Jimmy Wales, the self-made guru of mass content and co-founder and chair of Wikia, Inc., is many things: A founding father of the open-source movement, a visionary internet entrepreneur, a tech pundit, and a media darling. The founder of Wikipedia has managed to -- for the most part -- stay above the backbiting that characterized the online encyclopedia as it mushroomed into the unstoppable arbiter of truth, usurping the mantle of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
In fact, Wikipedia was an early example of what has become the dominant model for internet content: Provide free tools for user-generated content, let the public have at it, and automatically place ads everywhere. However, Wikipedia, known for its snooty approach to contributions, has remained pure, forgoing advertising revenue and relying on donations. In 2003, Wales set up the Wikimedia foundation, a not-for-profit organization, and gave the foundation full and sole interest in Wikipedia.
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Susan, we need to revisit the "standards of business reporting", such as not swallowing hook, line, and sinker the tall tales that profiteers may tell.Jimmy Wales told you:iMedia: Any updates on WikiaSearch?Wales: I have my team focused on the front end, working on the user experience, and making sure we have all the wiki-like tools people need to work on the site. We're just cranking away.CNET (today) tells me that Wikia Search is shutting down:http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10207896-2.htmlI told you on Page 1 of this column that you've been had. You replied with nods to the "standards of business reporting and the ethos of capitalism". Are you beginning to see the light? Are you able to see the light?
It occurs to me that some further reading might help people interested in this subject learn more about the "ethos of capitalism" that Kuchinskas mentions in the comment above. The piece appeared in The Guardian (and was editorially reviewed, so it is to be trusted):http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/sep/25/wikipedia.internet
Or that we have higher standards than liars and frauds...
Hi, Gregory. First, neither Wales nor his PR handler said anything about his title to me, let alone demanded anything. I am aware that there is controversy about the founder designation and credit for Wikipedia. According to the standards of business reporting and the ethos of capitalism, the fact that Wales started and funded the project makes him the founder. This article is about advertising, not about the origins of Wikipedia -- which has been beaten to death. I did credit Sanger as employee #1, and moved on.Re things like Wikipedia taking the place of professionally authored content, as someone who makes their living as a journalist, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I too prefer information that is carefully prepared according to standards -- and I'd like to continue to get paid for such. Which may just be tough luck for me and you.We can bemoan the supremacy of user-generated content, but that just makes us oooold. Or at least, old-fashioned.
It's kind of tough to read past words #2 and #3, "Wikipedia founder". Laughable. Did Jimbo demand that you label him as such? Did he ask that Dr. Larry Sanger's name (you know, the guy who brought the wiki software to the encyclopedia table, the guy who named "Wikipedia", and the guy who acted as its editor-in-chief for the formative period) be firmly tied to the label "employee"?As millions of dollars and thousands of jobs are disappearing at encyclopedias and newspapers, and we lose our professionally-rendered culture of information, what has it been replaced with? Wikipedia? Wikia? How much have they added to the economy?When journalists have their blinders on and their star-struck spectacles focused on their subjects, the readers are not served. Sorry to be a wet blanket, Ms. Kuchinskas, but...You've been had.
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