Thursday, December 15, 2005

More Wikipedia Stats

All Things Considered today ran "Accessing Wikipedia's Accuracy". (the story will be available in audio format a little later today)

It turns out that the Britannica articles had about 3 errors per entry (on average) and the Wikipedia articles had about 4 errors per entry. Most of the errors were minor (misspelling someone's name or having the wrong date) and very rarely there were some fundamental errors, but both encyclopedias had those.

What was also interesting is that 1000 scientists were polled and asked questions about Wikipedia. It turns out more than 50% had heard of Wikipedia. About 20% (27%? It may have been 27%) actually use Wikipedia on a weekly basis (something like twice a week). However, less than 10% actually contribute to it.

This is a great Wisdom of the Crowd type argument. You don't need smart people to have a smart encyclopedia. It's really fascinating.

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