Larry Sanger

Welcome to my personal site!

Though best known as a founder of Wikipedia, I am now organizing a brand-new educational video directory, WatchKnow.org, which launched October 19, 2009. We've gathered about 20,000 videos in over 5,000 categories with a brand new sort of wiki software and community. Videos we catalogue are teacher-approved and kid-safe. See below for some introductory videos about the project.  We are developing some great new features of the site, and these will be launched soon. I am already working on yet another new project--an innovative project that will help children learn to read, free of charge.

According to its recently-adopted charter (something developed almost wholly independent of me) I am 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 has garnered around 15,000 articles (and in its first year added more words than Wikipedia had in its first year) and is still growing at a solid rate, and becoming more popular.  I led the project from its announcement on Sept.15, 2006, through October 2010, although in the last year I was no more than a figurehead.

My current full-time occupation is helping with WatchKnow and related projects.  I am fortunate enough to be able to work on these great non-profit projects due to generous support from the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi.

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.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Contents:

1.  Some recent additions 8.

 Websites I have been associated with

2.  Selected presentations 9.  Videos
3.  Published/edited writings 10.  Education
4.   Widely-cited blog and Internet posts 11.  Blog
5.  Selected project writings 12.  Contact information
6.  Some news articles about yours truly 13.  Press photos
7.  My role in Wikipedia    

Some recent additions

Comment: "A comment about Wikileaks" (November 29, 2010)

Commencement Address: "What Is the Meaning of Life?" Reed College, Portland, Oregon, May 17, 2010.  Video: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Speech: about WatchKnow, DOT USA Delta Technology Summit, Greenville, Mississippi, May 19, 2010.  Keynote.

Article (about me): Chris Lydgate, "Deconstructing Wikipedia," Reed (alumni magazine of Reed College), June 2010, pp. 30-35.

Comments: "Reply to Slashdot about My Report to the FBI" (April 14, 2010) and "More replies about Wikimedia and the fallout of my report to the FBI" (April 30, 2010)

Paper: "Individual Knowledge in the Internet Age," EDUCAUSE Review, Vol. 1, No. 2, March/April 2010.

Selected speeches

Texts "written to be read" are listed here.  Other writings are listed in several sections below.

Commencement Address: "What Is the Meaning of Life?" Reed College, Portland, Oregon, May 17, 2010.  Video: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

About WatchKnow, DOT USA Delta Technology Summit, Greenville, Mississippi, May 19, 2010.  Keynote.

"The Future of the Humanities after the Internet," Reed College Alumni College, Portland, Oregon, June 4, 2009.

"On the Purposes of the Internet," The International Symposium on Computer Systems and Information Technology (SISCTI) 34, Monterey, Mexico, February 28, 2009.

"Should Science Communication Be Collaborative?" International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers, "Forward from Forty: STM in its Fifth Decade," Frankfurt, Germany, October 14, 2008.  Keynote.

"A New Vision for Online Knowledge Communities: Collaborative Governance," Gartner (formerly Gartner Group) Summit, "Portals, Content and Collaboration," Los Angeles, September 17, 2008.  Keynote.

Speech: "A Defense of the Citizendium," Cognitive Science Institute: Minds and Societies, University of Montreal, July 5, 2008.

Panel discussions at the Louvre Conference, French-American Council of Entrepreneurs, The Louvre, Paris, France, June 27-8, 2008.

"Should Science Communication Be Collaborative?"  PCST-10 (10th conference of the International Network on Public Communication of Science and Technology), Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden, June 25, 2008.  Plenary address.

Informal presentation at the Social Computing Workshop, part of the Transliteracies Project, University of California, Santa Barbara, May 30, 2008.

"Is the Future of the Internet the Future of Knowledge?"  Debate with Andrew Keen, co-sponsored by the Oxford Internet Institute and the Weidenfeld Institute for Strategic Dialogue, May 27, 2008.  Video available.

"A Defense of Modest Real Names Requirements," the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 13th Annual Symposium: Altered Identities, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 13, 2008.  Invited lunchtime speech.

"The New Politics of Knowledge," Best Practices Conference 2008, College of Education, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, Feb. 8, 2008.  Keynote with Marshall Poe.  (Casually summarized and discussed some earlier remarks.)

"Citizendium: A New Vision for Online Knowledge Communities," Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, Feb. 7, 2008.  Part of a College of Arts and Sciences Lecture Series.

"How the Internet Is Changing What We (Think We) Know," Upper Arlington Public Library, Upper Arlington, Ohio, January 23, 2008.  A speech for "the locals."

"The New Politics of Knowledge," Jefferson Society, University of Virginia, November 9, 2007.  Same as the IEA talk, but different from the blog entry of the same name.  Listen here (audience of mostly University of Virginia students).

"The New Politics of Knowledge," Institute of European Affairs, Dublin, Ireland, September 28, 2007.  Inaugural talk for the IEA's "Our Digital Futures" program.  Listen here (audience of Irish policy wonks).

