Here are some snippets from a widely linked interview on Slashdot with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Good stuff:
But the things our community is producing are different. There’s no cost to switching from an outdated old encyclopedia to Wikipedia — just click and learn, and there you go. You can switch before your friends switch, but the knowledge you learn will be perfectly compatible.
And the key word there is outdated. I’ve been consistently amazed at how quickly the community contributes entries on newsworthy events or people etc.
I think you’d be pretty hard pressed anymore to find topics that are in Britannica that we don’t cover at all. It’s still not that hard, if you look around a bit, to find rare articles in Britannica that are better than our article on the same topic. But it’s getting harder all the time.
It is my intention to get a copy of Wikipedia to every single person on the planet in their own language. It is my intention that free textbooks from our wikibooks project will be used to revolutionize education in developing countries by radically cutting the cost of content.
This is still such a cool idea to me. I mean think about a time when a classroom of students comes to some new understanding or truth about a particular topic and can contribute that to a collective text of truths. It IS revolutionary.
Basically what I think works in a wikis is to trust people to do the right thing, and trust them as much as you can possibly stand it, until it hurts your head and makes you scared for what they’re going to break. Because that is what works
Oy. This is a high school…
And by the way, you can download the whole 633MB Wikipedia database here. Just in case you need it offline…