Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

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Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Charles Matthews
I mean [[Digital Universe]], which will be WP in Technicolor without errors
or trolls, or something?  I realise userboxes must be more significant ...

Charles


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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Nathaniel Sheetz
Personally, I'm looking forward to the arbcom elections; the discussion
around here will hopefully get more interesting.

Spangineer

On 1/8/06, charles matthews <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> I mean [[Digital Universe]], which will be WP in Technicolor without
> errors
> or trolls, or something?  I realise userboxes must be more significant ...
>
> Charles
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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> [hidden email]
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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Mathias Schindler
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
charles matthews wrote:
> I mean [[Digital Universe]], which will be WP in Technicolor without
> errors or trolls, or something?

Currently, it is an ISP.

Mathias
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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

geni
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On 1/8/06, charles matthews <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I mean [[Digital Universe]], which will be WP in Technicolor without errors
> or trolls, or something?  I realise userboxes must be more significant ...
>
> Charles

What to say. They have $10 million in funding. They would be hard
pushed not to produce something at least slightly worthwhile with
that. The user editing system sounds rather like the one encarta are
useing (indeed the whole project sounds rather simular to encarta). We
shall wait and see.


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geni
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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Tony Sidaway-3
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On 1/8/06, charles matthews <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I mean [[Digital Universe]], which will be WP in Technicolor without errors
> or trolls, or something?  I realise userboxes must be more significant ...

I suspect that it is seldom debated for much the same reason that
Nupedia is seldom debated.  There is as yet very little to discuss.  I
wish the project well; it looks as if , in the encyclopedia part,
Larry is trying to draw lessons from both Nupedia and Wikipedia.

Some time ago I contributed briefly to a project call h2g2, which (I
seem to recall) had a similar two-tier editorial process and a
hierarchy of editors.  At the time it was hosted by the BBC.  The
slowness of the bureaucacy led to my drifting off out of boredom,
Meanwhile the success of Wikipedia shows that there is a lot of
mileage in the concept and I hope we'll see many alternatives on the
theme.
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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Fastfission
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
I think the consensus was, "It'll be humorous and perhaps a little sad
to see how little they end up with after blowing $10 million," or
maybe that was just my opinion on it.

FF

On 1/8/06, charles matthews <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I mean [[Digital Universe]], which will be WP in Technicolor without errors
> or trolls, or something?  I realise userboxes must be more significant ...
>
> Charles
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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> [hidden email]
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> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

geni
On 1/8/06, Fastfission <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I think the consensus was, "It'll be humorous and perhaps a little sad
> to see how little they end up with after blowing $10 million," or
> maybe that was just my opinion on it.
>
> FF

oh I don't know. They could currently afford to spend $11.02 per
wikipedia article.


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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Mark
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
charles matthews wrote:

> I mean [[Digital Universe]], which will be WP in Technicolor without
> errors or trolls, or something?  I realise userboxes must be more
> significant ...

Well, it's hard to tell what it'll turn out to be until something starts
happening.

So long as their license is compatible with the GFDL (which if they
bootstrap from Wikipedia it'll have to be), I see no problems with it.  
If they produce useful improvements in content quality on some articles
that they get reviewed by experts, we can fold in those changes to
Wikipedia, too.

-Mark
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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Michael Snow
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
charles matthews wrote:

> I mean [[Digital Universe]], which will be WP in Technicolor without
> errors or trolls, or something?  I realise userboxes must be more
> significant ...

Not just Technicolor, but also 3-D I believe. Basically, it would appear
to mix the ideals of two defunct projects, Nupedia and OneCosmos.net,
with a healthy (or unhealthy, depending on your point of view) dose of
UFOlogy behind it as well.

I'm not sure what there is to debate about the vaporware, though.

--Michael Snow
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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Wikiacc
In reply to this post by Mark
On 1/8/06, Delirium <[hidden email]> wrote:
> So long as their license is compatible with the GFDL (which if they
> bootstrap from Wikipedia it'll have to be), I see no problems with it.
> If they produce useful improvements in content quality on some articles
> that they get reviewed by experts, we can fold in those changes to
> Wikipedia, too.

I recall hearing they were planning to use a combination of
all-rights-reserved full copyright and an as of yet undetermined
Creative Commons license (probably one incompatible with the GFDL).

--
--~~~~
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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Andrew Lih
On 1/9/06, Wikiacc <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 1/8/06, Delirium <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > So long as their license is compatible with the GFDL (which if they
> > bootstrap from Wikipedia it'll have to be), I see no problems with it.
> > If they produce useful improvements in content quality on some articles
> > that they get reviewed by experts, we can fold in those changes to
> > Wikipedia, too.
>
> I recall hearing they were planning to use a combination of
> all-rights-reserved full copyright and an as of yet undetermined
> Creative Commons license (probably one incompatible with the GFDL).

