QUOTE(Newsfeed @ Fri 1st July 2011, 6:50am)
Jimmy Wales's benevolent [b]Wikipedia wisdom[/b]Jerusalem Post
Most people are fundamentally decent, and we're now in an era where people can communicate with each other much more effectively than ever before. That, says the online encyclopedia pioneer, gives Israelis a real opportunity for very ...View the article
Interview contains another version of how WP came about, with everybody's role but Jimbo's just described passively, as though it happened all by itself. See, it was a due to bringing together a community that was "really passionate" about WP. Except that Jimbo wasn't really one of them-- until it took off.
You started out with an academic approach – peer review – and that just didn’t fly? (Wikipedia’s precursor, Nupedia, was launched in 2000, with expert-written content, but made little headway.)
And then the minute you said, to hell with this, let’s just see if ordinary people want to do this, it took off overnight?
Yeah, we had more work done in two weeks than we had done in almost two years. Nupedia was a failure. But in one way it was a success: For two years we sat around talking about how to make an encyclopedia: What does it mean? Why? What kinds of standards do we want to have? All those kinds of editorial questions. And we’d brought together a community that was really passionate about the idea and very frustrated that it was not going so well. Once the Wiki (collaborative website, from the Hawaiian word for “fast”) was opened, that community was able to jump in and just start writing straight away.
Q. And you have no control over this anymore. You say it’s taken over your life, but your life is irrelevant to it now. This has far outgrown your life.
A. Yes, well, I wouldn’t say I have no control. Actually I do say I have no control, but I wouldn’t say I have no influence. Particularly in English Wikipedia, I do have a sort of constitutional role. But speaking more broadly, what I do is basically harp on about the values and mission and keep people focused on those values that bring us together.
Comment: Kingly talk. But "constitutional," as in constitutional monarche, my ass. The constitutional monarche King can't fire ministers and deport any subject at will, and the king doesn't personally vet every cabinet appointment of the government.
When I was in Saudi Arabia recently I made very strong remarks. I was actually surprised – I shouldn’t have been; I didn’t do enough homework – when I gave my lecture, that the women were in a different room listening in. And I just said that this is incredibly offensive and quite backwards, and I’m sorry to have to say that.
You shouldn't be, as you were right the first time.
Segregation is segregation, Jimbo, you dork. It's inherrently unequal, as we learned in civil rights problems.
They asked me about some efforts we’re doing in India, and about what’s next. And I said one of the things is we’re considering different regions of the world to open offices to support the local language communities, and one of the communities of interest that we may get to next year would be the Arabic community. We think it’s an important language and we’d like to give more support to the Arabic-speaking community and we’ll open an office somewhere. And they said, well, what about Saudi Arabia? And I said, no, because of the human rights situation it would be impossible.
Interviewer: You said this in your talk in Saudi Arabia?
No, in an interview there. You can go and look up the story: The headline is: Jimmy Wales considers office in Saudi Arabia. (The online Saudi Gazette indeed has a headline declaring “Wikipedia chief hints at office” in the kingdom, and reports: “Answering a question, Wales said opening an office in Saudi Arabia is also a possibility. ‘We are even exploring possibilities of opening an office in Saudi Arabia, which can help Wikipedia to enhance its Arabic content,’ Wales said.) And so there’s this, “Yay for our tech industry. We’re attracting talent from around the world.” I’m like, absolutely [not]! This is ridiculous. I complained. They didn’t even answer me.
Interviewer comment: You might not get invited to Saudi Arabia again...
I don’t know. Maybe I would. It’s diverse.
Q. Where else have you been in the region?
A. Egypt, Jordan. I got invited to go to Syria once, but it got canceled, unfortunately. I’ve got two passports, because I have tons of Israeli stamps in my passport...
I wonder if Jimbo knows he's admitting to violating a federal law there (or is lying to make himself look cool for the Israeli press). You can copy your US passport all you like, but nobody will stamp a copy. The Israelis will sometimes stamp a visa at an airport, but only if you have one, keeping the stamp off your international passport pages (much like Cuba)-- but you have to set this up beforehand and I guess Jimbo didn't.
So if he's telling the truth, he did something like lie about loosing his passport, in order to get a second official one, and kept the first one for use. Except a second officially issued one is not identical, and if you get caught using the one you supposedly lost, it's a bigger deal than if you lose your driver license and do the same (I'm not sure your original copy even works after you get an official replacement-- it's too bad Jimbo didn't try this, if he actually told the truth). All this is different from getting extra pages for an existing passport or a passport with extra pages.