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NEWS & ANALYSIS

Wikipedia Co-Founder to Launch Initiative to Decentralize Online Encyclopedias, Promote Neutral Standards


The co-founder of Wikipedia is launching an initiative to decentralize the world’s encyclopedias and promote neutral standards for information and opinion. 

Dr. Larry Sanger and a group of technologists incorporated the non-profit Knowledge Standards Foundation late last year and have been preparing to launch a discussion group that will discuss details. Ultimately, the new non-profit seeks to promote software that will make it easier to find high-quality information and a wide range of opinion, per Encyclosphere. 

The group, which has applied for nonprofit status, already has a following of about 4,000 people. KSF estimates that of those that signed up for their newsletter, over half of them are software developers. 

“We have noticed a massive grassroots interest among developers to address restrictions on free speech and to route around centralized control of information,” Sanger said. 

Four week-long sessions will kick off the organizational seminar, which is free and open to anyone interested. 

“Open standards made the internet explode in popularity. Email, web browsers, and blogs became killer apps because they were based on open standards. A public conversation needs to happen so there is agreement on encyclosphere standards. This seminar facilitates that conversation about the universal network of encyclopedias,” the group’s treasurer, Tim Chambers, said. “We are not making an encyclopedia. We are making standards to drive the technology that will connect the world’s encyclopedias in a single, open network.” 

Sanger added: “In the end, we want to make it as easy to find excellent articles hidden on obscure academic, professional, and even amateur websites as it is to find Wikipedia articles.”