Wikipedia:Prime objective

Vision statementEdit

According to Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, "the closest thing we have to a Prime Directive"[1] is to:

"Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing."[2][3]

And that is the world that we, the Wikipedia community, as part of the Wikimedia movement, are working toward.


Obviously, the body of all knowledge is far too vast to be compiled into a single work. Keep in mind that Wikipedia has never been intended to be "the sum of all human knowledge" (read Jimbo's quote carefully, and the rest of the interview it came from). As an encyclopedia, Wikipedia is intended to help provide free access to that knowledge, and be a start in the effort to bring about a world in which all knowledge is freely available to everyone.


Being an encyclopedia, Wikipedia is a highly useful summary of the world's knowledge. As such, it provides specialized jargon which readers may use as search terms to further explore subjects on the Internet. In addition, Wikipedia serves as a direct gateway to the world's knowledge by presenting links and references to further sources of information on all manner of subjects.

In these ways—presenting summaries, search terms, links, and references—Wikipedia provides greater and greater access over time for more and more people to (the sum of all) human knowledge.

Perhaps the rest of the knowledge workers of the world will follow Wikipedia's example as a free and open global resource and turn Jimbo's vision into reality. In that regard, and many others, Wikipedia, and the Wikipedia community, are paving the way.

Create the best possible encyclopediaEdit

To clarify his vision, Jimbo told The New York Times (in 2008), that

"'to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language,' that's who I am. That's what I am doing. That's my life goal."[4]

It is also the goal of the Wikipedia community: to build and distribute the best encyclopedia that we can.

This is a crucial role Wikipedians are fulfilling in the world. So, when editors get bogged down in a conflict while editing Wikipedia, it might help to think about another quote by Jimbo (from the same interview as the initial quote above):

"I frequently counsel people who are getting frustrated about an edit war to think about someone who lives without clean drinking water, without any proper means of education, and how our work might someday help that person. It puts flamewars into some perspective, I think."[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wikipedia edit by User:Jimbo Wales, 22:49, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
  2. ^ a b "Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Responds". (Interview, Q&A). SlashdotMedia. July 28, 2004. Retrieved October 3, 2017. Wikipedia is an excellent project, and Slashdot readers' questions for Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales were just as excellent -- as are Jimmy Wales' answers to 12 of the highest-moderated questions you submitted.
  3. ^ Vision. Consulted on 30 September 2019
  4. ^ Cohen, Noam (March 17, 2008). "Open-Source Troubles in Wiki World". The New York Times. Retrieved October 31, 2008.

Further reading (external links)Edit