Welcome to my personal site!
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I am best known as a founder of Wikipedia–I had the idea for a wiki encyclopedia, speadheaded the project, named it, led it in its first, seminal year, and formulated much of its original policy. Now I’m working on a new startup!
Now about my various projects, in reverse order…
I’m now founder/CEO of Infobitt.com, which soft launched recently and which you can think of somewhat misleadingly as Wikipedia for news. Check out my short manifesto or long one (where you can read more about my background) and please get involved. We’re a movement to do for the news what Wikipedia did for general knowledge: organize it and give people faster access to it.
In 2013, I wrapped up work with the group behind Reading Bear and WatchKnowLearn. In August 2012, we launched Reading Bear, which teaches reading through systematic phonics and vocabulary. I’m rather proud if it. It was an enormous effort and has gotten great reviews. It’s the #2 Google search result for “learn to read” last I checked.
I launched this blog in December 2010. It is devoted to whatever my interests are at the time. Now it’s Infobitt, but early it was mostly early education and education theory, because those were my main interests from 2008 to 2012 or so, and because I’m a homeschooling dad. I posted a book-length essay, How and Why I Taught My Toddler to Read when the blog launched. I have “come out” as an advocate of teaching tiny tots to read. Yep, I am a user of programs like Your Baby Can Read–which has been quite unjustly persecuted–as well as phonics flashcards (careful: 122 MB zip file) of my own design (Reading Bear is a digitized version of this), and various PowerPoint presentations for kids.
I organized an educational video directory, originally launched in the fall of 2009 as “WatchKnow” but since rebranded WatchKnowLearn. I passed off management of WKL to the excellent Dr. Joe Thomas in the fall of 2010. It’s possible to start your own WatchKnowLearn with the WatchKnowLearn Classroom feature. As of early 2013, the WKL editors and community had gathered over 40,000 videos in over 6,000 categories with a brand new sort of wiki software. Videos the site catalogs are teacher-approved and kid-safe.
According to its charter (something developed almost wholly independent of me) my title is now “Founding Editor-in-Chief” of the Citizendium, the Citizens’ Compendium. Citizendium is a wiki encyclopedia project that is expert-guided, public participatory, and real-names-only. The project garnered over 15,000 articles (and in its first year added more words than Wikipedia had in its first year) and has survived for 8+ years on probably under $100,000. I led the project from its announcement on Sept.15, 2006, through October 2010, although in my last year as editor-in-chief I was no more than a mostly idle figurehead. I am no longer with the project, although I wish them very well and have contributed money (please do likewise!).
Here is “How I started Wikipedia,” an informal video presentation, with lessons interspersed, about my involvement in the first few years of Wikipedia, and a little about my life before and after. This is a brief presentation delivered at OSU’s Fischer College of Business on May 6, 2010, as part of their “What If?” conference, about innovation. They urged me to focus on Wikipedia, so I did. Note, it’s pre-Infobitt.
Websites Associated With
- An Appreciation of the Donegal Fiddle (1996-2011, offline)
- Sanger’s Review of Y2K News Reports (1998-2000, offline)
- Nupedia (2000-2, offline)
- Wikipedia (2001-2)
- A Virtual Drive from Anchorage to Whittier (2003, for my Dad’s business, playing with a camera and Perl; pre-Google Street View)
- The Digital Universe, The Digital Universe Foundation, and the Encyclopedia of Earth (2005-6; just an employee/key early adviser to these projects)
- Textop (Text Outline Project) (2006) – on hold, but a long-term dream
- Citizendium (developed 2006-9, launched May 2007)
- WatchKnowLearn (developed 2008-11, launched Oct. 2009)
- Reading Bear (developed 2011-3)
- Infobitt (started work 2013)
Ph.D. 2000, The Ohio State University, Philosophy. Dissertation: Epistemic Circularity: An Essay on the Problem of Meta-Justification.
M.A. 1995, The Ohio State University, Philosophy
B.A. 1991, Reed College (Portland, Oregon), Philosophy
Ugh, old. Need to update. Sorry.