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.

Public Domain and Wikipedia is a mini-documentary shot at wikimania.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Wikisnips of the day:

Bigfoot gets 57 Kb and its own 7-article category. But it's only one of innumerable Cryptids. ("Cryptids are animals for whose existence there is no confirmation.")

Other legendary creatures -- Zombies, sea monsters (and lake monsters, like the Loch Ness), etc.

Fictional national animals include the Qilin, Wild Haggis, the Fur-brearing Trout.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Some pictures from Wikimania (and a slideshow) but not much information posted yet.

Usually live-blogging is something you do when the conference has a low signal/noise ratio or has plenty of "dead" time. Wikimania had neither, because everyone knew each other online in some way, and the communal space made it easy to engage in long discussions and for folks to demo things to each other on laptops. It was an amazing experience, and multimedia content will follow.
Andrew Lih, on the wikipedia mailing list.

Fast Company has a decent roundup of Wikimania events.

The Wikipedia Signpost is shutting down. A damn shame (though I don't blame the editor; it was too much work for one person, and no coincidence that he stopped around wikimania -- how are you supposed to cover something like that properly without an editorial team (and a plane ticket)?). As you may have noticed, this blog hasn't exactly been a paper of record the past few days (what with actually finding a job and all), and there's no other semi-central source for wikipedia news, unless you count the Quarto (and I don't).

No New Rules
There was a widely-covered story that wikipedia was about to tighten rules, freeze a bunch of entries, etc. False. (I'm relieved. Articles are, of course, never "finished' -- the world keeps going.)

Monday, August 08, 2005

Wikisnip of the day: 'Astrochicken, Dyson explained, is a one-kilogram spacecraft that is unlike any other. Astrochicken would be a creation of the intersection of biology, artificial intelligence and modern microelectronics—a symbiosis of plant and animal and electronic components.' (There's also an Astro Chicken from Space Quest.)