Mailvox: knowledge core vs convergipedia

A pair of relevant emails:

I teach a course for an online university where students are required to submit papers (with references).  Students are citing from Infogalactic now on a fairly regular basis.  I’m still seeing some Wikipedia cites, but I thought you’d be interested in knowing Infogalactic is being used by students. 

That is an encouraging development. And Wikipedia is, by every measure, getting more expensive and less efficient. One 12-year Wikipedian with 30,000 edits to his credit even suggests it has metaphorical cancer:

According to the WMF, Wikipedia (in all language editions) now receives 16 billion page views per month. The WMF spends roughly US$2 million a year on Internet hosting and employs some 300 staff. The modern Wikipedia hosts 11–12 times as many pages as it did in 2005, but the WMF is spending 33 times as much on hosting, has about 300 times as many employees, and is spending 1,250 times as much overall. WMF’s spending has gone up by 85% over the past three years.

Sounds a lot like cancer, doesn’t it? For those readers who were around three years ago, did you notice at the time any unmet needs that would have caused you to conclude that the WMF needed to increase spending by $30 million dollars? I certainly didn’t.

From 2005 to 2015, annual inflation in the US was between 1% and 3% per year, and cumulative inflation for the entire decade was 21.4%—far less than the increase in WMF spending. We are even metastasizing the cancer by bankrolling local chapters, rewarding them for finding new ways to spend money.

Nothing can grow forever. Sooner or later, something is going to happen that causes the donations to decline instead of increase.

I wonder what that might be? Join the Burn Unit and the Alt-Tech Revolution here.

I should also mention that due to corporate demand, we are going to be putting together an Infogalactic Consult branch to help organizations make the change from the wikimedia engine to DONTPANIC for their internal wikis, or even just to make their existing wikis more functional and efficient. If you have a need for this, feel free to get in touch.