Wikipedia's Growth Story

            
 
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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.



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Case Details:

Price:

Case Code : BSTR272 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges

Themes

Business Models | Growth Factors and Challenges
Case Length : 13 pages
Period : 2001-07
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Wikipedia
Industry : Internet and e-Commerce
Countries : US

Abstract:

Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, was launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. It soon emerged as a collaborative encyclopedia where anybody could contribute and make edits to the articles.

The collaborative nature of the encyclopedia was widely appreciated by the users as this gave everybody a chance to contribute to the 'knowledge world'. Wikipedia always maintained a focus on being an encyclopedia, rather than being a culmination of a news website, dictionary etc. It was this focus which contributed to the site's success. Google and Yahoo! also supported Wikipedia by featuring its entries among search results.

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This increased the visitors to the site manifold which in turn increased the number of contributors on the site. Notwithstanding its success, however, there were quite a few criticisms which alleged that the site was not doing much to monitor the kind of material that was being posted. There were also criticisms that the open architecture of the site made vandalism and misbehavior rampant on the site. Many high profile organizations were seen altering or deleting information in the articles on the site. This case highlights the rapid growth of Wikipedia, the problems faced by the site in the recent years and the challenges it may face in the near future.

Issues:

Critically examine the reasons for the rapid growth of Wikipedia.

Discuss the measures to be taken by websites like Wikipedia to curb issues like vandalism and misbehavior on their sites.

Debate on whether some amount of supervision is required in a free source project like Wikipedia.

Discuss the challenges that Wikipedia may face in the near future.

Contents:

  Page No.
Introduction 1
History and Growth of Wikipedia 2
The Success Mantras 3
The Criticisms 5
The Future of Wikipedia? 7
Exhibits 9

Keywords:

Wikipedia, Online Encyclopedia, Nupedia, Vandalism, Wikipedia Project's Policies, Open Architecture, Collaborative Nature, Content, Neutral Point of View, Verifiability, No Original Research, Neutrality

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