I first met Jimbo Wales, the face of Wikipedia, when he came to speak at Stanford. Wales told us about Wikipedia's history, technology, and culture, but one thing he said stands out. "The idea that a lot of people have of Wikipedia," he noted, "is that it's some emergent phenomenon -- the wisdom of mobs, swarm intelligence, that sort of thing -- thousands and thousands of individual users each adding a little bit of content and out of this emerges a coherent body of work."† But, he insisted, the truth was rather different: Wikipedia was actually written by "a community ... a dedicated group of a few hundred volunteers" where "I know all of them and they all know each other". Really, "it's much like any traditional organization." ...
Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
Jacksonville, North Carolina 28546