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Gli amministratori di Wikimedia 16.11.14

La storia delle 36 persone che gestiscono e fanno funzionare Wikimedia, la collezione dei progetti collaborativi online basati su wiki il cui più noto esempio è Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is the sixth most popular website in the world, with 22.5 million contributors and 736 million edits in English alone. It's as if the entire population of Australia (23.6 million) each contributed 30 times. Last year Wikimedia sites overall (which includes the likes of Wikiquote and Wiktionary, as well as Wikipedia itself) averaged 20 billion pageviews per month.

This paradox of its success is most striking at the top of the Wikimedia food chain. Running this huge enterprise is a little-known hierarchy of volunteer leaders, effectively each working an extra part-time job to police the site, battle vandals, seek out spammers and sock puppets, and clean and control what you see. Thousands of people around the world actually apply to do more work for free as a Wikimedia administrator, autopatroller, rollbacker, or bureaucrat.

But at the very top of this tree are 36 users who demonstrate Wikimedia in its most concentrated form: the stewards. They wield "global rights" -- the ability to edit anything -- and respond to crises and controversies across all Wiki platforms. They come from all around the world, receive no compensation, and rarely, if ever, encounter each other offline. You definitely don't know them -- but their work is essential to understanding how Wikimedia's unique existence has thrived.