Jimmy Donal "Jimbo" Wales (born August 7, 1966) is an British-American Internet entrepreneur and wiki pioneer who is most famous as one of the founders of Wikipedia, an international collaborative free content encyclopedia on the Internet, and the Wikimedia Foundation.
- What if we could get everyone in the world together to record what they know in one place?
- Dude, you rock.
- I hereby decree, in my usual authoritarian and bossy manner, that today (Oct. 31) shall forever be known as Tim Starling Day. Wikipedians of the distant future will marvel at the day when the new parsing algorithm dawned upon us. Tonight at dinner, every Wikipedian should say a toast to Tim and his many inventions.
- In countries that celebrate Halloween, children will first say "Trick or Treat" and then, when they get the candy, they will say "Secure and Split" and run away, in honor of Tim's work in this area.
- w:Wikipedia:Tim Starling Day (31 October 2003)
- 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.
- As quoted in "Wikimedia Founder Jimmy Wales Responds," by Robin "Roblimo" Miller, Slashdot (28 July 2004)
- 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.
- As quoted in "Wikimedia Founder Jimmy Wales Responds," by Robin "Roblimo" Miller, Slashdot (28 July 2004)
- [Wikipedia is] like a sausage: you might like the taste of it, but you don't necessarily want to see how it's made.
- When someone just writes 'f**k, f**k, f**k', we just fix it, laugh and move on. But the difficult social issues are the borderline cases — people who do some good work, but who are also a pain in the neck.
- As quoted in "Who knows?", The Guardian (26 October 2004)
- Wikipedia is first and foremost an effort to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language. Asking whether the community comes before or after this goal is really asking the wrong question: the entire purpose of the community is precisely this goal.
- Ideally, our rules should be formed in such a fashion that an ordinary helpful kind thoughtful person doesn't really even need to know the rules.
You just get to work, do something fun, and nobody hassles you as long as you are being thoughtful and kind.
- Most people understand the need for neutrality. The real struggle is not between the right and the left — that's where most people assume — but it's between the party of the thoughtful and the party of the jerks. And no side of the political spectrum has a monopoly on either of those qualities.
- "How a ragtag band created Wikipedia" - TED Talk (July 2005); this has sometimes appeared paraphrased as "The real struggle is not between the right and the left but between the party of the thoughtful and the party of the jerks."
- Freely licensed textbooks are the next big thing in education.
- While talking about Wikibooks project; TED - Jimmy Wales: How a ragtag band created Wikipedia, July 2005
- We are growing from a cheerful small town where everyone waves off their front porch to the subway of New York City where everyone rushes by. How do you preserve the culture that has worked so well?
- As quoted in ExpressIndia (7 September 2005)
- The primary issue is how seriously we take our chosen obligations to people in the developing world who do not have Internet connections. … Frankly, and let me be blunt, Wikipedia as a readable product is not for us. It's for them. It's for that girl in Africa who can save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around her, but only if she's empowered with the knowledge to do so..
- Foundation-l mailing list (23 October 2005)
- Wiki editing thrives on local knowledge, but 'local' in an epistemological sense, not necessarily in a geographical sense. For example, I personally know a lot more about world news on topics that interest me and could synthesize much better in those areas, than I know about local politicians where I live
- Interview with Jimbo Wales (December 10, 2005)
- It is pretty weird. A few years ago, I was just some guy sitting in front of the internet. Now I send an e-mail or edit an article and it makes headlines around the world … I used to be just a guy — now I'm Jimmy Wales.
- We come from geek culture, we come from the free software movement, we have a lot of technologists involved. If we had done the same sort of comparison on poets or artists, I think that we would not have fared nearly as well.
- Wales to the Miami Herald, "Will Wikipedia change history?"
- It turns out a lot of people don’t get it. Wikipedia is like rock’n’roll; it’s a cultural shift.
- Wales to Computerworld, "Wikipedia founder gazes into site's future" (18 August 2006), based on an earlier interview at Wikimania
- We've always had a love/hate relationship with numbers.
