Critical issues presentations/Why Wikimedia Fails: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

From Wikimania 2016 • Esino Lario, Italy
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Submission no. 90
Title of the submission

Why Wikimedia Fails: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

Author of the submission
  • Maarten
  • Derek
Country of origin

Belgium; Belgium

Topics

Governance, Outreach, Policy

Keywords
  • Wikipedia
  • Poverty
  • Inclusion
Abstract

This presentation will analyse the state of the Wikimedia organisation using the methodology found in Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, a non-fiction book by a Turkish-American economist Daron Acemoglu. It can also be applied to grass root organisations like Wikimedia.

   The authors argue that developed countries are developed because they have "inclusive institutions": economic and political institutions that include the large majority of the population. These institutions are democratic, they allow mass publics to vote and protect free speech. The result is that such institutions respond to the interests of all persons. Poor countries are poor and underdeveloped because they have "extractive institutions": economic and political institutions that restrict economic gains to an elite class and ensure that power is collected by the elite, impoverishing the poor. These institutions are anti-democratic.
   The talk will focus on the impact on Wikipedia, and will be based on my experience from the English, Dutch and South African language Wikipedias, and my activities in the GAC. It will give an answer to questions like:
       Why did Wikipedia grow so quickly in the first 10 years, and why is this growth slowing down so dramatically?
       The number of editors is declining. What is an easy way for moderators and long term Wikipedians to experience "the reason" of this problem?
       Should we prefer long lasting moderators/board members/trustees, or should these roles be flexible and regularly switched?
       How do moderators and vandalism protection teams harm the encyclopedia?
       What is the best approach to all the chapters and associated organisations?
       How to define the role of the Foundation? How should the WMF treat its chapters and associated organisations?
       What are very concrete and tangible ways for the Foundation to increase participation?
Result

Not accepted