The vision of Wikipedia: Community Design

This is a presentation by Jimmy Wales, founder of the ubiquitous Wikipedia, entitled "Vision: Wikipedia and the future of free culture."

This is the description of the presentation, as stated in ForaTV (which seems to be a wonderful source for thought-provoking discussion):

Vision is one of the most powerful forms of long-term thinking. Jimmy Wales, founder and president of the all-embracing online encyclopedia Wikipedia, examines how vision drives and defines that project and its strategy - and how it fits into the even larger world and prospects of "free culture."

"The design of Wikipedia," said its founder and president Jimmy Wales, "is the design of community."

When Wikipedia was started in 2001, all of its technology and software elements had been around since 1995. Its innovation was entirely social - free licensing of content, neutral point of view, and total openness to participants, especially new ones. The core engine of Wikipedia, as a result, is "a community of thoughtful users, a few hundred volunteers who know each other and work to guarantee the quality and integrity of the work."

Wikipedia, already enormous, continues to accelerate its growth. It is one of the top 20 websites, with 5 billion page views monthly. As an encyclopedia, it is larger than Britannica and Encarta combined and is now in so many languages, only 1/3 of the total Wikipedia is in English. When Wales went to Taiwan last week, strangers recognized him on the train, and 1,200 came to his talk. (One attraction to a Chinese audience is that Wikipedia takes the position of "no compromise with censors, ever.")

The free licensing of Wikipedia content means that it is free to copy, free to modify, free to redistribute, and free to redistribute in modified forms, with attribution links. This is in service to the Wikipedia vision "to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language." One byproduct is that Wikipedia's success is helping shift the terms of the copyright debate, in a public-good direction - The Long Now Foundation.

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