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Biweekly links for 11/30/2009

by Michael Nielsen on November 30, 2009
  • How I Hire Programmers (Aaron Swartz’s Raw Thought)
    • Much more interesting than the traditional approach, which seems to be a hybrid of the Microsoft and Google approaches.
  • Wikimedia blog » Blog Archive » Wikipedia’s Volunteer Story
    • “What’s happening to Wikipedia’s volunteer community? Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Volunteers Log Off as Wikipedia Ages”. The article is a comprehensive description of the challenges and opportunities facing the Wikipedia community… A quote from the article: “In the first three months of 2009, the English-language Wikipedia suffered a net loss of more than 49,000 editors, compared to a net loss of 4,900 during the same period a year earlier, according to Spanish researcher Felipe Ortega.”

      Other news stories have further focused on this particular number, some going so far to predict Wikipedia’s imminent demise… It’s understandable that media will look for a compelling narrative. Our job is to arrive at a nuanced understanding of what’s going on. This blog post is therefore an attempt to dig deeper into the numbers and into what’s happening with Wikipedia’s volunteer community, and to describe our big picture strategy.”

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One Comment
  1. The Vlad permalink

    I liked Aaron Swartz’s comments about hiring. I think this kind of model would probably work well in hiring post-docs and PhD students in academic circles. Grades alone, for example, don’t seem to be a good predictor of academic success. Likewise, I agree with Swartz’s approach to interviews: taking the pressure off seems a good way of finding out who the person really is, rather than some overly-formal mask of the person. I recall Peter Rhode mentioning in a blog post that he once would have gotten a post-doc position if he had only mentioned he was a mountain climber to his prospective boss. Seems it may have been the employer’s fault for not asking!

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