Speaker Angele Beesley
Time 2009-01-22 09:30
Conference LCA2009

Where it started:

  • wiki-wiki bus
  • wiki - quick way of cerating a website
  • Nupedia - published about 12 articles
    • difficult process to be allowed to edit pages
  • Wikipedia - allow anyone to edit

Read by billions - edited by hundreds.

1/4 billion readers a month; 8.7 illion registered users; core group of a few hundred make most edits


20% to 60% of edits come from Bots.

We want more editors:

  • article quality improves with more editors
  • Wikipedia Academies - reach out to more people
  • tutorial videos, guides, etc.
  • make it easier to use

Usable and Complex

  • Can we make it more usable for new comers, while maintaining complexity?
  • It was user friendly at the time it started in 2001, but has slowly become harder to use, while other systems have become easier to use.
  • some features are machine readable but not user readable.

Stanton Usability Project:

  1. Research and analysis
  2. Simple changes
    • some people don’t realize that they can edit pages; make this more obvious.
  3. Redesign of the article editor
  • Replace wikitext with WYSIWYG. People can just see content and edit that if that is all that is designed.
  • Make it easier to upload images.

Reliant of donations for funding. Fundraising raised US$6.2 million (A$9.3 million).

Advertising on Wikipedia


  • may cheapen content
  • ads annoying
  • contributors may leave
  • privacy concerns
  • customer user base may change
  • not financially necessary
  • threat to neutrality of content
  • threat to independence of design


  • can afford to do a lot more with wikipedia


Goal: Financial sustainability

Reliant on donations

Most donations are small donations from many people. Not expected to be affected significantly from economic times.

Currently have link to commercial company on some image pages. This has been debated.

Online in print

Selling books

PediaPress on Wikibooks, may be on Wikipedia this quarter.


Increase usage on mobile phones. Working with mobile phone operators.


Using wiki content in game. Can read the wiki while you are playing the game.


Wikipedia has reputation of being unreliable, despite studies saying otherwise.

Mark revision as checked. Users would see latest checked version by default, but could go to latest unchecked one if they want. People are debating if this is a good thing or not. People wouldn’t see the latest version of the article by default.

Need to give media (journalists) positive stories, to push out the bad stories.

Deletionism vs Inclusionism

Wiki is not paper. We are not constrained by the same factors as a paper encyclopedia. We should use the technology to its fullest.


Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. It is not a free for all. We can’t include everything.

Thousands of articles are deleted every day.

4th most visited site.

Tiny in some languages.

Accessible or Blocked

conflict with vision of allowing everyone access.

https://wikinews.org/ blocked in China.

Various past blocks. China, Tunisia, Iran, Turkey, and UK.

UK block was removed after media attention drawn to issue.


Upgraded from 2TB to 48TB in 2008, donated from Sun.

3.8 million files

Plans to supports films/videos

100M upload limit. We plan to increase this. Any upload will be possible as long as it is a free license and open file format.

Wiki != Wikipedia

Wikipedia is only one of millions of wikis.

Wikis exist for every topic people care about.

eg. Star Wars has numerous wikis.

Get involved


Join Wikimedia Australia

Free content vs Fair use

  • How free is “Free enough”?
  • “Fair use” in what countries?

Picture of historic importance may be covered by copyright. Fair use allows wikipedia to use it.

Vegan meal with Chicken. Cook says: “There is no vegan equivalent to fried chicken. It’s simply not replaceable”.

“We have two goals at this vegan dinner: to be vegan and to be a dinner. And those two goals sometimes conflict with each other”


What does a free encyclopedia mean?


Not just technical issues that put new users off. Social issues too. Confusing polices.

Question: Is it possible to make it too easy? You want contributors to have a certain level of contributions. Answer: No, we don’t need contributors to be intelligent. We want to allow people with not much spare time to make changes.

Original research. We need to get more experts involved. We don’t want to go back to Nupedia and restrict people who can make edits.

Wikipedia addiction. How many edits by one person is too much? See “Are you a wikipedia holic test” page on the wikipedia.