Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Friday, August 12, 2005

Good Guardian article on wikimania, wikipedia, and the future.

"Books like the Encyclopedia Britannica are nothing else than simple knowledge compendiums without any political soul," says Jean-Baptiste Soufron, a legal adviser to the Wikimedia Foundation. "I am convinced that Wikipedia is the only real encyclopedia of our days because it's the only one that relies on a real political goal: to pursue freedom over content and information."

...

What we're doing," says Wales, is building "a world in which every person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge."

Just as astonishingly, he thinks it will take just a decade to achieve this ambition. According to Wales, there are more than 22m Wikimedia entries extending across 200 languages. The aim is to provide for "every language in the world spoken by at least one million people" by 2015. If this sounds like chaos, think again: it's more akin to the ideas that fired the imaginations of 19th century political radicals such as Matthew Arnold and Mikael Bakunin. It is anarchy representing a self-regulating cooperative of free thinkers acting voluntarily for a greater common good - and it works in practice, too.

That last part is a little like what I said a couple months ago.

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