User:Jean-Christophe Chazalette/NLContents

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| Welcome | Founder | Reports | Projects | Interview | Press | International | Endnotes



Wikimedia Foundation logo

Wikimedia Quarto

Inaugural Edition   Summer 2004

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Board of Trustees

Jimmy Wales, Founder
Angela Beesley
Michael Davis
Florence Nibart-Devouard
Tim Shell

watch this



  Samuel Klein
Executive Editor
  Florence Nibart-Devouard
Cover Designer
  Jean-Christophe Chazalette

Contributing Writers
Angela Beesley, Daniel Mayer,
Arne Klempert, Dpbsmith, Elisabeth Bauder, Jamesday, Nicolas Weeger, Mathias Schindler, Sjc, Yann Forget, Jakob Voss

Contributing Proofreaders
Lead Proofreader: Ruth Ifcher
Danny Wool, QT Nguyen

Contributing Translators
Aphaia, Arno Lagrange, Ayman, Chopinhauer, Carlo Ierna, Kaare, Kpjas, Looxix, Mountain, Minh Nguyen, Neep, Nicolas Weeger, Paddyez, Profoss, Sansculotte, Sj, Spektr, Strxg, Shizhao, Yann Forget

sonic boom

   Welcome to the Wikimedia Foundation newsletter. Inside are articles about the latest Wikimedia initiatives, the thoughts and activities of our Board of Trustees, and words from our founder, Jimmy Wales. You will also find current reports from our committees and chapters, notes from the community, and the latest word from major actors in open content, copyright, and distributed research, through editorials and interviews. In this edition Ward Cunningham talks with us about Wikipedia and the future of wiki (see page 5).

    Highlights this month include a major press release following Wikipedia's one millionth article; a celebration of Wikipedia at the modern Cyberarts Festival in Linz, Austria, which honored us in May with a Digital Communities award and a generous grant; and a presentation to the United Nations in Geneva.

    The newsletter is available in several languages and formats; you are free to redistribute it. This new forum is a work in progress, but above all it is about the community and foundation that you have built. Be bold with your suggestions and criticisms; let us know what you would like to see in these pages in the months to come. Brief essays on any subject related to the Wikimedia Foundation or its projects are welcome, for publication on meta or in the next newsletter. Notes from your local projects, or quotes about Wikimedia in your local press, are also welcome. Comments and submissions may be sent to

    We would like to thank the many donors who have kept the Foundation in the black this year, such as We are especially grateful to everyone who has contributed essays, diagrams, photos, music, code, or dues to the various projects and chapters. Without your dedication, there would be nothing worth mentioning in a newsletter.

    Finally, we would like to recognize the 80+ writers, designers, and translators who contributed to this production. Many hands make light work, and producing this newsletter was a pleasure. May you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

--the WQ editorial team


Papillon déroulé 2.png
Table of Contents

Cover : Community (4)

Welcome, Table of Contents . . . . . . 1
Letter from the Founder . . . . . . 2
Letter from the Board
Quarterly Reports . . . . . . 3
Chapter Notes . . . . . . 4
News from the Projects
Interview: Ward Cunningham on wiki and Wikipedia . . . . . . 5
In the Press . . . . . . 6
In Passing
International Notes, Gallery . . . . . . 7
Endnotes, Editorials . . . . . . 8


Letter from the Founder


Jimbo Wales in France.jpg
In Focus & In Love

Our mission is to give freely the sum of the world's knowledge to every single person on the planet in the language of their choice, under a free license, so that they can modify, adapt, reuse, or redistribute it, at will. And, by "every single person on the planet," I mean exactly that, so we have to remember that much of our target audience is not yet able to access the Internet reliably, if at all.

We are an astounding global project that continues to grow at a staggering pace. Some statistics already widely known in the community are worth repeating: we see 2,000 new wikipedians each month; 2,000 new articles and 40,000 article edits every day -- almost twice as many pages and page-edits if you include discussion and meta-pages -- and this is only counting Wikipedia.

As we continue to grow at this rate, we will face some challenges of scaling. Old ways of doing things sometimes begin to break down as we become a community with ever larger numbers of people. We want to maintain and improve our quality standards, while at the same time remaining open, friendly, and welcoming as a community. This is a challenge.

To meet that challenge will require a lot of analysis and thoughtfulness. I also always like to talk about another ingredient that is absolutely essential: love. It's not so common in technological, academic, and scientific circles to talk about love within a community, but for us it is, and has to be, common and explicit.

