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?