Monday, April 09, 2007

Los Angeles Times: Aiming for a kinder, smarter online encyclopedia

From the Los Angeles Times:

"Try as they might, Citizendium's founders are finding it's pretty tough to do a better job than Wikipedia.

They've been working for nearly six months on the Herculean task of agreeing on how to organize all of the information in the world. So far, editors have approved only nine of the roughly 1,000 articles that volunteers have written. Visitors can see all of the entries, but the approved ones are distinguished by a green checkmark. The nonprofit Citizendium has found writers for only six of about 40 topics its editors have identified as most important.

"You simply can't legislate or give orders to people," said Larry Sanger of Columbus, Ohio, who founded Citizendium. "It's a volunteer project, and people will end up doing more work for the project if they feel free to go where their hearts take them."

Comment: There's a saying that goes, "faster, cheaper, better -- pick two." Wikipedia is definitely faster and cheaper. Given this news, when it comes to encyclopedias, it sounds like Wikipedia is also better, at least compared to Citizendium.