By Jimbo Wales - september 2004
Letter from the Founder
In Focus & In Love
Our mission is to give freely the sum of the world's knowledge to
every single person on the planet in the language of their choice,
under a free license, so that they can modify, adapt, reuse, or
redistribute it, at will. And, by "every single person on the planet," I
mean exactly that, so we have to remember that much of our target
audience is not yet able to access the Internet reliably, if
We are an astounding global project that continues to grow at a
staggering pace. Some statistics already widely known in the
community are worth repeating: we see 2,000 new Wikipedians each month;
2,000 new articles and 40,000 article edits every day -- almost twice
as many pages and page-edits if you include discussion and meta-pages --
and this is only counting Wikipedia.
As we continue to grow at this rate, we will face some challenges of
scaling. Old ways of doing things sometimes begin to break down as
we become a community with ever larger numbers of people. We want to
maintain and improve our quality standards, while at the same
time remaining open, friendly, and welcoming as a community. This is
To meet that challenge will require a lot of analysis and thoughtfulness.
I also always like to talk about another ingredient that is absolutely
essential: love. It's not so common in technological, academic, and
scientific circles to talk about love within a community, but for us it
is, and has to be, common and explicit.
Our community already comes from a huge variety of backgrounds, and over
time the variety will only increase. The only way we can coordinate our
efforts in an efficient manner to achieve the goals we have set for
ourselves, is to love our work and to love each other, even when we
disagree. Mutual respect and a reasonable approach to disagreement are
essential, and both of those are helped along enormously when we feel
favorably towards each other just as a natural result of being
volunteers together on this incredible ridiculous crazy fun project to
change the world.
None of us is perfect in these matters; such is the human condition.
But each of us can try each day, in our editing, in our mailing list
posts, in our irc chats, and in our private emails, to reach for a higher
standard than the Internet usually encourages, a standard of rational
benevolence and love.
We've come a long way already, and to really achieve our goals, we
have to remain in focus and in love.