IRC Transcript of Jimmy Wales’ Talk, 4/26, 8:30 pm

Jimmy Wales
Harvard Law School
Tuesday, April 26, 8:30 pm

IRC transcript of the talk

I did not realize when I began taking notes on IRC that I would be posting the transcript. Since people in the channel did not know ahead of time the transcript would become public, I edited it in several ways. I removed comments and discussion not directly related or relevant to what Jimmy was saying. I removed people’s IRC names and the names of people in the room. If you were in either place and would like credit for what you said, please let me know and I will add your name back in. Corrections and commentary welcome.

Log file opened at: 4/26/05 8:33:55 PM

[8:36:02:] : You have joined the channel

[8:38:33:] jkbaumga: I’m supposed to do a transcript of this talk here

[8:38:39:] jkbaumga: = )

[8:39:44:] jkbaumga: I have Skype

[8:39:59:] jkbaumga: if someone’s really desperate for a sound feed, I can have someone dial in

[8:40:04:] jkbaumga: but you have to listen to me typing

[8:40:35:] jkbaumga: Swedish is becoming a big language for Wikipedia

[8:40:40:] jkbaumga: Jimmy’s just getting started

[8:40:52:] jkbaumga: there are about 50 people or so in the room

[8:41:40:] jkbaumga: Wikipedia needs to be stronger in Hindi and Arabic

[8:41:49:] jkbaumga: need for a good, quality, neutral unbiased encyclopedia

[8:42:34:] jkbaumga: translating the interfaces is a problem

[8:42:59:] jkbaumga: if the interfaces were in languages besides English, more non-English-speaking people would contribute

[8:44:21:] jkbaumga: [sj’s bird project is running in the background, so we’re listening to all sorts of bird calls while Jimmy’s speaking]

[8:45:34:] jkbaumga: it’s a pain in the neck to contribute to the Hindi Wikipedia

[8:45:51:] jkbaumga: problems will get solved when tech for Hindi language gets better

[8:46:06:] jkbaumga: Dutch Wikipedia is very large many speak Englis

[8:46:18:] jkbaumga: Jimmy says he can understand the Dutch better than the English sometimes

[8:46:34:] jkbaumga: q: can anyone start a new language?

[8:46:44:] jkbaumga: Jimmy says yes, but there’s probably already a page set up

[8:46:51:] jkbaumga: the man wants to know about an artificial language

[8:47:14:] jkbaumga: Esperanto, interlingua, another language I can’t spell (toquipana?), Klingon

[8:47:21:] hober: toki pona

[8:47:27:] jkbaumga: Jimmy’s afraid of Klingons so he’s not kicking the language out

[8:47:41:] jkbaumga: if you’re interested in starting a new language, do it

[8:47:52:] jkbaumga: er, new language version of Wikipedia, but no vanity languages, please

[8:48:02:] jkbaumga: Esperanto community is large and active

[8:48:24:] jkbaumga: people who are into Esperanto are pretty geeky

[8:48:25:] br: google has klingon and elmer fudd, btw

[8:48:28:] jkbaumga: really into it all

[8:48:29:] br:…

[8:49:09:] hober: note that there’s a (non-official) toki pona wikipedia here:…

[8:49:23:] jkbaumga: how can we get these other Wikipedias off the ground?

[8:49:43:] jkbaumga: sj: some version of another language Wikipedia

[8:49:51:] jkbaumga: a guy in Mali with a geek corps

[8:49:56:] jkbaumga: who go to third world countries

[8:49:59:] jkbaumga: to distribute tech

[8:50:11:] jkbaumga: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Wikipedia in this language?”

[8:50:23:] jkbaumga: he got a grant and is paying people about twenty cents an article

[8:50:29:] jkbaumga: to write their own Wikipedia

[8:50:35:] jkbaumga: in their own language

[8:51:41:] jkbaumga: just a reminder based on an audience q:

[8:51:53:] jkbaumga: when Jimmy talks about different language versions of Wikipedia

[8:51:57:] jkbaumga: they aren’t translations

[8:52:00:] jkbaumga: they’re their own versions

[8:52:04:] jkbaumga: I know y’all know that

[8:52:05:] jkbaumga: = )

[8:52:36:] jkbaumga: q: [I can’t really hear, but the guy is like 2 rows in front of me]

[8:52:48:] jkbaumga: [more people are coming in]

[8:53:00:] jkbaumga: can someone who isn’t doing notes and is in the room do a headcount for me?

[8:53:20:] br: i will

[8:53:28:] jkbaumga: thanks, man

[8:53:41:] jkbaumga: Wikibooks includes language texts

[8:53:45:] jkbaumga: Jimmy’s trying to learn German

[8:53:57:] jkbaumga: but he found the wikibook German text useless and boring

[8:54:10:] jkbaumga: wants to use the project to address the digital divide

[8:54:32:] jkbaumga: wiktionary project tries to do links by words

[8:54:50:] jkbaumga: q: how do translations work?

