Wikipedia Zero Draft

Wikipedia Zero Draft - Leo Spornstarr Barbara Shwom...

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Leo Spornstarr Barbara Shwom Freshman Seminar 19 October 2010 The Wikipedia Quandary Each day, approximately thirteen percent of all individuals who use the internet visit this website. There are approximately 17 million articles in 275 different languages according to the sites’ official page. One might assume that this site is obviously an online dictionary or encyclopedia. Both of those guesses are right: The site is Wikipedia. Wikipedia, the seventh most visited in the entire world according to Alexa, is often the subject of controversy. Despite the vast number of users and topics, each day the credibility of these articles comes into question. Through an analysis of who contributes to Wikipedia, what critics and proponents of Wikipedia say, and how vandalism is handled, one can understand why there is a controversy regarding the validity of Wikipedia as a source of information. Before an analysis of the actual information Wikipedia contains, one must first analyze who contributes the information. The word wiki is a particular kind of website that allows for any visitor to easily modify the sites material. This can potentially lead to an enormous output as anyone with access to the internet can visit and change the site as he wishes. However, there is also a downfall in this aspect. Anyone who disagrees with what is being said or wants to potentially vandalize the website can do so with ease. There are approximately 26 million registered users of Wikipedia and five thousand administrators. This does not take into account the hundreds of millions anonymous edits that are made by people all over the world daily. A study performed by Dartmouth College in 2007 revealed some interesting characteristics regarding the editors of Wikipedia. The study compared the users of Dutch and French Wikipedia, registered users versus anonymous ones, and the retention rate of these edits. In general, the highest
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retention rates of edits belonged to “one-time, anonymous Good Samaritans [and] committed experts” (Dartmouth 21). Anonymous individuals who contributed too often and registered individuals who rarely added things generally had their edits removed. It also concluded that anonymous users had a higher retention rate, 74%, than registered users, only 70%, which the researchers found most baffling. The general Wikipedia article retains about 72% of all edits which is an enormously high number. Finally, the study discovered that articles that are larger in size generally have the highest quality. This is because
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Wikipedia Zero Draft - Leo Spornstarr Barbara Shwom...

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