An Ever-Evolving List of the Best Wikipedia Quotes
Quotes from the Founder
“Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing.” – Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales
“I frequently counsel people who are getting frustrated about an edit war to think about someone who lives without clean drinking water, without any proper means of education, and how our work might someday help that person. It puts flamewars into some perspective, I think.” – Jimmy Wales
“The goal is to give people a free encyclopedia to every person in the world, in their own language. Not just in a ‘free beer’ kind of way, but also in the free speech kind of way.” – Jimmy Wales
“Wikipedia is not about technology, it’s about people. It’s about leaving things open-ended, it’s about trusting people, it’s about encouraging people to do good.” – Jimmy Wales in the Foreword to The Wikipedia Revolution
“We aren’t democratic. Our readers edit the entries, but we’re quite snobby. The core community appreciates when someone is knowledgeable, and thinks some people are idiots and shouldn’t be writing.” — Jimmy Wales
Motivation to Contribute to Wikipedia
“Sharing goes both ways: it asks for you to participate, not just consume. We want people to be active on the internet.” – Katherine Maher, Executive Director Wikimedia Foundation
“Why work on Wikipedia? For me, the answer is a matter of scale . . . Because of the very heavy use the site receives, the changes that you or I make to Wikipedia are likely to touch substantially more lives than any other possible way of contributing to the information universe at this moment. It’s a simple matter of efficiency — I work on Wikipedia, and try to make it better, in order to reach as many people as possible.” – Wikipedian and MIT Librarian Phoebe Ayers
“Everything we do is political, everything that we choose to represent is political and editing Wikipedia is political in and of itself.” – Megan Wacha, Wikmedia NYC president
“You start talking about the long term — about being one of the first large information sources on the web that is truly free. You start talking about what will happen if this works; that because it’s free, it’s going to be the default resource for a whole lot of people, and you start to get a little bit awed by the responsibility to build it properly, and keep it open, and keep it sane, and most of all, to get the facts right, because this work is going to be a base on which many unforeseeable future projects will be built.” – Wikipedia user Catherine Munro
“There’s never a dearth of things to do—fixing spelling, grammar checking, statistics, sorting, categorization, list making. There is also no deadline, and no pressure to work at a particular pace. In this sense, Wikipedia is the obsessive-compulsive’s dream come true. It has a bottomless pit of source material with which to indulge one’s pet peeves or obsessions.” – Andrew Lih, The Wikipedia Revolution, p. 109
Wikipedia is . . .
“I know Wikipedia is very cool. A lot of people do not think so, but of course they are wrong.” – Larry Sanger, Co-Founder of Wikipedia
Wikipedia is Not . . .
“PSA: Wikipedia is not ‘a source’. It’s a process, gateway, compendium: a way that people collect information and sources together and summarize them. It is an extraordinary, largely accurate, very useful, only partially completed work in progress. It’s not a work in the sense of a single thing. Every article has a unique creation history, made under an umbrella of policy that helps guide editors. It’s an encyclopedia in the Diderot sense, but so much more.” – Tweeted by Wikipedian and MIT Librarian Phoebe Ayers
“Wikipedia is not therapy. If an editor has behavioral problems that disrupt the collective work of creating a useful, encyclopedic reference, then the editor’s participation in Wikipedia may be restricted or banned. These problems may be caused by personal immaturity, an inability to properly apply Wikipedia’s policies, poor social skills, or other reasons.” – “Wikipedia Is Not Therapy” (WP:NOTTHERAPY)
Quotes Not Explicitly about Wikipedia, But Still Right on Point
“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” – Bertrand Russell
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” — Edmund Burke.
Wikipedia as Public Resource
“It’s not polite to treat Wikipedia like an endlessly renewable resource with infinite free labor. What’s the impact?” – Wikipedian and MIT Librarian Phoebe Ayers