Saturday, October 24, 2009


I'm reading this book called The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia by Andrew Lih. I stumbled upon it while I was looking for a nonfiction book in the library, hoping to find something interesting for Lit class. And lo and behold (at the expense of the poor lady at the reception desk, who gathered a whole stack of books to help me in my quest) I found this book! The title was funny, and being a frequent user of the site, I thought it would be an informative read.
Some parts are really technical, about hypercards and jargon I find difficult to fathom. Those I will digest more carefully and add on to this entry later. In the mean time, here are some really cool facts I learned:
  1. Wiki means "Quick" in Hawaiian. The founder of WikiWikiWeb, Ward Cunningham, learned the word during his honeymoon in Hawaii, when he was figuring out the transport system there. "Wiki Wiki" means super quick. His idea was based on a hypercard project he did on his personal computer.

  2. WikiWiki Web is a website in which anyone can edit the content on the site. The encyclopedia concept came from another website called Nupedia, which was founded by Jim Wales and Larry Sanger(both are now CEOs of Wikipedia). The site created articles that had to go through a seven step peer review, which was tedious and time consuming. Nupedia eventually became defunct, and Wikipedia succeeded it.

  3. Nupedia's name derived from GNU, which stands for "GNU's Not Unix" (haha), an operating system made completely of free software, which was established by the legendary hacker Richard Stallman, a crusader for the "hacker ethos".

  4. Hacker Ethos is the idea that computer users modify work and share the improved work to the public domain, and then other users would modify off of that, creating a perpetual cycle in which modified and derived information is free to everyone. Wikipedia is based on this concept.
  5. In the 1970s and '80s, Companies secretly changed code found in the public domain without letting anyone know about it. This means that "a company can restrict work derived from the public domain by copyrighting that modified work, making it no longer free." AN EXAMPLE OF THIS IS DISNEY- When Disney uses an original fairy tale story and creates its own adaption, the Disney version is barricaded by copyrights, whereas the original story can still be used by the public.

  6. Wikipedia is ranked in the Top 10 Websites used around the World since 2001, being the odd ball non-profit website created by volunteers worldwide. It is ranked with multi-billion dollar enterprises like Google, which has thousands of employees while Wikipedia only has a dozen.
  7. Wikipedia is the result of a high demand for a single information source that could be accessed by anyone in the world. Before information was scattered, and other sites required subscription fees and ID for their users.


  1. ooh wiki is hawaiian for quick? that's really interesting.

  2. hehe I can't stress it enough :) its fun to say