A New Alternative to Wikipedia?
Submitted by Black_Kitty on March 25, 2007 - 23:23
I recently came across this article about Wikipedia's co-founder starting all over. Although it does not mention a word about webcomics, given the fuss that has been raised in the past about Wikipedia, it's well worth reading.
The argument is essentially this: by having people register with their real names as oppose to pen names or aliases, it promotes accountability. In turn it will decrease the number of vandalisms that occur and increase quality. Larry Sanger's Citizendium reflects that philosophy and he hopes Citizendium will become an alternative to Wikipedia.
This particular quotation from the article struck out at me the most: "When you put everybody in a system that is flat, where everybody can say yes or no, without any sense of authority, what you get is tribalism," Ewen says. "What has gone into the article creation is very often the result of this dysfunctional system. It presents itself with this aura of authority, whereas what goes on behind the scenes is anything but."
The quotation above touches upon a common complaint webcartoonists have about Wikipedia: the system isn't working. Or at least not working as people think it should. You have editors who don't know as much about webcomics as they should, unclear guidelines, and people shutting down each other. Citizendum seem to provide a solution to that: not only will volunteer contributors be required to provide their real name but experts in given fields will be asked to check the article's accuracy.
But is this really the solution? Under such a model, do you think webcomic articles will flourish? Or will it lack the wilder spirit of Wikipedia and there wouldn't be as many webcomic articles to begin with? And who will be the experts in this particular field?