[8:54:54:] jkbaumga: up to volunteers

[8:55:16:] br: 64 people, including speaker

[8:55:26:] br: oops, 65 now

[8:55:27:] jkbaumga: nice gracias, br

[8:55:31:] jkbaumga: = )

[8:55:33:] br: someone walked in

[8:55:34:] br: 🙂

[8:56:14:] jkbaumga: Jimmy: if he was multilingual and working on another Wikipedia, he’d start with another language and start translating or pulling material from the other versions

[8:56:19:] jkbaumga: pirate from the other articles

[8:56:28:] jkbaumga: esp with articles that are well researched/written

[8:56:53:] jkbaumga: T: q to the quiet man: icons a picture for every word?

[8:57:11:] jkbaumga: [by the way, this is an informal talk people from the audience are interacting and asking questions whenever]

[8:57:42:] jkbaumga: Jimmy wants more pictures

[8:58:12:] jkbaumga: photos could be useful for illustrating different words

[8:58:25:] jkbaumga: [like having an apple and having the words in multiple languages]

[8:59:11:] jkbaumga: [for you folks in the room, if you want to add anything to what I’m typing, please do]

[8:59:20:] jkbaumga: [I know I’m going to miss things sometimes]

[8:59:37:] jkbaumga: T’s asking a really long question

[8:59:43:] p: I just lost what the hell is going on. Are they saying “nodality”?

[8:59:51:] jkbaumga: I lost it, too, a bit

[8:59:58:] jkbaumga: I think that’s what sj asked

[9:00:19:] jkbaumga: q: how much is coming from the US or external?

[9:00:28:] jkbaumga: Jimmy: most spellings seem to be British

[9:00:35:] jkbaumga: American English sounds stupid to them

[9:00:44:] jkbaumga: and British English sounds intelligent to us

[9:01:01:] jkbaumga: someone said the British are pushier

[9:01:05:] y: that’s an honourable response.

[9:01:08:] jkbaumga: giggle

[9:01:55:] jkbaumga: q too quiet

[9:02:12:] jkbaumga: [very few people in the room have computers]

[9:02:25:] jkbaumga: Jimmy: how do we get Wikipedia offline, distributed

[9:02:28:] br: digital divide in the room

[9:02:34:] jkbaumga: what do we do about people who are illiterate

[9:02:37:] * jkbaumga laughs

[9:04:37:] jkbaumga: Jimmy: lots of people can’t afford Britannica, but they can afford to print

[9:05:00:] jkbaumga: if we can get copies of the encyclopedia to them, they can have their own printed encyclopedia

[9:05:09:] jkbaumga: Brewster Kahle does something like that in Africa

[9:05:17:] jkbaumga: with a van/truck and a cheap printing press

[9:05:31:] jkbaumga: if we can give them three times as many books because our content is free, that’s great

[9:05:42:] jkbaumga: A q: do you have any intent to distribute it?

[9:05:47:] jkbaumga: what about in an audio form?

[9:05:51:] jkbaumga: audio searchable form?

[9:06:16:] jkbaumga: with the price drop of memory devices or flash media, you could almost distribute the content and the device

[9:08:29:] jkbaumga: sj: what about letting people who can’t write call in articles

[9:08:41:] jkbaumga: they can then yell and scream at each other during edit wars

[9:08:50:] jkbaumga: S q: LiveJournal does that sort of things

[9:12:05:] jkbaumga: Jimmy’s going back to encyclopedias in the middle east

[9:12:11:] jkbaumga: there’s no Arabic langauge Britannica

[9:12:15:] jkbaumga: there’s a cultural barrier

[9:12:27:] jkbaumga: rich people buy their kids encyclopedias

[9:12:31:] jkbaumga: but poor people don’t

[9:13:47:] jkbaumga: [if anyone would really, really like to listen in, I again offer my Skype connection you’ll just hear me typing like a herd of cattle]

[9:14:00:] jkbaumga: scholarships for students in exchange for articles written

[9:15:32:] jkbaumga: q: about writing Wikipedia articles

[9:15:45:] jkbaumga: a: from another audience member it’s tough to write an article about something in your field

[9:15:49:] jkbaumga: random people will argue with you

[9:15:59:] jkbaumga: and you have no recourse other than to fight with them

[9:19:47:] jkbaumga: Wikipedia just got its 5013(c) status

[9:19:54:] jkbaumga: he mentioned the Yahoo! server space

[9:19:56:] jkbaumga: belgium

[9:20:03:] jkbaumga: servers in Holland

[9:22:36:] jkbaumga: free license means the content is out there

[9:22:46:] jkbaumga: if Wikipedia dies, the content could still live on

[9:22:54:] jkbaumga: [but, of course, Wikipedia won’t die]

[9:23:19:] jkbaumga: if we get screwed, we can just move

[9:23:23:] jkbaumga: and start up a nunupedia

[9:24:46:] jkbaumga: q: work with the UN to reach other cultures?

