Wikipedia aims for less-scary editing

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The Independent Tech

Concerned that many would-be contributors to Wikipedia are being scared away, the foundation that runs the internet encyclopedia is getting a US$890,000 grant to try to make the editing process more user-friendly.

Anyone can contribute to Wikipedia, but clicking on the "edit" button brings up a jumble of coding mixed with plain English paragraphs.

There are buttons on the top of the page that eliminate any need for users to write their own code, but the Wikimedia Foundation has acknowledged for several years that the unfamiliar feel of the editing process probably turns off people who could otherwise make valuable contributions.

"Wikipedia attracts writers who have a moderate-to-high level of technical understanding, but it excludes lots of smart, knowledgeable people who are less tech-centric," Sue Gardner, the Wikimedia Foundation's executive director, said in a statement.

The foundation has snared an $890,000 grant from the Stanton Foundation for the project and plans to assemble a five-person team to identify what exactly is turning some users off.

In particular, the foundation said it will look at hiding more technical elements of the site that contributors don't necessarily need to see.

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