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Wikipedia Gets Big Grant To Simplify Contribution Process

$890,000 towards letting more people make edits

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Back in March, the official article count for all versions of Wikipedia combined hit 10 million.  It was an impressive moment, but one that might have come much sooner if not for some overly complicated procedures.  So Wikipedia has been given a large grant to make contributing to the volunteer-written encyclopedia easier.

Want to know how difficult contributing is as things stand?  Take a look at Wikipedia’s own 4,600-word piece on editing articles.  Between its length and the markup language, it’s the sort of thing that will cause even English majors to say, "I ain’t reading all that."

Wikipedia Page
 Wikipedia’s Lengthy Editing Guide

Sue Gardner, the Wikimedia Foundation’s executive director, acknowledged in a statement, "Wikipedia attracts writers who have a moderate-to-high level of technical understanding, but it excludes lots of smart, knowledgeable people who are less tech-centric.  One of our key priorities is to attract those people and persuade them to help write and edit the encyclopedia."

And the Stanton Foundation has stepped in with $890,000 to make that happen.  Its money should back a small project team.  According to a release, the team will "commission research to identify the most common barriers to entry for first-time writers, and then work to systematically reduce or eliminate them.  It will specifically focus on hiding complex elements of the user interface from people who don’t need them."

This effort is scheduled to start in January and continue through April 2010.  Improvements should be rolled out along the way, and it’ll no doubt be interesting to see what sort of new interest in Wikipedia comes about as a result.

Wikipedia Gets Big Grant To Simplify Contribution Process
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  • http://www.medlawplus.com Joe

    I have a suggestion to wikipedia for incentivizing people to contribute–pay them with links. Remember high school football (and even some colleges) where the coach awarded little star worn on the helmet to players who had particularly good games? Why not do that for wiki contributors. Wikipedia already has editors who review contributions. Thus, when they review a contribution that is deemed meritorious, give the contributor a link to go at the bottom of the page (under the heading of “contributors to this page”). The chance to get links from Wikipedia will set off a barnstorm of people trying to write good copy for wikipedia. You only give a link to superior contributors (no auto link given) so the spam folks are just spinning their wheels.

    • Chris Crum

      That’s an interesting idea. You know how Google loves Wikipedia too.

  • http://www.trainingreiki.com Reiki

    Google might not love em so much if they do that :)

  • http://www.dogarthritiscare.com/rimadyl.php rimadyl

    I mean this small contribution has a huge effect for the Wikipedia Community.It will help making edits easier and this is done by Volunteers with no pay.This simply helps Wikipedia from resorting to advertisement which is a bad move for it if implemented.I don’t want ads in my Wikipedia page.

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