Ten reasons to contribute to Wikipedia (Bookshelf)
Wikipedia is created by volunteers who donate their time and effort, not for monetary gain but for the love of the project. Why? Here are a few reasons people find compelling:
- Wiki-ness of Wikipedia is fun! People use Wikipedia to share their knowledge with the world and interact with others who share similar interests. Contributors find the deep discussions that emerge while improving articles intellectually stimulating and fulfilling. Others find it fascinating to work with contributors from all over the world towards a common goal of creating good articles. Wikipedia itself has its own unique qualities compared to traditional encyclopedias. Unlike a typical encyclopedia, Wikipedia houses hundreds of thousands of articles about trivial things like television episodes, internet memes, games, anime and more in addition to classic encyclopedic content. This lends a unique charm and identity to Wikipedia.
- You get to interact directly with your readers Anyone can edit a Wikipedia article directly or leave comments for article writers. This one-to-one communication breaks the traditional barriers between writers and readers allowing writers to interact directly with their readers. Since Wikipedia is the world's largest encyclopedia and fifth most visited website on this planet (Data July 2010), this interaction is particularly rich both quantitatively as well as qualitatively. The knowledge that their work is being read and that the readers are interested in their topic energizes editors to improve the article even further.
- You can "give back" to a valuable resource You, like hundreds of millions of people around the world, have probably used Wikipedia to research topics for school and work, find health information, form opinions on public policy issues, advance your understanding of science and technology, plan a vacation, or just settle a friendly bar bet. When you contribute to Wikipedia, you help to build a lasting resource that will be used and valued by people everywhere.
- You will learn and grow While Wikipedia was originally intended as an educational resource for its readers, those contributing to the site encounter numerous learning opportunities as well. You will find that working on a Wikipedia article over time greatly enhances your learning about the subject of the article, and pushes you to improve your research skills. You will develop a deeper understanding of how to collaborate effectively with a diverse group using online tools, and you will benefit from the knowledge and feedback of other Wikipedians. You will develop skills in writing, editing, and even producing visual aids like charts, maps, and photographs. If you are technically inclined, you will find opportunities to develop skills in software programming and web development. Wikipedia is such a powerful tool for self learning that many universities use Wikipedia as a teaching tool for higher education.
- Your contributions will be reviewed, read, discussed, and built upon by thousands of other contributors About 400 million people read Wikipedia every month. Your work on Wikipedia will be read and evaluated by a large and culturally diverse audience. Wikipedia is the most popular reference work on the web. A plethora of books, online literature, television programs, research and documentaries on Wikipedia have been created in many languages.
- You can do a gazillion things with the available content Since all Wikipedia content is freely licensed to everyone, you can use the content in many ways. The only constraint you might have is, well, just your own creativity. You could, for example, create a book of articles that you like for personal use or print images on T-shirts or cups and sell them. A travel agent could create books for a specific location and hand it over to clients. As a school teacher, you could open a new world for your children by showing them videos of the moon or having them listen to the whale singing.
- It is your opportunity to pass on your knowledge to future generations Wikipedia's content is freely licensed to the public. This means that anybody can redistribute it, as long as he or she attributes the original author, and as long as the new content is shared under the same free license. This ensures that Wikipedia's content will be free knowledge for all time. Use Wikipedia to build a body of work about your region, language, customs, history, and everything around you so that you can play a role in ensuring it is well represented for the world now and in the future.
- You will meet great people Wikipedia editors are smart and want to make the world a better place. Through their involvement with Wikipedia, editors may find themselves traveling the world attending meet-ups and conferences and forming long term friendships.
- There is never an idle moment Wikipedia grows and evolves at an astonishing speed. The breadth and scope of Wikipedia is so great that it evolves every passing minute with each edit. Articles are updated continuously as and when new information is available, almost like a live news feed. Contributors continue to edit and re-edit each other in the pursuit of truth and accuracy. No matter where you start, you are bound to navigate to a totally different article and learn something new in the process. It is easy to get lost among the millions of interesting topics. Even if you have expertise in a particular field you will always be learning. Keeping up with the continuous evolution of Wikipedia can be addictive!
- Wikipedia is a place where clear thinking and communication win the day Wikipedia brings together a wide range of individuals. A contributor is valued for the quality of information and references she can offer, and the clarity of her communication; academic qualifications, professional or economic status do not give any contributor greater status than anyone else. In this way, it truly is an encyclopedia by and for everybody.