industry it may also cause a reduction of writing by academics for lack of incentive either by recognition or money. Therefore it is probably important that systems should be introduced to allow recognition and monetary gain from inputs. Whatever the case I think this is an incredibly exciting time in the development of human civilisation to live and we should take more time to contemplate this and look towards the future. A satisfaction must be created in the addition of information to what is probably to become one of the most important revolutions in human society. What is it that separates us from animals if it is not the knowledge that we posses.


Two more suggestions...

1) How about the option to send the registered users emails notifying them of new additions to their watchlist (whether only for specific ones or any items, as changes are made, in a daily/weekly digest, etc.)? The Wiki site "Netunify.com" has this option.

2) Combining the watchlists for Meta-Wikipedia, Wikipedia, and Wiktionary, etc.? (So a person doesn't need to log in to each separately).

- Brettz9 21:04 8 Apr 2003 (UTC)

What about a wiki to collects such things as maybe song lyrics, or film scripts? Also, a inter connectivity in between wikis would be most profitable (like links from Wikipedia articles to Wiktionary ones).

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