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Wiki Wipe-Out?

High among our many obsessions at Public Eye has been Wikipedia, the open-source encyclopedia that anyone can help edit. The entire idea of this sort of community venture is certainly enticing in many ways. The thought of taking advantage of everyone's knowledge and compiling it all in one place sounds positively brilliant. But Wikipedia has not turned out to be all it's been all that.

We've seen the site draw criticism for becoming a place to spread rumor and misinformation or even flat-out lies. There have been disputes over its use as a resource in schools and in journalism. Now, one of Wikipedia's founders is starting a competitor with an eye towards solving such problems, reports the Financial Times:

The latest venture from Larry Sanger, who helped create Wikipedia in 2001, is intended to bring more order to this creative chaos by drawing on traditional measures of authority. Though still open to submissions from anyone, the power to authorise articles will be given to editors who can prove their expertise, as well as a group of volunteer "constables", charged with keeping the peace between warring interests.

Accusing Wikipedia of failing to control its writers and editors, he said: "The latest articles don't represent a consensus view – they tend to become what the most persistent 'posters' say."

Will this approach work better? Wikipedia has established itself as sort of the ultimate, open-source resource and it will be an uphill battle to compete with the voluminous material already available there. But maybe they'll take a page from Sanger's approach and find a way to add a measure of editorial control over its content to help soothe some of the legitimate concerns.
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