My birthdate

So, I notified Britannica about what my birth certificate and driver’s license says, but they refused to change their article unless I was willing to send them copies of the actual documentation! Naturally, I refused to do so.

Fortunately, an enterpising reporter did his homework and so now for the first time the world has a proper source.

I will, nevertheless, still continue to celebrate my birthday as I please. :)

By Jimmy Wales Posted in General

Lost is coming

I am so excited and terrified.

Lost Wikia is shaping up to be really great this year. We’ve got Lynnette Porter, co-author of the fabulous book “Unlocking the Meaning of Lost: An Unauthorized Guide” contributing. A ton of great users from last year are coming back.
30 minutes from the Season Premiere. I am so excited and terrified. Why did I ever let myself get addicted to this show? :-)

By Jimmy Wales Posted in General

Campaigns Wikia

Campaigns Wikia is something I have been dreaming about for the last few months. Today it launches. Please go read about it, and join the mailing list. And blog about it! :)

I don’t have the answers to the problems of broadcast politics, but I think we can work together to do something useful and, quite possibly, if we throw enough heartfelt energy and passion into it, something more than useful. Something astonishing.

By Jimmy Wales Posted in General

More about the New York Times article

Dana Blankenhorn interprets the New York Times story differently than I do. I have been sharply critical of the story, but I did not interpret it as trying “very hard to speak ill of Wikipedia.” It was a nice story, not a negative story. It was just wrong in the impression it gave about the trend of Wikipedia.

I did not feel that it was an attack piece. I think it does tend to show how traditional media just can’t quite accept that there is a revolution going on, and so the story line somehow has to be made to fit some preconceived notions. Obviously, Wikipedia can’t work. Obviously, the solution is to close down open editing. So, since Wikipedia is pretty good, and trying to do good, they must follow this obvious path over time.

Well, not necessarily. We actually can innovate and make changes which simultaneously improve quality and openness at the same time. That’s the interesting story here, how we are evolving new mechanisms which are both more open and better at dealing with problems. Neat.

By Jimmy Wales Posted in General

The New York Times gets it exactly backwards

So the New York Times story today is exactly wrong in the most important detail. The story reports on changes to policy, and in particular the introduction of the semi-protection policy.

The headline and first paragraph of the story give the impression that today at Wikipedia, articles are protected and semi-protected, whereas in the past “anyone can edit”. This completely ignores the facts, which I explained to them in great detail.

The facts are that protection as a policy has existed for years. Semi-protection was devised as a softer, more open approach. Rather than full protection, which means that no one can edit, we now increasingly use semi-protection, which allows people to continue to edit the article.

Let me rewrite the headline and first paragraph for them:

Wikipedia Becomes More Open

Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that ‘anyone can edit,’ and this has become more true in recent months. In past years, Wikipedia was sometimes forced to protect some articles from editing, but recent software and policy development has allowed for articles which would have formerly been protected to be open for editing.

Ah, well. I keep looking at the New York Times site, looking for the “edit this page” button to correct the errors, but of course, that’s impossible.

By Jimmy Wales Posted in General