re: recent post by by Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia: Why Wikipedia Must Jettison Its Anti-Elitism
Wikipedia is an awesome example of the power of the internet. Essentially it is a freeware, open source encyclopedia. The results are amazingly good, still it could be improved. Many have knocked the Wikipedia because they can’t believe a project that allows anyone to edit the content could possibly work. I must admit I am amazed how well it does work. Larry’s long post makes some great points about what needs to be improved.
He focuses on “the root problem: anti-elitism, or lack of respect for expertise.” He also points out a serious problem: “So, for any person who can and wants to work politely with well-meaning, rational, reasonably well-informed people–which is to say, to be sure, most people working on Wikipedia–the constant fighting can be so off-putting as to drive them away from the project.” I hope they can find a way to work on improving both these problems. His suggestion of a trusted source releasing “vetted versions of Wikipedia articles” sounds like a good one to me. In any event I hope some solution is found and Wikipedia continues to flourish rather than colapse under its own weight.
The Open Directory project was another useful open source freeware project that had a great begining but now has deteriorated to the point of insignificance. I think Wikipedia will be successful, the question is how successful. I hope Larry’s ideas result in improvements.