Ladies and Gentlemen, dear guests, friends, hello
At first I want to thank the volunteers and friends from Wikimedia Macau and Wikimedia Hongkong for their organization, for their hard work. I know organizing such a meeting is not easy. A lot of unexpected things can happen, a lot of details and things must be done. Despite all these works a lot of people would be unhappy, would criticize the organizers or even suspect them. To keep on and make the meeting happen, make it a good meeting, is a very hard work. Because of this I want to express my very much thanks. Thank you very much for your work.
Wikipedia has five pillars. All our rules, all our work, should be based on these five pillars. All other rules can be changed or outdated, but these five pillars, we can say the constitution of Wikipedia, cannot be changed. I would like to ask if any of the friends here can tell me which five pillars they are?
The five pillars are: Encyclopedia, Neutral Point of View, Free Content, Respect To Each Other and Be Bold.
Wikipedia is an Encyclopedia, this is our first pillar, is the basis of our basis. This pillar defines the scope and goal of our work. But what is an encyclopedia? Which content belong to an encyclopedia, which not? When Wikipedia started no one of us could imaging that it would develop to what it is today. At that time we took the classic encyclopedia, like Britanica, as our example. Back at that time we thought that it would take eons to match the quality and quantity of Britanica. Back then people even listed out which articles Britanica has and we still not have. Today the number of our articles had exceeded by far Britanica. And the number of our users also exceeds by far of all users that had ever used Britanica. We have articles that Britanica doesn't have and would never have, like stations of the Hongkong Underground, or bus lines in Hongkong. Are these content of encyclopedia? According to the definition of classic encyclopedia obviously not. But our community, you, decided that they are. What does that mean? It means that we had expanded the definition of encyclopedia. We created a new definition of encyclopedia, which exceeds the content of the classic encyclopedia.
The second pillar of Wikipedia ist the Neutral Point of View. Wisdom is a human nature. The human being has no sharp claws, no sensitive nose, no wings to fly, no thick hide. But the to explore the world is the nature of the human being. The mankind can very effectively collect knowledge and pass it to their peer. We live in a complicated, multicultural and global world. When we learn, work or in our daily life we must make decisions and choices everyday. We can only make wise decisions if we can have the most thorough information. We need neutral knowledges to make decisions. 40 years ago the Red Guard brought China tremendous destruction. They did it not because they are evil, but because they don't have the knowledge, and the few knowledge that they have are filtered by other people. Because of this they are not able to evaluate the things they destroyed and they cannot evaluate the lives they destroyed. They are not able to select between right and wrong. Our goal is not to tell other people what is right and what is wrong. We don't have the ability and the right for that. If we begin to filter informations as good or bad, we are doing the same wrong thing like those people, who disguised the young people to do the destructions. Our goal is to provide thorough, neutral knowledge, so that our user can decide by themselves what is right and what is wrong. From Shan Hai Jing to the AIDS catastrophe in Henan, from Pythagoras to Harry Potter, in stories, history, literacy or now a day we can always meet people, who feels that some knowledge is too dangerous to be known by all the mankind, so that they must try to seal these knowledge to protect the society. But indeed the history had showed that no knowledge is always more peril than have knowledge, that filtered knowledge always do more harm than thorough transparent knowledge.
Only an open community can ensure that the knowledges we collected is neutral. Everyone of us has his own belief and his partial knowledge, no one knows everything. So the knowledge of a closed society is limited. Open has two meanings for us. Our community is open, and the knowledge we collected is also open. And that means that we have responsibility to our users. A lot of people don't understand why we take so many effort to respect the copyright of other people. We often hear people criticize us: In the Internet everyone copies everyone, why only Wikipedia don't allow this. There are a lot of good reasons why we respect copyright. The most important one is that we want to ensure that everyone can freely use the knowledge we collected. If we don't take care about copyright, our user would take risk if they use the content we collected. Other people can say: the content you collected is indeed not free. This would threat our mission, threat our reputation and threat the value of the knowledge we collected. Beside of this. Unfree knowledge is lightly not neutral, because its owner can decide who may use these knowledges and he can filter the knowledge.
Wiki is a social collaboration tool. When we are editing Wikipedia, we should never forget this. Social collaboration is another human nature. We have all the experience that gaming with friends makes more fun than gaming alone. The very basics of collaboration is mutual respect. Our community had devised deferent rules to encourage the collaboration inside of the community: We have barn stars, welcome template, Welcoming Committee, Contests. We have a lot of rules that are based on this pillar, like don't bite newbies, don't make personal insults, when discussing talk about fact, don't about person. Mutual respect is the glue of our community. Since the advent of Wikipedia a lot of new social content building and collaboration sites emerged, but none of them has such an open community, which is dedicated to a common goal like by Wikipedia. For an open community, which is collaborating to build up a project, the mutual respect of the community member between each other is the most important thing at all. Dear friends, if the discussion is tough, if we have to explain the same rules year after years, we get tired. But please let us never never never forget this most easily forgotten pillar.
Soon Wikipedia would be nine years old. Nine years is a long time on the net. Nine years ago most of the most visited sites didn't exist yet. Some of the sites that were very popular nine years ago are scarcely known today, or vanished. Nine years ago Wikipedia was an innovation. In these nine years we started with nothing and built up an extremely popular encyclopedia with increasing reputation. We defined encyclopedia new on the net, we introduced a new meaning of neutrality, our open collaboration is unchallenged by other sites. We have established a lot of rules to ensure the openness and collaboration on Wikipedia. But we cannot be content with this. We cannot stop with what was achieved. Our rules now are not unchangeable. If there are better means to encourage the collaboration inside of the community, to improve the growth of Wikipedia, we should be bold to discuss and adopt them, just as if Wikipedia is still in the time of its enfancy.
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear guests, friends. I am very happy and honored to meet you all today in Macau. I hope we can increase our friendship during the conference, can resolve our conflicts in the past, can discuss the future, develop new ideas and give new impulses to Wikipedia.
Thank you very much.