- Wales to Computerworld, "Wikipedia founder gazes into site's future" (18 August 2006), based on an earlier interview at Wikimania
- IAR is policy, always has been.
- Quite frankly, several of the people who contributed to the article should be banned from coming near a keyboard until they have learned to engage in proper encyclopedia writing.
- In a discussion about Wikipedia article (07 September 2006)
- I think that argument is completely morally bankrupt, and I think people know that when they make it.
There's a very big difference between having a sincere, passionate interest in a topic and being a paid shill … Particularly for PR firms, it's something they should really very strongly avoid: ever touching an article.
- PRWeek (30 Jan 2007) In response to suggestions Wikipedia might change policies to allow PR firms to edit the site without breaking a rule called "WP:AUTO".
- I regard it as a pseudonym and I don’t really have a problem with it.
- On controversy regarding fraudulent claims of credentials by the Wikipedian Essjay, in an e-mail to editors of The New Yorker, as quoted in The New York Times (5 March 2007)
- I don't see any particular problem with that.
- Responding to the deletion of a Wikipedia article from non-administrator view, while the article's deletion was being reviewed by the community. (27 March 2007)
- Myspace hurts my eyes.
- Interview with news24.com (April 2007)
- Wikipedia is a non-profit. It was either the dumbest thing I ever did or the smartest thing I ever did.
- pedophilic sexualization of a community mascot? No. - email me if you have questions
- deleted page File:LoliWikipetan.jpg (8 June 2007 )
- Hayek's work on price theory is central to my own thinking about how to manage the Wikipedia project. … [O]ne can't understand my ideas about Wikipedia without understanding Hayek.
- Jimmy Wales, cited by Katherine Mangu-Ward, "Wikipedia and Beyond: Jimmy Wales' sprawling vision," Reason (June 2007).
- Also cited by Morton Winston and Ralph Edelbach , Society, Ethics, and Technology 4th ed. (Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2012), p. 200.
- Simply having rules does not change the things that people want to do. You have to change incentives.
- EssJay was appointed at the request of and unanimous support of the ArbCom.
- Wikipedia-l mailing list (17 October 2007)
- I think MySpace is doomed, I give them about two more years.... I think Facebook is the next Microsoft in both the bad and the good senses. That's an amazing company that is going to do a lot of good and bad things.
- Jimmy Wales on tech's future, Orlando Sentinel (03 November 2007)
- Greatest misconception about Wikipedia: We aren’t democratic. Our readers edit the entries, but we’re actually quite snobby. The core community appreciates when someone is knowledgeable, and thinks some people are idiots and shouldn’t be writing.
- There’s plenty of rude stuff online. People say things online that they would be ashamed to say face to face. If people could treat others as though they were speaking face to face, that would be huge.
- As quoted in "The Encyclopedist’s Lair" in The New York Times (19 November 2007)
- I have said this many times in the past and will say it many times in the future I am sure: some people need to find a different hobby, because whatever they are here for, it is not to help build an encyclopedia.
- We are going to change the [GNU] Free Documentation License in such a way that Wikipedia will be able to become licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. And so this is not, as some people speculated on Facebook my 50th birthday party. This is a party to celebrate the liberation of Wikipedia.
- Announcing that the Wikimedia Foundation Board has voted to enable Wikipedia to be licensed under a Creative Commons license. "Wikipedia to be Licensed Under Creative Commons" (30 November 2007)
- Given enough time humans will screw up Wikipedia just as they have screwed up everything else, but so far it's not too bad.
- I don't really agree that most academics frown when they hear Wikipedia. Most academics I find quite passionate about the concept of Wikipedia and like it quite a bit. [...] The number of academics who really really don't like Wikipedia is really quite small and we find that they get reported on in the media far out of proportion to the amount they actually exist.
- Wikimania 2008 Alexandria, press conference, 0'14 (August 2008)
- We are a passionate community of volunteers who are trying to create a free encyclopedia for every single person on the planet. So we don't often think in terms of competition. We are going to do what we do and we hope Google does wonderful things as well. … If we were approaching this as a business we would think always: Oh, how can we position ourselves on the market... We just don't do any of that stuff.
