Clay Shirky on Wikipedia - Dictionary of Arguments
Wikipedia/Shirky: Larry Sanger's and Jimmy Wales' original Nupedia was meant to feature volunteer experts who would write articles in their spare time and manage the entire project.
In the months following the announcement of the project, most of the energy was used to set up an advisory board and to set guidelines for publication. A minimum standard of quality was supposed to be established, but the pace of development was extremely slow. Articles remained unfinished.
Wiki/Solution: the solution were wikis; the first wiki was created in 1995 by Ward Cunningham.
Collaboration/New Media/CunninghamVsNupedia: most complex collaboration tools shared the tasks of writing and publishing. Cunningham, on the other hand, assumed that people who work together trust each other. Then you need less formal management.
Wikipedia originated from Nupedia after a friend Sanger told about Wikis. These were then installed and the "Chief Editor" Sanger became the "Chief-Organizer": ((s) Everyone who took part became an editor.)
The Wikipedia project became Wikipedia.org to demonstrate its non-profit status.
Shirky: although Wikis are suitable for writing different types of text, the early Wikipedia was influenced by rhetorical models of existing encyclopedias. This helped to coordinate the users.
Topicality: within minutes of the 2005 London Underground bombing, a Wikipedia article appeared about it.
Collaboration: none of the contributors to an article must be an expert on the selected topic. There is a group of people who are not strictly managed. Everyone can contribute something, such as a source on the subject he or she has found. The individual contributions can be minimal. This working method also takes into account the fact that the circumstances discussed in the article may change over time.
Quality: in order for an article to be better, the good changes must simply outweigh the bad ones. Instead of filtering before publishing, Wikipedia assumes that new errors appear to be less frequent than corrections of existing errors. This assumption turned out to be correct. On average, the articles become better over time.
A bad article can be an impulse to make a very good article out of it. (See Software/Shirky).
Transaction costs/Wikipedia/Shirky: the way Wikipedia is organised reduces both: the overhead costs of the organisation (management) and the lack of incentives to participate.
Vandalism: why is there hardly any vandalism on Wikipedia? Why are there no free riders? Solution: the format of the wiki starts working together after the first release, not before. All editing operations are always provisional and will be corrected. Deleting can also be undone. M. Wattenberg and B. Viega have observed edits of Wikipedia articles about the Islam and abortions. There were complete solutions that were restored in less than two minutes. (1)
1. Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda B. Viégas’s work on visualizing the history of Wikipedia edits, “History Flow,” is at www.research.ibm.com/visual/projects/history_flow/._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations New York 2009