Wikipedia Founder Answers Questions

By on July 28, 2004

Slashdot has posted an interview with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. In the usual SlashDot style, the ten highest-rated questions from the community were the ones they asked. Good stuff.

It is my intention to get a copy of Wikipedia to every single person on the planet in their own language. It is my intention that free textbooks from our wikibooks project will be used to revolutionize education in developing countries by radically cutting the cost of content.

Those kinds of big picture ideals make people very passionate about what we’re doing. And it makes it possible for people to set aside a lot of personal differences and disputes of the kind that I talked about above, and just compromise to keep getting the work done.

I frequently counsel people who are getting frustrated about an edit war to think about someone who lives without clean drinking water, without any proper means of education, and how our work might someday help that person. It puts flamewars into some perspective, I think.

Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing.

Heck yeah! You have to love a project that hopes to directly change the world, and has a fair chance at pulling it off. (OK, you don’t have to love it, but we’ll still humbly suggest that you love it on occasion.) If I won the lotto, Wikipedia would get a big donation.