Jimmy Wales on Wikia Search
Jimmy Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur known for his role in the creation of Wikipedia, a free, open-content encyclopedia launched in 2001. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, holding the board-appointed "community founder" seat. In 2004, he co-founded Wikia, a privately owned, free Web-hosting service, along with Angela Beesley.
Together with Larry Sanger and others, Wales helped lay the foundation for Wikipedia, which subsequently enjoyed rapid growth and popularity. As Wikipedia expanded and its public profile grew, Wales took on the role of the project's spokesman and promoter through speaking engagements and media appearances. Wales has been historically cited as the co-founder of Wikipedia but he disputes the "co-" designation, asserting that he is the sole founder of Wikipedia. Wales' work developing Wikipedia, which has become the world's largest encyclopedia, prompted Time magazine to name him in its 2006 list of the world's most influential people.
Born in Huntsville, Alabama, Wales attended a small private school, then a university preparation school, eventually attaining a bachelor's degree and master's degree in finance. During his graduate studies he taught at two universities.
Question: What is Wikia Search?
Jimmy Wales: Yeah, so at Wikia Search, what we’re really trying to do is build a freely licensed, or open source software search engine, a general search engine for the web. We’re building on efforts that have been going on for several years in the Nutch project. But we’re committing a lot of infrastructure to it and programmer time. And the basic idea here is to say that, you know, search is the one key piece of infrastructure, the internet that is still very much proprietary, closed, secretive, and we want to try to change that. We want to make it open. So we’re publishing all the algorithms, publishing all the software, so people can see it. But additionally, what we’re trying to do is bring in the element of mass participation, user participation. The idea is to take the normal editorial decisions that are made within the search engine company, and push those out into the community as much as possible, so that, you know, the search results reflect whatever this community thinks should be ranked in certain ways. So we just launched a very preliminary alpha version a couple months ago. We’re currently very hard at work at Version 0.2, which we’ll be releasing within the next month or two. We haven’t really fixed a date yet. That’s actually something I need to be working on right now is my release schedule. But yeah, we’re really looking forward to getting that out, because there’s a lot of cool new tools and things.
Question: What would that mean for the non-coding user?
Jimmy Wales: So in terms of the user experience, we expect it to be really quite a bit similar, I mean, in other words you come and you type something you’re looking for, and you hit “Search,” and you get some stuff back. The one major difference at that point is that you’ll be able to edit the results, in essence. So you’ll be able to delete things, add things. And those are going to be public actions, just as the public, like when you edit Wikipedia that’s a public action. And there’ll be a whole community of people monitoring and overseeing all that. That’s the main difference from the end user point of view, but for me, I think the deeper implication here is not about sort of just the user experience, but about the open source nature, the free software nature. The way I look at that for the average user, obviously, you’re not going to go and download all our source code and read it, that’s really not that important, but what is important-- I view this as being very similar to-- in a free society, in an open society we insist that our court systems operate in a public fashion. So you can go down to the courthouse today and go in and watch a trial unfold, and that’s done in public. And that’s a valuable safeguard for human rights, democracy, even though most of us never actually bother going down to the courthouse. But it’s important that there’re people who can, and people who do. And they’ll raise the alarm if something untoward is going on, and that’s really the way it works with open source software. There’s also a lot of practical benefits to open source software which I think we can realize here. You know, right now, hands down the best web browser is Firefox, which is an open source project. And you know, that development model for software has proven to be highly effective. One of the things we’re looking at is that there’re lot of parts of the search business that are duplicated efforts. Lots of different smaller competitors are wasting a lot of money duplicating a lot of effort to doing some very basic infrastructure things that are really not necessary to do multiple times. I mean, crawling the web, it’s a big job, but what it means is you have to go and fetch, you know, lots and lots and lots of pages from all over the internet, and it’s a bit of a commodity item. I mean, anyone can crawl the web, it just takes, well, a lot of engineers and money and time. And you know, the techniques for doing it are pretty robust and well-known. So what we’re all hoping to do is using the social model of free licensing, which has already allowed lots of different companies to come together. You know, IBM contributes a lot to free software, Red Hat, you know, all these different companies are working in this space, and they’re able to do it because the free licensing model creates a level playing field for that. So we’re hoping to see the same kinds of things start to develop with search data. In other words having different players share their crawl results with others freely. Well, we’re working on that.
Another part of it is one of the things-- one of the really interesting things that’s going on right now in search is that all of the-- <coughs> sorry. One of the interesting things about search that’s going on right now is that all of the research and development, the vast majority of it is going on inside companies in proprietary research, behind closed doors, very secretive. At Google, Yahoo! Ask and Microsoft and so forth. And right now if you are a PhD student in computer science and you’re really interested in search algorithms, it’s kind of hard for you to really get involved and to work on things, because you don’t have access to the kind of resources that you would like to have. And so a big part of what I want to do is say, “Well, look, if we make all this source code open source, any of those people can download it, they can run out on a university cluster. We’re gonna try to make available research machines for people to run things. Just to do experimentation. Just to sort of say, “Let’s try to use the time-honored and tested methods of academic research where things are done publicly under peer review, and really sort of let’s provide some infrastructure for that. So that’s kind of the idea there as well.
