Jimmy speaks: Future of Wikipedia is Quality; WYSIWYG is coming to Wikipedia; Bio Pages are a problem (hello?!); Fair Use of Images Debate rages on

The founder (co-founder?) of Wikipedia is speaking at the Wikimania conference right now. He went over the Seigenthaler-case and how his appearance on CNN (to be yelled at he joked) tripled Wikipedia’s traffic.

He said the focus of Wikipedia over the coming years should be quality on the core articles. This as opposed to things like growing the number of terms in the data, he said.

Jimmy introduced a lawyer named Brad Patrick who was first hired to deal with all the legal issues around Wikipedia, and is now the interim CEO.

Jimmy says the his venture-capital funded company, Wikia, has been authorized to us a “significant portion” of their investment funds into the free Wikimedia software. Wikimedia software is what powers the Wikipedia.

If you’re confused right now it’s because Jimmy has a “Sundance problem” brewing. Sundance is a brand that has for profit (Sundance channel, Sundance theaters) and non-profit (festival, institute) entities that share similar branding. Wiki is a general term for the style of website, but it associated with the powerhouse of Wikipedia.

Jimmy is very interested in politics (he’ll run for something, some day I’m sure), and his for-profit company (Wikia) has launched Campaigns Wikia.

Jimmy gave some announcements about what’s going on:

  • One LapTop Per Child program will include Wikipedia in their “content repository.”
  • Wikiversity has been approved. It “a center for the creation and use of free learning materials and activities.” In other words quizes, tests, etc. It’s basically a place for people to learn, and learn to tech from what I can see.
  • Wikiwyg is being built with Socialtext. Wikiwyg is a “what you see is what you get editor” (as opposed to code). I blogged about this the other day. Ironically, the tech folks at Wikipedia are not thrilled with the concept of a WYSI, but Jimmy thinks it’s important and gonna happen. Jimmy wasn’t at the Hacking Days–which was odd–and I think there is a gap between his vision the tech teams.
  • Quality Initiative–he talks about this again.
  • Jimmy says that Admins are taking a “strong stand against unsourced claims, especially negative claims.” This is a discussion I had with him the other night (I’ll do a seperate post on this).
  • Image tagging is bring worked on. The admins and newbies are having the fair use debate he says. He says they would rather not have an image than have a bad one/not clear one.
  • Jimmy talked about Stable Versions of articles. These are articles that have been edited to the point where they can have a locked version (the stable version), while also having a version that can be edited by users. This is sort of scary to some folks because it ends the “anyone can edit and everyone has to see the edit” style of Wikipedia. This will be “anyone can edit, but not everyone will see it.”
  • Wikipedia wants to get grants to hire community co-ordinators and recruiter for languages where wikipedia is doing a poor job. Basically, they want to hire admins to jump start the community–hmmmmm, where have I heard that?

Question from the audience: someone wants Jimmy to allow product pages in the Wikipedia. Jimmy reminds him that it’s not his decision, but the communities (of course, he leads the communnity).

Articles for deletion is a mess, and it’s against the kindness and loving style of wikipedia. He says company pages and product pages get deleted. Jimmy doesn’t like to take questions it seems. He sort of ended his short statement saying people should discuss it. Jimmy has an interesting leadership style.

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