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Monday, September 4, 2006

Who Edits Wikipedia?

Aaron Swartz analyzed who was mostly responsible for adding the gist to a typical Wikipedia article, and his findings show that – as opposed to what Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales himself assumes – it’s mostly outsiders (people doing only occasional edits, often unregistered). The Wikipedians, those people with deep inside knowledge into how Wikipedia works (like policy debates or advanced syntax), do more edits by number, but those edits are also often just structural or syntactical changes to content “non-Wikipedians” provided.

Frankly, all of this makes perfect sense (expert knowledge on such a wide array of topics must be widely distributed among different people, too, and won’t be contained within a group of say 500 Wikipedians), but it also shows that Wikipedia will only remain healthy if it keeps trusting outsiders.

[Via Boing Boing and others.]


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