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The tragedy of Wikipedia’s commons

By Gigs

This article appeared originally in the Wikipedia Signpost, June 12, 2013.

I’ve long thought that we should get rid of the Commons as we know it. Commons has evolved, through the actions of a tiny group of people, into a project with interests that compete with the needs of the various encyclopedias that are the primary users of Commons, and the reason it was created. It’s also understaffed, which results in poor curation, large administrative backlogs, and poor policy development.

First, some background information. Commons was primarily created so we could share media between various wikis, with a secondary goal of being a free media repository. When Erik Möller proposed the idea of Commons, he also proposed an inclusion criteria, “Material would be eligible for inclusion in the Commons if it is useful to at least ONE Wikimedia project [including potential future use].”

At no point during initial discussions was it proposed that

…continue reading The tragedy of Wikipedia’s commons

Wikipedia – Men and children first

By Nathalie Collida and friends

It’s no secret that Wikipedia has a shortage of female editors. According to a survey commissioned by the Wikimedia Foundation in 2011, a mere 8.5 per cent of the people contributing to the online encyclopaedia identify as women. In a recent op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times, Sue Gardner – who became the figurehead of Wikipedia when she signed up as Executive Director with the Wikimedia Foundation 5 years ago – tried to explain this by focusing on what she perceives as the “geeky, tech-centric, intellectually confident, thick-skinned and argumentative” nature of the average Wikipedian. Outside observers, among them Web2.0 expert Joseph Reagle, add another component to the mix: good old-fashioned sexism. His latest study, “’Free as in sexist’ Free culture and the gender gap” examines how the combative locker-room culture of Wikipedia’s male contributors – a good portion of whom are teens and pre-teens – makes women

…continue reading Wikipedia – Men and children first