Blog Post

Wikipedia for the Rest of Us

Interestingly, Wikipedia has a grant to make its editing
process more user-friendly. I wonder what it will do to the
reliability of entries to make the process more accessible? Will it,
as hoped, invite in smart people with expertise but who may not be
technophiles? Or will it just invite it a new level of pesty,
obnoxious, nuisance-making users? Social Scientist Alert: what is the
relationship between credibility and technical ability in editing a
Wikipedia entry? I bet someone out there is doing a study on this
right now. Here's the url:

Reblogged from Yahoo Tech, "Wikipedia Attempts to Make Editing More Accessible"

NEW YORK - Concerned that many would-be contributors to Wikipedia
are being scared away, the foundation that runs the Internet
encyclopedia is getting an $890,000 grant to try to make the editing
process more user-friendly.

Anyone can contribute to Wikipedia, but clicking on the "edit"
button brings up a jumble of coding mixed with plain English
paragraphs. There are buttons on the top of the page that eliminate any
need for users to write their own coding, but the Wikimedia Foundation
has acknowledged for several years that the unfamiliar feel of the
editing process probably turns off people who could otherwise make
valuable contributions.

"Wikipedia attracts writers who have a moderate-to-high level of
technical understanding, but it excludes lots of smart, knowledgeable
people who are less tech-centric," Sue Gardner, the Wikimedia
Foundation's executive director, said in a statement Wednesday.

The foundation has snared an $890,000 grant from the Stanton
Foundation for the project and plans to assemble a five-person team to
identify what exactly is turning some users off. In particular, the
foundation said it will look at hiding more technical elements of the
site that contributors don't necessarily need to see.


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