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A Wikipedia & 60 Minutes Omission

April 13th, 2015

Two weeks ago, 60 Minutes ran a feature on Wikipedia. But these days, like everyone else, there wasn’t any mention of the first founding partner (along with Jimmy Wales) of the site! Greens always look for credibility and not the fame. But their contribution should never just be written out of history! Here’s the section on Sanger from the Colorful Personalities book:

Anyone with Internet access is familiar with Wikipedia, the huge on-line, free content encyclopedia. The idea was formed in 2001 by two friends as a site where everyone in the world could contribute articles, features and information in an open and unrestricted forum.

One of the original founders of Wikipedia was Larry Sanger. But within a year, Sanger left the company because he no longer believed in the credibility of Wikipedia when he started to question the accuracy and integrity of many entries and contributions. He walked away after disagreements with his partner as to who should be allowed to contribute to the site, even before it became the giant it is today. It was never about money, fame or success. It is always about credibility and doing it right.

In the words of Sanger himself: “Wikipedia began as a good-natured anarchy, a sort of Rousseauian state of digital nature. I always took Wikipedia’s anarchy to be provisional and purely for purposes of determining what the best rules and the nature of its authority should be. What I, and other Wikipedians, failed to realize is that our initial anarchy would be taken by the next wave of contributors as the very essence of the project – how Wikipedia was “meant” to be.”

What did the Green Sanger do? He developed a better and more credible site and launched citizendium.org. This site has firm editorial rules and mandatory disclosure of the real names of its editors, whereas Wikipedia allows anyone with a fictitious user name to contribute untraceable content.

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