Knowledge Belongs to All of Us: A Look at Wikipedia as It Turns 17

As Wikipedia turns 17, the founder and contributors explain why it’s important to keep knowledge free for all.

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On 15 January, 2001, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger founded Wikipedia. The idea of an online encyclopaedia was not new in 2001, with the first proposals for an online encyclopaedia dating back to 1993.

However, Wikipedia's key difference was that it was the first free-for-all online encyclopaedia that was completely contributor-driven.

The core premise of the Wikimedia Foundation's video titled 'Knowledge Belongs to All of Us' is the idea that knowledge and information must be available to every person in the world, with no price tag.

'Knowledge Belongs To All of Us'

As the video begins, founder Jimmy Wales talks about how important it is for people from across the world to contribute to make Wikipedia better and more comprehensive.

It’s important as more and more people come online, it’s important that we are a welcoming place, for people to not just read, but also participate and write, to make Wikipedia better for everyone.
Jimmy Wales, Founder, Wikipedia

‘Information Useless Unless It’s Shared With the World’

As the video continues, writers and contributors from across the world talk about what the existence of a free online database means for them.

Editors and contributors from Ghana, Iraq, and South Korea talk about how people can learn more about their cultures without leaving the comfort of their homes.

You could call Wikipedia a massive information warehouse. People have to travel miles and miles just to learn about different cultures. Why can’t we put this online so people can just sit at home and learn?
Contributors from Ghana & South Korea

'The Price of Wikipedia’s Freedom & Independence is Donations’

The video goes on to add that the only way Wikipedia survives in the absence of advertisements (which it doesn’t run), or data collection from users (which it doesn’t do), is donations.

The video ends with a reminder of what the Wikimedia foundation stands for, which is free knowledge for all.

(We Indians have much to talk about these days. But what would you tell India if you had the chance? Pick up the phone and write or record your Letter To India. Don’t be silent, tell her how you feel. Mail us your letter at We’ll make sure India gets your message.)

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