Today: Celebrating Wikipedia's 20th Birthday

Featuring new articles in WIRED, Slate, and the Columbia Journalism Review.

Before we get started: Have you checked out my upcoming book Infodemic? The novel is inspired by the world of Wikipedia. You can help support my writing by simply following the book on Inkshares.

Today, January 15, 2021, marks Wikipedia’s 20th birthday. Here’s a round-up of my recent writings and other updates to mark the occasion:

For Slate: “To Celebrate Wikipedia’s 20th Birthday, Try Editing It.”

As a writer on this particular beat, I very often hear from readers how much they love Wikipedia. But when I ask those same people whether they have ever actually tried editing a Wikipedia article, I’m more likely to hear crickets chirping. Presumably the sound is emanating from the free audio that’s posted on the insect’s Wikipedia page . . .

The most recent entry in the Source Notes column asks the question: What’s keeping the vast majority of readers who spend time consuming Wikipedia information from volunteering their time to help produce it?


For WIRED: “Is Wikipedia a Massive Role-Playing Game? Yes and No.”

“The first-ever edit to Wikipedia took place on January 15, 2001. Today, the online encyclopedia officially turns 20 years old, on the date known as Wikipedia Day. One of WIRED’s earliest stories about Wikipedia once compared it to the ancient library of Alexandria. For the site’s volunteer editors, however, there’s another metaphor that has long been popular: Wikipedia is a role-playing game.”

Continue reading my debut story for WIRED.


For the Columbia Journalism Review: Wikipedia is Twenty. It’s time to start covering it better.

Together with my friend and colleague Omer Benjakob, I wrote about how journalism should help readers better understand Wikipedia’s policies and inner workings.


Other items . . .

  • Tom Roston of OneZero has compiled this thorough Oral History of Wikipedia. The piece includes quotes from Jimmy Wales, Katherine Maher, Steven Pruitt, and yours truly.

  • Today at 12:30 PM ET, I will be joining a panel with the other authors of Wikipedia @ 20 (MIT Press) to “review, celebrate, and critique” the project’s first two decades. More info here.

Best regards,

Stephen


P.S. Did you catch that I referenced this cute puppy in my latest story for Slate? 😃