Lawrence Mark Sanger (//; born July 16, 1968) is an American Internet project developer and philosopher who co-founded the online encyclopedia Wikipedia along with Jimmy Wales, for which Sanger coined the name and wrote much of its original governing policy. Sanger has worked on other online projects, including Nupedia, Encyclopedia of Earth, Citizendium, WatchKnowLearn, Reading Bear, Infobitt and Everipedia. He has also advised blockchain company Phunware and the nonprofit online American political encyclopedia Ballotpedia.
Lawrence Mark Sanger
July 16, 1968
Bellevue, Washington, U.S.
|Education||Reed College (BA)|
Ohio State University (MA, PhD)
|Occupation||Internet project developer, philosopher|
|Known for||Co-founding Nupedia, Co-founding Wikipedia, and founding Citizendium|
|Board member of||Phunware (advisory board)|
While studying at college, Sanger developed an interest in using the Internet for educational purposes and joined the online encyclopedia Nupedia as editor-in-chief in 2000. Disappointed with the slow progress of Nupedia, Sanger proposed using a wiki to solicit and receive articles to put through Nupedia's peer-review process; this change led to the development and launch of Wikipedia in 2001. Sanger served as Wikipedia's community leader in Wikipedia's early stages but became increasingly disillusioned with the project and left it in 2002. Sanger's status as a co-founder of Wikipedia has been questioned by fellow co-founder Jimmy Wales but is generally accepted.
Since Sanger's departure from Wikipedia, he has been critical of the project, describing it in 2007 as being "broken beyond repair". He has argued that despite its merits, Wikipedia lacks credibility due to a lack of respect for expertise and authority. He has also criticized Wikipedia for what he perceives as a leftist and liberal ideological bias in its articles. He founded Citizendium in 2006 to compete with Wikipedia, stepped down as editor-in-chief of the project in 2010, and left Citizendium entirely in 2020. In 2017, he joined Everipedia as chief information officer (CTO), but resigned from this position in 2019 to establish the Knowledge Standards Foundation and the encyclosphere. Sanger currently serves as the President and Executive Director of the Knowledge Standards Foundation.
Besides the Internet, Sanger's interests have been focused mainly on philosophy—in particular epistemology, early modern philosophy, and ethics. He taught philosophy at his alma mater Ohio State University.