That was in his Technology & Marketing Law Blog in 2006.
It would become extinct for a number of reasons, he said, among them »»»
- As Wikipedia traffic grows, it becomes a juicier target for marketers seeking to promote themselves (see the analogous problems Digg is experiencing with results gaming as it gains more traffic)
- Wikipedians are the only thing stopping those marketers from modifying Wikipedia’s open-access pages in ways that might degrade the user experience
- Wikipedians, in turn, will fight the marketers because of their pride in the site. However, as marketers become more determined and use automated tools to mount their attacks, Wikipedians will progressively find themselves spending more time combating the marketers.
- The repetitive and unsatisfying nature of these tasks will burn out some Wikipedians, and slowly they will individually decide to invest their time elsewhere.
- As some Wikipedians check out, the remaining Wikipedians will have to pick up the load. With fewer hands, the site will get progressively junkier, which will reduce the pride incentive of the remaining Wikipedians, further accelerating their check-out rate.
- Thus, Wikipedia will enter a death spiral where the rate of junkiness will increase rapidly until the site becomes a wasteland. Alternatively, to prevent this death spiral, Wikipedia will change its core open-access architecture, increasing the database’s vitality by changing its mission somewhat.
It’s now 2009 with the Wikipedia still very much alive almost four years after Goldman’s prophecy.
But he isn’t giving up.
He loves the Wikipedia, “but he’s also convinced that the site contains the ‘seeds of its own destruction’,” says Ars Technica, continuing »»»
In other words, not to put too fine a point upon it, Wikipedia will fail.
Goldman made his provocative point at the Silicon Flatirons conference this weekend in Boulder, Colorado, standing at a heavy wooden podium in a multiuse room that had been donated to the University of Colorado by a graduating class back in the 1960s. Those students could not have foreseen Wikipedia at the time, but by 2008, everyone gathered in that roomâfrom corporate vice presidents to think tank bosses to academics – had made use of the collaborative online encyclopedia.
In Goldman’s view, the very popularity of the site stands in tension with its goal of radical openness. The freely editable nature of Wikipedia has made it a canvas upon which vandals, spammers, and pranksters can paint at will.
So does the Wikipedia have less than a year to live?
Definitely stay tuned.
Within four years - Technology & Marketing Law Blog, December 5, 2006
February , 2009
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