Jimmy Wales

  • Aired:  01/05/11
  •  | Views: 68,948

Jimmy Wales weighs in on the silly co-founder debate and explains why Wikipedia abides by the laws of Florida. (6:29)

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS THE FOUNDER

OF WIKIPEDIA, WHICH IS

CELEBRATING ITS TENTH

ANNIVERSARY.

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM

JIMMY WALES.

HOW ARE YOU?

>> VERY GOOD.

VERY GOOD.

THANK YOU.

>> Jon: HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO

WIKIPEDIA.

>> I KNOW.

IT'S AMAZING.

>> Jon: DID YOU HAVE A SENSE

WHEN YOU THOUGHT THIS UP THAT IT

WOULD BE... THAT IT WOULD BE

SOMETHING WHICH IS ONE OF THOSE

IDEAS THAT COMES TO YOU IN A

DREAM AND YOU KNOW IMMEDIATELY

THIS IS SOMETHING?

>> WELL, I WAS ALWAYS VERY

OPTIMISTICMENT.

I REMEMBER LOOKING AT THE LIST

OF THE TOP 50 WEB SITES AND SAW

A REFERENCE SITE IN THE TOP 50.

WE'RE NOW THE FIFTH MOST POPULAR

WEB SITE IN THE WORLD.

>> Jon: HOW DID YOU FIND THAT

INFORMATION OUT?

>> I LOOKED IT UP ON WIKIPEDIA.

>> Jon: INTERESTING.

AND YOU BELIEVE IT.

>> I WROTE IT, JON, SO...

>> Jon: YOU WROTE IT.

IT IS STRANGE TO LOOK UP

WIKIPEDIA ON WIKIPEDIA BECAUSE

THE ONE THING THAT IS NICE ABOUT

WIKIPEDIA, IT IS A STORY OF

HISTORIES THAT INCLUDES THE GOOD

AND THE BAD ALL IN THE SAME...

EVERYBODY GETS TO TAKE THEIR

SHOT.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

IF YOU REALLY WANT THE SEE THE

WORST CRITICISM OF WIKIPEDIA, GO

TO WIKIPEDIA AND LOOK UP THE

ARTICLE, CRITICISM OF WIKIPEDIA.

WE DOCUMENT EVERYTHING BAD

EVERYONE HAS EVER SAID ABOUT US

IN EXCRUCIATING DETAIL.

>> Jon: IT'S KIND OF COOL.

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, YOU HAD

TO SCRIBBLE YOUR NOTES IN THE

MARGINS AND DRAW LOTS OF

PENISES.

>> AS ONE DOES.

>> Jon: HASN'T BEEN AROUND IN

A WHILE.

THE PROBLEM PEOPLE HAVE IS

ACCURACY OR BIAS.

PEOPLE CAN GAME IT OR GOOF IT.

HOW DO YOU ADDRESS THAT?

>> THE MAIN THING IS THERE IS A

CORE COMMUNITY THAT ARE REALLY

PARK MATT PEOPLE ABOUT GETTING

IT RIGHT.

THEY'RE REALLY THE FIRST DEFENSE

AGAINST ALL THOSE KINDS OF

THINGS.

WHEN WE SEE ACADEMIC STUDIES OF

THE QUALITY OF WIKIPEDIA, WHICH

THERE HAVEN'T BEEN ENOUGH OF, WE

DO QUITE WELL.

IT'S NOT PERFECT, BUT WE'RE ALL

LOOKING TO IMPROVE IT.

>> FOR INSTANCE, ON WIKIPEDIA

YOU ARED AS THE CO-FOUNDER, BUT

ARE YOU THE FOUNDER OR THE

CO-FOUNDER.

>> WELL, SOURCES MAY VARY.

>> Jon: WHAT DO YOU SAY?

>> WELL, I SAY I'M THE FOUNDER,

BUT I THINK IT'S A SILLY DEBATE.

I DON'T THINK IT'S ALL THAT

INTERESTING OR IMPORTANT.

I'M A CENTRAL TIER, LIKE

THOUSANDS OF VOLUNTEERS WHO

WRITE WIKIPEDIA.

THAT'S THE IMPORTANT THING.

>> Jon: SO YOU'RE OKAY IF THEY

CHANGE YOUR TIGHT FEDERAL

FOUNDER TO VOLUNTEER.

>> THAT WOULD BE PERFECT.

LET'S DO THAT.

>> Jon: HAVE AT IT.

>> THERE WE GO.

>> Jon: IS IMPRESSIVE THING IS

TO CREATE SOMETHING THAT'S FIFTH

MOST VISITED WEB SITE AND NOT

FEEL THE URGE TO COMPLETELY

MONETIZE IT.

HAS THAT... HAVE YOU FELT THAT

URGE?

DO YOU LOOK AT FACEBOOK?