Our community already comes from a huge variety of backgrounds, and over time the variety will only increase. The only way we can coordinate our efforts in an efficient manner to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves, is to love our work and to love each other, even when we disagree. Mutual respect and a reasonable approach to disagreement are essential, and both of those are helped along enormously when we feel favorably towards each other just as a natural result of being volunteers together on this incredible ridiculous crazy fun project to change the world.

None of us is perfect in these matters; such is the human condition. But each of us can try each day, in our editing, in our mailing list posts, in our irc chats, and in our private emails, to reach for a higher standard than the Internet usually encourages, a standard of rational benevolence and love.

We've come a long way already, and to really achieve our goals, we have to remain in focus and in love.

Letter from the Board
cf. the original French version

This newsletter arose out of a desire to share our activities and opinions with a broader audience; it is addressed to the tens of thousands of contributors to the Wikimedia projects, and to the many others who support our activities.

The Wikimedia Foundation was created as a result of the evolution of Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikibooks, Wikiquote and Wikisource. The exponential growth of these projects has required the creation of new structures and new modes of functioning. These structures include the legal capacity to receive donations; the creation of systems for compensation, for requesting grants, for managing domain names and server clusters, and for publishing content via print, CD and DVD; and the coordination of new communication channels between the different projects.

Despite this evolution, the contributors continue to be the vital force and the greatest resource of the Wikimedia projects, and these new structures will continue to be decided on democratically. The Wikimedia Board has the role of organizing related debates and making decisions to ensure the best possible conditions for the development, maintenance, and wide distribution of our free content. We are governed by a desire to protect Wikimedia's founding spirit, based on openness (everybody can edit), trust (no need to have special qualifications), collaboration (via a wiki), respect for others (in attending to the contributions of others), and a gift culture (based on volunteering).

Over the past three months, we have built a solid base for Wikimedia's future. We have set the foundation for a membership system, made numerous contacts with people and organizations that will aid our prjoects over the coming year, and begun applying for grants and organizing regular fundraisers in order to ensure Wikimedia a stable financial future. Official positions have been given to Daniel Mayer and Tim Starling, to ensure transparent publishing of Wikimedia's finances and to increase communication with our developers, respectively.

In coordination with the german and french chapters, we have made contacts with publishers to distribute Wikipedia's content on CD and DVD, and started preparing snapshots of Wikipedia for such offline distribution. Meanwhile, a worldwide press release was distributed in celebration of reaching the milestone of one million articles. We are establishing increased contacts with the press, and aim to further increase our projects' visibility with the help of a multilingual PR committee.

Finally, we are setting up a new official website dedicated to the Foundation. This will provide information for the public about our Foundation and its mission, our many projects and initiatives, and plans for the future. The website will also detail our financial situation (as the current site does), and offer online membership registration. Watch for updates over the coming months.

If you have questions or comments, we would love to hear from you. You can reach us on our talk pages (see [1]), or by email at board (at)


Quarterly Reports



Where can I find information about the Foundation?

Current information about the Foundation can be found in this newsletter, on the dedicated mailing list [2], on the Wikimedia Meta-wiki [3], and at the Foundation's website [4] (in progress)

How many people make up the Board of Wikimedia?

There are five members, including Jimmy Wales, the founder and chair of Wikimedia. Angela Beesley (secretary) and Florence Devouard (vice chair) are the two elected representatives. Michael Davis is the Board's treasurer and works on Wikimedia's financial matters (see Finance). Last member is Tim Shell,who participates actively in the English Wikipedia, and is often found on the #wikimedia IRC channel.

How does the Board communicate among its members?

Board activities are recorded on the Wikimedia Meta-wiki [5], and will in the future be on the Wikimedia Foundation's site [6]. Communication takes place via email, also through the foundation-l mailing list, which is open to the public and publicly archived. Members of the board also frequent the #Wikimedia IRC channel on freenode [7], where they can be reached for a quick response. While 3 Board members are frequently present on IRC at the same time (the quorum required for a proper Board meeting), these are generally not official meetings.

There have been a few active meetings of board members over the summer. On July 4, 2004, Jimmy, Angela and Anthère met in Paris (summary: [8]).

Later that month, there was a meeting to discuss the creation of an official foundation website at; many took part in the discussion, including Angela, Anthère, Mav and Tim Starling (summary and results: [9]).

