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Wikipedia and Commons based Peer Production

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Wikipedia and Commons based Peer Production. Jimmy Wales. President, Wikimedia Foundation ... Wikimedia Commons. Wikinews. Wikimedia's Hardware. 40 servers ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Wikipedia and Commons based Peer Production


1
Wikipedia and Commons based Peer Production
  • Jimmy Wales
  • President, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Wikipedia Founder

2
What is Wikipedia?
  • Wikipedia is a freely licensed encyclopedia
    written by thousands of volunteers in many
    languages
  • Free license allows others to freely copy,
    redistribute, and modify our work commercially or
    non-commercially
  • Founded January 15, 2001
  • wikipedia.org

3
What is the Wikimedia Foundation?
  • Non-profit foundation
  • Aims to distribute a free encyclopedia to every
    single person on the planet in their own language
  • Wikipedia and its sister projects
  • Funded by public donations
  • Applying for grants
  • wikimediafoundation.org

4
Advantages of Free License
  • Remains non-proprietary
  • Decreases individual sense of ownership
  • Increases a sense of shared ownership
  • Enhances the popularity of Wikipedia
  • Attribution requirement extends brand

5
Free Software
  • MediaWiki is GPL
  • We use all free software on the website
  • GNU/Linux
  • Apache
  • MySQL
  • Php

6
How big is Wikipedia?
  • English Wikipedia is largest and has over 130
    million words
  • English Wikipedia larger than Britannica and
    Microsoft Encarta combined
  • In 15 months the publicly distributed compressed
    database dumps may reach 1 terabyte total size

7
How big is Wikipedia Globally?
  • English 533,000 articles
  • German 220,000 article
  • Japanese 110,000 articles
  • French 100,000 articles
  • Swedish 71,000 articles
  • Nearly 1.5 million across 200 languages
  • 20 with gt10,000. 50 with gt1000

8
How popular is Wikipedia?
  • According to Alexa.com, Wikipedia is more popular
    than the websites of
  • Expedia
  • Paypal
  • Excite
  • Geocities
  • New York Times
  • 500 Million pageviews monthly

9
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10
Slashdotting
  • We used to worry about it, but now we are big
    enough to barely notice…
  • Instead we worry about…

11
Popedotting
12
Wikimedia Projects
  • Wikipedia
  • Wiktionary
  • Wikibooks
  • Wikisource
  • Wikiquote
  • Wikispecies
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Wikinews

13
Wikimedias Hardware
  • 40 servers
  • Squid caching servers in front to serve cached
    objects quickly
  • Apache/PHP webservers in the middle
  • Database backend (MySql)

14
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15
MediaWiki
  • MediaWiki is one of many wiki engines
  • Collaborative software that allows users to add
    or edit content
  • Primarily developed for Wikipedia from 2002
    onwards
  • Scalable and multilingual
  • Free license

16
MediaWiki features
  • Quality control features (versioning)
  • Editing features (simple markup)
  • Community features (talk pages, profiles, access
    levels)

17
Our use of MySQL
  • We serve around a half billion pageviews per
    month
  • 200 million queries per day
  • 1. 2 million changes per day
  • At peak times we handle nearly 6000 queries per
    second
  • Using MySQL replication, Master 4 Slaves 1
    for backup

18
Problems we have
  • Our database schema is suboptimal but will
    improve in MediaWiki 1.5
  • A few slow queries can sometimes slow the site,
    as performance on a box goes from 2500/s to
    1000/s
  • Replication is fragile - and if anything goes
    wrong we have to go read only and resync
    everything

19
Development Challenges
  • Wiki text is freeform, but many types of data are
    better handled in a structured way
  • Routine server administration by volunteers works
    o.k. now, but as our traffic continues to double
    we need help
  • Unlike editing and reading, there is a learning
    curve

20
Development Challenges
  • Unlike editing and reading, there is a learning
    curve
  • We need people to start getting involved now
    before the need is critical

21
Page History
22
Organisation by the Community
  • The free-form nature of the wiki software lets
    the community determine how it wants to interact
  • ExampleVotes For Deletion

23
Two Views of Wikipedia
  • Emergent Phenomenon, pseudoDarwinian
  • Community of thoughtful users

24
A former Britannica editor…
  • Some unspecified quasi-Darwinian process will
    assure that those writings and editings by
    contributors of greatest expertise will survive
    articles will eventually reach a steady state
    that corresponds to the highest degree of
    accuracy.
  • Does someone actually believe this? Evidently so.

25
Emergent Phenomenon?
  • Thousands of individual users who dont know each
    other each contribute a little bit
  • Out of this emerges a coherent body of work

26
A Community?
Berlin
London
Genoa
A dedicated group of a few hundred volunteers who
know each other and work to guarantee the quality
and integrity of the content.
27
Implications
  • Emergent Model
  • Need reputation mechanisms like Ebay, Slashdot
  • Users are tiny, have no power
  • Community Model
  • Reputation is a natural outgrowth of human
    interactions
  • Users are powerful, must be respected

28
80/10 Rule
  • Counting only logged in users, and even excluding
    some prominent approved bot users
  • 10 percent of all users make 80 of all edits
  • 5 percent of all users make 66 of edits
  • Half of all edits are made by just 2 1/2 percent
    of all users

29
Edits by Anons
  • Controversial, intruiging
  • Yes, you can edit this page
  • Without logging in!

30
Edits by Anons -
  • Anonymous ip numbers can edit Wikipedia, and do
  • But these edits make up a total of around 18 of
    all edits, with some evidence of a downward trend
    over time
  • Anecdotally, many regular users report sometimes
    editing anonymously by accident or as a quiet
    form of Sock Puppeting

31
Edits across namespaces
  • Articles 85
  • Talk pages 8
  • User Page 3
  • User Talk Pages 4
  • These percentages are stable in 2003
  • And 2004

32
Wikipedia Governance
  • A confusing but workable mix of
  • Consensus
  • Democracy
  • Aristocracy
  • Monarchy
  • Wikipedians are flexible about social
    methodology results over process

33
Community Challenges
  • How can such a large community scale?
  • Through software features
  • Through policy (mediation, arbitration)
  • Through an atmosphere of love and respect

34
Neutral Point of View policy
  • NPOV - Neutral Point of View
  • Diverse political, religious, cultural
    backgrounds
  • Kept together by our NPOV policy
  • NPOV is a social concept of co-operation, avoids
    some philosophical issues.

35
Conclusion
  • Wikipedia is a community
  • Automated and artificial Slashdot-style
    reputation metrics are not needed and may not be
    desirable
  • Peer production on the net requires respect for
    individuals in the community who take leadership
    roles
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