WOS4: Citizendium


One of the two original creators of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, who had left in anger over a dispute about the nature of the encyclopaedia, today announced that he will start his own project called Citizendium at the end of the month. This happened, quite theatrically, on a panel about the quality of such systems from a scientific standpoint during the fourth Wizards of OS conference which is currently happening in Berlin.

Citizendium will start off as a fork of Wikipedia, which basically means that it’s a copy of every article. Registered users will be able to edit as “authors” but there will also be “editors” who have more authority because of their background as specialists in a certain field. While this is being intrinsically ruled out in Wikipedia’s approach, Sanger strongly believes that the valuing of expert knowledge would attract more people from the scientific community and thus improve the overall quality. In addition to that, so-called “constables” will “rapidly eject the project’s inevitable, tiresome trolls”, a situation that has apparently had annoyed him a lot during his earlier involvement.

In its reliance on “experts” and “thinkers” the project was a bit remindful of Dropping Knowledge which was also started in Berlin just a few days earlier.

The free-knowledge-crowd at WOS didn’t seem to be much impressed by this approach, arguing that the intellectual community whose influence Sanger is missing in Wikipedia, is already a very active part of the users.

Wizards of OS 4, through Sep. 16th at Columbia-Halle and other venues in Berlin.