On October 26, I attended the iStrategy conference in Amsterdam. Here is part 2 of the account of Jimmy Wales’s presentation on Wikipedia and Wikia.
to gather all the parts of this post together, just type: http://bit.ly/walesvm2!
[slide: novel writer @alisonclement asking her students what and encyclopaedia is]
The new generation doesn’t know what a regular encyclopaedia is Jimmy Wales went on: he gave us evidence of that when he shared a tweet with us in which a teacher (see above picture) was asking a student what and encyclopaedia was and the student responded: “is it some sort of Wikipedia?“. One may well surmise that Wikipedia has become the epitome of an encyclopaedia … for better or for worse.
Yet, don’t imagine that your average Wikipedia contributor is representative of the overall population: “87% of our contributors are made male ” Jimmy pointed out. “This is because the software is very geeky” he added.
The technical complexity of the code is “putting off other people who aren’t computer nerds” he added. But the Wikipedia team is working on a new improved WYSIWYG interface (thank God! I’m not exactly computer illiterate but editing Wikipedia for me is a real chore).
For the same reasons, contributors tend to be very young, the average age being 26. And the number of Ph.D. among them is double the average numbers of what they are among the overall population!