"How and Why to Use Wikis for Knowledge Management," HP, online talk (168 participants), June 27, 2007.

"How to make a Web 2.0 community work," MSN conference, Redmond, Washington, June 21, 2007.  Keynote.

"What should we do about Internet 'cruft'?  Toward knowledge-rich websites," Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges Annual Meeting, "Communicate, Collaborate, Innovate," Reed College, Portland, Oregon, June 13, 2007.  Keynote.

"What Strong Collaboration Means for Scholarly Publishing," Society for Scholarly Publishing, Annual Meeting, "Imagining the Future: Scholarly Communication 2.0," San Francisco, California, June 7, 2007.  Keynote.

"The Citizendium: A Progress Report," National Institutes of Health Wiki Fair, Bethesda, Maryland, Feb. 28, 2007.  Keynote.

"How Nonprofits Can Grow Their Own Collaborative Communities," Kintera User Conference, San Diego, California, Feb. 7, 2007.  Keynote.

"How to Think about Strong Collaboration among Professionals," Handelsblatt IT Congress, Bonn, Germany, Jan. 30, 2007.  Keynote.

"Why Make Room for Experts in Web 2.0?" SDForum, The Business of New Media, San Diego, CA, Oct. 25, 2006.  Keynote.  Here's a video of the last minute of the talk plus the Q&A.

"How and Why to Do Web 2.0," Outsell's Go! Conference, Leesburg, VA, Sept. 18, 2006.  Invited presentation.  Here's the content of the powerpoint slides.

"Toward a New Compendium of Knowledge" (link is to the short version, which was read), Wizards of OS 4, Berlin, Germany, Sept. 14-16, 2006.  Invited presentation.  Elektrischer Reporter 05 contains some snippets from the talk as well as an interview with me (English with German subtitles).

"The Future of Free Information," Purdue University lecture, March 28, 2006.  Invited presentation.  Revised text linked above.

"The Future of Free Information," Macau Ricci Institute Symposium 2005, Macau, China, Dec. 1-3, 2005.  Invited presentation.  Revised text linked above.

"How Can Government Agencies Make Use of Wikis?" Fifth Annual Web Enabled Government Conference, E-Gov Institute, Washington, D.C., June 1-2, 2005.  Invited presentation.  For a write-up, see "Wiki advocate sees government uses"

"Wikipedia and why it matters," Stanford University Computer Systems Laboratory EE380 Colloquium.  Jan. 16, 2002.  Video here.  Invited presentation.  This was the first public presentation about Wikipedia by anyone, to my knowledge.

"Hume's External World Skepticism in Context," Hume Society Annual Meeting, Park City, Utah, July 25-29, 1995.

© El Mundo (Madrid, Spain)
Used by permission

Published/edited writings

"Individual Knowledge in the Internet Age," EDUCAUSE Review, Vol. 1, No. 2, March/April 2010.

"Can we trust what we read on the internet?" (invited column) BBC Focus, June 2009, p. 12.  Later reprinted in BBC Knowledge, Sept./Oct. 2009.  A quotation from this was "Quote of the Day" in AskMen.com for Oct. 12, 2009, not that I'm especially proud of that or anything ("I do not trust what I ingest on the internet because I know how the digital sausage is made").

"The Fate of Expertise after Wikipedia," Episteme 6 (2009): 52-73.  In a special issue mainly about Wikipedia, called "The Epistemology of Mass Collaboration," which I helped to organize.

Response to Mike Brown, Stuart Kauffman, Zoe-Vonna Palmrose and Lee Smolin, "Can Science Help Solve the Economic Crisis?" Edge.  December 9, 2008.

Two related pieces: "A Defense of Tolstoy & the Individual Thinker: A Reply to Clay Shirky," July 18, 2008, and "The Internet and the Future of Civilization," July 30, 2008, Britannica Blog.

Response to Nicholas Carr's "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" Edge.  July 11, 2008.

"The Future of Free Information."  In The Macau Ricci Institute, ed.  History and Memory: Present Reflections on the Past to Build Our Future.  Macau Ricci Institute, 2008.  An earlier version of "The Future of Free Information."

Review: The Cult of the Amateur, New Scientist, Issue 2612, July 14, 2007. Personal copy (differs slightly from published version).

"Education 2.0."  The Focus.  Appeared online June 2007, published in print a few months earlier.

"Who says we know: on the new politics of knowledge." Edge, April 2007.  With responses by Jaron Lanier, George Dyson, Gloria Origgi, and Charles Leadbeater.

"Humanity's Coming Enlightenment" Edge 10th Anniversary Annual Question.  Reprinted in The Independent newspaper as well as What Are You Optimistic About? Today's Leading Thinkers on Why Things Are Good and Getting Better, ed. John Brockman (Harper, 2007).

"The Future of Free Information" The Digital Universe Journal.  2006.

