Wikipedia is the go-to source for information for many people on the internet today. In just a decade, it has become the fifth most visited site on the internet, and gets nearly 500 million visitors very month. At this point, it is hard to imagine the web without Wikipedia.
However, Wikipedia is constantly trying to improve its information and its community. The organization has sought to make the editing process more approachable in order to attract editors who may not be so tech-savvy. It is also seeking the input of women, because when the vast majority of editors are men (as it is on Wikipedia today), it means that female-specific topics are often neglected or under-researched.
On July 10th, Wikipedia in Russia decided to blackout its website in order to protest proposed Russian legislation to censor the internet in that country. However, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales says that the site will not become an activist organization in the future, and will only comment on issues that affect it directly.
"The neutrality of the entries in Wikipedia is a sacrosanct principle... But that doesn't imply that we can't speak out as a community on issues that are fundamental to our ability to operate." - Jimmy Wales, founder, Wikipedia.
1. What is Wikipedia?
2. What is internet censorship?
3. What is an internet blackout?
1. Do you think blacking out the site is an effective way to protest internet censorship? Why or why not? Discuss.
2. Why might an easier editing process improve the diversity of information available on Wikipedia?
3. Who else besides women should Wikipedia try to recruit in order to diversify its community? What other areas of information is Wikipedia lacking?
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