Recorded on: 4/30/08
The revolutionary idea of building an open-source software search engine.
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The study suggested that teenagers who have a smaller social circle showed higher rated of depression later on in life.
Credit: asiandelight/Shutterstock<p><a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/msu-tsn093020.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2020 Michigan State University study</a> examined the link between teen social networks and the levels of depression later in life. The results of this study suggested teens who have a larger number of friends in adolescent years may be less likely to suffer from depression later in life. These findings were especially prominent in women.</p><p>This study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, specifically targeting social network data. This data asks students to select up to 5 male and 5 female friends and indicate how often they felt depressive symptoms. </p><p>MSU Sociology Assistant Professor Molly Copeland and lead author Christina Kamis (Sociology doctoral candidate at Duke University) published the study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in September. </p><p><strong>Female teenagers may struggle more with depression during their teen years but show fewer depressive symptoms later in life.</strong> </p><p>For female adolescents, popularity can lead to increased depression during their teen years. However, this ultimately may lead to lasting benefits of fewer depressive symptoms later in life. "Adolescence (is) a sensitive period of early life when structural facets of social relationships can have lasting mental health consequences," Copeland wrote, adding that "compared to boys, girls face additional risks from how others view their social position in adolescence."</p><p>Throughout this study, men showed no association between popularity and depressive symptoms, however, they did show benefits from naming more friends. As for why this is, Copeland has a theory: perhaps the expectations on young girls (compared to young boys) as well as the roles that lead to popularity can create a kind of stress and strain felt more prominently by girls than boys. </p><p>While this does create more difficult teen years for young girls, the stress and strain may lead to giving these girls a psychological skillset that benefits them later in life, allowing them to deal with stressful situations more easily.</p><p>The study also suggested that teenagers who have a smaller social circle showed higher rates of depression later on in life. </p><p><strong>Results from both men and women followed a U-shaped trajectory of depressive symptoms.</strong></p><p>The results showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence and declining in early adulthood, then climbing back up again into one's early 30s. This was particularly more noticeable in women, who showed a steeper decline in symptoms between the ages of 18-26, followed by a more rapid increase in symptoms in their early 30s. </p>
How to stay social while battling depression<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ1MjA3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNDMyNDY1N30.e1ULIJ5QYXh4H1SGUPUTJqYBCnX2XWp6InjPRr-2Bdw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C22%2C0%2C22&height=700" id="832fd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b360bb24fb8d6025680bfffb52fd5982" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="depression support group illustration" />
Attending support groups, planning activities with family or even just a weekly phone call to a friend can help alleviate depression.
Credit: Mascha Tace/Shutterstock<p>Although maintaining relationships can help you cope, it can also be one of the most difficult things to do when you're experiencing depression.</p><p>As Dr. Jennifer L. Payne (an assistant professor/co-director of the Women's Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore) <a href="https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/major-depression/staying-socially-active-with-depression/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">tells Everyday Health</a>: "One of the common symptoms of depression is social isolation." </p><p>Payne goes on to explain that you can "soak up some energy" by simply being around other people, moving around, and staying active.</p><p><strong>Creating a daily schedule and planning activities ensures action. </strong></p><p>While it may be easy to turn down last-minute plans, it's more difficult to cancel plans you've already committed to with friends and family. While it's important not to overwhelm yourself with a packed schedule, creating a minimal daily schedule that involves seeing friends and family or doing activities that you've previously enjoyed can ensure you stay active and often makes you feel more accomplished at the end of each day. </p><p><strong>Support groups and social networking with people who understand. </strong></p><p>While depression can very easily make you feel isolated and alone, surrounding yourself with others who may be struggling with depression as well can help in multiple ways. You will have peer support from people who relate to how you're feeling plus the added benefit of being around people, which can raise your spirits. </p><p><strong>Keeping a journal (and setting goals) can help you feel accomplished. </strong></p><p>Keep a thought journal and detail certain daily or weekly goals (such as a plan to call a friend on Monday or to visit your local coffee shop for a change of scenery on Thursday). These small, achievable goals not only get you out of the house and/or interacting with others, but they also provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction once they are complete. </p><p><strong>Random acts of kindness, such as volunteering, will make you feel good. </strong></p><p><a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/kindness-benefits-james-doty?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1596517476" target="_self">Being kind is good for your health</a> in many different ways. Doing something nice for others can boost your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of satisfaction and well-being. Similar to exercise, kindness, and altruism can also release endorphins, creating a <a href="https://www.quietrev.com/6-science-backed-ways-being-kind-is-good-for-your-health/#:~:text=Kindness%20releases%20feel%2Dgood%20hormones&text=Doing%20nice%20things%20for%20others,as%20a%20%E2%80%9Chelper's%20high.%E2%80%9D" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">temporary sense of euphoria</a> that can help combat depressive symptoms. </p>
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