Welcome to my personal site!
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I am probably 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. More recently, I have worked on a series of educational projects. Now, with a website under development, I’m entering the for-profit world.
Now about my various projects, in reverse order…
Beginning (full time) in 2013, I have started developing Infobitt.com, my first for-profit business. It’s a new way to organize people to create online content; it solves the problem of crowdsourcing high-quality content. This is a problem I’ve long wanted to solve; I think this project will crack the nut. It’s incorporated and I’ve got a number of interested investors. Among others are two advisers, angel investor Terrence Yang and strategic counsel aladin. I’m having lots of fun with it.
Also 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. More recently I wrote 20 e-books to go with the first 20 presentations. You should see those, I imagine, by this summer, or after they’ve been illustrated, anyway.
I launched this blog in December 2010. It is devoted mainly to early education and education theory, only 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 our WatchKnowLearn Classroom feature, which is what I was working on through November 2010. 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: 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 six 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 lately.
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.
A few other of my projects are listed below.
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
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)