The Woman Who Made Wikipedia Huge Is Stepping Down

sue gardnerSue Gardner, executive director at the Wikimedia Foundation

The driving force behind the Wikimedia Foundation, Sue Gardner, is stepping down, Amy Chozik of The New York Times reports

Gardner is the executive director at the Wikimedia Foundation, the organisation behind Wikipedia.

Gardner joined the Wikimedia Foundation back in 2007. At the time, Wikipedia was still trying to gain credibility as an accurate source of crowdsourced information. Now, Wikipedia is the fifth most-visited website in the world, according to ComScore. 

Her next move: advocate on behalf of an open Internet.  

Gardner says the Wikipedia blackout last year in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) fuelled her decision to leave Wikimedia.

The protests, she tells the NYT, got her “thinking about the shape the Internet was taking and what role [she] could play in that.”

Gardner elaborated in a blog post over on the Wikimedia Foundation.

“I’ve always aimed to make the biggest contribution I can to the general public good,” Gardner writes. “Today, this is pulling me towards a new and different role, one very much aligned with Wikimedia values and informed by my experiences here, and with the purpose of amplifying the voices of people advocating for the free and open internet. I don’t know exactly what this will look like — I might write a book, or start a non-profit, or work in partnership with something that already exists. Either way, I strongly believe this is what I need to do.”

But Gardner isn’t leaving right away. She plans to stay for about six more months, and only leave after the foundation can find a replacement for her. 

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