Welcome to my personal site!
You can follow me on Start This and Twitter.
As of fall 2020, I have been full-time President of the Knowledge Standard Foundation, The mission of the KSF is to build a truly leaderless, centerless, old-fashioned encyclopedia network—like the backbone of the Internet itself—called the “Encyclosphere,” since it will do for encyclopedias what the Blogosphere did for blogs.
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 about my various projects, in reverse order…
From September 2017 until September 2019 I was Chief Information Officer of Everipedia.org, theorizing about, planning, and evangelizing the world’s first blockchain encyclopedia network. Look at this column to get an ideas of my goals with it.
I worked for a little over a year, from 2016 until fall 2017, advising and project managing a local (Columbus) nascent job information startup, MyMentor.com. Great idea I still strongly support. Its day will come!
I worked a while in 2016 on my surprisingly successful educational videos. Before that, from mid-2015 I worked as an editorial consultant for the awesome Ballotpedia, giving them much advice as well as writing an essay on neutrality (there’s a column version), as well as Reading Bear.
From 2013 until mid-2015, I developed Infobitt.com, which you could think of, somewhat misleadingly, as Wikipedia for news. There was a short manifesto and a long one. We were a movement to do for the news what Wikipedia did for general knowledge: organize it and give people faster access to it. We successfully showed it could be done…we just need to get funding for improved software.
Reading Bear was my focus from 2010 until 2012. It teaches reading through systematic phonics and vocabulary. I’m rather proud if it; it has helped millions of kids (and ESL students) learn to read (or improve their English). 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. Perennial interests are Internet and education theory. 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. 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 I’m 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 (developed 2013-15)
- Everipedia (advised, worked on, 2017-2019)
- Encyclosphere (the website of the Knowledge Standards Foundation; developing 2019-present)
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
See media section.
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