There was also a quick ad-hoc meeting on September 5 about the creation of a database for a tentative Wikispecies project, to let its enthusiasts discuss what they want it to become. All but one of the board members convened for around 20 minutes to discuss this (summary: [10]).
Press conference in Paris

Do Jimbo, Tim and Michael dominate Board decisions?

To date, Tim and Michael have played a minimal part in board discussion and decisions, and there is no plan to change this. In order to ensure that the community voice is real, Jimbo has pledged as a matter of convention never to vote against Angela and Anthere unless he feels it is an issue of absolutely fundamental change of direction for the project -- which is not likely to happen, since Angela, Anthere and Jimbo share the essential values of the community and the project. So as a pratical matter, power is in the hands of the two democratically elected board members on most issues, and Jimbo defers to that.
How many board decisions are made by vote?

We prefer to discuss things, find proposals that we can all agree on, make compromises to accomodate each other where necessary, and reach agreement. Al informal votes taken have been unanimous.

Does the Board record or publish their activities anywhere?

Most of the time we discuss things on #Wikimedia IRC channel on freenode. On this channel, everyone is free to not only follow board deliberation but to participate to the discussions and help us to make decisions. Logs of planned meetings IRC meetings, such as the one regarding the Foundation website, are published on Meta and the Foundation wiki, along with summaries of other meetings. However we also meet in private channels or exchange private mails as well. It's important for us to be able to speak freely, to think out loud, without people taking speculative comments and thoughts as being new policy or set-in-stone decisions. We hope our activities are visible through this newsletter, board meeting minutes, official announcements on the mailing lists and the Wikimedia website.

What are the official positions and committees?

Mav is responsible for finances, with the oversight of the Board treasurer, Michael Davis. Mav is, in particular, in charge of establishing our budget ([11]), and of balancing out books ([12]).

Tim Starling is the liaison between the Board and our group of developers. Developer activity falls into two main areas: server maintenance anddevelopment of the MediaWiki software (also used for many non-Wikimedia applications).

Tim Starling is setting up a Developer Committee [13]). This committee will be made up of the most active developers and, among other things, will help formalize a method for reaching development decisions (the direction of future development, definition of necessary purchases, processing of certain requests, &c).

There are no other official committees proper, but there are important groups like committees which form naturally, particularly relating to public relations and grants. Danny Wool is our grant coordinator. For other suggested committees, see [14].

How can I become a member of the Foundation?

Everyone who is an active participant in one of the Wikimedia projects is automatically a volunteer member of the Foundation. Volunteer members and other project supporters will be encouraged to become contributing members this fall; this will entail paying membership dues.

Discussion in July regarding membership dues led to the following proposal:

Becoming a contributing member will cost 60 USD (or the equivalent), and does not require being an editor of a Wikimedia project. Volunteer members may become contributing members for 6 USD, but are encouraged to pay the normal fee if they can. Members can choose how they wish a portion of their fee to be used (for instance, "30 dollars should be used only for hardware purchases").

There will be no obligation to pay dues: adding to and benefiting from projects will always be free. Contributing money is nothing more than an additional way of helping the project. The full proposal may be found on Meta at [15]; other questions about membership are answered in the Membership FAQ. See also [16].

Is Wikipedia planning to have ads?

Wikimedia does not plan to allow advertising on Wikipedia or any of its sister projects in the foreseeable future. We believe that suitable grants and donations from the public will provide for a secure future without the need for advertisements. There are others ways as well to gather money, such a grants, prizes, gifts from our mirrors, donations of hardware etc... Running ads would likely raise money, but possibly lower other sources of revenus, in particular donations, plus possibly upset some editors.

I hear developers are being paid now. Is it true?

In July 2004, the Wikimedia developers were polled about the feasibility of a bounty system for development tasks. The motivation for this was to improve the guidance of development in certain directions (for instance, by offering payment for developing certain software features). The results of the poll can be found at [17].

Working closely with the Developer Committee, we will be trying out a system of payment and other rewards for developers who choose to work on particular tasks. This will be a four-month trial run, after which we will step back and evaluate whether it was successful.

The proposed system allows for anyone to request new features, and for any developer to propose their own terms for filling a feature request. The developer committee will advise the Board about the feasibility and usefulness of requests and offers, and the Board will make the final decisions to accept or refuse offers for requested work.

Details of the trial run are available at [18]. All Wikimedia contributors will be encouraged to evaluate it when it is over.


