- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
Citizendium moves into beta today. Citizendium claims to be a Wikipedia alternative with accountability. The AP has a lengthy article about the site. Marshall wrote about Citizendium back in September when they began the pilot period. The site is created by Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger.
My first reaction is that it is butt-ugly. Why not create something with at least some design? If you want to “beat” Wikipedia, step out there and create something that is impactful in its look and usability in addition to the authoritative content.
Marshall noted in Sept, “The defining characteristic of the site is that topic experts will have final, enforceable authority to “resolve” controversy and kick out trolls. Citizendium will be a progressive fork of Wikipedia, allowing its own community to change Wikipedia articles but also offering Wikipedia’s version of those that haven’t been edited in Citizendium. Sanger says the topic experts will function like village elders or college professors – they’ll simply make the wiki a civilized place.”
Sanger as quoted in the AP story, “If there’s going to be a free encyclopedia, I’d like there to be a better free encyclopedia. It has bothered me that I helped to get a project started, Wikipedia, that people are misusing in this way, and yet the project itself has little chance of radically improving.”
A commonly cited peril of Wikipedia’s anonymity is vandalism. In the most infamous incident, someone playing a bad joke wrote that journalist John Seigenthaler Sr. had been a suspect in both Kennedy assassinations. The entry lasted for four months of 2005.
Lastly the AP notes, “Citizendium has been operating in a limited manner that ends with this week’s official launch. Its volunteer base numbers roughly 900 authors and 200 editors. The site has 1,100 articles, with 11 “approved” by editors, meriting them a green check mark. Volunteers can revise any article, though already-approved entries are labeled as separate “drafts” while they’re being rewritten again.”
My question is simple… you have Wikipedia with a massive userbase, a mainstream following and excellent SEO. Will Citizendium be able to get these things before they would go bust? Getting the geeks/nerds/techies should be relatively easy. Getting the mainstream, will be significantly more difficult.
I still like Wetpaint for its use of design and style on top of the standard Wiki-style engine.