Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales delivered his only UK lecture at Bristol University on Thursday as part of a tour to celebrate the site’s tenth anniversary (#wp10).
Founded on 15 January 2001 with the aim of making knowledge available for all, Jimmy Wales shared his thoughts on the rise of Wikipedia and how it is shaping the world.
From a very small operation Wikipedia today is the 4th most visited website in the world, available in 199 languages, administered by 50 full-time employees and thousands of volunteers around the world who are dedicated to sharing knowledge.
Today, Wikipedia has over 17 million articles, with those in English accounting for only 20% of the total.
Jimmy Wales spent some time discussing censorship online, highlighting Google’s experiences within the Great Firewall of China. While Jimmy was asked if he’d consider pulling out of China his reply highlighted the strength of the site as Wikipedia did not have a presence in the country. Wales believes that China will one day “abandon it’s current censorship policy.”
Looking ahead Wales is focusing on “content sharing, looking deeper and allowing and supporting content creators.”
Wikipedia is a site built by people for people. It relies on people to factually check edits and so requires support of its users. While he introduced the ‘Pending Changes’ software, developed to safeguard the biography of living people, he is a believer that making knowledge to all requires people to continue joining this growing community.