[9:26:14:] jkbaumga: they’re working on applications to the UN and conferences and stuff

[9:26:37:] jkbaumga: someone in the room just pointed out that Jimmy’s user page is being edited

[9:26:40:] br: someone just edited jimmy wales user page, according to ircbot

[9:26:44:] jkbaumga: now he’s all worried about it being vandalism

[9:26:59:] jkbaumga: some wikinews reporter trying to create his own news

[9:27:53:] y: it was reverted

[9:28:00:] jkbaumga: Jimmy’s not worried about the Chinese encyclopedia

[9:28:03:] jkbaumga: doesen’t see it as competition

[9:28:11:] jkbaumga: going home and working on encyclopedia articles get boring

[9:28:16:] jkbaumga: the community aspect makes it interesting

[9:28:21:] jkbaumga: friendly and intelligent people

[9:28:30:] jkbaumga: can someone let Jimmy know it was reverted?

[9:28:30:] y: just some screwing around with wikilinks

[9:28:34:] y: using his page as a sandbox

[9:28:37:] y: that kind of thing

[9:28:43:] y: reverted by Gadfium

[9:28:58:] br:…

[9:30:02:] jkbaumga: q: can we fertilize those different language versions of Wikipedia here in America?

[9:30:20:] jkbaumga: Jimmy I want to tour the Middle East and Arabic countries as soon as I can find someone to fund it

[9:30:31:] jkbaumga: maybe I should speak at Harvard, see if I can get people excited about Wikipedia

[9:31:06:] jkbaumga: q: what do you feel the utility of Wikipedia for people in the developing world is?

[9:31:19:] jkbaumga: what does someone who can read about Benjamin Franklin gain?

[9:31:35:] jkbaumga: Jimmy people don’t know what’s happening around the world because they don’t have information

[9:32:45:] br: jw: clearly has to be l10n of wikipedia, not just translation of english wp

[9:32:46:] jkbaumga: q: what about missing information

[9:33:21:] jkbaumga: [which goes back to what Jimmy was saying before about distributing content offline and such]

[9:33:25:] jkbaumga: the moon is pretty universal

[9:33:37:] jkbaumga: J: q: what about machine translated text to seed Wikipedia

[9:33:37:] br: q: ever considered machine translation

[9:33:41:] jkbaumga: Jimmy: it really sucks

[9:33:47:] br: jw: yes, it is really bad

[9:33:50:] jkbaumga: J: it’ll give people something to fix

[9:34:03:] jkbaumga: if computers continue to improve, it’ll work

[9:34:53:] jkbaumga: I think sj is winding the talk down

[9:35:11:] jkbaumga: sj: I promised not to tire Jimmy out

[9:35:18:] jkbaumga: Jimmy: this is getting exciting

[9:35:23:] jkbaumga: I don’t want to stop talking

[9:35:36:] jkbaumga: you can leave, but you can also stay

[9:36:29:] br: e: considered partnering with local ngos?

[9:36:42:] jkbaumga: the guy next to me let people know the change was reverted

[9:36:52:] jkbaumga: [thanks for sharing that]

[9:37:04:] jkbaumga: Je q: something about sharing Wikipedia across cultures

[9:38:08:] jkbaumga: the Germans are asleep, so the German edits are slow

[9:38:10:] jkbaumga: right now

[9:38:15:] jkbaumga: timewise

[9:38:18:] jkbaumga: not in general

[9:38:40:] jkbaumga: something about pornspam and pop-up ads

[9:38:53:] jkbaumga: and people finding Wikipedia and saying “Gee, this is what the Internet is all about!”

[9:38:53:] br: new photo posted on wikinews by pingswept

[9:39:40:] jkbaumga: c: spent lots of time after 9/11 editing the 9/11 article

[9:40:07:] jkbaumga: Jimmy: contributing things for class is a great way to learn and work on Wikipedia

[9:40:17:] jkbaumga: Jimmy’s now explaining sj’s bird project

[9:40:23:] jkbaumga: which is running in the background

[9:40:33:] jkbaumga: sj explained it at the beginning, I did not transcribe here

[9:40:48:] jkbaumga: sj is now explaining it

[9:41:06:] jkbaumga: q: is there a discussion area for the community?

[9:41:24:] jkbaumga: Jimmy: yes, metawiki, mailing list, Wikpedia-L, IRC

[9:41:43:] jkbaumga: sj: we’re making a page about that right now

[9:41:57:] jkbaumga: not the birds the community discussion area

[9:42:10:] jkbaumga: q: censorship?

[9:42:21:] jkbaumga: Jimmy: Chinese government blocked Wikipedia twice briefly

[9:42:30:] jkbaumga: once around tiananamen sq anniversary

[9:42:34:] jkbaumga: another at random

[9:42:37:] jkbaumga: not much time to respond

[9:42:44:] jkbaumga: because it was so brief

[9:43:06:] jkbaumga: it’s tempting for them to slam it in the Western media, but Jimmy doesn’t think that’s productive

[9:44:22:] jkbaumga: Chinese Wikipedians protested the shut down

[9:44:35:] jkbaumga: end of the talk applause

[9:44:40:] * jkbaumga applauds

[9:44:49:] jkbaumga: Jimmy: the price of admission to the talk is to edit

[9:45:22:] A: <everyone rushes to jimmy’s page>

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