> Eric wrote:
> > How does turning on nofollow punish anyone? Nobody is entitled to
> > free pagerank just because they've been listed on Wikipedia.
> I see two possibilities:
> 1) Wikipedia specifically has a very high influence on a site's
> ranking. In this case, turning off nofollow will alter the shape of
> the web in search engines which respect it. If the average quality of
> links in Wikipedia is higher than the average quality of links outside
> Wikipedia, the quality of these search engine results as a whole will
> deteriorate. This is not about entitlement, it is about using the
> influence we have responsibly.
> 2) Due to mirrors, enabling or disabling nofollow has hardly any
> visible effect on search engine rankings. In that case, it would be a
> placebo effect.
> As I said, I think timing the addition of external links and enabling
> nofollow only for recent additions might be a reasonable compromise.
I think we need to start asking another question, and not from Wikipedia or
any Wikimedia project. My question is: *why* is Google making mirrored
content from Wikipedia appear so high up in their search results? Surely
that is killing off the effectiveness of their own search tool? I have
always wondered why critics blame us for this, when we are only giving away
Surely with Google's super smart workforce they would have worked out how to
exclude or give less weight to Wikipedia mirrors by now?
TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World
>From the Magazine | Scientists & Thinkers
The (Proud) Amateur Who Created Wikipedia
By CHRIS ANDERSON
Posted Tuesday, Apr. 25, 2006
"Edit this page." Just three little words, but what a miracle they have
wrought. Just about every entry on Wikipedia.org, the online encyclopedia,
invites visitors to fiddle. Is the entry incomplete? Add something. Is it
wrong? Correct it. Is it biased? Edit away. That such a remarkably open-door
policy has resulted in the biggest (and perhaps best) encyclopedia in the
world is a testament to the vision of one man, Jimmy Wales.
Wales, 39, is a former options trader who in 1999 set out to reinvent the
encyclopedia for the Internet age—free, up-to-date and available to all. He
started the way most encyclopedists start, by commissioning articles from
experts and subjecting them to peer review. After 18 months, he had a
pitiful 12 entries; at that rate, it would take a few millenniums to equal
Encyclopaedia Britannica. So Wales created a free-form companion site based
on a little-known software program called a wiki (the Hawaiian term means
quick) that makes it easy—with the "edit this page" button—to enter and
track changes to Web pages. The effect was explosive. That simple button
turned readers into contributors and contributors into evangelists.
Wikipedia now has more than a million articles in English, nearly 10 times
as many as in Britannica. That number nearly doubles each year. And most
extraordinarily, the site has not been defaced by vandals or hijacked by
zealots. Or more precisely, it is vandalized every day but is usually
repaired within minutes by any one of the millions of users who are
motivated to protect and nurture the site.
Today Wales is celebrated as a champion of Internet-enabled egalitarianism.
He describes himself not as antielitist but as "anticredentialist." That's a
key distinction. It means that amateurs can have as much to contribute as
professionals and that talent can be found anywhere. Everyone predicted that
mob rule would lead to chaos.
Instead it has led to what may prove to be the most powerful industrial
model of the 21st century: peer production. Wikipedia is proof that it
works, and Jimmy Wales is its prophet.
Anderson is the Editor in Chief of Wired magazine
>From the May. 08, 2006 issue of TIME magazine