“Conan O’Brien assaults sea turtles while canoeing” and “Tony Blair worships Hitler”. These are two in a list of some of the biggest Wikipedia Blunders ever recorded and are probably a decent rationale for the decreasing number of online contributors (Raphael, 2009) and possibly the death of the world’s largest wiki.
It has been widely reported over the past few years that Wikipedia is losing its valuable contributors. Since 2007 the site’s number of contributors has decreased by more than one third (Simonite, 2013). Unfortunately, it’s a catch 22 for the ‘Wikipedians’. Those most eager to avoid such blunders as highlighted at the start of this blog, in so doing, were the makers of the site’s undoing. By making it more difficult for users to contribute, less posts got through and the site consequently lost contributors (Halfaker, 2014).
The loss of contributors has undoubtedly compounded the one problem stringent restrictions on posts were aimed to combat. Less contributors means less people involved in the conversation that adds to the likelihood that inaccurate information is picked up and altered quickly. Wikipedia is now a contributor to the “information overload” (Blair, 2010) as inaccuracies make readers more skeptical of content and less likely to participate in the wiki exchange, crucial to the site’s success.
I love the idea of a “Free Encyclopedia” as much as the next desperate student but unfortunately it seems evident to me that there will always be a trade-off for ‘free’ information. As Judge Judy says, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is…
Blair, A. (2010). Information Overload, Then and Now. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Information-Overload-Then-and/125479/
Halfaker, A. (2014). The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration Community: How Wikipedia’s reaction to sudden popularity is causing its decline. Retrieved from http://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~halfak/publications/The_Rise_and_Decline/
Raphael, JR (2009). The 15 Biggest Wikipedia Blunders. Retrieved from
Simonite, T. (2013). The Decline of Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/520446/the-decline-of-wikipedia/
Wikia. (2010). Conan O’Brien. Retrieved from http://wikiality.wikia.com/Conan_O’Brien