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Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

Wikipedia is a Web-based, freely editable encyclopedia by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation.


  • However closely a Wikipedia article may at some point in its life attain to reliability, it is forever open to the uninformed or semiliterate meddler.
  • The user who visits Wikipedia to learn about some subject, to confirm some matter of fact, is rather in the position of a visitor to a public restroom. It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security. What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him.
  • For some reason people who spend 40 years learning everything they can about, say, the Peloponnesian War – and indeed, advancing the body of human knowledge – get all pissy when their contributions are edited away by Randy in Boise who heard somewhere that sword-wielding skeletons were involved. And they get downright irate when asked politely to engage in discourse with Randy until the sword-skeleton theory can be incorporated into the article without passing judgment.
  • Wikipedia's promise is nothing less than the liberation of human knowledge - both by incorporating all of it through the collaborative process, and by freely sharing it with everybody who has access to the internet. This is a radically popular idea.
    • The Economist, 20 April 2006.
  • When I visited the offices [in St. Petersburg, Florida] in March, the walls were bare, the furniture battered. With the addition of a dead plant, the suite could pass for a graduate-student lounge.
  • If I want to say he didn't that's my right, and now, thanks to Wikipedia — it's also a fact.
  • In the media age, everybody was famous for 15 minutes. In the Wikipedia age, everybody can be an expert in five minutes. Special bonus: You can edit your own entry to make yourself seem even smarter.
  • Hofstadter: The entry is filled with inaccuracies, and it kind of depresses me.
    Solomon: So fix it.
    Hofstadter: The next day someone will fix it back.
  • Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know you are getting the best possible information.
  • You just can't put something with commercial motive into Wikipedia. Admitting it is hardly better; it is still a crime. The Wikipedians and bloggers will attack hard and they will deserve what they get.
  • You set up this fantastic site, with people sending information all around the world, and you don't make any money of it! It's practically an un-American activity!
  • The Tsunami article is well researched and extensive, only at two places a little inaccurate. The scientific Wikipedia articles are, according to my judgement, almost always good.
  • The article [Martin Luther] is ample and solidly written. Someone was really occupied with Luther and read some church histories. I give extra points for quoting from sources and the pictures.
  • There is nothing to add to that entry [Marinade]. In my view it contains all important information. I use Wikipedia often for food chemistry. Sometimes you find something you didn't even think about.
  • "I think there’s more information about culture in Wikipedia than anywhere else in the world, ever."
    • Tyler Cowen "Why everything has changed: the recent revolution in cultural economics" in Journal of Cultural Economics (2008), 32, p. 266, DOI 10.1007/s10824-008-9074-y.
  • It seems that, that splendid source for all kinds of information, is no longer dedicated to the truth, assuming it ever was.
    Individuals who have tried to edit the pages about Barack Obama — to reflect the incontrovertible fact that he is not God, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, or Ronald Reagan — report that their contributions have vanished within minutes of posting them, and that they, themselves, have been suspended for three days following each 'infraction'.
    When some sort of official at Wikipedia was contacted about this, she stonewalled, claiming that this censorship was the work of 'volunteers', implying they were somehow beyond control of Wikipedia itself.
    Like the Red Guard and the Khmer Rouge were 'volunteers'.
  • It's said that aeronautical theory says bumblebees ought not to be able to fly. Likewise, the idea that a useful, serious reference work could emerge from the contributions of thousands of "ordinary" internet users, many without scholarly qualifications, would until comparatively recently have been dismissed as absurd.
  • Even the founders of Wikipedia had no clue when they started the project of what it would accomplish. They dug a hole to find water, and struck oil instead.
  • We now see the strong emergence of the Social Web instead of the Semantic Web, and a proposal has been made to use Wikipedia, the largest hierarchical collection of information in the world, as bottom-up input for the ontologies required to give shape to the Semantic Web.
  • Wikipedia is effectively one-of-a-kind. No other mass-market or topically broad wikis have had meaningful success to date. Even Wikimedia's other wiki projects are not nearly as active as Wikipedia. If successful wikis are rare, Wikipedia might be a one-in-a-million lightning strike — some unique combination of factors succeeded in this case, but those circumstances are unlikely to replicate. If so, Wikipedia's rarity might also highlight its fragility.
    • Goldman, Eric, Wikipedia's Labor Squeeze and its Consequences, 8, Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law 
  • Ban Wikipedia youth is like forbidding rock and roll.
  • When I write, I consult Wikipedia 30–40 times a day, because it is really helpful. When I write, I don't remember if someone was born in the 6th century or the 7th; or maybe how many n's are in "Goldmann"… Just a few years ago, for this kind of thing you could waste a lot of time.
  • Wikipedia is, for many users, the primary site for information on the Web (...) At present, Wikipedia hosts more than 2.9 million English-language articles, with a total of 13 million articles available in more than 250 different languages (...) Wikipedia is the second-most searched site on the Internet, behind only Google.
    • Michael Miller, Sams Teach Yourself Wikipedia in 10 Minutes, Pearson Education, inc., 2010, ISBN 978-0-672-33123-7, pages 3 & 5.
  • As Wikipedia founder Jim Wales revealed, back in 2005, 50 percent of all Wikipedia edits were made by just 0.7 percent of users; 75 percent of all articles were written by less than 2 percent of the user base. These numbers reveal that the active Wikipedia community is a lot smaller than you might think. It's understandable, then, for this active group to be somewhat self-centered, and not always accommodating to new or casual users.
    • Michael Miller, Sams Teach Yourself Wikipedia in 10 Minutes, Pearson Education, inc., 2010, ISBN 978-0-672-33123-7, page 163.

Tenth anniversary: 15 January 2011[edit]

  • The kind of social production that Wikipedia represents has turned from a laughable utopia to a practical reality. That's the biggest gift that Wikipedia has given to us – a vision of practical utopia that allows us to harness the more sociable, human aspects of who we are to effective collective action.
  • Wikipedia underscores an evolutionary lesson: We've always gotten farther as a species collaborating than going it alone. [...] In the past, the groups that cooperated best lived longer and had more kids – and we inherited those tendencies. Groups would correct cheaters (people who didn't share info or goods) through social pressure. So Wikipedia is like humanity's social nature writ large electronically, complete with ongoing disputes and corrections.
  • The fundamental flaw in the way Wikipedians think about what they do is that they are entirely absorbed in rules and procedures and arguing fine points with one another and earning merit points; it has all the flavour, as has been suggested before, of a great online game. Users – the ostensible audience – are hardly considered.
  • An authority isn't a person or institution who is always right – ain't no such animal. An authority is a person or institution who has a process for lowering the likelihood that they are wrong to acceptably low levels. [...] And this is what I think is really worth celebrating as Wikipedia begins its second decade. It took one of the best ideas of the last 500 years – peer review – and expanded its field of operation so dramatically that it changed the way authority is configured.
  • Every single day for the last 10 years Wikipedia has got better because someone – several million someones in all – decided to make it better. [...] Wikipedia is best understood not as a product with an organisation behind it, but as an activity that happens to leave an encyclopedia in its wake.

Contemporary: 2011–[edit]

  • Dealing with the Wikipedians is like walking into a mental hospital: the floors are carpeted, the walls are nicely padded, but you know there’s a pretty good chance at any given moment one of the inmates will pick up a knife.
    • Anonymous Wiki-PR client, cited by Judith-Newman in "Wikipedia-Mania", New York Times, January 9, 2014.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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