He co-founded Wikipedia and is advocating for the further decentralisation of knowledge creation on the internet and the control of social networks

Larry Sanger

Co-Founder, Wikipedia & Executive Director, Knowledge Standards Foundation, Ohio, USA

Why you should listen

The vision behind Wikipedia was simple: “create a free, online encyclopedia, built not by ivory-tower elites but internet users from all over the world.” Larry Sanger, Co-Founder of the platform, is a staunch believer of decentralising knowledge creation on the internet, including the power of social networks Facebook and Twitter.

With a PhD in Philosophy and a specialization in epistemology, Larry synthesized the “wiki” technology with Nupedia, the original site that was the impetus for Wikipedia. He came up with the name “Wikipedia,” wrote its founding documents, and spent the next 14 months as the site’s sole paid editor and philosophical leader.

From co-creator of Wiki, he became its number one critic, and even started Citizendium to rival his brainchild. His main gripes were that Wikipedia had been infiltrated by trolls and not too many knowledge experts were being encouraged to join and edit texts.

He also became Everipedia.org’s CIO, and helped plan a system for putting encyclopedias on the blockchain.

Today, he is Executive Director of Knowledge Standards Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to developing technical standards for the free exchange of encyclopedic information.

Hear Larry speak at Worldwebforum about decentralization of data and control.

About Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a multilingual online encyclopedia, based on open collaboration through a wiki-based content editing system.



Larry Sanger is an American Internet project developer, co-founder of Wikipedia, and the founder of Citizendium. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. From an early age he was interested in philosophy. Sanger received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Reed College in 1991 and a Doctor of Philosophy in philosophy from Ohio State University in 2000. Most of his philosophical work has focused on epistemology, the theory of knowledge.

He has been involved with various online encyclopedia projects. He is the former editor-in-chief of Nupedia, chief organiser of its successor, Wikipedia, and founding editor-in-chief of Citizendium. From his position at Nupedia, he assembled the process for article development. Sanger proposed implementing a wiki, which led directly to the creation of Wikipedia. Initially Wikipedia was a complementary project for Nupedia. He was Wikipedia‘s early community leader and established many of its original policies.

Sanger left Wikipedia in 2002, and has since been critical of the project. He states that, despite its merits, Wikipedia lacks credibility due to, among other things, a lack of respect for expertise. In October 2006, Sanger started a somewhat similar encyclopedia to Wikipedia, Citizendium. In September 2017, it was announced that Sanger had joined Everipedia as chief information officer.

Sanger has taught philosophy at Ohio State University and was an early strategist for the expert-authored Encyclopedia of Earth. He has worked on developing educational projects for individuals behind WatchKnowLearn. He has designed a web-based reading program named Reading Bear, which aims to teach children how to read. In February 2013, he attempted to start a news crowdsourcing project named Infobitt.