Response to Jaron Lanier's "Digital Maoism". Edge 183.  May 30, 2006.

"The Early History of Nupedia and Wikipedia: A Memoir." In Open Sources 2.0, ed. DiBona, Cooper, and Stone.  O'Reilly, 2005. Pre-published in slashdot.org, Apr. 2005.

"Why Collaborative Free Works Should Be Protected by the Law."  In Adam Moore, ed., Information Ethics: Privacy, Property, and Power.  University of Washington Press, 2005.

Blog and Internet posts

"A comment about Wikileaks" (November 29, 2010)

"Reply to Slashdot about My Report to the FBI" (April 14, 2010) and "More replies about Wikimedia and the fallout of my report to the FBI" (April 30, 2010)

"The New Politics of Knowledge" (Digital Universe blog, July 2006)

"Why Wikipedia Must Jettison Its Anti-Elitism" (kuro5hin.org, Dec. 2004)

Selected project writings

"An explanation of the Citizendium license" (citizendium.org, December 2007; 22,000-word justification of the Citizendium's decision to go with CC-by-sa)

"The Citizendium one year on: a strong start and an amazing future" (citizendium.org, Oct. 2007; first year progress report)

"Why the Citizendium Will (Probably) Succeed" (citizendium.org, March 2007; progress report and argument to accompany our public launch)

"The Role of Content Brokers in the Era of Free Content" (citizendium.org, Oct. 2006; a business model idea)

"Toward a New Compendium of Knowledge" (citizendium.org, Sept. 2006; announced and argued for the necessity of the project)

"Text and Collaboration: a personal manifesto for the Text Outline Project" (textop.org, Apr. 2006)

"Wikipedia subset proposal" (wikipedia-l, Oct. 2002; a project to improve Wikipedia in the early days that was dead on arrival; look at the feedback I got on the proposal)

"Why the free encyclopedia movement needs to be more like the free software movement" (wikipedia-l, Sept. 2002)

"Free Encyclopedia Project, Wikipedia, Creates 20,000 Articles in a Year" (Wikipedia's first press release, Jan. 2002)

"Neutral point of view--draft" (wikipedia.org, 2001)

"Our Replies to Our Critics" (wikipedia.org, 2001)

"Wikipedia is wide open. Why is it growing so fast? Why isn't it full of nonsense?" (kuro5hin.org, 2001)

"Britannica or Nupedia? The Future of Free Encyclopedias" (kuro5hin.org, 2001)

Some early Wikipedia columns (meta.wikipedia.org, 2001)

"The Tutorial Manifesto" (a 1995 effort)

Some articles about yours truly

"Deconstructing Wikipedia," (Chris Lydgate, Reed [alumni magazine of Reed College], June 2010, pp. 30-35)

"Larry Sanger, Wikipedia Co-founder" (Ohio State Alumni Magazine, Nov.-Dec. 2009)

"Tech's Forgotten Co-Founders" (Business Insider, Nov. 4, 2009)

"What Philosophers Do--from Wide Receivers to Wikipedia Citizendium" PDF, 5.5 MB (Ohio State Philosophy Department newsletter Logos, Summer 2007)

"Wikipedia formed by former Buckeye" (Ohio State Lantern, June 2007)

"Web encyclopedia won't include 'giving up'" (Columbus Dispatch, April 2007)

"Hometown kid an Internet revolutionary" (Anchorage Daily News, September 2006)

"This time, it'll be a Wikipedia written by experts" (The Guardian, July 2006)

"Wikipedia alternative aims to be 'PBS of the Web'" (CNET news.com, Dec. 2005)

"Larry Sanger's Knowledge Free-for-All: Wikipedia's founder likes the mess" (Technology Review, Jan. 2005)

Articles have appeared in virtually every major news publication on Earth about Internet projects I've started or helped to start, including Sanger's Review of Y2K News Reports, Nupedia.com, Wikipedia.org, the Digital Universe/the Encyclopedia of Earth, Textop.org, the Citizendium, and now Watchknow.org.

© 2001 The New York Times

My role in Wikipedia (links)

To the best of my knowledge, I was first described as co-founder of Wikipedia back in September 2001 by The New York Times.  That was also my description in Wikipedia's own press releases from 2002 until 2004.  With my increasing distance from the project, and as it grew in the public eye, however, some of those associated with the project have found it convenient to downplay and even deny my crucial, formative involvement.  In fact, in the early years of the project, my role as co-founder was not in dispute at all.  These links have come to light, and they should dispel much of the confusion.

Websites I have been associated with (in order of launch)

Videos

An overview of WatchKnow:

How to use WatchKnow:

How to edit WatchKnow:

Various fiddle tunes:

 
 

Education

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

Blog

I am no longer maintaining the Citizendium blog.  Here is the best of that blog, which, going forward, may contain posts not authored by me.

I'm seriously thinking of starting a new, personal blog.

Contact information

sanger [at] citizendium.org

Press photos