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This page is part of the Proceedings of Wikimania 2006 (Index of presentations)

Observations From The Bridge: Why Wikipedia Is So Attractive

Author Alex Schenck
Track Projects and Content
License Heckert GNU.png GNU Free Documentation License (details)
About the author
Alex Schenck has been an active member of the English Wikipedia since early 2005. He became an administrator in June 2005 and a bureaucrat in December 2005. He focuses on administration, editor relations and dispute resolution in addition to article improvement and upkeep. He is credited with two featured articles: Civil Air Patrol and Half-Life 2. Alex is currently enrolled at the New England Institute of Technology as an information technology major. He enjoys aviation, instrumental music, fencing, firearm sports, and computer gaming.
Abstract
Like virtually any other major project, Wikipedia's success is not an accident. There are reasons why Wikipedia has evolved from the brainchild of a few to a major Internet and social phenomenon. The project itself is built upon a foundation of values and practices that encourage a healthy and dynamic environment perfect for an academically-sound encyclopedia. This presentation, given by English Wikipedia bureaucrat Alex Schenck, highlights the driving forces behind Wikipedia's popularity with both its editors and the public. Questions such as "why do editors stay with the project" and "what drives people to edit Wikipedia in the first place" are answered by Wikipedians themselves. In addition, this presentation will offer insightful suggestions for how Wikipedia could be combined with other existing practices that may further increase Wikipedia's attractiveness to potential editors and readers. Specific examples, such as the accessibility and approachability of help from administration, the transparency of administrative actions, and the friendly atmosphere that is encouraged within the community, are part of a strong foundation that Wikipedia is built upon. It is this type of environment that any collaborative project would be wise to mimic.
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