Whenever I look up a concept on Google, if the Wikipedia explanation isn’t the first result, it would be the second. Apple users will totally understand the situation: input a keyword into Safari/Siri search bar, and the excerpts from Wikipedia would show up on top of the list. For a long time, I had firmly believed that the word “wiki” had its origin as the now well-known Wikipedia site was launched. Wikipedia’s profound influence created a serious misconception that I’ve never doubted even once: the website was the first of its kind, it was what all other collaborative websites such as wikiHow, WikiLeaks, or A Wiki of Ice and Fire (that’s right, you’re reading a Game of Thrones’ huge fan) were trying to imitate. Not until I came across Olivia Stren’s article, took my time to actually think about it afterwards, that my assumption was questioned.
Well, apparently I was wrong: Wikipedia was named after “wiki”, not the reverse; and it emerged almost 30 years after its oldest ancestor in 1972. Anyhow, the fallacy did affirm one key fact: Wikipedia is a so powerful website for sharing information that it became the representative for the whole wiki family. There are tons of cola brands in the world, but the one that most people would recognize would be Coca-Cola. Wikipedia is by all odds the Coca-Cola of the cyber planet.
“They don’t want to be paid. They want to be praised.”. There couldn’t be any more eloquent declaration for the course of Wikipedians – those people behind the empire. The deepest, yet strongest desire in each one of us is, undoubtedly, to be recognized. To be noticed, to be acknowledged, to be given credit. The Wikipedians have found what they came for: their reputation in their own community, and the assurance that people constantly benefit from their work every millisecond.
The substantial work that seems to be an act of contributing to the community actually brings the most value and satisfaction to the contributors themselves. But it doesn’t mean that the motive is inappropriate. We should always bear in mind: there’s no such thing in the world that is unconditional. Nothing would be offered without a condition that something should be given in return. Even something as noble as love couldn’t escape this principle. These people, the Wikipedians, they share the same selfishness as the rest of humankind, but their selfishness is decent. They don’t ask for money, they ask for gratitude. And gratitude is very likely the biggest debt you could ever owe someone.
Who dares to say these doing-free-work people are senseless?
“Wikipedians Do It for Love. Really.” by Olivia Stren: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/wikipedians-do-it-for-love-really/article1389532/