How Wikipedia democratized information
The Encyclopaedia Britannica for more than two centuries was considered the holy grail of referencing. In its most comprehensive edition it had 120,000 entries.
Wikipedia on the other hand has 38 million entries in over 250 different languages.
It appears those curating The Encyclopaedia Britannica didn’t think humanity was interested in a whole slew of animals walking around with fake diplomas, or toilet paper orientation, or a list of lists of lists.
Yes they all exist. And whilst the site is filled with the weird and wonderful, the underlying premise of the not for profit that runs mostly on donations is not to be ignored. A throwback to what the Internet was supposed to be. A global, democratic brain where ideas can be freely swapped and individuals are encouraged to do so.
A community within itself, Wikipedia democratized information and there’s a clear power structure that gives volunteer administrators the authority to exercise editorial control, delete unsuitable articles and protect those that are vulnerable to vandalism.
Wikipedia isn’t just one of the top ten most popular services on the Internet, next to Google, Amazon and Facebook, but one of the first places we go to check our facts.
In a particularly special episode of the Hot Topics podcast we sat down with Jimmy Wales, Co-Founder of Wikipedia, to discuss democratized information, freedom of expression and censorship, as well as making the worlds largest freely available encyclopaedia accessible to every single person on the planet.
Jimmy Wales explains that there’s “certainly a long way to go” and shares his plans for Wikipedia Zero.
“One of the biggest challenges to individuals in the developing world is providing access to the Internet, people to those that don’t have it and for those that access to the Internet is very expensive are unlikely to benefit from Wikipedia as it is exclusively online.”
See above for this week’s episode.