Jimmy Wales thanked me for my donation to support the current Wikipedia. Here is what I wrote back

Jimmy,
I would like to make some specific recommendation for upgrading wikipedia to be more useful globally.
But I doubt your organization is set up so that a “reply to a message from the founder” ever gets read and treated seriously.
My time and skills are far more valuable than any money donation. But only if you stop running and listen.
I think Wikipedia is almost an embarrassment. The equations are not equations, there is little or no connection to the real world groups and things described. The data is not in a form for universal exchange and use.  The locations are not standardized, the people are not uniquely identified, the organizations are not uniquely identified. There is only a bottoms up classification, no real global navigation. Decades old technology. And unsupervised and self appointed authors.  It is a big collection, and parts used to be good. But it needs duplicates removed, good solid pages kept and not overwritten by random people. At least number the equations and remove duplicates!!
People are referring to specific pages, but not to the actual authors.  So not only are the author anonymous and untraceable, if they do good work curating and organizing – they get no credit.  I got on Google for posting links to wikipedia.  It is not their work but the work of the authors.  And many of those can be identified and credited, or blamed.
site:wikipedia.org (“fft” OR “fourier transform”) has 37,900 entry points and nowhere is there a way to actually run an FFT on shared data, or user supplied data.  Your people are talking about tools – mathematical, scientific, technical, financial, economic, many purposes – when you should give everyone tools and data to learn from using, then link to the development communities that already are trying to self organize.  And doing a rather poor job of it.

I asked both Wolfram and MathWorks to help with a core symbolic mathematical toolkit so all the equations could be merged, used in simulations, compared, tested, used for things.  You have thousands of pages talking about scientific, engineering calculations and nowhere let people use it.

site:wikipedia.org (“speed of light” OR “speed of gravity”) has 25,900 entry points (20 Oct 2021, Google) and not a single authoritative value and references. There should be one, and it can has as many hover notes as anyone would care to have. And it should be linked to the working experiments and data and data streams for its determination.  And all the places in the world on the Internet it is used.

(“speed of light” OR “speed of gravity”) has 76 Million entry points and, effectively, 76 Million authors and duplicates.  I talked to NIST about becoming an internet reference node, but they are still babies on the Internet, in sharing data and tools that work for everyone.
Make your hoverboxes show real page previews, then allow hover of the hover boxes as deep as the user want. Freeze the hoverboxes at any point, and save the layouts to share with others.  It is a wonderful innovation to show a glimpse of the page. But it act like a large button with no intelligence or depth.
So many things I would change or ask you to change. My criteria is human time wasted. And Wikipedia is wasting more time than it saves.  Mostly because it talks about things and does not just give them.  Few people can write FFT programs from scratch, but even a three year old can drag and drop and see the effect of giving and FFT node a sound icon or a 2D image, or a video link – to see and interact with using world, best in the world, visualizations.
To use it might take seconds. To read about it means nothing,when the world has to many much harder problems where an FFT is a thing inside your cell phone or physiological monitor, or robotic assistant.
Richard Collins, Director, The Internet Foundation
Richard K Collins

About: Richard K Collins

Director, The Internet Foundation Studying formation and optimized collaboration of global communities. Applying the Internet to solve global problems and build sustainable communities. Internet policies, standards and best practices.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.