Discussions with potential collaborators have heated up this year. External projects interested in working with Wikimedia projects include Project Gutenberg (Wikisource), OpenTextBook and Free High School Science Texts (Wikibooks), and Open-Media (the newly-started Wikimedia Commons). On July 1, some german Wikipedians met with the Brockhaus new media group to get to know one another. At the end of August, Jimmy and Angela met with people from the BBC new media division at to talk about Wikipedia, opening possibilities of collaboration with them.

Some collaborations have already been realized, starting in May of this year, when Yahoo! invited Wikipedia to become part of its content acquisition program. A data feed of the list of new pages was provided to them to ensure up to date search results of Wikipedia's content; in June, statistics from Yahoo! suggest this provided over 2 million visits, a quarter of our total, with slightly less traffic since then. Other collaborations with individual content distributors have yielded the most physical results: two major CD and DVD distribution efforts are being realized this fall.

Male Emperor Gum Moth.jpg

Directmedia CD

By the end of September, the German company Directmedia Publishing [DMP] [19] will put out a CD-ROM of the German Wikipedia. It will contain a partly cleaned up snapshot from September 1, and will contain an ISO-image and the SQL-dump. 30,000 CD-ROMs will be sent by DMP to registered customers, for free. Another 10,000 CD-ROMs will be given to book shops as freebies, or to sell for not more than 5€.

Directmedia Publishing have published some 180 electronic books in the last 10 years focusing on social sciences, lexicons, and image collections.

Mandrakesoft DVD

Mandrakesoft (producer of their own flavor of Linux) will release a DVD containing a bilingual snapshot of the French and English Wikipedia, with an upcoming version of Mandrake Linux. Mandrakesoft has produced one of the most popular and user-friendly Linux distributions for many years.

The intensive work to tag images and lists in preparation for these publications, long overdue, has provided quality improvement to the Wikipedia projects involved. The image-tagging effort on the English encyclopedia, which involves classifying 50,000 untagged images, is ongoing; please help this effort at [20].

Other Offers and Invitations

Wikimedia has standing offers of free hosting from a webhost in France, where three new squids have recently been set up. There were other offers of free hosting as well, particularly while making contingency plans for the first Florida hurricane, in late August.



1180 individual PayPal donations have been made to the Foundation between the start of the year and 31 August, yielding US$46,600 (non-U.S. Currencies converted using current exchange rates), a daily average of $190. Over half that amount ($29,800) was collected in July and August mostly during an unofficial donation drive only on the English Wikipedia.


In May, the Prix Ars Electronica awarded Wikipedia their Golden Nica for Digital Communities, an award which came with a 10,000 Euro grant with no strings attached [21].


Many grants were considered for application during the summer of 2004, and many hours were devoted to an NEH grant [22] for projects in the humanities which looked promising. Histories of Wikimedia were summarized, a detailed description and budget were written for the proposed humanities project, and biographies of contributors interested in staffing the project were gathered. The application was not sent in, in the end, for lack of sufficient time. However, the text about Wikimedia which was produced, and the experience gained in writing about specific projects, will be useful in future applications this fall.


Donations from July and August plus money raised in late December (during and immediately following a major server crash and downtime) was used to purchase over $60,000 ([NOTE: not a finalized figure) worth of new hardware (see [23] and [24]).

Technical Development

It's been an exciting year so far on the technical side. We started with two servers in California and an Alexa rank of 900 [25]. In February the site moved to Florida and nine new servers. Three more servers from a May order entered service in early June and a fourth, the fast and sexy database server Ariel, followed at the end of the month. After each upgrade, the number of people using the site rose to fill the available capacity of the new servers. As of the start of September, eight more web servers from an August order are in service, and search and file servers are awaiting installation.

Today routinely ranks consistently in the top 500 English language sites in Alexa's rankings [26], and is steadily increasing its reach. In June we saw almost a million edits. So far we have managed to avoid the really slow performance we saw at the end of 2003; thanks to those whose donations have made it possible to keep up.

May saw the introduction of version 1.3 of the MediaWiki software, with improved templates, categories, a new site skin and improved language support. Edit conflict handling improved significantly. Version 1.4, due in a few months, will include better database load balancing, assorted speed improvements, preliminary support for PostgreSQL as a database engine and tools to help with article reviewing.

