Wikipedia's Growth Story

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR272
Case Length : 13 pages
Period : 2001-07
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Wikipedia
Themes: Business Models | Growth Factors and Challenges
Industry : Internet and e-Commerce
Countries : US

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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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Introduction Contd...

However, Wikipedia in itself became so popular that the parent project was soon abandoned and it was taken up as a full-time project. The concept became a huge success because anybody could contribute and edit the content without being bound by strict policies. It also created a robust community of content contributors.

This, in turn, instilled in them a sense of belonging as far as the project was concerned. However, as its popularity grew, Wikipedia had to face several criticisms against it - regarding the quality of content being posted and the management of the site.

Many analysts questioned the credibility of something written by an anonymous writer. Moreover, there were cases of vandalism9, which were becoming more rampant by the day.

Michael Gorman, former President of the American Library Association, said, "The problem with an online encyclopedia created by anybody is that you have no idea whether you are reading an established person in the field or somebody with an ax to grind. For all I know, Wikipedia may contain articles of great scholarly value. The question is, how do you choose between those and the other kind?" 10...

Excerpts >>

9] Vandalism means destruction of a monument, a structure, or a symbol which goes against the will of the owner. Vandalism on Wikipedia meant causing such edits to articles on the site which changed their meaning or neutrality.

10] Carolyn Said, "The Online Credibility Gap," San Francisco Chronicle, December 06, 2005.


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