How Wikipedia's reaction to popularity is causing its decline

Open collaboration systems like Wikipedia need to maintain a pool of volunteer contributors in order to remain relevant. Wikipedia was created through a tremendous number of contributions by millions of contributors. However, recent research has shown that the number of active contributors in Wikipedia has been declining steadily for years, and suggests that a sharp decline in the retention of newcomers is the cause. This paper presents data that show that several changes the Wikipedia community made to manage quality and consistency in the face
of a massive growth in participation have ironically crippled the very growth they were designed to manage. Specifically, the restrictiveness of the encyclopedia’s primary quality control mechanism and the algorithmic tools used to reject contributions are implicated as key causes of decreased newcomer retention. Further, the community’s formal mechanisms for norm articulation are shown to have calcified against changes – especially changes proposed by newer editors.

From [PDF]How Wikipedia’s reaction to popularity is causing its decline


How the Internet changed the way we read

One silver lining is that the technological democratization of social media has effectively deconstructed the one-sided power of the Big Bad Media in general and influential writing in particular, which in theory makes this era freer and more decentralized than ever. One downside to technological democratization is that it hasn’t lead to a thriving marketplace of ideas, but a greater retreat into the Platonic cave of self-identification with the shadow world. We have never needed a safer and quieter place to collect our thoughts from the collective din of couch quarterbacking than we do now, which is why it’s so easy to preemptively categorize the articles we read before we actually read them to save ourselves the heartache and the controversy.

From How the Internet changed the way we read


Wikipedia fails as an encyclopedia, to science’s detriment

Most entries, but not all. Disturbingly, all of the worst entries I have ever read have been in the sciences. Wander off the big ideas in the sciences, and you're likely to run into entries that are excessively technical and provide almost no context, making them effectively incomprehensible.

This failure is a minor problem for Wikipedia, as most of the entries people rely on are fine. But I'd argue that it's a significant problem for science. The problematic entries reinforce the popular impression that science is impossible to understand and isn't for most people—they make science seem elitist. And that's an impression that we as a society really can't afford.

From Editorial: Wikipedia fails as an encyclopedia, to science’s detriment | Ars Technica


Zuckerberg compares free internet services to public libraries and hospitals

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has written a forceful defense of the company's plans to offer limited, free internet access in India, comparing Facebook's Free Basics service with libraries and public hospitals. In an op-ed written for The Times of India, Zuckerberg says that although libraries don't offer every book to read and hospitals can't cure every illness, they still provide a "world of good," suggesting that just because free internet services like Free Basics only offer access to a limited number of sites — which third-parties can apply to join but that Facebook ultimately controls — they're still an essential public service.

From Zuckerberg compares free internet services to public libraries and hospitals | The Verge


Meme Librarian for Tumblr

Amanda Brennan is a librarian for the Internet. Her career in meme librarianism began in graduate school at Rutgers, where she received a master’s in library science.

But instead of heading to a brick-and-mortar library, Brennan continued documenting online phenomena at Know Your Meme and then at Tumblr, where she solidified her profession as information desk for doge, mmm whatcha say and the other viral Internet sensations in need of classification, categorization and preservation.

Here's the meme-ish story from the Washington Post.

The birth of the web | CERN

Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at CERN, invented the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989. The web was originally conceived and developed to meet the demand for automatic information-sharing between scientists in universities and institutes around the world.
The first website at CERN - and in the world - was dedicated to the World Wide Web project itself and was hosted on Berners-Lee's NeXT computer. The website described the basic features of the web; how to access other people's documents and how to set up your own server. The NeXT machine - the original web server - is still at CERN. As part of the project to restore the first website, in 2013 CERN reinstated the world's first website to its original address.
On 30 April 1993 CERN put the World Wide Web software in the public domain. CERN made the next release available with an open licence, as a more sure way to maximise its dissemination. Through these actions, making the software required to run a web server freely available, along with a basic browser and a library of code, the web was allowed to flourish.

From The birth of the web | CERN


Teens can't tell the difference between Google ads and search results | The Verge

The familiar narrative of teens and technology is one of natural proficiency — that young people just get technology in a way that older generations don't. But research suggests that just because children feel at home using smartphones, it doesn't mean they're more aware of the nuances of how the web works.

From Teens can't tell the difference between Google ads and search results | The Verge

Children and parents: Media use and attitudes report 2015

From Children and parents: Media use and attitudes report 2015 | Ofcom


Online Services Of Yesteryear

Before we were watching Netflix movies, video-conferencing with our friends, and playing real-time video games on the Internet, we were using online services, such AOL, CompuServe, and GEnie to talk about movies, type letters to our buddies, and play ASCII, turn-based games.

From ​Before the Web: Online services of yesteryear | ZDNet


Internet Archive! How You Can Put Knowledge into the Hands of Millions

Today is #GivingTuesday, the one day you are encouraged to give to your favorite charities. This GivingTuesday, I hope the Internet Archive will be at the top of your list. By giving a small amount, you can put knowledge in the hands of millions of people, for years and years.

From How You Can Put Knowledge into the Hands of Millions | Internet Archive Blogs

The Internet Isn't Available in Most Languages

At the moment, the Internet only has webpages in about five percent of the world's languages. Even national languages like Hindi and Swahili are used on only .01 percent of the 10 million most popular websites. The majority of the world’s languages lack an online presence that is actually useful.

From The Internet Isn't Available in Most Languages - The Atlantic



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