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Ward Cunningham's rich child; Indian donations; data mining Wikipedia; brief news

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By Thomas888b and Tilman Bayer

Ward Cunningham: Wikipedia is like "my child grown up and become richer than me"

Ward Cunningham in 2004, three to four years after Wikipedia's start

Ward Cunningham, the inventor of the wiki, was interviewed by "The Pragmatic Bookshelf", a programmers' podcast. He recalled how he arrived at the idea of wikis after "playing around with HyperCard" (an early hypertext software), and emphasized the importance of (the equivalent of) redlinks and the recent changes page, and how he got rid of the illusion of a "developer review process that couldn't be abused", arriving at a wiki's "anyone can edit" philosophy. Another important idea taken from HyperCard was "[7:02] that anybody could write anywhere, you did not have to write in chronological order. (... With) so much of collaboration software you spend most of your time quoting whoever you wanted to respond to ... I wanted it to be able to evolve to be something that was worth reading. The Wikipedians actually turned that up a notch by having a talk page or a discussion page behind every page, so you don't actually have to see the discussion and it makes a much more finished product. .. I'd say everything I really cared about has been carried forward in Wikipedia and everything that was just an expedient choice I made, that got in the way of writing the encyclopedia, they changed. I met those guys maybe three or four years into their project, which they started 5 years after mine, and they were very concerned: 'Ward, is what we built really a wiki?'" Interviewer: "They wanted your blesssing!" Cunningham: "Oh yes, approval... they knew they changed a lot, and I said: Oh yeah, absolutely. Because it has the feel. It's all about the feel, it's how you write. And of course, they have been so wildly successful, in a global sense, that it's (like) my child grown up and become richer than me."

"Fleeting" fame from listing oneself on Wikipedia

Mary Bufe wrote on the Webster and Kirkwood Times Online that she has always encouraged her 17 year old son Sam to "make his mark on the world". However, it seems that his way of making his mark on the world doesn't agree with Wikipedia's notability guidelines for people. One look at the revision history of his home town will tell you that he is keen to have his name recognised on the list of notable residents of Webster Groves, Missouri. Sam's claim to fame is being the founder of a wiffle ball club and the co-founder of a wiggle ball league. The Wikipedia sports notability guidelines state that "A person is presumed to be notable if he or she has been the subject of multiple published non-trivial secondary sources which are reliable, intellectually independent, and independent of the subject". Until there are sources besides those written by his mother, it is unlikely that he will be qualified to be on that list.[1]

India Joins Top Donors Club

The Economic Times and The Hindustan Times report that India has become the sixth largest donor to the Wikimedia Foundation in 2010–2011. $193,657 was given to the Wikimedia Foundation by just under 11,000 Indians. Indians donated just under 2% of what the US donated, and made up just over 1% of global donations to the Wikimedia Foundation. The 5 countries donating more than India were the US, Canada, Japan, Spain and the UK, with the US giving over $10m.[2] [3] The Hindu reported that donations in India leapt from the 16th position, contributing $52,156 from 2956 donors in 2009–2010. [4] These amounts do not include donations made by the country chapters of Wikimedia, which also help in local fund-raising.

Data Mining Wikipedia

An article titled "The FullWiki Offers Reference Linking And Other Wikipedia Tools" on Lifehacker Australia briefly portrayed TheFullWiki, "a set of Wikipedia search and mining tools", offering features such as a map of places mentioned in an article, a collection of deleted articles, or finding references for a statement by searching Wikipedia for a similar, referenced sentence ("Students, we find sources for your essay, so you don't have to"). The site's founder Luke Metcalfe describes it as "the result of over 5,000 hours of programming work". Earlier, he founded NationMaster, known to Wikipedians as a longtime mirror of Wikipedia content. In an interview a few months ago, he said that "Wikipedia is a fantastic encyclopedia but the reality is most articles don't get read from beginning to end. So on The Full Wiki we show the data by other dimensions; timelines, maps, top charts. It brings the info to life."



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I am the first one surprised to think this, but still: Mrs.Bufe is not that notable herself, I guess. So why "pillorying" her son for being a narcissist? Just wanted to say that the news is not that relevant IMHO. --Elitre (talk) 01:02, 22 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]

There should be an en dash in 2010-2011. Ref names should be added as well, using Reflinks (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 01:25, 22 March 2011 (UTC).[reply]

Fixed the dashes - thanks and feel free to make such minor corrections directly next time. Regards, HaeB (talk) 13:50, 22 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • I think that calling something a conflict of interest without an investigation is itself a point of view (POV). Have we considered the use of the term "vested interest" and let people draw their own conclusions rather than impose those of the editor. billinghurst sDrewth 03:46, 22 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]

When I began reading How Small Businesses Can Get a Link from Wikipedia, I expected it would describe some dodgy practices marketers use to promote themsleves or their clients. Instead, it shows that Wikipedia forces some honesty onto that industry. Anyone can hype themselves, but try doing it on WP and they'll soon be forced to face their own inadequacies. And if their contributions to society have had little value or notability, again they'll be forced to admit it when they find that no one cites them. Just like academia. Death may be the great leveller but Wikipedia comes a close second. LordVetinari (talk) 05:36, 22 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]

It rather reminds me of this XKCD comic. Eventually, SEOers will evolve to the point where they realise that the world will reward them if they produce useful and valuable content rather than attempting to learn the secret cheat codes for Google rankings. Eventually they'll learn that their Wikipedia links will stick around if and only if they actually have some value to the reader rather than basically being marketing vandalism. —Tom Morris (talk) 23:08, 22 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]

...evolve into something was worth reading...

Is the quote "I wanted it to be able to evolve into something was worth reading" a typo? Guy Macon (talk) 12:27, 22 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Fixed, thanks.
By the way, Wikipedia is mentioned again at the very end of the interview, after Cunningham envisages a "grand challenge" to use information technology for "making it possible to see and understand everything" (e.g. involving what journalism does today): "It's not that far from the challenge that Wikipedia has taken for itself, but it's that a 100 times over". Regards, HaeB (talk) 13:50, 22 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Ward has had a long fascination with process -- especially with finding a "developer review process that couldn't be abused". A years back he gave a presentation was able to sit in on (but I admit more than a little went way over my head) about a web portal he created for the Eclipse Organization. What excited him was that he was able to anchor the working code at every point to the tests that assured the quality and accuracy of each tool in the portal. If you changed the code, there was a button which you could then click on; this immediately validated the changes you made against the test cases which defined what the portal was intended to do in the first place. No need to submit a change for review, wait for the meeting, then argue why its adoption made sense to programmers, end users, & the bottom line. (He wrote a blog about it, it appears to have gone offline; see my own blog post about his presentation for more details.) -- llywrch (talk) 16:41, 22 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Wikipedia article on Iman al-Obeidi referenced in the media

In case it happens to be Signpost-worthy, the article on Iman al-Obeidi has been referenced 6 times in the last week in notable media, which are listed and quoted on the article's talk page under the "mentioned by a media organization" template. Regards, Cinosaur (talk) 11:34, 2 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]


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