German Government To Give Wikipedia A Boost

    June 26, 2007

This is a stereotype, but at least it’s a positive one: the Germans are an efficient and precise people.  Now, for less of a stereotype and more of a fact: Wikipedia can be far from precise.  You may be surprised to learn, then, that the German government is going to give resources to the German version of the site.

Well, “give” may be too loose a word.  Torsten Kleinz and Craig Morris of heise online report, “Germany will be setting aside part of its budget to improve information about renewable resources in Wikipedia.  Over the next few years, several hundred articles will be written on this issue.”

Unless you’re feeling picky about how Germany spends its tax revenue, it’s hard to construe this development as a bad thing.  Indeed, state sponsorship could grant Wikipedia the kind of credibility it has long lacked.  As for what Wikipedia can do for Germany (or for renewable resources, as the case may be), Kleinz and Morris turned to project director Florian Gerlach.

“There are enough printed publications on this topic,” admitted Gerlach.  “But if you want to look something up you will probably go to Wikipedia.”  So that’s where the exchange seems to occur: popularity for cash.

And it’s not so strange that all of this is taking place over renewable resources; Germany has a long history of conservation and environmentalism.  Thanks to the its involvement with Wikipedia, wind and solar power are liable to get a boost, and user-generated content may come out a winner, as well.