Wikipedia: Doing its best to be accurate, says co-founder

2012-09-29 00:00

HE has been described as an individual who has transformed the Internet and shaped the future.

Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, has seen his brainchild become one of the largest general reference sites on the Internet and the most popular online encyclopaedia in the world.

Wales was addressing delegates as a headline speaker at the 2012 GovTech conference in Durban this week when he said that the concept of the free encyclopaedia was conceived through “thinking out of the box”.

“Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge … To create and distribute a free encyclopaedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language. That’s who I am. That’s what I am doing. That’s my life goal.”

Wales said the 11-year-old website was available for people around the world to edit and add their information to specific topics or pages.

“We have a staff of just over a 100 people in the Wikimedia offices based in San Francisco and over a 100 000 volunteers around the world.”

Wales said that despite the vast number of volunteers helping edit Wikipedia pages, errors and tensions between users were inevitable.

“We’re trying our best to be as accurate and reliable as we can be. We also encourage people who edit pages to be civilised, kind and thoughtful to one another … We have many viewpoints coming on different

issues and many people say that it is impossible to achieve objectivity.

“But it is just very hard to be objective, its not impossible,” he said.

Wikipedia contains 23 million articles with over four million entries in the English Wikipedia. It is available in 285 languages.

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