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The Longest Now

How Wikipedia Works : the book
Friday September 19th 2008, 2:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

If you just want an immediate glimpse into how Wikipedia works (and you know you do), visit New Pages, Recent Changes, Articles for Deletion, and the News, and browse the Stats.

If you want a more detailed look, a handy book, and want to start contributing yourself, pick up a copy of How Wikipedia Works: And How You Can Be a Part Of It.  This is a charming and helpful book by my dear friend and longtime collaborator Phoebe Ayers, in collaboration with Charles Matthews (Chris Ball’s old Go mentor) and the ever-popular Ben Yates (of Wikimania logo fame :).  Phoebe and I stayed up many nights going over the outline and deciding what should go into a book like this, and I’m thrilled to see it on the shelves.

How Wikipedia Works is the first edition of what will hopefully become a lasting tradition.  A popular, non-technical book available under a free license – that alone is unusual.   And what I look forward to more than giving it to my newbie friends (I’m looking at you, Ed) is seeing collaboration around it over time.  How Wikipedia Works will hopefully find its commentable and editable online home soon.

Production notes: Bill Pollock (who first took a chance on the idea) and Tyler Ortman at No Starch Press did a beautiful job with the final book; our office now has a copy if you want to see it.  Every year I am more impressed with their press : now that HWW is hitting the shelves, I can’t wait to see The Manga Guide to Statistics (being a long-time fan of Who is Fourier? and What is Quantum Mechanics?).

UPDATE: Amazon has copies of How Wikipedia Works for under $20.  Amazingly, someone from Livrenor already has a used copy on sale for $40 — an instant classic?! they specialize in rare and out-of-print titles; presumably this is the former: a how-to book that makes you smile!

I’m now the proud owner of three copies from three different sources… and trying to figure ways to insert them into everyday conversation. “Oh, you heard about Lehman Brothers? There was a great Wikipedia diff about that. Here, check out How Wikipedia Works to understand what I mean.”

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