The Future of Wikipedia

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mra...@willamette.edu

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May 24, 2006, 1:44:49 PM5/24/06
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During the last five years over a million articles have been posted to
the English language version of Wikipedia. It's gotten so large and
so popular that it is fast becoming the first place many people search
for information on the web.

My question is, what does the future hold for Wikipedia? There has got
to be a point where the article creation will slow down, but I have no
idea where that would be. Any thoughts? I mean, I guess there will
always be new fictional worlds created and that could produce tons and
tons of articles, but for the real world it seems like the current pace
of article creation can not be sustained. What's the limit though?
Three million articles? Five? Ten?

Will Wikipedia grow in respectability? I can't see it being quoted
in journals or anything, but do High School teachers accept it as a
source? Will someday college profession accept it as a source? (For
what it's worth I consider it to be a good starting place, but you
have to dig deeper if you want to find some really good and fully
trustworthy info.)

Also, as data storage gets better it won't be that hard to store the
entire text of Wikipedia on your cell phone or something. Effects?

I've seen a lot of internet fads come and go and I think Wikipedia is
here to stay. Thoughts on what Wikipedia will look in 2020?

--
Mike Ralls

Jukka Raustia

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May 24, 2006, 2:47:30 PM5/24/06
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mra...@willamette.edu wrote:

> I've seen a lot of internet fads come and go and I think Wikipedia is
> here to stay. Thoughts on what Wikipedia will look in 2020?

Don't know about 2020, but I think quite soon Wikipedia and Google will be
linked into a GIS database, thus enabling one to search contents also via
graphical location interface, if there's need to. Say, there's a
GoogleEarth like interface and you want to get information on road network
of Finland. Click the "roads" on Finnish map and click on the Oulu-Kuusamo
road. You get various articles on it, including links to road
adminstration database where you can get the local traffic situation,
weather etc. Click on the swamp symbol on northern side of the road and
you get an article on swamp ecology etc...

Or say, you want to get information on novels which have connection to
Eastern Minnesota. Draw a box around particular part of Minnesota, type
"novels with connection..." and you get the list of novels set upon the
scene. If you click further, you can get to novel as .pdf file or a movie
version etc...

For history, one will need also a time interface. Say, you want to know
what happened in 11 November 1918. You click the time interface, move your
cursor over Alsace-Lorraine and can click on timeline "11 November 1918 -
As Germany surrenders Alsace-Lorraine will be returned to France". You
click on another panel and get the statistical information on number of
cheese produced in 1918 if you want.

It will be a great research tool, but will also rise new controversies
first, for there will be a number of really bad pieces of
statistical research produced. There's a joke among statisticians in
Finland on connection between ice-cream and drowning, how ice-cream
industry is hiding the evil results of it's activities like tobacco
industry used to do. Every time there's a rise in ice-cream sales there
will be also a rise in deaths due to
drowning...

(in warm summer days more people are out in the lakes or sea in flimsy
boats...)

-Jukka Raustia

Jaakko Raipala

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May 25, 2006, 8:55:46 AM5/25/06
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mra...@willamette.edu <mra...@willamette.edu> kirjoitti:

> Will Wikipedia grow in respectability? I can't see it being quoted
> in journals or anything, but do High School teachers accept it as a
> source? Will someday college profession accept it as a source?

Mike, you're a student/have been a student, right? What would your
professors have said if you handed them something using Encyclopedia
Britannica as a "source"?

It's hard to imagine Wikipedia surpassing "real" encyclopedias in
*accuracy*, although it may reach them; it is of course clearly not
possible for an anonymous work like Wikipedia to ever become
*respectable*. I don't know much about the American school levels, but
over here, once students are past what's about comparable to "high
school", they're definitely expected to understand that even
respectable encyclopedias are not credible sources. Wikipedia will
always been seen as an even lesser work and it will be rejected by any
demanding schoolteacher.

Of course, there may be less anonymous, more restrictive offshoots of
Wikipedia, which may become more credible.

> Also, as data storage gets better it won't be that hard to store the
> entire text of Wikipedia on your cell phone or something. Effects?

Smartasses everywhere get a lot more annoying.

mra...@willamette.edu

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May 25, 2006, 5:17:07 PM5/25/06
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Jaakko Raipala wrote:

> *respectable*. I don't know much about the American school levels, but
> over here, once students are past what's about comparable to "high
> school", they're definitely expected to understand that even
> respectable encyclopedias are not credible sources.

The way I remember it:
Grade School & Junior High - You could still use encyclopedia's as your
main source.
High School - You could use it a little bit, but you had to back it up
with other stuff.
College - Don't even try.

--
Mike Ralls

dougla...@gmail.com

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May 25, 2006, 6:01:48 PM5/25/06
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that's my recollection as well. and I have heard that HS teachers are
calling cites to wikipedia 'plagiarism.' I am not sure where they
pulled that from - everything you cite is written by someone.

Doug

Paul Melville Austin

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May 25, 2006, 8:51:38 PM5/25/06
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Wiki covers more subjects than paper encyclopedias can for example
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