Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wikipedia 2 ?

According to the Daily Mail, a UK based online publication, the founder of Wikipedia (one of my favorite sites -- a good example of the best intentions of the web) plans to build a rival to...wikipedia. Why you ask? Founder Larry Sanger believes that the very core aspect of wikipedia, its openness, may be what ills it. Translation: the lack of editorial review combined with final authority on posting has left wikipedia vulnerable to displaying unreliable and biased information.

Apparently, Mr. Sanger's solution is to have volunteers police his proposed alternative to wikipedia. Hmmm. Actually, that's already being done now and, from what I've seen, quite effectively, as many wikipedians are somewhat zealous in the way they patrol their favorite niches against spammers and vandals (anyone can edit a wiki page, and, thus, anyone can maliciously corrupt a page with false information and spam).

Actually, Mr. Sanger's idea is an old one. The largest and best known directory on the web, aside from the Yahoo directory is DMOZ, otherwise known as the ODP, or open directory project (available at The ODP uses volunteer editors, all unpaid, to sift through gazillions of submissions to its directory. Effective at maintaining quality standards? Perhaps. But the submission process to the ODP is very slow. And without enough volunteers, who knows if Mr. Sanger can make his new wiki work.

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