[Wikipedia-l] Re: Sanger's memoirs

lmsanger at sbcglobal.net lmsanger at sbcglobal.net
Wed Apr 20 03:10:20 UTC 2005

I was looking at wikipedia-l to see how the community might react to my
memoir.  I haven't been subscribed for three years.  But seeing Jimmy's
comment impelled me to rejoin the list, for the sole purpose of confirming
what has been on record for five years.

Jimmy wrote:

> The original idea for a wiki for Wikipedia was not proposed by Larry,
> but by Jeremy Rosenfeld.

Who is Jeremy Rosenfeld?  I'm afraid I don't remember, but I don't have a
very good memory for names.  Was he one of the people doing link weeding for

I remember very clearly the evening when I got the idea for Wikipedia.  It
was January 2 and Ben Kovitz and I were eating at a Mexican restaurant just
around the corner from the old Bomis office.  (I could point out the place,
if it still exists, but I forget the name.)  Ben no doubt remembers it as
well, because I told him almost immediately after he explained the concept
of a wiki to me that it would be interesting to consider building a more
free-wheeling encyclopedia project using a wiki.  I told him that, even as
we were still eating dinner.  I remember writing a wiki encyclopedia
proposal soon after I got home, I think that very night; I remember you
saying that you liked the idea and that you'd set up the wiki.  That would
have been January 3.  I think you (or maybe it was Jason Richey) actually
put the wiki online either that day or the next.  I think it was that very
day, because I remember being happy that the thing had been set up so
quickly.  Over the next few days I started populating the wiki with the
basic pages, and pitched the idea to Nupedia.

If Jeremy Rosenfeld told you about wikis, or suggested that wiki software
could be used to run a wiki encyclopedia, you certainly never told *me*
that; and in any case, it was not Jeremy Rosenfeld's conversation with you,
but instead mine, that actually caused the precursor of Wikipedia to come
into existence on January 3 or 4.  I know how Wikipedia was originated,
since, well, I did the origination.  Moreover, I came up with the name for
the project and shepherded it very closely from then through its first year.

Do you deny these claims, Jimmy?

If not, then what you say is simply false, is it not?--That "The original
idea for a wiki for Wikipedia was not proposed by Larry, but by Jeremy

I just don't know what you could possibly thinking.  Why don't you clarify
for the list what you meant, precisely, in light of the facts as I have
presented them?  Surely you're not accusing *me* of having lied since
practically the beginning of the project?  Because, as you know, the above
story has been the official story of the origin of the idea for Wikipedia
since the beginning of the project.  Why would you take five years to "set
the record straight" and thereby accuse me of having been a liar all that


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