Saturday, February 23, 2008

Who really authors Wikipedia?

Slate takes on the Wikipedia bureaucracy but once again gets it wrong: The Wisdom of the Chaperones

A small segment of highly active users author the majority of the site's content.

Editing is not the same as authoring. That this myth continues to be perpetuated is disturbing. If you look at the number of edits as the metric you'd think this is true. If you look at the quantity of text being contributed then Wikipedia represents the same Pareto distribution (long tail) that we've seen play-out over and over again in the Web 2.0 space.

How about some common sense questions? If a 1000 people have written 2 million articles -- how many words is that per person? Not only must these people never sleep, but they're all Jeopardy champions in waiting.

2 comments:

David Gerard said...

Sort of. Aaron Swartz ran numbers that show that huge numbers of people write the text, but the hundreds or thousands of core members are the ones who edit and edit and edit and polish and cull. They write as well, but the actual new text contributor base is huge.

Kevin said...

Thanks for your comment David. I'd blogged about the Aaron Swartz piece earlier, but I couldn't remember his name and a search failed to find it. I appreciate your adding this info!

kevin