TI:Larry Sanger

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This page is reserved for Larry Sanger to address a issues related to an article here at Citizendium that carries his name, Larry Sanger.

Finally, some more blunt criticism. Sorry to be so blunt, but this article is still very poor.

Lawrence Mark ("Larry") Sanger (born July 16, 1968 in Bellevue, Washington) is an American philosopher and founder of Citizendium. Sanger was the editor-in-chief of Nupedia, and the co-founder and chief organizer of Wikipedia. Most recently, he is the current editor-in-chief of Citizendium.
  • Is it appropriate to put "Larry" in quotes and inside parentheses, like that, when "Larry" is not an informal nickname but the usual shortening of "Lawrence"? I don't think so; I'd never write that, anyway. It's like writing: William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton. Looks odd.
  • The first sentence of every bio, and indeed of every article about a particular entity, should begin by saying what the person or thing is best-known for. I am decidedly not best known as an American philosopher or even as founder of Citizendium, but instead for my role in Wikipedia.
  • "Citizendium" is more properly written in our official communications this way: "the Citizendium." Please make this change: the article about me, in the project I started, should use the official orthography of the project.
  • "Most recently" requires "has been" or "was." You could omit it and keep "is" or change "is" to "has been."

The section labelled "Biography" consists of two sentences, and do not report the most interesting parts of my life, which are related under "Encyclopedias." There would be various ways to fix this.

The "Encyclopedias" section consists of a decidedly incomplete list of projects/websites I've worked on, and a few salient facts about each. As such, it violates exactly the policy described at some length in CZ:Article Mechanics, that CZ articles should not be lists of facts but instead readable narratives. The trouble, however, is that if you want to write an accurate and fair readable narrative, you really have to be reasonably familiar with your subject. There are a few different ways to solve this problem. One would be to interview me. (I'm willing to spend time being interviewed as a Topic Informant for this article.) Another would be to read articles written about me; there are a few listed on http://www.larrysanger.org/ . By far the single best source of information about my involvement in the early history of Wikipedia is my memoir posted on Slashdot.

Sanger's first online encyclopedia project was web-based Nupedia, which lasted from March 2000 to September 2003. Sanger was its salaried editor-in-chief until March 1, 2002, but was a volunteer editor a month prior to his resignation. Effectively unfunded until that time, Nupedia was written by both subject matter experts and the public-at-large although it was edited and reviewed solely by those experts. Despite being a free content encyclopedia, it was not a wiki to which anyone with access to the Internet could contribute editorial content. Although the project failed, it was a forerunner of Wikipedia, which began as an offshoot of Nupedia.

Nupedia was named before I even arrived, in late 1999. Conceptual work began by me in January, 2000. I believe a sort of launch occurred in March 2000 (I would have to do some digging to find out for sure). "Effectively unfunded until that time" is actually misleading. Bomis paid my salary for two years to manage Nupedia, and that of some other people who worked on Nupedia now and then. So it was not unfunded. It was not, however, particularly well supported after spring of 2001 or so. It was indeed "reviewed" by the public in the sense that members of the public were encouraged to comment on articles; but an article required the approval of an expert to be posted as "approved." This sentence "Despite being a free content encyclopedia, it was not a wiki to which anyone with access to the Internet could contribute editorial content" is strictly speaking true but it needs to be reworded; I'm not sure what the point is. Not "anyone with access to the Internet" can contribute "editorial content" to any project, including Wikipedia, depending on how the key terms are defined ("editorial content"? What's that?). On the other hand, virtually anyone with Internet access could create a Nupedia account and comment on articles. Yes, the project failed, but it was allowed to fail, i.e., it was inadequately supported. Simply saying "the project failed" is, for that reason, unfair. It's kind of like saying your pet gerbil died, when actually what happened was that it starved to death because you didn't feed it. Finally, Wikipedia was started not as a mere "offshoot" of Nupedia, but instead as a feeder project; the projects were intended to work together. But, they didn't.

"At the founding of Wikipedia, Sanger was characterized being as its salaried "chief organizer," although he had no official title. Sanger left his official role at Wikipedia at the same time he left Nupedia."

No, at the founding of Wikipedia, if I'm not mistaken, I wasn't characterized in any particular way at all. I later called myself "chief organizer," e.g., on my user page, and that was my role. It would be more relevant to summarize what I did for Wikipedia than to say what my title was.

"all contributors must apply for membership in the project under their real names, which are then visibly associated with all articles"

The latter could be misleading; it might be taken to imply that people sign articles, which they don't. The names merely appear in the article histories.

"Sanger launched Citizendium on September 15, 2006"

This is a misuse of the word "launched." I would find another word or phrase. No sort launch happened until late October/early November, and that was a private pilot project; a publich launch didn't happen until last March.

The title "Major works" is simply silly. As I am not a major thinker, it is silly to say I have "major works," of course. Also, there is no reason why that couldn't be on a Works subpage, and given links.

As you can see, I think we can do much better than this article at present. I appreciate the effort and I am flattered that you think I am worth writing an article about at all, but this demonstrates once again just how difficult and painstaking really good expository writing is. --Larry Sanger 10:00, 5 February 2008 (CST)