Wiki Wednesday 1-30-08

Time to learn something!

1. Go to Wikipedia.
2. Click on “Random article” in the left-hand sidebar box.
3. Post it!

Well, this is getting a bit meta, if you ask me – a Wikipedia article about a defunct precursor to Wikipedia:

GNUPedia (later renamed GNE) was a project to create a free content encyclopedia (licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License) under the auspices of the Free Software Foundation. The project was initially proposed by Richard Stallman in 1999 and officially started in January 2001. The project was moderated by Héctor Facundo Arena.

Immediately upon its creation, GNUPedia was confronted by confusion with the similar-sounding Nupedia project led by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, and controversy over whether this constituted a fork of the efforts to produce a free encyclopedia. In addition, Wales already owned the domain name.

GNUPedia participants frequently expressed concern about the amount of editorial control and bureaucracy involved in contributing to Nupedia. As GNUPedia wrestled with the issues regarding the level of moderation to apply for contributions to the encyclopedia, Wales invited contributors to look at Wikipedia, which had just been started as a side project of Nupedia.

The new Wikipedia project received an enthusiastic reaction from some GNUPedia participants, and Wikipedia eventually overtook both of the original efforts. The GNUPedia project continued to exist, and addressed the naming controversy by changing its name to GNE (an abbreviation for “GNE is Not an Encyclopedia”, a recursive acronym similar to that of the GNU project) and by redefining the project as a comprehensive “library of opinions” or “knowledge base“. However, the name change failed to help the project gain traction, and it gradually became inactive. Stallman has since lent his support to Wikipedia.

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