- Wikimania 2008 Alexandria, press conference, 0'20 (August 2008), asked about Google Knol
- I have my team focused on the front end, working on the user experience, and making sure we have all the wiki-like tools people need to work on the site. We're just cranking away.
- About Wikia Search, in an interview with Susan Kuchinskas in iMediaConnection, March 26, 2009 (only days before Wales would shut down Wikia Search and lay off two developers)
- To me the key thing is getting it right. And if a person's really smart and they're doing fantastic work, I don't care if they're a high school kid or a Harvard professor; it's the work that matters.
- Long displayed quote on his User page at Wikipedia, and many other Wikimedia projects
- I think this article was misleading in saying that I "recognized" Wikipe-tan. My removal of the sexualized version from Commons was in no way an endorsement of the standard versions. I don't like Wikipe-tan and never have. I recognize that some people do, and I'm not particularly agitated about it, but my name should not be invoked in a way that might lead some to believe that I approve. Thanks!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:33, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
- I am not a fan (February 7, 2011; emphasis not in original)
- I'm on it pretty much all the time. I edit Wikipedia every day, I'm on Facebook, I'm on Twitter, I'm reading the news. During one of the US elections, I actually went through my computer and I blocked myself from looking at the major newspaper sites and Google News because I wasn't getting any work done.
- The Independent, October 23rd 2011
- What we won't do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of "true scientific discourse." It isn't.
- Real people are involved, and they can be hurt by your words. We are not tabloid journalism, we are an encyclopedia.
- Jimmy Wales on Biographies of living persons article
- I think that reality exists and that it's knowable
- Quoted in an artwork, also depicting Wales, in the 2018 exhibition 'Internet Giants : Masters of the Universe' by Langlands & Bell.
- Greetings everyone!
I hereby proclaim, in my usual authoritarian and bossy manner, that today (April 20) shall forever be known as Justin Knapp Day. Wikipedians of the distant future shall marvel at the first person to ever make 1,000,000 edits. Tonight at dinner, every Wikipedian should say a toast to Justin and his many edits. In countries which celebrate Easter, which is sometimes at a similar time of year, and indeed will fall on Justin Knapp Day in 2014 for both the Eastern and Western traditions, children will be allowed to eat up to 1 million candies each
- Wikipedia:Justin Knapp Day ( April 20, 2012)
- I hope someone will create lots of articles about famous dresses. Our systemic bias caused by being a predominantly male geek community is worth some reflection in this contest. We have nearly 90 articles about Linux distributions… I think we can have an article about this dress. We should have articles
- Now, the UK is home to a very diverse newspaper community, a vibrant newspaper culture. We've got papers like The Sun, The Mirror, The Mail. [laughter]...we're trusted slightly more than the BBC. Now, that's a little scary -- [laughter]
- One of the classic problems we have is -- and we have this a lot in English Wikipedia -- is the annoying user, who at least allegedly produces good content. There are users in the community who have a reputation for creating good content, and for being incredibly toxic personalities. This is a tough issue because [fixes slide problem] but my idea is very simple. Actually, on this issue, I have a very simple view is that most of these editors actually cost us more than they're actually worth, and we're making a big mistake by tolerating people who are causing us enormous...
- A lot of them, they really cost more than they're worth, and they should be encouraged to leave, and not in a bad way. I mean one of the things that I've always believed is letting people walk away with dignity. We don't have to shame them and scream at them and make them leave and then they're sad and annoyed and then they make sock puppets and then they come back and harass us for years.
- Jimmy Wales Speaks at Closing Ceremony of Wikimania 2014 August 10, 2014
- Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others. When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising banners, but I decided to do something different. We’ve worked hard over the years to keep it lean and tight. We fulfill our mission efficiently.
- In case anyone is wondering I strongly support the development and widespread adoption of a covid-19 vaccine and will take it as soon as it is widely available... I don't think I should be in the first wave to take it as that should be people more vulnerable or more likely to be spreaders...
