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Spotlight : Lawrence Mark "Larry" Sanger.

... Sanger is the co-founder of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that has mushroomed into one of the Web's most astonishing successes, with 1.7 million articles in English alone. Sanger, last week took the wraps off Wikipedia alternative, Citizendium, with a goal to capture Wikipedia's bustle but this time, avoid the vandalism and inconsistency that are its pitfalls.Like Wikipedia, Citizendium will be nonprofit, devoid of ads and free to read and edit. Unlike Wikipedia, Citizendium's volunteer contributors will be expected to provide their real names. Experts in given fields will be asked to check articles for accuracy.Sanger, 38, who has a doctorate in philosophy and speaks slowly, as if cautiously choosing every word. "If there's going to be a free encyclopedia, I'd like there to be a better free encyclopedia," he says, "It has bothered me that I helped to get a project started, Wikipedia, that people are misusing in this way, and yet the project itself has little chance of radically improving."Citizendium is hardly the first Wikipedia alternative. Sanger was Editor-in-Chief of Nupedia and a co-founder and the first paid editor of its successor, Wikipedia. After his resignation from Wikipedia in 2002, he was an early strategist for the expert-authored and edited Encyclopedia of Earth. Sanger, born in Bellevue, Washington, and reared in Anchorage, Alaska. He received his B.A. in philosophy from Reed College in 1991 and Ph.D. in philosophy from Ohio State University in 2000. His bachelor thesis is titled Descartes' methods and their theoretical background and his doctoral thesis concerned Epistemic Circularity: An Essay on the Problem of Meta-Justification. From 1998 to 2000 he ran a website called "Sanger's Review of Y2K News Reports" (formerly at was employed by Jimmy Wales' Bomis company as Editor-in-Chief of Nupedia. Responding to frustrations with the slow progress of Nupedia, in January 2001 Sanger proposed the creation of a wiki to spur the development of articles, and the result of this proposal was Wikipedia. By virtue of his position with Nupedia, Sanger spearheaded and named the project, and formulated much of the original policy. Sanger was the only paid editor of Wikipedia, a status he held from January 15, 2001, until March 1, 2002. Sanger worked on and promoted both the Nupedia and Wikipedia projects until Bomis discontinued funding for his position in February 2002; Sanger resigned as editor-in-chief of Nupedia and as "chief organizer" of Wikipedia (he never claimed an official title) on March 1. Sanger's stated reason for ending his participation in Wikipedia and Nupedia as a volunteer was that he could not do justice to the task as a part-time volunteer. Nupedia shut down the following year.Later, in December 2004, Sanger wrote a critical article for the website Kuro5hin, in which he admitted that there had existed "a certain poisonous social or political atmosphere in the project" that had also accounted for his departure. While claiming "to appreciate the merits of Wikipedia fully" and to know and support "the mission and broad policy outlines of Wikipedia very well", Sanger maintained that there are serious problems with the project. There was, he wrote, a lack of public perception of credibility, and the project put "difficult people, trolls, and their enablers" into too much prominence; these problems, he maintained, were a feature of the project's "anti-elitism, or lack of respect for expertise". The article was the subject of much controversy in the blogosphere, and led to some reaction in the news media as well. nSpotlight : Lawrence Mark "Larry" Sanger

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Publication:The Star (Amman, Jordan)
Date:Apr 2, 2007
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