It is amazing how often we consult the Wikipedia, and how useful and satisfying that consultation usually turns out to be. Initially, I had thought that the Wikipedia is based on a counter-intuitive idea – that people would donate their time to create something of value to humanity in general and make it freely available. Perhaps, it is not so counter-intuitive after all. When it comes to sharing information, humans have been doing it for a long time. GPS, or no GPS, most strangers to any Indian city would never find their way to their destination but for the “Wikipedia editors” on the roads. These are the guys willing to offer information when asked, and also correct the two other guys whose answers are not as good as theirs. Some of the true Editors will say “follow me, I am headed that way”!
What is amazing is that this spirit has been shown to work in the world of IT, which is to many professionals the “science of monetizing anything and everything computers and cellphones can ever do”!
I don’t think that this is the end of the road for the co-development of altruism and a sub-culture of IT! Once the basic idea has been demonstrated to work, I am sure that a number of new developments triggered by the original demonstration would flourish.
Wikipedia’s growth has been amazing. It is already one of the most important “books” in human history. It is particularly impressive because it is a living thing, constantly improving its scope, updating its information, and getting rid of its errors.
These are the thoughts that ran through my mind when I read an appeal for donations to Wikipedia. I made a modest donation and received a thank you note that suggested I could use social media to tell my friends to consider donating too! I can’t pack all that I have said above into a tweet, and hence this blog post. Donate, write and talk about it! Wikipedia is truly the common wealth of us all!