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MindRush 2016: I hate the word 'crowdsourcing', says Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales

Sonal Khetarpal     December 17, 2016

Speaking on 'Why Positive Deviance Works', at Business Today's MindRush 2016, Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, declared that despite the increasing incidence of fake news sites across the world, Wikipedia has not been impacted.

The onus of this, he said, is on Wikipedia's community of volunteers who vigilantly write and edit the content. While it has a pool of 80,000 volunteers, the real content comes from 3,000-5,000 people only, who are very passionate about it and act as Wikipedia's gatekeeper.

Contrary to what people think, he said, Wikipedia does not work on the crowdsourcing model. "I hate the word crowdsourcing," he said, adding that the idea of this word comes from outsourcing; finding cheaper labour in another country to get work done at a reduced cost.


Reminding the audience about the 'bigger motive' of Wikipedia, he said, "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge." The platform is global, right from the time it started, and is free to be accessed by all, and free to be distributed and repurposed.

The platform has around 400-plus million unique visitors every month, as per com score. But Wales is working towards making it more inclusive. Interestingly, the authors of Wikipedia are 87 per cent. "It is a big problem," he said. "The deeper cultural issue is that men can write authoritatively about topics they know nothing about; women, meanwhile, tend to be more cautious and sensible."


To build a diverse community with a neutral point of view, Wikipedia along with BBC did a 12-hour edit-a-thon called '100Women' aimed at growing the number of female editors, and adding women who deserve to be recognised. There were events in 13 countries in multiple languages to close the gender gap on the world's largest non-profit focused on spreading information.

Wales also spoke of another initiative to make the platform accessible and, hence, the focus on increasing pages in regional languages. The rise in the number of pages on Wikipedia in Indian languages shows the increasing internet penetration in the country. From 57,823 pages in Hindi in 2010, the pages almost doubled to 114,434 in 2016. In fact, the number of pages in Tamil and Malayalam almost tripled - Tamil grew from 25,623 to 89,592 and Malayalam from 14,830 to 46,840.


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