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Wikipedia in the Beginning

From Wikipedia 10

"This is the new WikiPedia! The idea here is to write a complete encyclopedia from scratch, without peer review process, etc. Some people think that this may be a hopeless endeavor, that the result will necessarily suck. We aren't so sure. So, let's get to work!"

Tim Starling found the long-lost files documenting Wikipedia's early edits from January 15 2001- August 2001 [1]. They're here: http://noc.wikimedia.org/~tstarling/wikipedia-logs-2001-08-17.7z

While excavating the historical files, share some of the important/interesting/moving information here. Try and include user names and timestamps if you can.

Before we were Wikipedians

  • "In the beginning, there were "Wikiwatchers," described to be: "an intelligent person who surfs the "WikiPedia" and finds valuable information." Extinct?
  • "The curiously brave people, who, in the face of the dire threat of DisRuption, nonetheless post BrilliantProse (and, sometimes, PatentNonsense) on Wikipedia. Sufficient but not necessary condition for being a WikiWatcher."

Be Bold

An early discussion (the first?) about editing and etiquette

  • Wikis don't work if people aren't bold. You've got to get out there and make those changes, correct that grammar, add those facts, precisify that language, etc., etc. It's OK. It's what everyone expects. Amazingly, it all works out. It does require some amount of politeness, but it works. You'll see.
  • Would I be too bold, if I said precisify is not a word?
  • "Precisify" is philosopher-talk for "make precise"...

Before the Globe

  • "For an internet encyclopedia that will have contributors from around the world, a USA flag somehow doesn't seem right for the logo."
  • "I'd recommend you change the American flag logo. Extremely ethno-centric et. al. [sic] I think a globe logo would be much more fitting, if you want to keep with that metaphor. Or perhaps a book."


  • "Nupedia (http://www.nupedia.com/) is soon to become the greatest Encyclopedia in History, because of its essential features, viz., it is: Open content, free, freely-distributable, rigorously Peer reviewed, international, unbiased, and in the fullness of time, comprehensive." (Wikipedia's article on Nupedia on March 3, 2001) [ahh, the benefits of having policies on 'original research' and 'not a crystal ball'.....]


There are lots of good reasons why NuPedia might want to have a wiki:

  1. Write articles. We can develop encyclopedia articles, perhaps. Some people probably will do better in an unstructured environment than the very structured NupediaEditorialProcess. We might then incorporate wiki articles into the main encyclopedia (via the normal editorial channels, of course).
  2. Fun. It's a social forum for Nupedians. It's fun, or we hope it will be!
  3. Speed. We can, perhaps, develop content fast. There's no one who has to approve a topic, no deadlines, etc. You come and add a bit here and there as you wish!
  4. Increase feedback and interaction. Feedback is potentially easier than on the NuPedia main site, and interaction on wikis can be very interesting. Some people might be more attracted to this sort of interaction than the sort that occurs on the main part of the website.

None of this is to say that the Nupedia wiki will replace the main encyclopedia; of course it won't. But it will be an interesting ancillary endeavor!

--LarrySanger in WhyDoesNupediaHaveaWiki, Wed, 17 Jan 2001