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Submissions/Myths about Wikipedia

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2015 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this July.

Submission no.
Title of the submission

Myths about Wikipedia

Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)


Author of the submission

Ziko, Ziko van Dijk

E-mail address




Country of origin

Germany, living in the Netherlands

Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)

University of Dortmund

Personal homepage or blog


Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

In the last ten years, especially the last five years, a huge number of scientific works has dealt with Wikipedia. Some of them study its basic principle, the wiki way. Still there is a lot to explore, but based mostly on the Wikipedia experience we have a certain set of assumptions or rules that explain how a wiki works. So if you want to learn about wikis, or even create one yourself, you can build on that.

We wouldn't talk about wikis if it were'nt for Wikipedia, for sure. But Wikipedia came into existence at a peticular point of time, and it did not have much of a competitor. The Wikipedia experience might be dated.

For example, many definitions about a wiki say that it is an 'easy' way to create web pages. This ease or simplicity is often remarkably emphasized. Of course editing a wiki as we know it is much easier than editing a page in HTML, but compared to modern use of internet tools, our wikis are certainly no longer easier to edit than what people nowadays are used to.

We tend to believe that a wiki should have a lot of good content, in order to attract more readers. If it has more readers, more people will edit: readership leads to participation. In a Wikimedia metrics contribution (January 2015), Erik Möller expressed some doubt, because: Many people try to edit but fail, it cannot be a simple math.

Possibly we collected a lot of myths or assumptions on wikis over the last years. Is the history of Nupedia really a proof that only an open editing system can make an encyclopedia grow? Was CC-BY-SA the only possible licence model for a wiki encyclopedia? Does it have to be a non profit?

This contribution on Wikimania will make some basic observations on the nature of wikis, as a step to a theory of wiki. I am not advocating for immediate changes in the Wikipedia system, but I would like to broaden our mind again a bit. The way to knowledge does not start with answers, it starts with questions.

  • WikiCulture & Community
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
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Slides or further information (optional)
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  1. --Gnom (talk) 00:50, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 12:10, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Risker (talk) 02:25, 8 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
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