Jun 3, 2009

On the word "wiki" - and its real application

The just published issue of First Monday has an interesting paper, which employs the word "wiki" but in fact goes beyond what is usually meant by it, applying it to the studies of identities. I find the paper interesting, but the usage of the word wiki in this context, even more so. Behold the evolving language - or at least, academia's love for coining neologisms :)

Read the paper here: Wikidentities: Young people collaborating on virtual identities in social network sites by Kerry Mallan, Natasha Giardina

Another thought: the paper misspells the "Condorcet's jury theorem" writing instead about the "Concordet Jury Theorem" (Condorcet comes from theorem's inventor, Marquis de Condorcet). If First Monday articles were a wiki, this could be easily corrected. As it is... the paper, pretty modern as far as academia goes, does not even allow easy commenting on its contents. I wonder when this will change?

Jun 1, 2009

Flickr vs. Wikimedia Commons: why Flickr is doomed

I was always puzzled why people prefer to use Flickr to Wikimedia Commons. Flickr, after all, has litte to offer compared to Commons: Flickr allows you to upload images, set copyright, tag them, comment on them, and is not fully free - Wikipedia allows you the same, plus is completly free, and comes with a community that will actually IMPROVE your images - by adding missing categories, correcting wrong ones, improving/translating description, etc. As far as I can tell, the only feature that flickr offers that seems useful and is not implemented on Commons, is mapping part of the image and commenting on it. And of course, for those strange people who don't like others using their work, flickr allows the use of non-free licenses...


Flickr popularity on Alexa: 33 most popular site online

Wikimedia Commons popularity: 186 most popular site online

What gives? I think that the flickr is more popular because it looks more "cool", and with the snowball effect, it reaches more people. It's also slightly more user friendly, and better integrated with popular networking sites like Facebook. Wikimedia Commons is not that popular outside the Wikipedia crowd. Yet with Commons "wisdom of the crowd" approach, its steadily improving quality of images, and drive to move useful and freely licensed images from Flickr to Commons, while Flickr keeps accumulating more and more crap, I'd predict that in few years, time, Flickr will be relegated to a repository of porn, non-encyclopedic images and copyright violations.
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