Announcement about my involvement in Wikipedia and Nupedia--Larry Sanger

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The following message has been superseded by this one: My resignation--Larry Sanger

Dear everyone,

After a lot of thinking and negotiating, I've arrived at an important decision and it's also important that I convey this decision to you.

For reasons I'll let Jimbo explain if he likes--it had nothing to do with my job performance or with any personal animosity--I was placed on half-time pay in January, and as of February 1, I am no longer a Bomis employee. There is no ill-will between Jimbo and I, and I wish him and Bomis all the best. This means that any work I do for the 'pedias, for the near future anyway, I am doing as an unpaid volunteer, the same as the rest of you.

This means two things. First, I've got to get a job that will pay the bills, and second, I'm going to have to reduce my participation in the project quite a bit (over my pre-January participation).

I want to stress that I am not simply quitting altogether. I can't see abandoning the projects I started--they're too important. I hate to think of what might become of the projects if I were to quit altogether. But Wikipedia has become largely self-managing, something I'm tickled pink about, and Nupedia has been moving so slowly anyway that I don't need to spend a lot of time managing that. (Ironically, I might have more time for Nupedia, now that I'm not a paid employee. :-) ) Moreover, Bomis might well start selling ads on Wikipedia sometime within the next few months, and revenue from those ads might make it possible for me to come back to my old job. That would be great. I've liked this job very much, and I'm willing to do some work to help make it pay for itself.

Now that I'm on the job market, if you want to see my resume, let me know at I'm willing to work as a consultant or as an employee--or, possibly, even as a partner. I have quite a few ideas for Internet projects that are potentially profitable and/or extremely productive and interesting. Among the cards I have to play are proposals to big Internet portals, thinktanks, and magazines, to spearhead these projects, much as I've spearheaded Nupedia and Wikipedia. If you'd like to discuss these project ideas confidentially on a serious business level, please let me know. Of course, I'm interested in less ambitious ways of making money, too.  :-)

One last thing. Please don't use this announcement as an excuse to say, "Fine, I'm quitting then." As you can see, I am not quitting, even though prudence about my employment situation might dictate otherwise. I have decided to tough it out and join the ranks of volunteers myself. If anything, I hope this will make you even more inspired than ever to help: "By golly, if Larry doesn't quit even though he's out of a job, and volunteers his now-limited free time, I will too!" That's what I hope you'll think. Just remember: Wikipedia is going full steam ahead. We've got nearly 25,000 articles in just a year! We're getting ever-increasing amounts of traffic and we have a very large, fairly competent (in some cases, brilliant) base of contributors. I will still be around to answer questions, offer opinions, and occasionally kick ass over bad articles :-). As for Nupedia, now that I've finally made this decision, I do plan sometime in the near future to make that final push to rewriting the policy guidelines with the recent vote in mind. Magnus Manske is champing at the bit to write the code (Nunupedia, he calls it) that will implement the new Nupedia system. I do think that once the guidelines and the code are up and running, Nupedia is going to experience growth of a sort it's never seen before--one or two orders of magnitude greater. Once we make it easier and more automatic to submit Wikipedia articles to the new Nupedia system, I think things are really going to take off for Nupedia.

Our forging ahead surely doesn't require my full-time paid involvement. It would make it a lot easier and faster if I were still involved in such a capacity, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary.

So--stay the course!


(This announcement was posted on wikipedia-l, intlwiki-l, advisory-l, nupedia-l, interpret-l, copyedit-l, and tools-l.)