[Wikipedia-l] My resignation

Larry Sanger lsanger at nupedia.com
Fri Mar 1 19:32:18 UTC 2002

Dear friends:

I hereby resign as editor-in-chief of Nupedia and I also hereby give up
any position of authority I had with Wikipedia; assuming particularly that
funding will not be able to be found for the position of Nupedia
editor-in-chief (see below), I don't intend to work on either project any
significant amount within the next few months, and very possibly ever.

Obviously, I owe you an explanation.

First, let me stress that this has *nothing* to do with my lack of faith
in the projects or in the nobility of the mission.  It also has absolutely
nothing to do with my relationship with Jimbo or Bomis, which remains
friendly.  I really *do* hope the projects go on to great successes, even
without me.  It is even still possible even that Bomis, or a future
Nupedia Foundation, will find the money to pay for my job, and I might be
in a position to come back to the old job.  But I'm frankly not expecting

As you know, since the beginning of February, I've been working on
Wikipedia and Nupedia as a part-time volunteer.  I haven't been able to do
nearly as much as I wish I could do, but job-hunting and money-making
activities necessarily occupy a great deal of my time.  Unfortunately, I
do not expect to see, within the foreseeable future, any sort of
compensation for the time and responsibility I've continued to hold in the
projects.  Now that I'm unemployed, I can ill afford to spend my free time
this way.  This is, I'm afraid, *by far* the most important reason for my

Second, a little bit of history will help to explain this as well.  I was
more or less offered the job of editing Nupedia when I was, as an ABD
philosophy graduate student, soliciting Jimbo's (and other friends')
advice on a website I was thinking of starting.  It was the first I had
heard of Jimbo's idea of an open content encyclopedia, and I was delighted
to take the job.  So I want this to be clear: I did not *set out* to be a
leader and crusader and organizer.  As a job, this has been the best I've
ever had.  But this project is not something I would have chosen as a
hobby, frankly; *with* *my* *spare* *time*, even after having started it
and having grown to care a lot about it, I must admit I'd rather be
spending time with my wife, reading and writing philosophy, and playing
fiddle.  (I'm making a little money now teaching fiddle in Columbus and
enjoying that immensely.)

A third important reason is that I feel I simply cannot do a good job
working only part-time.  It seems like every time I sit down to do a
little work on Wikipedia or Nupedia, I am now asking myself, "What's the
use?  I don't have any time to do anything of importance."  If I can't do
the job right, what's the point of doing it at all?

So--I wish Wikipedia all the best and hope that it can find its way
forward without my involvement.  Wikipedians, don't take my departure as
an excuse to leave yourself.  My departure should not be taken as a
reflection on Wikipedia, or you.  It still might succeed brilliantly.
It's very important that you continue to edit each others' work, that you
encourage in each other good habits, that you welcome new contributors,
and that you praise good work when you see it.  As for Nupedia, obviously,
the only way it can be revived is if it either finds money to pay an
editor-in-chief or perhaps an emeritus professor who is willing to
volunteer.  I am no longer going to pretend*to be able to be
editor-in-chief as a part-time volunteer--even if I had the desire and the
spare time. I'd be interested in helping to organize it--again--as an
employee, but I'm not holding my breath.

I will try to assist in any transitioning, if any needs to be done (e.g.,
listservs I now moderate will probably have to be made unmoderated).  I
should continue to be reachable at lsanger at nupedia.com, but not via
mailing lists (I'll be unsubscribing).  Otherwise, I feel a clean break is
necessary.  I have no hard feelings at all for Jimbo or the others at
Bomis, and I wish to thank and say "best wishes" to--well, a long list of
people in both Wikipedia and Nupedia. You know who you are.  If you don't
mind, I'd rather not name names, for fear of leaving anyone out.

By the way, if you've got a serious job lead for me, please let me know.

All the best,
Larry Sanger, Ph.D.
Ex-editor-in-chief, Nupedia
Ex-chief organizer, Wikipedia

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