DO YOU SIT IN THE FACEBOOK MOVIE

IN THE BACK WITH A BATTLE OF

JACK GOING, I COULD BE THOSE

PRICKS?

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?

>> NO, I MEAN, FOR US, FOR ME

WIKIPEDIA IS SOMETHING THAT I

HOPE IS REALLY IMPORTANT

CULTURALLY.

WE'RE A SPACE THAT'S NOT

COMMERCIAL.

WE'RE SPACE WHERE PEOPLE CAN

LEARN, REFLECT, SHARE KNOWLEDGE.

WE'RE GLOBAL IN SCOPE, TRYING

THE SHARE FREE INFORMATION WITH

EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE

PLANET IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE.

I THINK IN 500 YEARS PEOPLE WILL

LOOK BACK AND SAY, FACEBOOK?

WHAT WAS THAT.

BUT THEN THEY'LL SAY, OH,

WIKIPEDIA.

>> Jon: REALLY, BECAUSE I

THINK IN 500 YEARS THEY'LL SEE

BEEP, BLARP, BLOP.

HUMANS CATCH ME.

IT'S INTERESTING YOU BROUGHT UP

THE INTERNATIONAL ASPECT BECAUSE

ONE OF THE MOST FASCINATING

THINGS ABOUT WIKIPEDIA IS THAT

IT ABIDES BY THE LAWS OF

FLORIDA.

I JUSTIFIED THAT TO BE SO

INTERESTING THAT IT IS THIS OPEN

SOURCE, NON-COMMERCIAL

INTERNATIONAL PHENOMENON THAT

ABIDES THE RULES OF FLORIDA.

MAYBE OUR NATION'S SILLIEST

STATE.

>> YEAH, YEAH.

I REMEMBER VERY EARLY ON SOME

VOLUNTEERS FROM EUROPE SAID,

WELL, WHAT ARE THE LAWS IN

FLORIDA RELATING TO NUDITY.

AND I SAID, AS FAR AS I CAN

TELL, IT'S MANDATORY.

>> Jon: HOW IS IT THAT THEY

HAVE JURISDICTION OVER THIS

INTERNATIONAL PHENOMENON?

>> WELL, IT'S A LITTLE MORE

COMPLICATED THAN THAT.

>> Jon: I ASSUME MOST THINGS

ARE MORE COMPLICATED THAN

THATMENT

>> OUR SERVES, THE PRIMARY

SERVER FARM IS IN FLORIDA FOR

HISTORICAL REASONS.

WHEN WIKIPEDIA STARTED GETTING

REALLY BIG, I WAS IN FLORIDA.

I WENT AND PHYSICALLY INSTALLED

SERVERS OVER RACKS AT THE DATA

CENTER.

WE HAVE HUNDREDS OF SERVERS

THERE IN FLORIDA.

>> Jon: THE MAJORITY OF THE

PAID WIKIPEDIA EMPLOYEES, ARE

THEY SERVER GUYS THAT TAKE CARE

OF YOUR INFRASTRUCTURE?

>> WELL, IN SAN FRANCISCO WE

HAVE PROGRAMMERS.

WE HAVE SOME USUAL NON-PROFIT

FUNCTIONS, ACCOUNTING, LEGAL,

FINANCE.

SOMEBODY ANSWERS THE PHONES,

THOSE KIND OF THINGS.

HOW QUICKLY DO THOSE THINGS

CHANGE?

IF I WERE GOING TO GO ON THERE

TONIGHT AND WRITE THAT I AM, I

DON'T KNOW, WATTMAN, HOW LONG

WOULD I LEGITIMATELY BE BATMAN?

>> WELL, LET'S SAY RIGHT NOW AN

ADMINISTRATOR IS CLICKING

PROTECT ON YOUR ARTICLE TO MAKE

SURE THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN.

SO GENERALLY IF YOU GO AND

CHANGE WIKIPEDIA, IT WILL BE

CHANGED BACK.

SOMETHING LIKE THAT IN LESS THAN

FIVE MINUTES.

>> Jon: BUT WHAT... DO YOU

KNOW I'M NOT BATMAN?

>> DO YOU HAVE A RELIABLE SOURCE

IN

>> Jon: THAT I'M BATMAN?

>> THAT'S ALL I NEED.

>> Jon: WELL, I'M NOT GOING TO

TELL YOU.

I THINK I'VE JUST FOUND YOUR

ACHILLES HEEL.

MY SUPERHERO WORKS.

CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU.

THIS IS WHAT IT'S GOING TO BE

NOW.

IT'S NON-COMMERCIAL, OPEN

SOURCE, AND YOU'LL KEEP IT THAT

WAY, THE PURITY OF IT.

>> WE'RE A CHARITY.

WE EXIST FROM DONATIONS FROM THE

GENERAL PUBLIC, AND WE'RE REALLY

HAPPY ABOUT THAT.

>> Jon: WOW.

SO NICE TO MEET

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