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Get Your Groove on with Jimmy Wales

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Wales dancing in Second Life

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales did an interview in Second Life this week, where he talks about why he finds the term crowdsourcing "vile", and why going for-profit is a good thing:

How does the fact that Wikia is for-profit affect the content?
Wales: It doesn't affect the content at all. We don't intervene in content any more than Wikipedia does. It's all about the community. I guess one way it might indirectly affect the content is that we can support communities that have not been able to support themselves as nonprofit organizations. It is difficult to imagine a 501(c)(3) charity with enough donations to support a Second Life wiki. Anyway, I haven't seen it happen.

Wikipedia participants know that their contributions are for a nonprofit initiative. So, since Wikia is for-profit, I wonder if that affects people's motivations when they contribute to it?
Wales: I have seen no impact at all. I think this is a question that only comes to people's minds because of Wikipedia. We don't ask Yahoo if people will use their message boards.

There were some technical difficulties during the interview:

At one point in the middle of the visit, CNET News.com reporter Daniel Terdiman lost his Internet connection, causing him to crash out of Second Life and disappear from the interview. Rather than leave, Wales calmly exhorted the audience members to get up and dance, and when Terdiman reappeared, he found a number of avatars, including Wales', dancing onstage.

"Quick," Wales joked. "Hide the beer! Dad's back."

For much, much more, check out my cover story on Jimmy Wales in the current issue of reason.

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  1. Wales: It doesn’t affect the content at all. We don’t intervene in content any more than Wikipedia does. It’s all about the community.

    This is complete nonsense as well as a non-denial denial. Throughly debunked at any wikipedia watch like wikitruth.info.

    Wikipedia participants know that their contributions are for a nonprofit initiative. So, since Wikia is for-profit, I wonder if that affects people’s motivations when they contribute to it?
    Wales: I have seen no impact at all. I think this is a question that only comes to people’s minds because of Wikipedia. We don’t ask Yahoo if people will use their message boards.

    Wales is ignorant. Check out Gracenote and freedb.

    But then Katherine, you’re pretty ignorant too.

  2. When I have a choice between a for-profit and a non-profit, I tend to choose the for-profit. For-profit companies generally provide better products and services, IMHO. Non-profits often seem to be created for the benefit of their employees, instead of the customers.

  3. Jimmy Wales seems like an interesting person. I had been curious about the Wikipedia founder, he never seemed to be very vocal until relatively recently. Thanks for the article, it was short enough to be readily accessible yet insightful enough to be substantive.

  4. Technology has obviously passed me by. I recognized roughly 30% of the terms in this article.

    If anyone needs me, I’ll be sitting on this horse fiddling with a slide rule.

  5. Non-profits often seem to be created for the benefit of their employees, instead of the customers.

    I’ve worked both sides of the fence, and there is definitely something to this. Non-profits tend to be very inward-looking compared to for-profits.

  6. Jimmy Wales lost any credibility he might have had when he equated the use of a pseudonym with the claiming of credentials one never earned. The two are nothing alike, and only an idiot would think they were.

  7. Anybody else ready to puke when they hear the phrase Second Life? Not only for frequency in nerdy blogs, but also at the sheer stupendous pretentiousness of it all. ‘Everybody get up and dance’? Give me a fuckin’ break.

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