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Hyperion, 2008. — 246 p. - How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopedia Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of allhuman knowledge. That’s what we’re doing. —Jimmy WalesIn August 2005, at a modest youth hostel in Frankfurt, Germany, hundreds ofwriters, students, computer hackers, and ordinary Internet users from aroundthe world gathered on the grounds of Haus der Jugend on the bank of the River Main. Few had ever met in person, and most didn’t even know one another’s realname. What they did know was that they had collaborated with one another over the Internet, across different time zones and continents, toward the same goal:creating an encyclopedia. They knew one another mostly by their cryptic Internetpersonas — Anthere, Cimon Avaro on a Pogostick, Eclecticology — usernames thatprojected a quirkier side to an online community that focused on a rather academic task.There was a curious diversity—they came from different locations, age groups, and educational backgrounds—but they all referred to themselves withthe same label: Wikipedians. They were there face-to-face for the first-ever Wikimania conference, bound by a common passion to give away their labor,knowledge, and know-how.In the hostel’s courtyard, over cold beer and cold cuts, they swapped passionatestories. Each person inevitably followed Hello with a description of theeureka moment when that person stumbled upon Wikipedia and became an addict. Before long, laptops filled up the outdoor patio as users enthusiastically shared their favorite articles and obsessions. Previously used to editing alone intheir homes, Wikipedians found themselves next to others who had the same strange obsessions.
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