Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Wikipedia competitor debuts

Wikipedia competitor debuts
Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Citizendium, a project aimed at creating a new free encyclopedia online, announced today that a beta version is now available to the general public.

The project, started by a founder of Wikipedia, aims to improve on the Wikipedia model by requiring contributors to register with their real names and by adding "gentle expert oversight" from editors who are knowledgeable in their field.

The project’s Editor-in-Chief, Wikipedia co-founder Dr. Larry Sanger believes that the anonymity of Wikipedia allowed it to grow quickly but also opened the door to significant problems such as vandalism and inaccuracy. Citizendium thinks its new registration requirements combined with expert editors, who have greater control on what actually gets published, will help the site prevent and mediate many of the problems experienced by Wikipedia.

The Citizendium will have three types of contributors: Authors, Editors and Constables. Here is how the website describes them.

Authors: authors constitute the majority of Citizendium’s population. Authors can start new articles, edit existing articles and talk things over on the discussion page.

Editors: Editors, who are experts in their fields, work shoulder-to-shoulder with authors and other editors. Editors, however, have two special functions over authors - they may make decisions when needed about how an article should read and may approve specific versions of articles.

Constables: Constables are friendly, hard-working folks who make sure the community runs smoothly. If you break a rule, a constable might gently tap you on the shoulder and explain what's wrong. Constables make decisions solely about behavior, not about content, which is the domain of editors.

Citizendium says that to date, over 180 editors and 800 authors have joined the project and have worked on over 1000 articles. The site says that it is now ready for the general public to participate in the community and begin reading and editing content. To prepare for increased traffic once the doors are open, Citizendium recently installed four additional servers for a total of five.

Visit Citizendium.

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