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FAQ - Wikimedia Foundation Inc.

Mar 272016

What is the Wikimedia Foundation, what does it do?

Wikipedia Sucks[A beta FAQ based on an a Quora expert's article and the Encyclopedia Brittanica]

The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) was started in 2002 by Larry Sanger and others to develop Nupedia based on Ward Cunningham's wiki platform. One of Sanger's partners was Jimbo Wales, who ran an adult dating site called Bomis Inc. in California. On January 15, 2001, Wikipedia was launched as a feature of, but, following objections from the advisory board, it was relaunched as an independent Web site a few days later.

Spotting the commercial possibilities in Sanger's work, Wales ousted Sanger by dubious methods, and rapidly scaled up the number of articles by creating a "community" of global contributors who were all promised membership in the Wikimedia Foundation (then based in Florida).

In 2006 after increasing tension between the "community" and the Foundation, Wales engineered a coup, rewrote the Foundation memorandum, ousted the contributors in Dec 2006 and hied off with the Foundation assets to California.

In this he was assisted by 2 community members - Florence Devouard (Anthere) and Erik Moeller (Eloquence). Wales runs an extremely profitable commercial wiki hosting operation "" based on WMF's "free" software Mediawiki.

The WMF now sits on a huge mountain of cash,and is looking for ways to spend it. No wonder wikipedia sucks and the community is looking for ways to split the WMF.

Issues and controversies

In 2005 the American journalist John L. Seigenthaler, Jr., discovered that his Wikipedia biography falsely identified him as a potential conspirator in the assassinations of both John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and that these malicious claims had survived Wikipedia’s community policing for 132 days.

In 2007 student researchers at the California Institute of Technology could correlate IP addresses attached to every Wikipedia edit with their owners and quickly discovered that editing Wikipedia content from computers located within corporations and in government offices was widespread. 

In 2010 it was revealed that there was a cache of pornographic images, including illegal depictions of sexual acts involving children, on Wikimedia Commons, a site maintained by the Wikimedia Foundation that served as a repository of media files for use in all Wikimedia products




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