Entering service soon will be the first hardware outside the United States, a three server Squid cache set in Paris, serving pages to those in parts of Europe, so many viewers there will not need to wait for most pages to come from Florida. Once we have that working well we expect to do the same in other places, as offers of hosting allow.

The new developer committee will be working to keep up with the growth and illustrates the international nature of the technical team, with members from six countries.


There are six active Wikimedia projects:
  • Wikipedia (1 million articles in 100 languages, 150,000 images, 25,000 contributors, 800,000 visits/day)
  • Wiktionary (70000 articles in 20 languages, 500 contributors, 800 visits/day)
  • Wikibooks (5000 modules in 250 books and 15 languages, 300 contributors)
  • Wikiquote (2500 articles in 6 languages, 100 contributors)
  • Wikisource (4000 pages in 30 languages, 100 contributors)
  • Meta (1500 articles in 30 languages, 1000 contributors)

There are a few other projects either newly-created or waiting for further development:

  • Memorial Wiki - currently only a 9/11 memorial; ~200 pages.
  • Wikicommons - set up in September, to jumpstart a long-awaited project to keep shared media such as images and sound files in a single language-independent repository
  • Wikispecies - set up in September, while the contributors work out what they want the project to be, and how they want to store species data.


Summer meetings of Wikipedians

On the occasion of Jimmy Wales's trip to Europe, many meetings took place, notably in London, Berlin, Paris, and Genova. A report on the Paris meeting follows in the International section, and more details are available at [27].

Other events

There were some great photo opportunities at the Prix Ars Electronica awards ceremony in Manhattan in May, when Danny received the Golden Nica award for Digital Communities, on behalf of everyone. At the end of the summer, in the first week of September, there was the big Ars Electronica Festival, which many european Wikipedians attended; Jimmy showed up for that and gave a presentation there.

On September 1, Angela and Jimmy visited the BBC in London. They met during the day with a group including some H2G2 staff, to present Wikipedia to them and discuss wikis in general. Later that evening, Angela gave a presentation to a group of people at a pub called Oyster.

Public Relations

There was a major press release issued this spring, commemorating the 500,000th Wikipedia article (counting all languages together), which was picked up by many local and online news publications. Another is being released this month, commemorating the one millionth article [28].

In May and June, following our winning of the community awards from both the Prix Ars Electronica and the Webby Awards, there were a number of interviews with Jimmy and articles about Wikipedia, most famoulsy his interview on Slashdot ([29]).

For quotes from articles about us, see "In the Press", pg. 6.


Out of the ProjectsEdit



Tree of Life

The Tree of Life wikiproject, focusing on all organisms on the planet, continues to be the largest of all Wikipedia projects. It has contributors and content in many languages, and many thousands of articles to its name.

The board met online in September to discuss Wikispecies ([30]), a proposed biological project, related to the Tree of Life, that aims to provide data on every species. This resource will feed into Wikipedias of all languages. The project, which was created later that month, will work closely with the Tree of Life Wikiproject, and similar projects across the Wikipedias.

Paper publication

Two single-topic reference texts, called 'WikiReaders' were produced in german from Wikipedia content, on the topics of Internet and on Sweden [31]. These were developed by a group of contributors led by Thomas Karcher, converted to PDF, and printed in a small print run for 6USD a copy, following a few simple guidelines [32]. They were distributed at meetups in Germany and Austria, and via an online store [33]. Similar reader projects have been started on the English Wikipedia centered around the topics of crytography and World War II [34].

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons was launched in September 2004, with the goal of providing a central repository for free images, music and, possibly, texts and spoken texts, to be used by all Wikimedia projects. Still in the planning stage, the project will, in future, allow images to be reused across projects.

Proposed projects

Wikipeople: This will be both a memorial wiki, incorporating the include 911wiki as a portal along with other less specific memorial pages, and a family tree wiki, including genealogical details about people of every era. It hopes to find a way to incorporate the 9/11 memorial wiki.

Wikiversity: This is currently a wikibooks portal to material specifically for (self-)instructrion. Interest in Wikiversity is growing rapidly, including outreach to university and highschool teachers, who regularly come to Wikipedia with their classes. There is an effort afoot to convert existing wikibooks to be used in courses, and another to attract support for a more elaborate wikiversity initiative.

