Wikipedia founder to talk cyber civility on campus on Monday

If someone asked you to pick the greatest innovation of our day, it might be a pretty tough choice: Our generation has witnessed the birth of such life-changing inventions as iPads, smartphones, and jeggings. But if you ask me, the answer is obvious: Wikipedia.

Which is why those who are still at Georgetown should get excited for Monday, June 13. According to an email sent yesterday by the University, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales will be speaking this Monday at 6:00 p.m. in Copley Formal Lounge, along with Andrea Weckerle, founder of CiviliNation.

The title of this discussion is “The Need for Civil Discourse,” and it is sponsored by the School of Continuing Studies’s Technology Management Program. The two speakers will focus on issues about the “epidemic” of online hostility, a topic which our very own Nico Dodd tackled in the Voice a few months back.

The two speakers are more than qualified to speak on the subject. Wales, of course, revolutionized the spread of information with a website that allows users to update it themselves, but in doing so left room for biased or outright false information to spread widely (until it gets taken down, which is usually momentary).

CiviliNation, the nonprofit organization that Weckerle founded, is aimed at promoting a healthy, civil atmosphere in cyberspace. According to their website, the group aims at “fostering an online culture in which individuals can fully engage and contribute without fear or threat of being the target of unwarranted abuse, harassment, or lies.” Wales serves on the organization’s Board of Directors.

Anyone wishing to attend this event should RSVP on the School of Continuing Studies’s website here.

5 Comments on “Wikipedia founder to talk cyber civility on campus on Monday

  1. What is most significant about civility, and reasoned discussion, on Wikipedia is the context that it is set in and the precedent previously set by internet newsgroups. Wikipedia’s gains were a major revolution and sets a pattern.

  2. Hmmm. Problem is that WP is a effluent pipe of sleeze polluting the internet. Now I doubt mind a good bit of sleeze myself (who doesn’t), but not when it masquerades as an encyclopaedia.

  3. I recall Dr. Larry Sanger having some rather aggressive words online for Mr. Wales ( ), stemming from Wales’ preoccupation with painting himself as “founder” of Wikipedia, when the evidence fairly clearly points to the fact that Sanger was the champion of implementing an openly-edited wiki platform, Sanger named it “Wikipedia”, Sanger issued the first public call for participation in the project, and Sanger was all over the reference for the first year (as a sort of “editor in chief”), while Wales barely participated in the project.

    Then again, there was the time Wales called an award-winning technologist “an idiot” —

    No wonder people are so hostile toward Wales. Liars aren’t often adored by their victims. Sad to see Georgetown stooping to such a level of hypocrisy, playing host to this fraud.

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