@Kim I agree. Not only do Wikipedia results tend to turn up first in online searches, but I've noticed that many articles link to Wikipedia entries for organizations-- even those that have their own sites.
Wikipedia's success is a function of the way search engines work. It built up a critical mass of clicks, and now it comes high in the results for every search query. It's self-sustaining unless Google does something to push it down the results (and there's no reason is should).
This is not a good thing, because it makes it difficult for anyone to compete with Wikipedia, although some have tried. Wikipedia could stand some properly organized competition.
@mhhfive well, if nonprofit status makes a difference, Hypothes.is does have that going for it. In fact, that is one of the points, the New York Times article I cited pointed out: "One thing Hypothes.is has going for it is that it is a nonprofit organization. "If you want to create a conversation layer over the entire Web, you can't own it," Mr. Whaley said. "People won't trust it."
There have been countless online sites that have tried to create order from the chaos of information overload on the internet... and somehow wikipedia has stood its ground while others fade away as spammy content farms or obscure hobbyist sites.
Wikipedia's "success" is based on its noble goals and non-profit status... profit-making organizations simply cannot sustain the effort and are open to far too much backlash -- and no one wants to contribute free work to a for-profit entity without something in return (unless those contribuitions are trivial or even sub-conscious). There has to be some collective value that benefits individuals as well... Even Redditors get some online respect.
I don't think this is a challenge technologically, but more a social-engineering problem of how to create a large scale onlne culture that is able to do useful things.
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