Would You Pay For Wikipedia?

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July 4, 2013 by Colin Kelly

I’ve just been reading some history on one of my favourite radio presenters.

And up popped the banner.

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This isn’t about whether I clicked or not and paid my way. That’s a personal choice.

But what about the wider issue?

If we value something pure and free from advertising and commerce, then surely there’s a cost attached?

If we’re willing to crowdfund a new album from our favourite band, or even spend £35 a month on a contract for a smartphone or tablet, shouldn’t we invest a little more in the type of content Wikipedia provides?

Does the value of the smartphone or tablet not decrease if there’s a lack of useful, relevant content that it’s capable of accessing?

But then exactly what sort of ‘quality’ is Wikipedia serving up? They’ve done some really clever work around peer reviewing and self policing the platform. It might get called the ‘encyclopedia anyone can edit’ but there certainly are some checks and balances and if the information wasn’t broadly useful and accurate it would never have become as popular as it has.

But can you trust it 100%? That would be a risky move.

If it disappeared tomorrow would life grind to a halt?

Of course not. We’d find another way just as we did before it existed.

But for speed, convenience and as a general force for good – shouldn’t it be protected and preserved?

Look what’s been achieved so far. Just by people coming together, using the technology and working for nothing. Think what the next 5 years could bring with some funding in place.

And what if it folded? What a sad indictment that would be on the human race. Hundreds of millions of us, all connected, building and using this amazing tool, then letting something as simple as money cause it all to go south.

But isn’t that the way it goes sometimes?

It doesn’t need to be.

For all its flaws, the internet is the one place where idealism can still thrive.

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