Submissions/Federating Wikipedia


This is an open submission for Wikimania 2010.

Title of the submission
Federating Wikipedia
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
V. Grishchenko
E-mail address or username (if username, please confirm email address in Special:Preferences)
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
TU Delft
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

I will discuss the possibility of federating Wikipedia by the means of adopting a distributed version control system, very much like it is done with the Linux kernel development (see git). In general, scaling large software development projects consistently led to greater decentralization/autonomy. Is it possible to decompose Wikipedia into a network of peer repositories that exchange edits? Could we have Berkeleypedia, Oxfordpedia, Springfieldpedia? A network of such *pedias might provide the possibility of attracting contributors with real names, real affiliations and real expertise without making them fight anonymouses to defend their opinions.

This approach may allow many improvements:

  • no single contention point, competition instead (as opposed to "more stubborn wins")
  • healthier incentives for contribution, like academic prestige, professional community respect, etc. (as opposed to: "work hard, anonymously, for free")
  • Wikipedia bans obscure topics because there are not enough contributors to ensure quality; once expert contributions are possible, long-tail/professional knowledge coverage is feasible
  • Operational Transformation, a version control framework, powers user-friendly editing/collaboration features of Google Wave, Docs. So, some user experience improvements are also possible.

In very popular terms, I am going to talk about the move from "MySpace+Unix of knowledge" to "Facebook+Linux" of knowledge.

Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)
Knowledge and Collaboration
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted? Yes
Slides or further information (optional)
The deep hypertext article (to be presented the same week at WikiSym, the sister conference)

Interested attendees

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  1. Jodi.a.schneider 18:28, 13 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Gritzko 10:32, 14 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  3. CaptainSwing 21:34, 18 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Incnis Mrsi 19:51, 20 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Kocio 23:09, 3 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  6. R.petrocco 14:19, 4 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Psychology 17:08, 4 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  8. JakobVoss 17:32, 6 June 2010 (UTC) in We were promised Xanadu I'd like to focus more on the history and forgotten concepts that may partly be brought back by federating Wikipedia - I also want to show how to better integrate external content with Wikipedia. I do a similar presentation at Monday 14th, let's sync afterwards. JakobVoss 18:35, 8 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  9. GlimmerPhoenix 18:22, 10 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Waldir 08:05, 16 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  11. HaeB 01:35, 8 July 2010 (UTC) A very intriguing idea. There have been various earlier proposals (en:User:HaeB/Timeline of distributed Wikipedia proposals); I see your WikiSym paper also lists several earlier examples of distributed wiki software. Just some months ago the Levitation project started, which even received some media attention in Germany and produced functional code to import a real-life XML Wikipedia dump into a Git repository, but faltered before realizing its vision of "everyone his own Wikipedia".[reply]