Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wikipedia: it will be a new and glorious day

While researching the book on Wikipedia, I came across this lovely article*, written by Larry Sanger in the early days when Wikipedia was completely unknown but already showing strong signs of growth.  Sanger has been badly represented by the Wikipedia establishment - portrayed as the one who argued for a long and painful process of article acceptance, originally the model for the defunct Nupedia, against Jimmy Wales' who wanted a collaborative and open model.  Actually it was the other way round.  Sanger was the father of Wikipedia.  However, his views of how experts would work with the project sadly never came to fruition.
"... whereas, in 2001, an expert on T would be so disgusted by the article that he wouldn't think of participating in Wikipedia, in 2002 he might be so impressed by the article, and therefore also by Wikipedia's collaborative article-creation process, that he becomes a Wikipedian on the spot. It doesn't take many experts, thus inspired, to create a lot of good articles. Therefore, as Wikipedia articles improve, the project will surely attract more and more experts. Wikipedia participants in the beginning were limited mainly to hobbyists, students, and generalists, and a few experts; but it now has the attention of a lot more graduate students and professionals. In a few years, the project will have attracted the attention of very many more experts.
... It will be a new and glorious day."
*"Britannica or Nupedia? The Future of Free Encyclopedias" Kuro5hin, Wed Jul 25, 2001.

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