Jimmy Wales

Founder of Wikia

Open or Closed? The Future of Search
22 minutes, 10.5mb, recorded 2007-07-27
Jimmy Wales

Since its creation, Wikipedia has revolutionized the way the world looks for information. The open-source website allows for anyone to write or find out about anything. The secret for safely sustaining a totally accessible database (like Wikipedia) is the Wiki. This is the concept behind Wikia as well.

According to Jimmy Wales, search engine results are a political statement. The system decides what information is "important," and all its inner-workings are hidden. A huge part of Wikia's aspirations to Free Access is one of Wales' four basic principles: transparency. In a Wikia Search, the process is visible by all.

Naysayers always question, "How can you have an open search with so many spammers?" Jimmy believes that while there will inevitably be the possibility of abuse, a large part of any successful endeavor is trust in people. Basically, there will always be the threat of spammers, but at least with a "transparent" search, anyone can detect the problem, as well as propose a solution. The real problem, says Jimmy, is the "secret arms race" we have now between the spammers and programmers, while the public is kept in the dark.

Jimmy Wales was born in 1966. Jimmy graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor's degree in Finance, receiving his masters from the University of Alabama. He helped create Wikipedia in 2001, and founded Wikia in 2004.


This free podcast is from our Open Source Conference series.

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