From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tim Shell, self-photo

Flag of the United States.svg Flag of Canada.svg Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Flag of Germany.svg Flag of Mexico.svg Flag of the Netherlands.svg Flag of Poland.svg

Flag of Alabama.svg Flag of Arizona.svg Flag of California.svg Flag of Colorado.svg Flag of Florida.svg Georgia state flag.png Flag of Hawaii.svg Flag of Illinois.svg Flag of Indiana.svg Flag of Kansas.svg Flag of Kentucky.svg Flag of Maryland.svg Flag of Massachusetts.svg Flag of Michigan.svg Flag of Nebraska.svg Flag of Nevada.svg Flag of New Jersey.svg Flag of New York.svg Flag of North Carolina.svg Flag of Ohio.svg Flag of Rhode Island.svg Flag of Tennessee.svg Flag of Virginia.svg Flag of Wisconsin.svg Flag of Wyoming.svg

Flag of British Columbia.svg Flag of Ontario.svg Flag of Quebec.svg Coat of arms of Hesse.svg Flag of Bavaria (lozengy).svg POL województwo małopolskie flag.svg Flag of North Holland.svg

Flag of Amsterdam.svg Flag of Berlin.svg Flag of Chicago, Illinois.svg Flag Cincinnati.JPG Flag of Denver, Colorado.svg Wappen Frankfurt am Main.svg Flag of Krakow.svg Flag of Miami, Florida.svg Flag of New York City.svg 40px

Flag of Los Angeles, California.svg Montrealflag2.gif Muenchen Kleines Stadtwappen.svg Prague coat of arms.png Flag of San Diego, California.svg Flag of San Francisco.svg TampaCityFlag.PNG

Flag of Vancouver (Canada).svg Flag of the District of Columbia.svg

picture TimShell TimShell 12:10, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I currently serve on the board of the Wikimedia Foundation. I live in the Las Vegas but I can't stand the sun. I know Larry Sanger personally.

I am kind of an absolutist, but not really. I've grown more conservative as liberals have gotten older. I always have a good reason for what I do, and a better reason for what I don't do. I believe in every god I've ever seen.

I believe good enough is better than best.

I like Epicurus, Ayn Rand, Eric Hoffer, Julian Simon, and Friedrich Hayek. I think Mark Twain wrote better English than just about anyone else.


I am pro-cheeseburger.

Random things I like:

*Thomas Sowell
*James Clavell
*Robert A. Heinlein
*Gary Becker

Suggested addition to the Wikipedia FAQ page (Sept 17 2006):

Q: Wikipedia is a threat to my worldview. What can I do?

A: According to many worldviews, there is no way Wikipedia could ever be successful. A system like this just can't work. The fact that it does work and is enormously successful proves these worldviews are in error. Since people adopt worldviews because they find them comforting or flattering, proving a worldview to be in error provokes resentment and hostility, as people are robbed of their cherished illusions. This is why so many people get so upset by the very existence of Wikipedia. How else can you explain a strong emotional response to a free online encyclopedia?

People have adopted two types of response to this threat. The first is to hate Wikipedia. But people can't just say something like, "Wikipedia contradicts my assumptions about the nature of order and authority, and that's why I hate it." They have to dress up their hatred to make it appear justified. So they look for something objectionable about Wikipedia, exaggerate its significance, and claim, "See, this is bad...this is why I hate Wikipedia." If you wish to try this response, feel free to use any excuse to justify your pre-existing hatred, no matter how petty or silly. It is doubtful you will be able to outdo those who have come before you, in this respect.

The other way to respond to Wikipedia's threat to your worldview is to love Wikipedia, but to delude yourself into thinking it represents proof of your worldview. The way to do this is to dream up explanations for why Wikipedia is successful that harmonize with your worldview. Given your assumptions, decide what sort of things ought to work, then pretend Wikipedia is one of those things. Go all out and participate in Wikipedia, even at a high level, and try to force Wikipedia to more purely conform to what you imagine it to be. Never mind that success at this would destroy the thing you purport to love. This would be a small price to pay for reaffirming your assumptions.

In both cases, make a point of ignoring the evidence. Make a game of it - see how much evidence you can ignore. After all, evidence is only useful in testing a hypothesis - and the last thing you want is for your cherished illusions to be put to a test.

Wikipedia moves asymptotically towards perfection. At any given moment, there is stuff we don't cover, factual errors, etc. As Wikipedia grows, and moves closer to perfection, errors and shortcomings grow smaller. Wikipedia is thus a process, rather than an end state. Criticizing Wikipedia for errors and shortcomings that exist now misses this point entirely.

What is preferable: An authoritative encyclopedia that is 99.9% accurate, but which costs $10 million a year to maintain? Or an encyclopedia that is 95% accurate, but which costs maybe $100,000 a year to maintain? And that, on this much smaller budget, will grow more accurate every year? And that, because it does not demand perfect accuracy, is able to cover a much broader range of topics? And that, on top of this, is free?


RNThis user is a citizen of
Rogue Nation.