The All Turtles Podcast Episode 44: The Wikimedia Foundation’s Katherine Maher

Although Wikipedia is a contributor website like Twitter or Facebook, why doesn’t it suffer from the same levels of misinformation and fake news? The Wikimedia Foundation’s executive director Katherine Maher joins this episode to talk about the importance of transparency and sticking to your values at scale. She also shares how machine learning will be increasingly important in Wikipedia’s operations, and what organizations using Wikipedia’s datasets should know about the flaws in its information.

Show notes

Conversation with Katherine Maher (1:02)

The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit that provides structure for free knowledge and hosts Wikipedia (1:13)

Wikipedia is the world’s fifth most popular website (1:25)

What’s important to the Wikimedia Foundation? (3:36)

Wikipedia’s asymptotic mission (4:27)

The importance of transparency in Wikipedia edits (11:42)

The Unscaled Series on the All Turtles Podcast is about how economies of scale have changed and how startups can adapt (12:40)

Hemant Taneja’s book, Unscaled: How AI and a New Generation of Upstarts Are Creating the Economy of the Future (12:42)

Wikipedia as a moderating force in partisan politics (13:20)

The role of machine learning in Wikipedia’s future operations (18:15)

Articles about women are only 18% of the total biographical pages in Wikipedia (19:58)


AI use case (26:06)

How do we make the internet more compatible with democracy? (27:16)

Jon’s experiences with his phone’s call screening functions (30:00)


Listener question (34:05)

This one comes in via email from Ari, and is another example of a user rising to the challenge of finding a useful application for blockchian. He sent us a link to an article about using blockchain to track food safety and origins. The article explains how blockchain can prevent fraud in the food industry so a consumer in China buying Australian beef can be sure that the package does, in fact, contain Australian beef. The writer of the article asserts that in food production, the manufacturers could record documentation proving that what they’re packaging is what they say they are, and upload that documentation to blockchain-based databases. Food could be labeled with stickers readable by smartphones that connect to the proper documentation.

So, is this actually a useful application of blockchain?


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