By a “vague hint” in the previous post, I referred to the fact I linked to a couple pages at Wikipedia. This post will concentrate on three things: what is wiki? what is Wikipedia? why should I contribute to Wikipedia?

Wiki is a system for collaborative text editing. Or any editing for that matter – I believe. There are dozens of wiki-systems, made in anything from C to VisualBasic to PHP to Pearl. Wiki is perhaps most commonly used on websites, since that is the most logical way for people to meet and edit together. A website made using wiki allows other users, or visitors, to edit the contents of that site. Now an encyclopedia would seem like the most logical thing to make using wiki, wouldn’t it? And that’s what we have…

An “open-content encyclopedia in many languages”. Started in 2001, Wikipedia now has over 300.000 articles, and that’s for the English version only. Like I explained, the cool thing about this encyclopedia is the fact that ANYONE can contribute and edit it. There is no part who makes an income from Wikipedia – it’s all based on volunteer work.

Why you should contribute:
It’s fun. It’s cool. It’s the right thing to do.
Wikipedia is one great site, with tons of information available – all for free. It costs a lot to keep it alive, yet there is no need to pay to use it, and no advertisement – the creators would like to keep it that way. Wikipedia lives off donations. But it also needs to constantly grow, and be held up-to-date. Wikipedia is soon the biggest encyclopedia online, and with your help we can get there even sooner. It’s the same idea as file sharing – you give some, you get some. Person X might know a lot about WW2, and writes up a lengthy article on it. Person Y might not know a lot about WW2 and thus reads and learns – however, person Y knows a lot about vikings, and posts an article about them. Person X in turn reads this, and learns. See?

Did I make any sense in this post? I don’t know, but wiki is good, and Wikipedia is good. Go read, go write, go figure.

Oh, and I love how there is now even a Norwegian part of Wikipedia – there might even be a site for your native language (currently 186 languages, including Esperanto(!)). Personally I contributed quite a lot to the article about my city (not a lot yet) and the list of phones from Sony Ericsson. Enjoy it, and let me know if you make any contributions – I know *I* will 🙂



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