Wikipedia,co-founded by Wales and Larry Sanger in 2001, now contains over 22 millionarticles, and latest Comscore numbers put monthly users at 490 million. Whilethe site – written and edited entirely by its users – is a testimony to thestaggering growth made possible by openness, it’s also proof that such opennessdoes not have to come at the expense of quality. As early as 2005, a study by Naturefound that a selection of Wikipedia’s science entries were as reliable as thosein the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
“We had the right initial idea about people: they’re social,they want to create. With Wikipedia, we unlocked their passion but it was alearning process. We didn’t know where the balance was between how open wecould be and how controlling we needed to be.”
So: openness works. But don’t think that’s the end of it. Wales believes that the revolution Wikipedia helped spearhead is only just beginning.