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Press Releases

  • Please click here for recent Wikipediocracy press releases.

The Battle for Wikipedia: How Your Donations May Be Destroying the Crowd-sourced Encyclopedia

By The Masked Maggot

Just as the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) was wrapping up its annual show of “wiki-love” and idealism at London’s Wikimania 2014, the latest round of tensions between the foundation and the volunteer community reared its ugly head. The trigger this time was the forced introduction of the Media Viewer to the German Wikipedia, after the community of editors that work on that version voted to disable it. While a slight change to the presentation of images might seem like a minor issue, it points to a deeper and widening rift between the offices in San Francisco and the global community which they serve.

The WMF’s gradual grab, or How the Wikimedia Foundation is harming Wikipedia

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While there are all sorts of issues worth complaining about, Wikipedia really is an amazing thing. For 13 years, a vast collection of unpaid and unsung volunteers have written, organized, and advocated for an online encyclopedia-like website that pretty much everyone uses, naively or reluctantly. It’s been a long run where volunteer “editors” have not only created the content, but have also been enfranchised to have a say in how the site is run. Wikipedia’s “consensus” model, for all its problems, has been the real driving force behind getting the product to market, and the “Stone Soup” way that everyone brought something to the table (from content to structure to presentation) worked a bit better in practice than it should have in theory.

Those happy days seem to be coming to an end, and while the seeds for that end were planted at the beginning, the fruit is only becoming apparent now. The Wikimedia Foundation, which accepts all the donations and was (so the Wikipedians thought) dedicated to supporting the volunteers who write Wikipedia’s

…continue reading The Battle for Wikipedia: How Your Donations May Be Destroying the Crowd-sourced Encyclopedia

Wikipedia’s new editing software gets failing grade

By Gregory Kohs

This article first appeared at Examiner.com

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If you’re not one of the 34,000 or so people who edit the English Wikipedia at least five times per month, you may not have noticed the change that has taken place on the massive encyclopedia, but a highly controversial change has indeed been implemented by Wikipedia’s management team. In the past two weeks, a new “Visual Editor” has been deployed on Wikipedia, which purportedly enables users who want to change text in the encyclopedia to do so more easily and directly, without diving into the arcane “wikitext” markup language that has stymied many users for years. The problem is, the new software is riddled with flaws, and as of yesterday (July 19), the Wikimedia Foundation employee in charge of the deployment, Oliver Keyes, is apparently trying to hide the fact that the “old” platform was more effective at engaging editors than the new platform. Keyes rejects calls from the community to take down the Visual Editor until it can be fixed properly.

For anyone following the Wikimedia Foundation’s management over the past few years, it is clear that reversing the slow decline in editor engagement on the various language Wikipedias has been the top priority. Without volunteers beavering away at Wikipedia’s mountain of information, the Foundation knows that cash donations could be the next thing to suffer. However, rather than admit that the hostile personality culture that permeates the back pages of Wikipedia may be the thing most eroding editor retention, the Foundation has instead fixated on the editing software interface as the key problem. It was believed that a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) document interface would fatten the ranks of people willing to dive into Wikipedia and

…continue reading Wikipedia’s new editing software gets failing grade