Web 2.0: Cathy Ma

Key learning from Wikipedia for business
Has a cat on her desktop to encourage people at Yahoo! to stop and talk to her.

How does the internet create a new way to communicate and therefore to learn? Also interested in trolls and spammers.

User needs and support. What is your passion?

Shows a number of websites and people have to shout out what the site is for. Ikea Hacker – modifying Ikea stuff.

User journey. People need to know what a site is for right away, and the site has to answer their user needs straight away.

If something’s not working, you go and try to find help – support.

Community support model.
Open resolution of user needs

Most Wikipedia users are lurkers – they go, get info, and leave. Community portal, provide support to each other. What are the frequently asked questions? How to have live chat on IRC with other Wikipedians.

Flickr has API, so have a special blog to support developer community. But for real users, there’s the help forum, where people post their problems. Also have a forum for Flickr ideas where users can suggest things.

Yahoo Developer Network. Yahoo has a lot of resources they want to give back to the community so upload it to the internet. Number of APIs, developer kits, etc. so great for developers. Have a support model – mailing lists.

Community support: users help each other, then if that doesn’t fix it they go to customer care. Open support. 24/7 real time.

Infrastructure. How open or closed to you want to it to be? Openness: how much do you want your user to contribute to the content? For Flickr it’s photos, Delicious its’ bookmarks. The more open it is, the more important peer review is. Delicious is quite closed, you can only submit bookmarks. Flickr you can upload photos. WordPress is more open, because you can do all sorts of things with customisation. Wikipedia is on MediaWiki, so both content and platform are developing.

Delicious doesn’t need much peer review, but Wikipedia does. You can’t spam people in Delicious but you can vandalise Wikipedia. Need a peer system to review.

Trust. People define trust differently. But trust is social capital – relationship with someone who can allow you to access resources.

Human capital: skills, knowledge, creativity. Need to know the right people.

Networks on Wikipedia.

1. general users
2. contributors

– causal contributors
– recurrent contributors
– sysops (admins) – 1,565 in English
– stewards – 36

Wikipedia is huge but not as big as you think.

In business, linear network – if you want to influence things, you need to talk to your manager, who may or may not talk to their manager who may or may not get back to you. On a wiki, if you have an idea you just put it out there.

Core policies on Wikpedia – only 3.

1. Be bold
2. Assume good faith
3. Neutral point of view

Rewards – social reinforcements. How do you get respect from the community? Community recognition.

Wikipedia Arbitration Committee – deal with revert wars.

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