Wikimedia press releases/Questions about Wikipedia

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

- Do you think the Wikipedia is a craze? Wikipedia is a new type of medium. It operates on a “wiki” – a collaborative, open source medium where anyone can freely contribute. As a result, I think that Wikipedia has been successful, in part, because it is one of the first wikis to become popular. In essence, Wikipedia has paved the way for this new type of technology.

- Which do you think will be its long-term future? Wikipedia will probably improve over time. People forget that while we are one of the most popular websites in the world, we are still a very young project. This means that there are still many horizons to explore, and many projects to be implemented that will inevitably improve both the quality of our articles and the efficiency or our community of volunteers.

- Do you think that it has a sustainable growth? I think Wikipedia has proven to have sustainable growth. In six years we have become the world’s fastest-growing, most current, and largest encyclopedia. Currently, we have 6 million articles in 250 languages – and that number keeps on growing. In addition, we have recently been named one of five top brands in the world – not bad for a website that is created entirely by volunteers.

It was hard to anticipate its strong growth and big social repercussion. What is the cause of its popularity? Personally, I believe that one of the reasons Wikipedia has become so popular is because it empowers people to share in the sum of all human knowledge. It’s a great place to start your research, and get a global picture of a topic. At the same time, it gives people an outlet to share the knowledge they have acquired throughout their life time. People, I believe, like this idea of reciprocity.

One of the main problems of the Wikipedia is vandalism. How do you think it affects the reliability of its articles? Vandalism is one of the biggest threats Wikipedia faces. This is because our volunteers spend time fixing vandalism, instead of using that time to improve the quality of articles. While our group of vigilant editors are amazing at finding and correcting vandalism, I am sure that their desire is to spend more time researching information and improving entries.

Do you think that a correct way of fighting this vandalism is the restriction of the article edition to qualified users? Or do you think this goes against its philosophy? The idea behind Wikipedia is that anyone can edit it. Currently, we are looking into more efficient ways to combat vandalism, and are exploring different possibilities. However, we would like to avoid having to restrict users.

- There's a debate about the reliability of its articles. Do you think its growth minimizes the mistakes or it causes a diminution of the control? Wikipedia is self-correcting over time. In other words, the more people see an article, the more an article improves.