When we think Wikipedia, we think Jimmy Wales. But most of us don’t know that Wikipedia actually had a co-founder – a fellow called Larry Sanger, who not only worked on the original version of Wikipedia (called Nupedia) with Wales back in 2000, but claims to have been the guy who “brought to the idea of the wiki” to the crowdsourced encyclopedia.
But Sanger doesn’t seem to have any pride in being the (co-)inventor of Wikipedia and, in his words, “inflicting” it on the world. Indeed, he fell out with Wales and quit the company in 2003 and ever since has become Wikipedia’s most persistent and articulate critic. And today Sanger has a new critique of Wikipedia. As he told me in a conversation on Skype, both Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation now have a serious problem with pornography. Look up bondage or Cock and Ball Torture or fisting on Wikipedia, Sanger says, and you’ll find “an awful lot” of pornographic material entirely inappropriate for children.
So is Larry Sanger right? Should Wikipedia be filtered so that kids can’t read about fellatio? Does Wikipedia really need to be censored?
The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit company focused on empowering and engaging people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free content license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. The Wikimedia Foundation’s most prestigious project is Wikipedia, however, they are involved in others such as Wikimedia Commons, Wiktionary, Wikisource, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikinews, Wikiversity.
Larry Sanger is an American philosopher, co-founder of Wikipedia, and the founder of Citizendium. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. From an early age he has been interested in philosophy. Sanger received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Reed College in 1991 and a Doctor of Philosophy in philosophy from Ohio State University in 2000. Most of his philosophical work has focused on epistemology, the theory of knowledge. He has been involved with various online encyclopedia projects. He is...