Christian Long

Jimmy Wales: The Birth of Wikipedia

In TED Talks on May 10, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Reflection by VANCE L.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Jimmy Wales:  The Birth of Wikipedia

Wikipedia: an inside view.

Wikipedia was created by Jimmy Wales’ organization “Wikimedia”. The idea of it? A worldwide free encyclopedia. With one paid employee: the leader of software development. Only employed so he can make money in order to not be working in two jobs full-time and therefore, have somewhat of a social life.

With a 5,000 dollar monthly upkeep, simply for the bandwidth to have the website(s) running, everyone seems to want to know who does everything else. The rest of the organization is completely volunteer-based. Where do the over 600,000 english articles come from, and the overall 2 million articles across 20+ languages come from? The world. The public. Urban audiences and corporations who write and concoct all the information so that everyone else can learn from and possibly enjoy their addition to the encyclopedia.

Yet, what about the editing? Reporters, much to Wales’ dismay, have said that they have themselves participated in the vandalism of the sites, only to be surprised at the speed of their crude works being edited out.

The software itself does a huge portion of the work.

The rest of the editing is done by the self-monitoring, super-addicted, hyper-intelligent, volunteer “community”. Some of them spend every second of their day editing and checking information for accuracy and precision.

To Jimmy Wales, the purpose of Wikipedia may not be fulfilled just by his organization, but across the board it appears to be unanimous: free education and free information resources are coming.


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