How Wikipedia Is Like a Multiplayer Game

Elonka Dunin

Wikipedia, the “free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” has become a worldwide phenomenon. With articles in over 200 languages, the English version alone has almost 1.8 million articles and is growing at a mind-boggling rate of over 2,000 articles per day. Who are the people building this encyclopedia? The community that has been growing behind-the-scenes in many ways resembles the community that surrounds a major MMORPG, from casual editors to dedicated administrators. What makes Wikipedia so addicting for the core community? It’s immersive, has a scoring system, rules, levels, quests, and even combat, as teams form to play the “whack-a-mole” game of fighting spammers and vandals as they pop up thousands of times per day.

In this talk, Elonka Dunin discusses the ins and outs of the Wikipedia community. She will give an overview of the statistics behind Wikipedia’s growth, delve into the aspects (both good and bad) of the online community that has formed around it, and also give some general tips on how academics can best use, or even participate in, the constantly turbulent wiki-environment that is Wikipedia.

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