Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2012 (Revised January 2013)

Wikipedia: Project Esperanza

by Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, Andreea Gorbatai and Tiona Zuzul

Abstract

In October 2006, Wikipedia was the largest volunteer-run on-line encyclopedia which could be freely read and edited by anyone with internet access. Within almost six years of its founding in 2001, the project had attracted hundreds of thousands of editors who had written over 1.2 million articles in English alone. Almost 10 percent of world-wide internet users accessed Wikipedia at least once a month. Just as Wales was stepping down, the editor community was collecting opinions to decide whether to close down an informal association of Wikipedia editors called Esperanza. Some Wikipedia editors, including some of the most prolific ones, really enjoyed the programs. Others firmly believed that Esperanza made editors socialize at the expense of creating content for the encyclopedia. As the editor community was making the final decision on what to do with Esperanza, observers could not help but wonder what effect the decision would have on the types of editors Wikipedia would attract and the content they would produce.

Keywords: Web-enabled application; Internet; Information Publishing; Social and Collaborative Networks; Groups and Teams; Publishing Industry; United States;

Citation:

Piskorski, Mikolaj Jan, Andreea Gorbatai, and Tiona Zuzul. "Wikipedia: Project Esperanza." Harvard Business School Case 712-493, May 2012. (Revised January 2013.)