[AI] Hammering out Wikipedia's future, argument by argument

renuka warriar erenuka at gmail.com
Fri Mar 21 09:03:27 EDT 2008


The Hindu News Update Service
     
News Update Service
Friday, March 21, 2008 : 1530 Hrs       
Sci. & Tech.
Hammering out Wikipedia's future, argument by argument 

Boston (AP): Scroll the list of the 10 most popular Web sites in the United States, and you'll encounter the Internet's richest corporate players, names
like Yahoo, Amazon.com, News Corp, Microsoft and Google. 

Except for No 7: Wikipedia. And there lies a delicate situation. 

With 2 million articles in English alone, the Internet encyclopedia "anyone can edit" stormed the Web's top ranks through the work of unpaid volunteers
and the assistance of donors. But that gives Wikipedia far less financial clout than its Web peers, and doing almost anything to improve that situation
invites scrutiny from the same community that proudly generates the content. 

And so, much as how its base of editors and bureaucrats endlessly debate touchy articles and other changes to the site, Wikipedia's community churns with
questions over how the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees the project, should get and spend its money. 

Should it proceed on its present course, soliciting donations largely to keep its servers running? Or should it expand other sources of revenue with ads,
perhaps, or something like a Wikipedia game show to fulfill grand visions of sending DVDs or printed books to people who lack computers? 

Is it helpful or counter to the project's charitable, free-information mission to have the Wikimedia Foundation tight with a prominent venture capital firm?


These would be tough questions for any organisation, let alone one in which hundreds of participants can expect to have a say. 



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