Predictions of Wikipedia's end

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"Will Wikipedia exist in 20 years?", a 2017 discussion between Yochai Benkler and Katherine Maher

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, established in 2001. Various publications and commentators have offered a range of predictions of Wikipedia's end. Scenarios have included a degradation in quality of Wikipedia's articles preventing the site from functioning due to people becoming less and less willing to read or edit its pages, another website killing Wikipedia, and narratives of how disagreements between critics and Wikipedia's administration will somehow lead to the disbanding of Wikipedia as a project.

Some predictions present a criticism of Wikipedia as a fatal flaw, and some go on to predict that another website will do what Wikipedia does, but without that fatal flaw, thus making it a Wikipedia-killer, capturing the attention and resources which Wikipedia currently gets. Proposed replacements for Wikipedia have included Google's since-closed Knol,[1][2] Wolfram Alpha,[3] and AOL's Owl.[4]

  • Some critics cite specific hoaxes, error, propaganda and other poor content, and assert that the lack of good content will lead to people finding better content elsewhere.[5][6]
  • Wikipedia is crowdsourced by a few million volunteer editors. Tens of thousands contribute the majority of contents and do quality control and maintenance work. In the 2010s their numbers have not steadily grown and have sometimes declined. Various sources have predicted that Wikipedia will eventually have too few editors to be functional, and will collapse due to lack of participation.[5][7][8][9][10][11][12]
  • Wikipedia has a few thousand volunteer "administrators" who perform various functions, including functions similar to those carried out by a forum moderator. Critics have described their actions as harsh, bureaucratic, biased, unfair, or capricious, and predicted that the resulting outrage will lead to the site's closure.[5][13][14] Note that sometimes the actions of ordinary Wikipedia editors are erroneously attributed to administrators, by critics who lack a clear understanding of how Wikipedia's editing process works.

References

  1. ^ Helft, Miguel (23 July 2008). "Wikipedia, Meet Knol". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Dawson, Christopher (28 July 2008). "Google Knol - Yup, it's a Wikipedia killer". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. 
  3. ^ Dawson, Christopher (17 May 2009). "Wolfram Alpha: Wikipedia killer?". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. 
  4. ^ Techcrunch (18 January 2010). "Is Owl AOL's Wikipedia-Killer?". www.mediapost.com. 
  5. ^ a b c Simonite, Tom (22 October 2013). "The Decline of Wikipedia". MIT Technology Review. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 
  6. ^ Dawson, Christopher (9 December 2008). "Will Virgin Killer be a Wikipedia killer?". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. 
  7. ^ Lih, Andrew (20 June 2015). "Can Wikipedia Survive?". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Halfaker, Aaron; Geiger, R. Stuart; Morgan, Jonathan T.; Riedl, John (28 December 2012). "The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System" (PDF). American Behavioral Scientist. pp. 664–688. doi:10.1177/0002764212469365. 
  9. ^ Chen, Adrian (4 August 2011). "Wikipedia Is Slowly Dying". Gawker. 
  10. ^ Brown, Andrew (25 June 2015). "Wikipedia editors are a dying breed. The reason? Mobile". The Guardian. 
  11. ^ Angwin, Julia; Fowler, Geoffrey A. (27 November 2009). "Volunteers Log Off as Wikipedia Ages". Wall Street Journal. 
  12. ^ Derakhshan, Hossein (19 October 2017). "How Social Media Endangers Knowledge". Wired. 
  13. ^ James, Andrea (14 February 2017). "Watching Wikipedia's extinction event from a distance". Boing Boing. 
  14. ^ Carr, Nicholas G. (24 May 2006). "The death of Wikipedia". ROUGH TYPE. 
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