O'Reilly logo

A Companion to New Media Dynamics by Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, John Hartley

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 10

Long Live Wikipedia?

Sustainable Volunteerism and the Future of Crowd-Sourced Knowledge

Andrew Lih

A favorite topic of debate among those who have watched two decades of dot-coms come and go has been: “Is Wikipedia dying?” It seems The Wall Street Journal (Angwin and Fowler 2009) and other news outlets try to find any narrative they can in the statistics about the online encyclopedia's health.

Consider how far Wikipedia has come to garner that much attention. It is considered such a fundamental resource on the Internet that users expect it to be constantly updated, mostly accurate, and always available. That's quite a change considering that in 2004 people were just hearing about it and wondering how an “encyclopedia anyone can edit” could ever find a place in the information ecosystem. But, just as we are accepting Wikipedia as an essential part of our repertoire, it's useful to reflect on a decade of evolution, as it has gone from emergence to questions about influence and permanence. There is no doubt now that Wikipedia has succeeded, but we also have to note where it systemically suffers, and how long we can expect it to survive.

Wikipedia has changed how we negotiate knowledge, because it has compelled us to question what we considered “trustworthy” before it even existed. Inevitably, the rise of user-generated works has asked us to re-evaluate how good existing established “trustworthy” works (pre-Wikipedia) were in the first place. In a 2005 study by the journal ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required