What does the Web’s “Free Encyclopedia” have to say about people, places and things you know the most about? Wouldn’t that be a good test of Wikipedia?
It is a phenomenon that has made scholars of ordinary people, angered some famous people who feel they’ve been ill-treated by editors of the free-for-all reference “book,” and made a celebrity of Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder who is called a “God King” by those who worship his idea, and the world of information he has opened up. Wales is an incurable optimist, made even more positive about humanity by the honesty and good conduct of most people who have helped to shape his creation.
Wales made his fortune as an online stock options trader, set up Wikipedia as a non-profit enterprise, and told Newsweek he’s not sorry.
Newsweek: Don’t you have any regrets about not cashing in from Wikipedia?
Jimmy Wales: I’ve often said that it was either the dumbest thing or he smartest thing I ever did. But I’m proud of what I did. I feel that creating this (Wikipedia) community is something culturally important.