Wikileaks Should Look Out: Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales

First Posted: 28/10/2011 12:24 Updated: 28/12/2011 09:12

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, is ditching Silicon Valley to move to the Silicon Roundabout.

Wales, who will thinks Wikipedia should tread carefully, and says he'll never integrate Facebook likes on his site, sees London as the most central location for working in the internet industry.

Wales will live in Marylebone with his English fiance, and will choose the tech hub around Shoreditch as his base.

Wales told Huffington Post: “It’s a fabulous cosmopolitan city, and I will be here for personal reasons.

"It’s an advantage in some ways being in the UK. My work is very global and the UK is very centrally located for travel purposes. And it’s centrally located in other senses as well. Tech City here is great, and I’m intrigued by Tech Hub and some of the tech incubator spaces, I think that’s really cool.”

As much as Wales is pro-London, he's also very much anti-crowd-sourcing, the term that is, not the concept.

“The term crowd-sourcing is really about getting people to do work for free or cheap. And I think that really disrespects what people are doing and are interested in doing,” he said.

"It’s a misunderstanding of what’s going on in online communities and it’s not really respecting the power of that one individual who does something interesting.”

As an alternative, Wales believes companies that should work with communities, rather than make communities work for a single company. The founder of a peer-edited site would say that though, wouldn't he?

“What we need to do is empower individuals to work together with others to be creative and collaborative. We need to focus on the individual person and what they’re trying to accomplish.”

Wales also spares some disdain for Wikileaks, saying “I wish it were named something different.”

“Wiki leaks is not a wiki, a wiki being a website that anyone can edit. They don’t use wiki software and have nothing to do with Wikipedia whatsoever. I do think they should be careful with what they’re doing, and be very security conscious, making sure they’re not causing harm. I do think it’s a very tricky thing.”

Wikipedia has never integrated social media, but Wales is a big fan of effective social media and thinks there’s much more to come from social networking.

“I still think there’s a long way to go with useful social networking, rather than purely social,” he says.

“I am on Facebook all the time, I’m a big fan, and like many people I wonder where that last hour went, looking at my friends’ photos. One of the things that’s wonderful about Facebook is re-connecting with very old friends from high school and that sort of thing.”

He remains adamant that they won’t be integrating Facebook into Wikipedia.

“We’re very vendor-neutral and we’ve never partnered with other websites, it’s just not our style more than anything else. If we were to integrate with facebook, then we would feel we would have to integrate with everybody. It gets to be a big headache for us because we don’t think of things in a commercial sense. We’re this neutral place on the internet.”

Lolcats, on the otherhand, are a very effective use of time online. Wales favourite post on Wikipedia is the buttered cat paradox. He is a fan of lolcats, after his own 10 year-old daughter had her own lolcat featured on the homepage of icanhascheezburger.

“I wouldn’t spend too much time on it, but it’s good-natured humour and since there’s so much vicious humour around, I kinda like it.”

Wales will speak at the London Conference on Cyber Security next week and ExactTarget's Connections 2011 the following week.

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