Talk:Larry Sanger

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 Definition American former philosophy professor who co-founded Wikipedia and founded Citizendium as an alternative (born 1968). [d] [e]

This is a topic informant article

Before editing this article, please review the Topic Informant page for this article at TI:Larry Sanger for important information.

If anyone would like to rewrite this, I'll be happy to make myself available for an interview as a Topic Informant. --Larry Sanger 18:57, 18 January 2007 (CST)

New Larry Sanger article

Hmmm, there seems to have been an earlier article, perhaps? In any case, my own modest article draws from a variety of sources for its basic facts and quotations. It is, of course, impossible, to write an article such as this that does not duplicate some of the material to be found in Wikipedia. I HAVE NOT, HOWEVER, DIRECTLY REPRODUCED ANY WIKIPEDIA MATERIAL AT ALL. Hayford Peirce 13:23, 26 May 2007 (CDT)

[[Category:CZ Authors|Sanger, Larry]]


Now we have an article on Larry Sanger, maybe we'd have one for Jimbo Wales as well? Yi Zhe Wu 10:02, 28 May 2007 (CDT)


This article in its present form is full of minor errors.

  • The date should be written July 16, 1968, not 16 July 1968: the subject of the article is American and hence the language of the article should be American English.
  • "prominently associated with the intital [sp!] projects of several online encyclopedias" -- unnecessarily vague. I was editor-in-chief of Nupedia, co-founder and chief organizer of Wikipedia, and editor-in-chief of Citizendium (you could call me founder here, too).
  • Ph.D. is so written.
  • Nupedia effectively was unfunded until I resigned, which was March 1, 2002, not 2001. (Actually, until a month before that, because I was a volunteer editor for one month.)
  • "Nupedia was a Web-based effort that was supposed to be written and edited by experts in each field" -- no it wasn't. Please, if you don't know about something, please do research before making definite but erroneous claims like this. Nupedia was written by the general public as well as experts, but edited and reviewed by experts. The rest of this sentence is a run-on.
  • Sanger stated later that "I stopped participating in Wikipedia when funding for my position ran out." -- There is no reason to quote me on a simple fact like this, of course. If a quote were necessary, my memoir would be a better source.
  • 31 December 2004 - fix date.
  • "2 big problems" - write out "two" of course
  • Are these exact quotes? Check.
  • 15 September 2006 - fix date. That was not the date of launch but of an announcement. There was nothing to launch on that date.
  • "it quickly evolved" - not really. And it wasn't an evolution, it was pretty much an immediate change; our name for it was The Big Delete. Why not interview people who have been here longer, or me, if you're not sure of something?
  • "all articles are reviewed by experts in that particular field" - "that" has an unspecified referent
  • "approved", - in American English, the comma goes inside the quotation marks
  • "meaning that it becomes mostly off-limits to further editing" - completely wrong; where did you get this impression?
  • "As of May, 2007, Sanger himself is an active contributor to several on-going articles in Citizendium." - My contributions on the wiki itself are relatively unimportant; my main role here is editor-in-chief.
  • The obvious item to put in the references/further reading section would be my memoir.

As you can see, this needs work. --Larry Sanger 10:21, 29 May 2007 (CDT)

I'll fix these if they haven't been remedied already. Additionally, Mr. Sanger, I might recommend a new(better) photograph.--Robert W King 12:24, 29 May 2007 (CDT)
Thanks for fixing this stuff before I got around to it. One very minor nitpick: the direct quote about the "2 problems with Wikipedia" used "2" and not "two" because that's the way it was written in the article. I always thought that a direct quote was reproduced the way the original was written, whether there were stylistic differences (or spelling errors etc.) or not, not with "improvements". But, of course, "two" does look better in the present context than "2". Hayford Peirce 13:04, 29 May 2007 (CDT)
Hayford, if you check the Kuro5hin article, it says "two".--Robert W King 13:07, 29 May 2007 (CDT)
You're right. I transcribed the article onto a legal pad, then, like an idiot, copied my own "2". What an idiot! Blushes.... Hayford Peirce 13:20, 29 May 2007 (CDT)
Hayford, what's this about legal pads? Transcribing? Sir, where is your acceptance of modern digital technology? Please tell me you are not editing articles with Pen and Paper!--Robert W King 13:26, 29 May 2007 (CDT)

was, not was

Hayford - I do think that the "was" I inserted was necessary, as it was unclear whether Wikipedia was in the past, and for parallelism - you had three activities with only two verbs. However, the more recent edits by Robert King have eliminated the need for the additional "was". Anthony Argyriou 13:57, 31 May 2007 (CDT)

Choice quotes

A few here: Stephen Ewen 14:28, 1 June 2007 (CDT)

Choice quotes, and a choice picture!--Robert W King 15:23, 1 June 2007 (CDT)


Ya'll could link to --Larry Sanger 05:00, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

Done. --Ian Johnson 03:55, 28 July 2007 (CDT)


That lede image is very common and it might be nice to come up with another one. This is nice and we could probably use it by permission. By the way, any idea who this is? :-)  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 14:27, 29 August 2007 (CDT)

  • Stephen- Hilarious find. It might be the same as this guy... --Robert W King 15:07, 29 August 2007 (CDT)

  • I think the first is perfect for the article. Is it possible to upload it in Citizendium?--Roberto Cruz 14:40, 29 August 2007 (CDT)
  • You'd have to get permission from AP. That other guy, I don't know, he has a lot more hair than I do... --Larry Sanger 14:47, 29 August 2007 (CDT)
  • Too bad we don't have a high school yearbook photo! ;) (Just kidding, Dr. Sanger) --Robert W King 20:17, 29 August 2007 (CDT)
  • Dr. Sanger, what does "AP" mean? --Roberto Cruz 09:02, 30 August 2007 (CDT)
  • My preferred photo is this, but I guess it's necessary to change the logo on computer's screen ;-) --Roberto Cruz 19:23, 29 August 2007 (CDT)

Moved message

I have cut out and will move my previous message here to Larry's user talk page, this was not the right place to put it. Feel free to delete this entry, if necessary.Hendra I. Nurdin 19:14, 11 September 2007 (CDT)


Dr Sanger, do you have a brother named Michael? --Robert W King 19:46, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

That is not my brother Michael. --Larry Sanger 21:34, 3 October 2007 (CDT)

New comments

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 . 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)

Did some minor tidying. --Robert W King 10:52, 5 February 2008 (CST)

Topic Informant

Shouldn't there be a topic informant page for this article? --D. Matt Innis 10:07, 5 February 2008 (CST)

Maybe; feel free to create one, Matt. We really do need to restart that group properly. --Larry Sanger 10:10, 5 February 2008 (CST)

Done. I also put a note at the top of this page. It would be nice to have a template do this. --D. Matt Innis 10:28, 5 February 2008 (CST)

Date links

I didn't put 'em in there! --Robert W King 18:08, 5 February 2008 (CST)