I don’t agree with the notion in this Business 2.0 article about Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales that Wikipedia is a good example of tapping into the Wisdom of the Crowds for the exact same reasons that Jimmy Wales doesn’t agree. But what is striking is this:
“Since then, Wikipedia has metastasized into one of the Web’s most popular and recognized sites. And Wikipedia has helped to put the “worldwide” back into the World Wide Web: More than two-thirds of Wikipedia’s 5.3 million articles are written in a language other than English…Wikipedia is famous for tapping into the wisdom of the crowd. What’s not as well known is how small the core crowd actually is. Half of all edits on the English-language Wikipedia can be traced to just more than 1,000 people. Wikipedia is better at getting a handful of people utterly obsessed with a project than at mining the expertise of the millions who use it.”
Let’s do the math. We’re talking about approx. 1.8 million articles in English; 900/k can be traced back to approx. 1,000 people. That’s an average of 900 articles per person. Wow.