Wikipedia is an open source encyclopedia that represents a “public works” project of the first-order. Jimmy Wales, the founder of the effort, realized there’s a lot of smarts in the world community – all he needed to do was to tap into that creativity and talent and then step out of the way. In a sense, he created an ecosystem where freely contributed collaborative works could live and flourish.

Smart guy.

In the computer world, we say “there’s intelligence in the network”. In open source software development, we say “the more eyes on the code, the better”. In other words, “many hands make light (and smart) work” and the more folk that review an issue, the better chance for finding the underlying problem and really fixing it.

I’d like our Town to start building an institutional memory using technology like Wikipedia. We need to publish as much detail as possible, lower the costs of accessing this detail (make it easy to search, manipulate, aggregate) and trust the “more eyes” of our incredible community to find issues and suggest innovative solutions.

There’s the windup, here’s the pitch (via ibiblio’s Paul Jones [another “smart guy”]).

ibiblio.org Speakers Series
Who: Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales
When: 3:30 Wednesday October 5
Where: Freedom Forum Conference Room
305 Carroll Hall UNC-CH
What: A talk about the world’s most popular encyclopedia and news source,
Wikipedia and Wikinews by the man who invented and sustains them.

More here.

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