Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

You Ask, Jimmy Wales Answers: A Crowdsourced Interview With Mr. Wikipedia

Jimmy Wales’s Wikipedia relies almost entirely on free contributions from its users to create a mammoth Web encyclopedia.

Could an enterprising/lazy blogger use the same technique to interview Wales?

Surely someone else has thought about this stunt before. But I’ve never heard of it, so it’s new to me. I tried it out yesterday when Wales dropped by the Bloomberg BusinessWeek Media Summit: I asked my Twitter pals to suggest questions I should ask the Wikipedia co-founder, and–boom!–I got plenty of suggestions.

Some of the crowdsourced queries:

  • What is Wikipedia’s funding target for 2010? What happens if it doesn’t reach it?
  • Has Jimmy looked at selectable, respectable and relevant ads from big brands as a means of revenue?
  • What is he doing to promote Wikipedia in schools as a tool?
  • Is he warming to the idea of paying contributors?

Pretty good stuff! I don’t think I could rely entirely on reader questions to conduct an interview–Wales and I also took time to chat about other topics, like Wikipedia’s push-pull relationship with Google (GOOG). But it certainly was a useful starting point.

Which is a pretty good way to think about Wikipedia in general.

Thanks to @Albertoriva, @msmobileconverg, @kavidmathis, @ac_luke and @jasonhirschhorn (yup, that Jason Hirschhorn), among others, for their suggestions.