How Many Wikipedias?

23:55 Mon 28 Apr 2008. Updated: 01:07 29 Apr 2008
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I was going to post a link to this Clay Shirky article yesterday, but then saw that it had made it to BoingBoing and decided not to bother.

However, I think it’s worth posting even if most readers do check BoingBoing. It’s rather interesting, and worth calling out.

The best point from this particular essay is Shirky’s juxtaposition of two numbers: one hundred million, which is what he claims it’s taken in person-hours to get Wikipedia to where it is today, and two hundred billion, the number of hours per year people in the USA spend watching television.

Not every project is as worthwhile as Wikipedia, but many are, and anything that’s publicly accessible, that contributes to the information available online, is a net positive for humanity in comparison to television watching, right?

Also, I love the use of his guesstimate for the effort put into Wikipedia as a unit. Like the (mostly outmoded) “Library of Congress” unit for information—”collectively we’ve put 0.1% Wikipedias into this project!”

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