“Most of What You Read on the Internet is Written by Insane People” is a nice little roundup of statistics from a several large sites like Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube, Reddit, etc. These stats support the viewpoint that on these huge sites, most of the content is generated by a very small number of users.
Inequalities are also found on Wikipedia, where more than 99% of users are lurkers. According to Wikipedia’s “about” page, it has only 68,000 active contributors, which is 0.2% of the 32 million unique visitors it has in the U.S. alone.
Wikipedia’s most active 1,000 people — 0.003% of its users — contribute about two-thirds of the site’s edits. Wikipedia is thus even more skewed than blogs, with a 99.8–0.2–0.003 rule.
Some of these numbers are staggering. And the people who do the work, are indeed – insane. Not medically, but by deviation of how much they do and for how long, as compared to the rest of the user base, or even population.
By the way, pretty much all posts in this very blog have been written by one person. Me. Almost 10,000 posts over 19 years. So yes, I’m also probably a little bit insane.
I came across an interesting take on Wikipedia – Wikiwand. It’s basically an upgraded and modernized design of the Wikipedia. You can either search and browse it like you do with the regular Wikipedia, or, better even, install a browser extension (here’s one for Google Chrome), which will redirect all your Wikipedia page clicks through to Wikiwand. You get exactly the same content, but now it’s actually quite pleasant to explore. Have a look at Cyprus page, for example:
I’m not a frequent Wikipedia reader, but in the last couple of days, I have to say, I’ve found myself spending much more time than usual reading Wikipedia pages on the Wikiwand website. Maybe, it is time for the Wikipedia face lift after all.
But it’s not just about forcing a different web design upon thee. There’s more. You get options (upper-right corner). You can switch between light and dark designs, sans and serif fonts, adjust font size and text justification, and more. If you create account and login (Facebook is supported), you can bookmark pages too.
Even if you are not a fan of fancy websites, I suggest you give it a try for a couple of days. You might find yourself quite surprised.
Here is a list of unusual articles in Wikipedia. The list covers everything from science and culture to history and animal kingdom. For extra fun, check out the alternative in your favorite language (here’s Russian, for example).
A great resource for a slow and boring day!
Slashdot tells that there is a way to have a local copy of Wikipedia on your computer:
Want your own copy of English Wikipedia with images? Got 100 GB of disk space? Then open-source app XOWA may be of interest to you. The project released torrents yesterday for the 2013-11-04 version of English Wikipedia. There’s 100 GB of sqlite databases containing 13.9 million pages, and 3.7 million images — readable from any Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X system.
It is, of course, a frozen in time version of Wikipedia – without any further updates or edits, but it might be quite handy for those places where Internet is not common or stable. Another use for this would be as a source of data for parsing tools or linguistic analysis, etc – working with local copy is much faster than fetching it page by page from the online.
New York Times reports, somewhat sadly, that Encyclopaedia Britannica will not continue with the printed version any more.
After 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is going out of print.
In an acknowledgment of the realities of the digital age — and of competition from the Web site Wikipedia — Encyclopaedia Britannica will focus primarily on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools. The last print version is the 32-volume 2010 edition, which weighs 129 pounds and includes new entries on global warming and the Human Genome Project.