According to the texts we've read for today's class, fill out the sections below. Be sure to cite your sources and link to any outside texts you use.

Wikipedia's BeginningsEdit

Jimbo Wales first created Bomis, a site meant to help people find erotic photography. The money he made from the advertisements and subscriptions from his sight went towards his new idea: "a quality encyclopedia that was free for everyone to access, copy, and alter for other purposes."[1]

When sales dropped at Bomis, Wales wanted to find a way to create his encyclopedia, called Nupedia, that would not cost anything. He and his team decided to open the encyclopedia to "the public at large, at first to draft some articles which could then be subject to Nupedia’s formal editing process, and then to offer “open review” comments to parallel a more elite peer review."[2]

There were three major factors to the beginning of Wikipedia:

Verkeersbordvrij[3] Edit

Verkeersbordvrij is a lack of rules. There were a few rules at first meant to keep things running, only that people should maintain a neutral point of view when writing.

Discussion Page[4] Edit

The discussion page was where editors and creators could explain their resoning for changes and compare notes about the given topic.

Initial Editors[5] Edit

The original editors followed Wales from Nupedia and all had the same code of ethics and expertise.

  1. Zittrain, Jonathan. "The Lessons of Wikipedia." The future of the internet--and how to stop it. Yale University Press, 2008. 133.
  2. Zittrain, Jonathan. "The Lessons of Wikipedia." The future of the internet--and how to stop it. Yale University Press, 2008. 133.
  3. Zittrain, Jonathan. "The Lessons of Wikipedia." The future of the internet--and how to stop it. Yale University Press, 2008. 133.
  4. Zittrain, Jonathan. "The Lessons of Wikipedia." The future of the internet--and how to stop it. Yale University Press, 2008. 134.
  5. Zittrain, Jonathan. "The Lessons of Wikipedia." The future of the internet--and how to stop it. Yale University Press, 2008. 133.

Wikipedia's Ethos and PhilosophyEdit


According to the Zittrain's Lesson of Wikipedia, the philosophy of Europe’s ‘Great Traffic Experiment’ was based on the idea that when you take away rules and regulations, the public takes on more responsibility and this results in a better system than if there were strict rules. This same situation is applied to Wikipedia. The way it is designed - less rules and restrictions - everyone feel responsible, and everyone has to work together to benefit from the site.


There is some governance which oversees the activities and pages that are created. The editors also have responsibility to be ethical and provide correct and accurate information. 

Wikipedia's Style of Governance Edit

Everyone starts off on Wikipedia as an editor, but once you’ve become an avid editor on the site/ forum you can apply to become an administrator. if an editor is really good and chooses not to apply for an administrative position they can receive a “barnstar,” sometimes self appointed, which is literally just a digital gold star on their page.

Being an administrator means you can do stuff like blocking editors from creating content. Editors can be blocked after they have reached a certain number of false/ questionable posts.

Administrators are controlled by the bureaucrats. Bureaucrats basically just promote and demote editors and administrators. Bureaucrats are appointed by other bureaucrats. Bureaucrats report to an elected committee, the board of Wikimedia foundation, or to Jimbo Wales, the owner of the Wikipedia foundation. There are also paid positions at the site as editors, roughly equivalent to an administrator

Wikipedia's Benefits/Possibilities Edit

Wikipedia is a free, highly accessible, and very convenient peer-edited online encyclopedia. Wikipedia allows its viewers to see many different viewpoints with thousands of editors working on the site. Wikipedia can be considered a reservoir of human knowledge which Jonathan Zittrain has likened to a "digital Libraries of Alexandria, in their ability to provide the world's information in a few clicks," in his work The Future of the Internet.

Wikipedia was created to be a source of information freely available to everyone, and the ability to edit and share one’s own knowledge, as well as others, maintains the integrity of the site. Wikipedia has thousands of editors, meaning that there are people constantly working on creating new articles and editing existing ones. Editors include a reference section at the bottom of each page that allows the viewer to find and verify where the articles’ author got their information. Wikipedia articles are provided in over 230 languages and dialects, which helps to break down the barrier of information between different cultures.

While Wikipedia has a wealth of information on virtually every topic imaginable, sometimes this information is too complete. This is why Wikipedia has numerous “Sub-Wikis” that allow for different perspectives. The most popular of these is “simple.wikipedia.” Simple.wikipedia condenses complex topics down to a few paragraphs, allowing non-educated audiences access to traditionally complex topics. While not available in every language, this simple tool greatly increases the availability of human knowledge.

Wikipedia's Limitations/Issues Edit

Wikipedia has grown immensely along with the expansion and use of the internet.  Although it is widely used and consumed, some people don't believe it's a reliable source because anyone has the power to edit the site, and change the information previously displayed.  Editors are employed in order to filter the information published, however it is possible for there to still be flaws.  Having editors alter the information before it is published can also potentially lead to a personal bias.  The amount of editors is also decreasing

-Can lead to categories that insinuate prejudice against other groups (like Female's in the article being taken out of the general American Novelist category)

-While facts are technically true, some important information could be ommitted, leading audience astray

-Amount of editors are decreasing, which leads to information being produced by a limited population which could also lead to bias

Latest activityEdit

Photos and videos are a great way to add visuals to your wiki. Find videos about your topic by exploring Wikia's Video Library.

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