In Taipei, Wikipedians Talk Wiki Fatigue, Wikiwars and Wiki Bucks

By Saul Hansell

...The conference has attracted about 440 attendees, a little more than half from Taiwan, who want to immerse themselves for three days in the ideas and issues that come up making an entirely volunteer written encyclopedia. The workshops cover practical topics like how to collaborate peacefully; what importance to give “expertise” in a project that is celebrated for allowing anyone to contribute, including anonymous editors; and helpful hints on how to combat “wiki fatigue,” the inevitable boredom that can lead to “wikiwars,” such as endless arguments about the year Alexander Hamilton was born.

Taipai was chosen as the site after an Olympics-style bidding process. The city brought lots of sponsors. Yet Taipei is a manifestly odd choice for Wikimania: it is a destination hard to reach for the majority of Wikipedians, who are either in the United States or Europe. The largest potential base of computer users nearby – in mainland China – are largely blocked from reading Chinese Wikipedia, let alone contributing articles to it. And yes the climate can fairly be described as tropical...