Wikipedia's next five years

The wiki medium, Socialtext's Ross Mayfield has said, "denatures personality." Whereas open source developers are often motivated by a desire to build strong individual reputations, Wikipedians care more about inclusiveness and consensus. Enforcing better accountability without eroding these core values will require tricky social engineering.

Judging the quality of article entries is an even trickier matter. Like open source projects, Wikipedia is a meritocracy that rewards hard work and excellent results. Neither culture values the Ph.D. for its own sake. But where open source operates in a single domain of expertise, Wikipedia spans myriad domains. While it can't hire expertise à la Digital Universe, a program to attract qualified volunteer reviewers could gain traction. [Full story at]
Wikipedia is subject to a lot of armchair quarterbacking these days, so the following recommendations should be taken with the requisite grain of salt. I'm an interested observer and sometime reader of Wikipedia, but rarely a contributor, opting instead to use my limited supply of keystrokes here. That said, outside perspectives may help clarify ways to ease Wikipedia's transition into the mainstream of society. So here goes.

Wikipedia's fifth birthday is right around the corner. It's been an amazing half-decade, and I'm really looking forward to the sequel.

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