Who’s killing Wikipedia?

It’s the perfect, self-generating business model. An
online encyclopedia that continues to grow as people update it. But it
isn’t. Well, at least not recently. According to recent reports,
Wikipedia has lost 49,000 of its volunteer editors and there may be serious
problems ahead. Actually, it’s probably all down to that word
‘voluntary’. People were queuing around the virtual block when
Wikipedia launched – all keen to pen the definitive descriptions of their
favourite tree frog or swamp rock band! However, in recessionary times, it may
be that people are less willing to give up their ‘intellectual’ time for free. Perhaps
Wikipedia has reached ‘critical mass’ too? Even if you are inclined
to make an entry, it can seem insignificant and dwarfed by the many thousands of others. So
what’s the way ahead? Especially when we already have access to
real-time information on virtually anything via Google, Bing etc? Is the
utopian dream of ‘an encyclopedia for the people, by the people’
really over? Or has it just fallen foul of the web’s notoriously short
attention span?