[Foundation-l] Wikipedia as "pro bono" work for academics

Delirium delirium at hackish.org
Tue May 8 17:46:50 UTC 2007

P. Birken wrote:
> Nevertheless, we could do more to attract academics. Mainly, we could
> credit authorship more prominently. The argument that wikipedia
> article obtain huge readership is not so tough when the readers don't
> know who the author is. Or, we could approach academics and ask them
> for reviews. This is something they know, which is a regular part of
> their work and which they can fit in their tight time tables. But
> again, there is the problem of how to reward this.

It doesn't work for everyone or every area, but I've had some minor 
success appealing to academics' interest in increasing the prominence of 
their area of research---even if they don't get credited as the article 
author, they're still writing something that many people will read, and 
that will influence how people view the subject.  Perhaps more 
importantly, if nobody writes articles in their area, then their area 
will have less visibility, because people who look up information on it 
in Wikipedia won't find anything.  Of course we still want articles to 
be neutral, so we don't want someone *promoting* their research or 
research area, but it's not hard to increase the prominence of one's 
area of research on Wikipedia simply by writing neutral articles, 
because there are large areas on which we don't have any articles at all 
(or bad ones).


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