On Mon, 15 Oct 2001, Lars Aronsson wrote:
while others could contribute longer texts to each
article, but Larry
thought it was important that [Wikipedia is not a dictionary], so I
left. I think Larry agrees with my conclusion that Nupedia grows too
slowly because of an overly strict editorial policy, and that
Wikipedia is a blessing. I think that Larry's criticism of my
contributions to Wikipedia was a leftover from this unnecessary
strictness, and rather than trying to explain this, I went away.
First, Lars, thank you for your support of the Wikipedia project! I'm
glad finally to connect a name (and website) to a Wikipedia nickname
A brief clarification is in order. I have rarely thought of Wikipedia as
the solution to Nupedia's problems (in that case, Wikipedia ought to
*replace* Nupedia, which I don't think is true). I have thought of
Wikipedia, rather, as a *complementary alternative* to Nupedia. The
strictness, per se, of Nupedia's editorial policy doesn't seem to me the
best explanation of why Nupedia hasn't been growing faster; I think it's
better explained by the fact that the system has been hugely overburdened
by bottlenecks. Under the newest proposal developed on Nupedia-L and
developing further on Advisory-L, Nupedia's editorial policy will continue
to be very strict--only the best work will be accepted--but there will be
far fewer bottlenecks. We'll simply be reverting to a typical academic
review system. One shouldn't assume that this means we'll be more open to
As for my criticism of *some* (only some!) of your contributions to
Wikipedia, Lars, I apologize if I was too abrupt and if I seemed rude.
That was merely a function of my wanting to get as much work done on the
project as possible (something that I can only hope other people, who I
have treated in an equally peremptory way, have understood). I am coming
around to a subtler understanding of the virtue of efficiency--efficiency
is great, but not at the expense of the virtues of clear communication and
politeness! For the record (and please don't take it personally that I
say this :-) ), I still do oppose one-liner stub articles for the English
Wikipedia. I think we can reasonably and should expect better than
that--and generally speaking, while we now still do get plenty of stubs,
they have rather more information than that, which is fine as a way to get
By the way, if you find my attitude offensive, why not e-mail me privately
and we can try to resolve the problem amicably? I think it's entirely
possible that there was simply a misunderstanding or several between us.
But if discussion of the relative merits of personal styles is conducted
in a public forum, it becomes a sort of game, a defense of competing egos,
which (I hope you can agree) is tedious for others and stressful for
us--and completely *unnecessary* for everyone. I think this would be a
good rule (in fact, I'm going to add it to [[rules to consider]]--if a
debate starts to get personal, take it to e-mail. This is something that
Jimbo has suggested doing before, and the more I consider it the more I
I think that Wikipedia (and Wiki technology in
general) is one of the
most interesting ideas I have met in the last few years. Rather than
the [Open Directory Project], which only links to existing websites,
Wikipedia tries to document all knowledge, whether already available
on the Internet or not. This is the same idea that [Denis Diderot]
worked on, moved to the [World Wide Web].
Yes! Well said!
...online bookstores. I made a rule so that map:
followed by a
geographic latitude and longitude will create an inline image link to
a map from mapblast.com
. I could go on and add new rules. This is a
dimension that I haven't seen explored in Wikipedia yet.
This is all great and exactly on target.
You might or might not know that Magnus Manske and others have been
working on a new version of the software that will run Wikipedia, in PHP,
One main reason we are excited about this (aside from the fact that it
will be better software for our purposes, when it's done) is that it will
live and be developed publicly; no longer will we have to wait for
overworked Bomis programmers to make improvements to Wikipedia software.
I set up my experimental wiki on August 31, and after
a month I had a
pretty decent website, all prompts translated to Swedish, and with a
few hundred articles in it. I decided to keep this project, and on
October 1, I gave it a proper Internet domain, http://susning.nu/
The slogan "skaffa dig en susning.nu" roughly translates into "get
yourself a clue, now!"
I noticed that the Swedish Wikipedia ( http://sv.wikipedia.com/
) is one
of the few in which some word strings have been properly translated. You
and others can help out by using the following (very cool) translation
This website hasn't been indexed by Google yet,
and I am writing most
of the articles myself. There are 1700 articles of which 200 are
REDIRECTs, 1100 contain at least one comma, and 600 contain a map from
Mapblast. This places my site slightly ahead of the German Wikipedia
(900 comma articles), and way ahead of the Swedish Wikipedia (90 comma
articles). I have one article for every municipality in Sweden, and
several countries are covered. Very few of my articles are long, and
there is no chance I can compete with the English Wikipedia.
Is your work released under the GNU FDL? I'm obviously very sorry that
you felt it necessary to start a project wholly unaffiliated with
Wikipedia (popularly known as "forking" :-) ). We would, of course, like
to be able to use your work on the Swedish Wikipedia and perhaps even in
future Nupedia articles in Swedish.
Perhaps the best question to ask is: what would it take for us to be able
to persuade you to use (a greatly improved version of)
? It's almost certain that we will be able to
accommodate whatever wishes you might have. Of course, it's entirely
possible that *nothing* would persuade you. But at least one good reason
is that there are the resources of many, many people at work on Wikipedia.
Also, your project's association with Wikipedia (and therefore also with
Nupedia) can only be to the benefit of the project in terms of credibility
and general public support and press coverage. We are now, as this
mailing list demonstrates, focusing resources on setting up and supporting
the non-English Wikipedias properly.
As a "good fences make for good neighbors"
principle, I run my own
website independent of what goes on in the Wikipedia project.
"Good fences make for good neighbors" is true enough in foreign policy,
but I'm not sure the principle works so well when dealing with open source
and open content projects; in that case, it's called "forking"...which is
not always the best policy (but, of course, sometimes it is).
link to your articles, and my readers can contribute to and benefit
from your work. I think this "scales" well, and that is very
comforting to a programmer like me. I think that we can learn a lot
from each other, and have a loose form of cooperation or mutual,
peaceful coexistance, even if we are not in the same project. This is
how it has worked between me and Project Gutenberg's Michael Hart over
the last eight years.
There is one problem, namely, that http://sv.wikipedia.com/
exists, and the chances of our stopping are virtually zero. Our project
and yours can indeed continue to coexist and to use each other's work
(well, assuming that you use the GNU FDL, that is, or some other
compatible license), but I'm not sure what the point of this would be; I
am skeptical that the overall project of creating a high-quality, dynamic,
open content encyclopedia in the Swedish language would benefit from this
Anyway, thanks for telling us about your project, and I'm sure we'll all
keep thinking about it.