- Twitter (19 May 2020)
- I think that's right. [replying to comment: "it should go to health care workers first"]. I'm not an expert. I just know that I'm healthy and safe at home, so it will be more helpful for others to go first. But I'm eager to take it!
- https://twitter.com/jimmy_wales/status/1263008186249949185 Twitter] (20 May 2020)
- President's power does not extend to threatening or shutting down social media platforms. But we should fear this in every country. Worst case scenario is that platforms don't have courage to tell Trump to go away, that they begin to adapt policies to his whims because he is a lunatic,
- Donald Trump is a lunatic: Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales interview with India Times on May 28, 2020
- You cannot write a good Wikipedia article about a small town if there is no longer news about this small town. This [trend] will impact the quality of Wikipedia long-term.
- The next billion people who'll get online access will enter the Internet with mobile devices. It's difficult to write Wikipedia articles on smart phones. So we're investing more and more resources to improve access for these people.
- Education and innovation are two things that we can fall back on in the most uncertain times! Join me July 1, 4 PM IST on @unacademy, I will speak about education and my early life that propelled me to create Wikipedia.... unacademy.onelink...
- https://twitter.com/jimmy_wales/status/1277629711611543552 Twitter] (29 June 2020)
- I predict that https://gov.uk/home-education is going to be dramatically more popular this coming year.
- Twitter (30 June 2020)
- When is the last time you saw a politician talking about Aristotle's Virtues? This is what I love seeing -@RoryStewartUKpost on WT: https://wt.social/post/vg6w2a75311699787861
- Twitter (1 July 2020)
- On Sunday July 5th at 5pm we’re all saying #ThankYouTogether! Whether you’re thanking the NHS, key workers, delivery drivers or a friend, neighbour or colleague who has helped you during this time - join us on your doorstep and help spread the word. together.org.uk
-  (3 July 2020)
- I support freedom of expression. A lot of people I disagree with also support freedom of expression. If that's controversial, then someone will have to explain to me why.
-  (8 July 2020)
- ...Please consider joining http://wt.social - healthy dialogue rather than soundbite vitriol
-  (17 July 2020)
- Should there be competing articles, so that you would have the Catholic article on abortion, the evangelical Christian version, and the Planned Parenthood version?
- In Jimmy Wales: “Wikipedia is from a different era”" (January 14, 2021)
- Random speculative pseudo information should be removed, unless it can be sourced.
- Zero information is preferred to misleading or false information - Email to WikiEN-l, Tue May 16 20:30:15 UTC 2006
- Zero information is preferred to misleading or false information.
- Keynote speech, Wikimania, August 2006. May 19, 2006
- It is tough problem for platforms like Twitter and Facebook. They exist to allow people to share their thoughts and ideas … One of the things that I would like to see more of is, not to stop people from sharing things … but to warn them… So, when I am about to share something, and a reputable fact checking organization has shown it is a hoax, I would like Facebook to warn me “Hey … you might want to check, if this is true or not, before you share it”. I think that would be very helpful.
C-SPAN interview (2005)
- Interview with Brian Lamb (25 September 2005) Transcript and Realplayer video
- Wales: We help the Internet not suck.
So it's that the Wikipedia for a lot of people hearkens back to what we all thought the Internet was for in the first place which is, you know, when most people first started the Internet they thought oh, this is fantastic, people can communicate from all over the world and build knowledge and share information. And then we went through the whole dot-com boom and bust and the Internet seemed to be about pop-up ads, and spam, and porn and selling dog food over the Internet. And now Wikipedia kind of hearkens back to the original vision of the Internet. And so it's important for the whole business of the entire Internet that there be quality resources that people can turn to and want to turn to.
- Wales: Our goal has always been Britannica or better quality. We don't always achieve that.
- Lamb: Would you put them out of business?
- Wales: You know, I don't know. I used to think so but I just was in Germany where Wikipedia is really big in Germany[..]. And Brockhaus is the publisher of the Britannica style traditional encyclopedia. And their sales are up 30 percent in the last year even though Wikipedia is going through the roof. And I think there's a certain maybe there ends up being some complementarity to it that people[..]. So Wikipedia helps people to remember that hey, there is actually something to having a group of people edit, monitor, and put a level of trust to information. And so that makes Brockhaus more appealing, makes Wikipedia more appealing. So it's hard to say.
