Get Your Groove on with Jimmy Wales


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 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.