On memory and our capacity to remember loads of information
Think of a main street in the suburb where you live. Now try and list all the attributes you can think of about that street; shops, funny houses, broken streetlights, working streetlights, cracks in the footpath, no parking zones, residences, opening hours of shops, cross-streets, schools etc. You should be up to a few hundred items of information. Now think of other streets in your suburb, then other suburb. See how much you remember (alot, isn't it?) My take on this is you don't have to be some child prodigy to remember prodigious amounts of information and we can all be alot more knowledgeable than what we are. Unfortunately alot of what is written or produced for television or other media is really dumbed down to some imaginary lowest common denominator.
Wikipedia provides an opportunity to make sense of chaos and a great bridge between information for laypeople and detailed scientific information for enthusiasts and professionals, and hopefully help upskill several hundred thousand interested readers in the meantime.
Australian plant notable pages missing
many eucalyptus, hakea, acacia and melaleuca species,
Grevillea cultivars such as 'Coconut Ice', 'Fire Sprite', 'Golden Yul-lo', 'Misty Pink', 'Orange Marmalade', 'Sandra Gordon', any Poorinda cultivar
Core Contest blurb
Danny (talk · contribs) shifted focus in the third incarnation of his contest from new articles (his first contest) and de-stubbing articles (his second contest) to improving the quality of established broad articles and try to correct or influence the flow of Featured content. Held from September until October 7 2006, his third contest saw a total of $170 of Amazon vouchers were awarded to three editors.
The Core Contest page was initiated by Moreschi (talk · contribs) in November 2007 and run from November 25, 2007 to December 9, 2007. Danny and some other users had also been working on and developing Veropedia at the time, and confirmed this was a motivating factor in running the contest.. A factor put forward was that veropedia's existence would spur improvement in the quality wikipedia.. There was also extensive discussion in late 2007 (Wikipedia_talk:The_Core_Contest/2007_archive) regarding the contest, with concerns about the monetary reward(s). The prizemoney had been initially promised by Danny, however there was a long delay and some speculation the money was conditional on the success of veropedia. (See Wikipedia_talk:The_Core_Contest/2007_archive#Who_won.3F) Concerns were raised by WillowW with further discussion at User talk:Proteins/Core Contest archive. The winners were finally announced in November 25, 2008 by Danny, with the prizes supplied by Proteins (talk · contribs). There was a hiatus after this.
I have been interested in contests and games as a way of promoting content-building here. In a glib moment, I started drafting the Flaming Joel-wiki (editors who improve one of the subjects of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" get a wiki-award [a]. I came across the Core Contest in late 2011 and begun the process of reviving it. I discovered that wikimedia UK had a microgrants project, which would allow for some modest prizes. I decided to use vouchers to steer away from a direct cash incentive, which would (hopefully) mean that contest winners would by more books and do more researching and editing etc. I chose Amazon as it was global and I suspected any winner could find something of use to purchase. My rationale for prizes was that alot of folks are poor and could think of something really helpful to get for a few quid/bucks, and that the prize values were modest enough not to engender some huge controversy. I think they are a nice concrete gesture for the hours of work that some folks put into the place, and I'd rather use carrots than sticks in steering article quality and focus.
Since then, I have run the competition on four occasions: March 10 to March 31 2012, which saw £250 in Amazon vouchers shared by six editors, in August 2012, which saw £250 in Amazon vouchers shared by seven editors, April 2013, which saw £250 in Amazon vouchers shared by three editors, and in 10 February to 9 March 2014, which saw £250 in Amazon vouchers shared by five editors. Each time the prizes have come from a WM UK microgrant, and buoyed by this I resurrected the Stub Contest as well. Each time I have been really impressed by the work done, with some really memorable efforts from the top 2-3 entries each year -I really enjoyed reading...actually I hate singling them out as I might omit others I later realised I really like as well. I invite folks to take a look at the before/after diffs in the entries section of each running.
The impetus behind my resurrecting the Core Contest was my impression of the Featured Article process, which, as it has become more rigorous, has favoured more esoteric and narrow-focus articles (as they are much easier to navigate Featured Article Candidacy with). Thus, I explored the core contest as a way of encouraging the expansion of broad articles. I also noticed that among many large/broad articles that alot were expanded early and have since seen little in the way of substantive editing/building (unless buffed for Good Article Nomination or Featured Article Candidacy). Rather than begin a new contest, I just reactivated the core contest as the principles (if not the impetus behind the principles) was the same. (i.e. buffing our 'core portfolio')
I see wikipedia at a crossroads. The novelty of being newfangled is wearing off as evidenced by dropoff in new editors. I think the increasing rigour of editing rules has a role in this but this is essential in the evolution of wikipedia. In its place, wikipedia is traversing a grey area where the goal is status as an Established and Reliable online Encyclopedia. Hence we need to strive to ensure our core content is being improved along the way.
- It was a nice list of broad notable articles - who's to say Billy Joel was a worse judge of core-ness than Danny or the 1.0 editorial team? ;)
- Bailey, Frederick Manson (1913). Comprehensive Catalogue of Queensland Plants. Brisbane, Queensland: A. J. Cumming, government printer. p. 455.