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Wikipedia – How to make it better?

by Ashwin

in Technology, Web 2.0

Wikipedia is undoubtedly the most popular and robust online encyclopedia around. But do you know that far less than 1% of users edit or add content to Wikipedia? Wikipedia has so much of information, despite minimal contribution. With increased level of contribution, imagine the wealth of useful and accurate information, that will be made available to be world.

Wikipedia Academy is a global, non-profit initiative that aims to train people to edit and contribute back to Wikipedia. Those who train are volunteers, who regularly contribute to Wikipedia. Enthusiasts can join any of the existing Wikipedia academies or start new ones.

Following are some of the ways to make Wikipedia better:

1. Use Wikipedia

I think most of us are already doing it. But for those who don’t, start actively using Wikipedia. For many keywords, Wikipedia generally tops the results in a search engine. But I would suggest users to search for keywords, right from within Wikipedia, to not miss the relevant information. A good way for Firefox Users is to choose the “Wikipedia Search” in the global search bar, when searching on keywords

2. Edit Content for Missing or inaccurate information

This is something really crucial. Many of us might find that some key pieces of information are missing or are inaccurate, when reading an article. But most of us leave it there, mainly due to the lack of understanding on Editing Wikipedia content. I would strongly recommend Wikipedia users to register themselves, so that they are eligible to edit/add content. Then the Wikipedia tutorial must give a great starting point – explaining the basics of Editing and Formatting content. Wikipedia has a strong version controlling mechanism, so drop the fear of “screwing up something” that already exists

3. Add Missing Content

How often you find that a search for something in Wikipedia yielded no positive results? This should be a trigger to contribute content to Wikipedia, if not anything else. Wikipedia provides a lot of tools like sandbox for novice contributors, to get started with publishing content. Here is the detailed information, on getting started with the First Wikipedia article. In addition to these, Wikipedia provides tons of resources to get going. Also make sure to refer Copyright guidelines and “Things not to write about in Wikipedia” before publishing the first article

4. Donate to Wikipedia, if possible

As many of us know, Wikipedia is a not-for-profit project. But, definitely the Wikimedia foundation needs money to keep things going and get started in new areas. So, if possible donate to Wikipedia and its growth!

5. Use Related Services from Wikipedia

Wikipedia is not alone. There are a lot more related services, that are provided by Wikimedia foundation. Here is a list of some Wikimedia projects. Make sure to use them appropriately, as per the need and reap the maximum benefits.

6. Contribute to Local Chapters

Wikipedia is currently available only in 250 of about 7000 languages. Local Chapters were started in an effort to localize the concept of Wikimedia across countries and provide the best possible information in each geography. If possible, try and contribute to the Local Chapters in your geography and spread the word about Wikimedia projects

Let us do our best to help Wikipedia grow and be useful to a lot more people, around the world.

In a related note, check out the post by Kiruba announcing the Wikipedia academy in Chennai.

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