Jimmy Wales is staring at me again – he’s hard to get away from sometimes, he can be quite relentless – it must be that time of year again – you know Wikipedia‘s annual fundraising drive. Eventually I will rummage around under sofa cushions, raid the change dish, generally do what ever it takes to round up my piddling $25 annual contribution and send it off hoping I can buy him off for another 11 months. It’s not that I mind making the contribution it’s that I’m easily disturbed by confrontational stares.
Wikipedia Author Alen Sohn exhorting Wikipedia users to contribute wrote:
On Wikipedia, I’ve created 2,463 articles. All of them for free.
I’m a systems consultant, working with very large-scale financial computer systems. If the time I’ve spent on Wikipedia were converted to money, it would add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for me…
None of us here at the Meme Merchants Consortium have written a single article, as I explained here in our very second post how unqualified for that task we as non-experts in anything truly are – but we use the heck out of Wikipedia every day, so our meager contributions seem like a pretty good deal compared to the vast benefits we are reaping [consequently we are left with a little nagging guilt that we didn’t give more]
After making his piddling $25 donation our friend and Wikipedia user Atani said:
“In a not-shall, Wikipedia is still one of the most important things happening in planetary evolution. The massively collaborative project, with the wiki as one template, will be the pattern for future human society, and a peaceful one at that.”
Here at the Meme Merchants Consortium we are very keen on the concept of massively collaborative projects as a future way that humanity will get things done, we view them as an extension into the cultural domain of the process of self-organization that nature has hacked out over the aeons from its roots in the physical, geological, and biological domains of existence. It is the editorial practice of simultaneous and incremental contribution that breaks the bottlenecks of article generation that traditional top-down academic approaches create.
And for all of you wiki-nay-sayers who think that the quality and accuracy of Wikipedia isn’t up to par, all I can say is if you have seen something wrong why didn’t you fix it? this is the complete power of the wiki format, if you know something [we’re know nothings around here] you write it, if you see an error you correct it – you don’t need to ask permission – and leaving an error uncorrected leaves you no excuse to complain, there is an implied responsibility to participate in the project embedded in its use
As you may have noticed reading this and other posts on this weblog, we link to Wikipedia extensively. In fact it is our editorial practice to prefer a Wikipedia link to a more authoritative source link for a number of good reasons. First being its encyclopedic nature, when we refer to a term, or a person in a post that may not be common knowledge all we generally want to do is provide our reader with reasonably reliable and unbiased survey of the subject – not the final word on the subject. The hypetextual nature of the wiki and its consistency of format allows our readers to easily navigate to further topics and external sources, if that is their desire, all that in a consistent and familiar format. Finally, and this tends to be a deciding factor in many cases, is the durability of the link. Websites come and go, information in them moves around, things go down the memory hole and your link to them goes with it. As a blog, we plan on being around for a while, it is our intent that if we link to an outside website that that link should last as long as we do. Wikipedia and its successors will be around, and the links to their pages will still work even when you reach back years into our archives – even as it should be.
So, take a moment to consider, or reconsider your relationship with Wikipedia and decide if it is worth voting for with some of your time, energy and money. When you look at that slightly cracked crystal ball with all of the puzzle pieces and a few missing, you are looking at the future.
Try to help by adding a few of those missing puzzle pieces.