Local projects

de : [ Qualitätsoffensive]: every 2 weeks a topic is chosen, and related articles are reviewed and updated. Started in April; 11 topics covered so far. Banner image

en : Featured images : in parallel with the featured articles review process, high-quality images have been categorized as featured images; a parallel 'Image of the Day' project selects one image each day which can be featured in a page via its template.

fr : A general drive for improving the quality of the project took place during this summer: the number of controversial articles was greatly reduced, all images have been tagged with the appropriate information, and numerous stubs were converted to proper articles.

ja : Web Creation Award On September 9, Japanese Wikipedia won the Special Prize of the Web Creation Award from the Japanese Advertisers Association, for its excellence among Japanese-language websites.

zh : 质量提升计划 every 2 weeks a high-level article is choosen, and related articles are reviewed and updated.

Chapter ReportsEdit

Paris Gargoyle2.png

Efforts to found the first two Wikimedia chapters, based in Germany and France, began this year. Draft bylaws were drawn up, and interested parties were selected to help organize and promote each chapter, particularly among the regulars on the de: and fr: Wikipedias. Both chapter initiatives have produced extensive documentation, much of it stored on the Wikimedia Meta-wiki, and have started to hold regular meetings.

Wikimedia Deutschland

As planned, the German Wikipedia reached two milestones on June 12, 2004: That evening, Wikipedians had a party during the Wizards of OS conference to celebrate the 100,000th article, and on the following day, 34 Wikipedians and friends met to found the German chapter of Wikimedia, Wikimedia Deutschland.

The German chapter began work immediately. On July 1, five members met with the Brockhaus Corporation, the most renowned German encyclopedia publisher, and exchanged experiences. A collaboration was begun with the Digital Library in Berlin to produce a Wikipedia CD-summary, which should conclude at the end of September with the production of 40,000 CDs.

In a well-attended member meeting on IRC, people discussed further strategies and projects. The Berlin Media and Computation Professor, Deborah Weber-Wulff, undertook the coordination of academic efforts on Wikipedia.

Presentations on Wikipedia at festivals and conferences are already planned, particularly, at the Linuxday fairs in Lörrach and the Berlinux conference in Berlin.

Wikimédia France

The French chapter-to-be is still in its formative stages. A pilot committee (comité de pilotage) has been set up, and draft chapter bylaws and structures have been proposed.

The current status of the association (found on [35]) seems to be acceptable to members of the pilot committee; no one currently objects much to any specific point in the proposed structure. The organisation's name, which was finally settled on, is Wikimedia France.

Due to the summer holidays, everything was at a standstill in August. This has been changing with the end of the holidays. However, there are not yet many volunteers for the board. According to the planning timeline (found on ([36]), the next milestone is in October, when a meeting is planned to validate status, after which November will see the official birth of the association.

Some of the issues for the new chapter to deal with are: setting up potential Wikimedia mirrors and squids in France, and acquiring wikimedia-related domain names (as the budget allows).



Interview : Ward CunninghamDO NOT TRANSLATE YET
Ward Cunningham

The Quarto caught up with Ward Cunningham in his tech-cave in an undisclosed part of Oregon. In between cans of Moxie, we picked his brain about the evolution of wiki, and his thoughts on the Wikipedia phenomenon.

Wikimedia Quarto:

Ward Cunningham:





In the Media
In this section we take a look at what the media (in all its forms) has to say about Wikipedia and the sister projects, be it good, bad or indifferent. It's nice to see that we are being recognised, and, as the well worn phrase has it, 'There's no such thing as bad publicity', since unfair adverse reporting seems invariably to lead to a prompt corrective response from our many friends over the internet who cherish the integrity of the Wikipedia projects, and the quality of information which the projects are making available.

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. --Jimmy Wales in a Slashdot interview, July 28 2004.

Wikipedia, the encyclopedia of the 21st century, is free as beer, open to all, and free as speech. It's a modest and titanic project with growing success. --SVM, Sept 2004, pp 76-77

Here is a quick timeline of Wikipedia through the lens of the press: - June 29, 2004: Mario Sixtus, Frankfurter Rundschau: "Astonishingly... not a bunch of graffitti and spam [a la] web fora or guestbooks. Quite the opposite: Many entries in the online-reference compare favorably with a commercial reference." - Aug 14, 2004: Andreas M. Bock of the Suddeutscher Zeitung quips that Wikipedia is "the Brockhaus of Trivia" - Sharp competition for Brockhaus and Encarta: The free on-line encyclopedia Wikipedia will appear in a few weeks on CD-ROM. -- a PC-Welt article, Sept 10, 2004

More recently, Wikipedia has even become a source for weather overviews:

"[Hurricane] Ivan was in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, 325 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and moving north-northwest at nearly 10 mph. It likely will hit the Alabama coast early Thursday, according to" -- Sept 15, 2004, Dre Jackson, Peoria Journal Star Online
Illustration of circle strafing

Our critics Of course, not everyone is a fan. The UK's Register has a particular fondness for biting articles about Wikipedia.

