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Jimmy Wales (b. 1966), Larry Sanger (b. 1968)
“Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia represented in 287 languages, containing more than 30 million articles. It is owned by the Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit organization. Wikipedia leverages volunteers from anywhere in the world to contribute content or create new entries on largely any topic they wish. Content and individual articles represent the organic contributions of those participating in their chosen language. The guiding principle of Wikipedia is that information is kept current and made more accurate through continuous crowdsourcing, which achieves both authenticity and factuality. The result is a mass-collaboration effort that, while sometimes containing mistakes and bias, provides a general reference on common and uncommon topics for people around the world. It is one of the most popular sites on the web.
Information appearing in Wikipedia articles is supposed to be cited and referenced. Readers can click on the links at the bottom of the page that are supposed to connect back to the originating material and platform. One feature that results from this operating model is “edit wars” between contributors over controversial topics such as politics and religion.
Wikipedia and its cofounders have had their share of controversies and critics as well, but they have also had many supporters and benefactors. Wikipedia’s notion of truth and reliability—something is true if it appears in a reliable secondary source—can result in circular reporting, because many journalists have relied on unsourced Wikipedia articles for their references, and then the Wikipedia articles are updated to reference the journalistic article as a source.
Wikipedia requires a significant amount of ongoing and repetitive editing and formatting to correct misspellings and maintain proper arrangement of links and reference material. As such, Wikipedia also uses automated bots to augment human volunteers doing this work. Interestingly, as the number of bots has increased, so has the phenomenon of bot-on-bot edit wars as well, where bots go back and forth undoing and redoing changes to each other’s content. Increasingly, entire articles in Wikipedia can be attributed to bots as technical sophistication grows with advancements in artificial intelligence.”
SEE ALSO GNU Manifesto (1985), Collaborative Software Development (1999)
The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has more than 30 million crowdsourced articles.