Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wikipedia is NOT going to fall, at least in the foreseeable future

No, today's top news in Techmeme is not about Darwin, but an argument "Doomed: why Wikipedia will fail". Is it real? Sorry, I don't think so.

In the article, Eric Goldman (a Law Professor) predicted the inevitable failure of Wikipedia by arguing that by choosing either being "high quality" or keeping on being "open" the destination of Wikipedia is toward "a death spiral".

There is, however, a flaw in Goldman's statement. Why can't Wikipedia be both of "high quality" and "open" at the same time? The hypothesis that "the encyclopedia must choose between being high-quality or freely editable; it can't have both" itself is incorrect. To reach "high quality" we need human maintenance. To reach "open" we demand human participation. Nevertheless are the two goals not conflict to each other, they are supplement to each other.

The key of solving the dilemma is to make maintaining "high quality" be a profitable action! This improvement in the business model requires innovation and creative mind. But it is definitely a goal approachable. And it is another example of why the Web must move from UGC to UGA. When Wikipedia turns the "high quality" maintenance to be a user's profitable action, Wikipedia literally will have been converted its user-generated content (the Wikipedia entries) to user-generated asset (the profitable Wikipedia entries). But be careful, the "profitable" first means that the users who help Wikipedia maintain the respective entries may make profit by offering the help. Then the second it means Wikipedia may produce more revenue by upgrading its business model from UGC to UGA.

Is this hint enough to solve the dilemma? ;-) Yes.


Anonymous said...

Well wikipedia can progress the scholarpedia idea further..............they can start screening the experts who can edit there and pay them for editing too.
That way they should try to be a competition for the science journals, which take one hell lot of a time to publish anyway....
Ofcourse the road is long and hard but i think that's the next step not only for Wikipedia but also Web as a whole....

Yihong Ding said...


thank you for the comment. But why does Wikipedia have to pay? Can't Wikipedia find another way to let others pay for the "experts"?

You know, when something becomes an asset, itself has the value of exchange. This is truly where the revolution will be in contrast to asking readers to pay for the information.