Saturday, March 14, 2009

Jimmy Wales on Wikipedia - Econtalk review

On EconTalk Russ Robert's latest guest was Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Wales spoke about the success of Wikipedia, gave some explanation on how it works and spent some thoughts on where his next moves are.

The most interesting part, in my experience, of the interview is where Wales relates how he started out to make an encyclopedia in a more traditional way and couldn't make it work. The eventual bottom-up approach of Wikipedia, was not there from the start and was not self-evident to Wales. It seems that the formula still surprises him today.

Although there is some talk of how Wikipedia does in comparison to other encyclopedia's, I would have wanted Roberts to push Wales more to address the criticism that exist. Hardly any attention is to that or even to possible weaknesses or problems. The lack of cliffs allowed Wales to sail freely and deliver almost a sales presentation about his product. You get to see behind the screens of Wikipedia, as far as Wales allows and feels completely comfortable with.

More EconTalk:
New Deal and War Economy,
The Depression,
Wildlife, Property and Poverty.

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Gregory Kohs said...

Mr. Anne, I'm glad you noticed, too, that in this interview we were treated to the veneer of Wikipedia, not the real heart of the project's ever-tightening spiral toward unprofessional mediocrity.

I note that you label Wales as "founder" of Wikipedia. You know the whole back-story behind that, don't you? If not, do some research about how Larry Sanger was the "co-founder" of Wikipedia, until Jimbo decided that he alone deserved all the credit. Another sham within the illusion.

Anne the Man said...

I too, like so many other web-users, check on Wikipedia almost daily. I vaguely know there is fierce criticism, but do not know the specifics of it.
So when I set out to listen to this issue of Econtalk, I was expecting answers, not getting any. As a matter of fact, every interview must push the interviewed out of his comfort zone, if you ask me.

I do not know the story of Larry Sanger. Do tell more.