- Lamb: Another thing I read about you is that you are a follower or have been at some point a follower of Ayn Rand?
- Wales: That's right, yes.
- Lamb: Who was she and do you still follow her and what is it about it that you like?
- Wales: Yes. So Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, as is viewed by many as, you know, something of the founder of the libertarian strain of thought in the U.S. She would have rejected quite rightly, I think, the libertarian label. But I think for me one of the core things that is very applicable to my life today is the virtue of independence — is the vision, you know, if you know the idea of Howard Roark who is the architect in The Fountainhead who has a vision for what he wants to accomplish and, you know, there's some time in the book when he is frustrated in his career because people don't want to build the type of buildings he wants to build. And he's given a choice, a difficult choice, to compromise his integrity or to essentially go out of business. And he has to go and take a job working in a quarry. And for me that model has a lot of resonance for me. You know when I think about what I'm doing and the way I'm doing it is more important to me than any amount of money or anything like that because it's my artistic work.
- Lamb: What year did you read Atlas Shrugged or Fountainhead?
- Wales: I guess I was around 20 when I read The Fountainhead.
- I joke that I started as a kid revising the encyclopedia by stickering the one my mother bought.
- education was always a passion in my household ... you know, the very traditional approach to knowledge and learning and establishing that as a base for a good life.
Quotes about Wales
- The more time I spent on the site the more I came to think of Wales as some kind of Queen Ant, letting the vast colony go about its work, at the centre of a system where the knowledge of the community is infinitely larger than the sum of experience of all its individuals.
- Local press die-offs worldwide are robbing Wikipedia of sources to cite, warns co-founder Jimmy Wales. He told the German outlet Spiegel his team's next aim is to reach 'billions' of potential users in poor countries... Jimmy Wales, who co-founded Wikipedia in 2001, told a German news magazine on Wednesday that declines in centuries-old local press sectors around the world worried him more than even fake news in the "Trump" era... Asked by Spiegel magazine if giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook should do more to support Wikipedia, Wales replied: "yes perhaps, but we lay great value on our independence." ...Wales was also asked about the greatest problem he would like solved. He said Wikipedia's "greatest challenge" was a growth in the languages of poorer developing countries.
- At 18:54 EST on December 12 John Seigenthaler's wife, who was infuriated at Wikipedia regarding the recent scandal regarding his role in the Kennedy Assassination, came into the house, where Jim was having dinner. Wearing a mask, he [sic] shot him three times in the head and ran,"
- Wikipedia according to .Wikipedia founder 'shot by friend of Siegenthaler'" (December 17, 2005)
- Why do Wikipedians perform these millions of hours of labor, some expended on a giant straw goat, without pay? Because they don't experience them as labor. “It's a misconception people work for free,” Wales told the site Hacker Noon in 2018. “They have fun for free.” A 2011 survey of more than 5,000 Wikipedia contributors listed “It's fun” as one of the primary reasons they edited the site.
- In 2000, 10 months before Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger cofounded Wikipedia, the pair started a site called Nupedia, planning to source articles from noted scholars and put them through seven rounds of editorial oversight. But the site never got off the ground; after a year, there were fewer than two dozen entries. (Wales, who wrote one of them himself, told The New Yorker “it felt like homework.”) When Sanger got wind of a collaborative software tool called a wiki—from the Hawaiian wikiwiki, or “quickly”—he and Wales decided to set one up as a means of generating raw material for Nupedia. They assumed nothing good would come of it, but within a year Wikipedia had 20,000 articles. By the time Nupedia's servers went down a year later, the original site had become a husk, and the seed it carried had grown beyond any expectation... Sanger left Wikipedia in early 2003...
- At Jimmy Wales' wedding, one of the maids of honor toasted him as the sole internet mogul who wasn't a billionaire.
- Politics: Wikipedia CEO Jimmy Wales on fighting the spread of fake news. Euronews. January 23, 2019