  1. The Register (and their counter-response)
  2. Syracuse paper: "Don't use WP as source"
    • Responses from bloggers


In Passing



From Sept 2-7, 2004, Wikipedia was present at the Ars Electronica Cyberarts Festival in Linz, Austria. Wikipedia had won a Golden Nica in the category digital communities of the Prix Ars Electronica and Jimbo Wales was invited to speak at the presentation of the prize winning projects.

In the Brucknerhaus where the conference talks took place, all the prize winners were given the opportunity to present their projects. Mike from the german wikipedia organized the Wikipedia booth at the so called electro lobby where Mike, Emu, Elian and DerTeufel explained Wikipedia and its concepts to the visitors. We had a very nice neighbourship: The people from Creative Commons were there, filling everyone up with "Open Source Water" under a Creative Commons License.

Open Source Water under Creative Commons License

The glorious gala on friday which was transmitted on Austrian and German TV was a little bit disappointing, however. After lots of lengthy speeches of local politicians and sponsors the awards were handed out. Instead of a live part in the ceremony, they played a brief video film about Wikipedia which included footage from the London meetup. So we have this nice photo of London Wikipedians as displayed at the Gala.

Wikipedia film at Linz cyberarts festival 2004

Sunday evening Jimbo had dinner with Howard Rheingold and Joichi Ito, two big fans of wikipedia who were on the Jury of the Award committee. Later we went to a party with Ito and some others, among them Jane Metcalfe from Wired magazine and Armin Medosch from the german online magazine Telepolis.

On Monday Lawrence Lessig payed a short visit to Linz, speaking on a panel and Jimbo and he talked about the future of the GFDL. Martin Wattenberg, a researcher from IBM who had worked on a Wikipedia visualization project [37] demonstrated his Java program at the Wikipedia booth - really, really great stuff.

On the last festival day Jimbo held his presentation about Wikipedia on the Digital communities panel, where the jury members Rheingold and Ito explained their decisions for the awards. Since Ito, sitting on the panel, played around with his notebook, Jimbo decided to do the same and went chatting on IRC during the speeches. In an experiment, Jimbo asked the folk on #wikipedia to write an article about Ito for the English wikipedia which resulted in some funny conversations and - in the end - an article while Ito was blogging it. We finished the conference celebrating together with the people from Creative Commons the launch of Creative Commons Austria.

The Lentos museum in Linz, at night


see Calendar for more
What's happening across the wikiverse and beyond.

Old events  
Jan New servers installed -> traffic spike. Feb 500,000 article mark
Mar Apr
May Prix Ars Electronica "Digital Communities" award. Webby "Community" award. Jun European meetings
Jul Major Slashdot interview, July 4 meeting in Paris. Aug 8 new Apaches set up -> traffic spike.


  • Sep 9: Aoineko picks up an award for Wikipedia from the Japanese Advertiser's Association
  • Sep 15: Milestone: Wikipedia reaches 1,000,000 articles
  • Sep 21-24: Jimmy Wales in Switzerland; presentation to the UN


  • Oct 1 : 40,000 copies of a CD with a snapshot of the german Wikipedia sent out
  • Oct 4 : Wikiversity deadline
  • Oct 12: Berlinux conference
  • 3 squid proxy servers set up in France


  • Nov 27 : Rotterdam Symposium


  • Dec 27-29 : 21C3 in Berlin, wikimeetup

Future EventsEdit

  • Mar 21, 2005 : CCC conference, party

The Road AheadEdit

Keep the good work and suggestions coming!

The road ahead

With a little luck, Foundation members will be able to see this newsletter in print before the start of winter. Look for the next edition around the new year.

In time of need call on the editor's creed:
    Thesis, antithesis, synthesis!
If you think what you read should be NPOV-ed,
    Thesis, antithesis, synthesis!
So plant a good seed
And do a good deed
And don't ever stop until all have agreed
And then they will call you a real Wikiped-
    Thesis, antithesis, synthesis!