Wikipedia pays editors and moderators

18 years of free encyclopediaWikipedia: Open For Manipulations - to little control

Over the past 18 years, Wikipedia has grown into a comprehensive online encyclopedia. The German-language edition is expected to have 30 million hits a day. Despite the abundance of information, the criticism of the structures behind the voluntary organization does not subside: The accusation of manipulation always resonates.

According to the company, the German language edition of Wikipedia is accessed more than 30 million times a day. The digital encyclopedia has developed into an essential information platform over the course of 18 years.

Criticism: lack of reliability, neutrality and truthfulness

2.3 million articles: That is how much the German version of Wikipedia alone covers. From the beginning, however, it has been criticized again and again: There is a lack of reliability, neutrality and the truthfulness of the entries is not always one hundred percent.

At the same time, the problem of manipulation on the platform has increased, explains Deutschlandfunk-Nova reporter Dennis Horn. The market is here: there are special agencies for counterfeiting an item, for example.

"Agencies sometimes offer the manipulation of entries as a service. Such manipulations are often not discovered directly."
Dennis Horn, Deutschlandfunk Nova reporter

Because the basic idea of ​​the digital reference work has remained the same over the years: It is possible to write and change articles without logging in or registering.

But if the article depicts something well known, such as an entry about the human skeleton, it is more difficult to get away with manipulation today, says Dennis Horn. Changes can also be rejected: there is a specific control procedure for this.

Control by team of authors

If a user is not registered and is editing an article, an experienced author will then check the changed entry. If the author is not sure, the next step is to submit the article to a pool of 200 administrators. They can block the entry in an emergency.

After the administrators there is a kind of arbitration tribunal: the nine most important administrators form the last instance. You have the last word, your decision counts. But: In order for this control procedure to take effect, the manipulation must be discovered at all.

"In the case of niche topics, however, articles can be changed without great resistance."
Dennis Horn, Deutschlandfunk Nova reporter

Users should pay attention to the following criteria for Wikipedia articles:

  • Objectivity: Is the article written objectively?
  • Freedom of expression: is the article worded openly or does it have a specific point of view?
  • References: Are all the information given with sources? What are these sources?
  • Talk page and version history of the article: All changes are listed here. If Wikipedia authors exchange information about the entry, you can read it there.

Too few resources for a wealth of articles

In addition: the authors work on a voluntary basis for Wikipedia, there is no classic editorial team. In the meantime, however, there are fewer and fewer authors who are committed to Wikipedia.

Ten years ago there were around 13,000 authors, today it is less than half. Dennis Horn demands that something must change in the structures of the organization in order to also pay attention to the content.