According to Larry Sanger, they will not use Wikipedia content to
"bootstrap" their content.

-Andrew (User:Fuzheado)
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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Stan Shebs
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:

>On 1/8/06, Fastfission <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>I think the consensus was, "It'll be humorous and perhaps a little sad
>>to see how little they end up with after blowing $10 million," or
>>maybe that was just my opinion on it.
>>
>>FF
>>
>
>oh I don't know. They could currently afford to spend $11.02 per
>wikipedia article.
>
Which for the average expert is going to mean 5-10 minutes per
article, only enough time for the most minimal fact-checking, let
alone making it a "featured article". Even if you pinch down and
say that a good reference needs only 100K articles, you're still
only getting an hour or so on each.

Reading between the lines, I think what they're really hoping is to
leverage the $10M for infrastructure, with most expert content
creators being "paid" in the form of bylines. For many experts,
this will be sufficient draw; they will be able to justify it
as part of work, it will be a way to get ahead, etc. DU is also
going to be able to advertise itself as a cretin-free zone, which
starts to look pretty good after an hour of RC patrol here.

The most concerning aspect for us is the potential to drain away
activity in science and technical areas, leaving WP to evolve into
the "free encyclopedia of garage bands and manga trivia". (You
laugh, but consider vandals gradually blanking math articles that
are not on any active editor's watchlist, and not noticed in RC
because of the continuous flood of recategorization edits.)

Stan

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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

geni
On 1/9/06, Stan Shebs <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The most concerning aspect for us is the potential to drain away
> activity in science and technical areas, leaving WP to evolve into
> the "free encyclopedia of garage bands and manga trivia". (You
> laugh, but consider vandals gradually blanking math articles that
> are not on any active editor's watchlist, and not noticed in RC
> because of the continuous flood of recategorization edits.)
>
> Stan

Doubtful. They are looking to recurite PhD plus. A lot of our science
articles are writen by students and people with BScs.

--
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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Justin Cormack
In reply to this post by Stan Shebs
On Mon, 2006-01-09 at 06:25 -0800, Stan Shebs wrote:
> Reading between the lines, I think what they're really hoping is to
> leverage the $10M for infrastructure, with most expert content
> creators being "paid" in the form of bylines. For many experts,
> this will be sufficient draw; they will be able to justify it
> as part of work, it will be a way to get ahead, etc.

This doesnt happen. Academics and so forth are busy and expect to
be paid for this type of thing. Bylines in an encyclopaedia dont
cut it any more.

Will be interesting.

Justinc


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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Stan Shebs
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:

>On 1/9/06, Stan Shebs <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>The most concerning aspect for us is the potential to drain away
>>activity in science and technical areas, leaving WP to evolve into
>>the "free encyclopedia of garage bands and manga trivia". (You
>>laugh, but consider vandals gradually blanking math articles that
>>are not on any active editor's watchlist, and not noticed in RC
>>because of the continuous flood of recategorization edits.)
>>
>>Stan
>>
>
>Doubtful. They are looking to recurite PhD plus. A lot of our science
>articles are writen by students and people with BScs.
>
Somewhere in the verbiage they mentioned the PhDs as leaders accepting
contributions. Students (including a professor's own students) and
talented amateurs could find themselves more motivated to tweak a
high-quality high-reputation article rather than to try to turn an
almost-English stub into something minimally coherent.

DU has a lot of hurdles, but they know all about WP and are
seeking to capitalize on our weakest points. We shouldn't get too
complacent.

Stan

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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Anthony DiPierro
In reply to this post by Stan Shebs
On 1/9/06, Stan Shebs <[hidden email]> wrote:

> geni wrote:
>
> >On 1/8/06, Fastfission <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> >>I think the consensus was, "It'll be humorous and perhaps a little sad
> >>to see how little they end up with after blowing $10 million," or
> >>maybe that was just my opinion on it.
> >>
> >>FF
> >>
> >
> >oh I don't know. They could currently afford to spend $11.02 per
> >wikipedia article.
> >
> Which for the average expert is going to mean 5-10 minutes per
> article, only enough time for the most minimal fact-checking, let
> alone making it a "featured article". Even if you pinch down and
> say that a good reference needs only 100K articles, you're still
> only getting an hour or so on each.
>
If the source text written for free is well referenced an hour
wouldn't be too bad.  Of course, what people really seem to be missing
is that the $10 million is merely the seed money.  *If* they can get
some good content created by that (even just 2000 articles would
probably do it), there should be no problem raising more money
(through donations, sales, services, etc.).

What did Wikipedia start with, half a million and one paid expert?
Then Larry was fired for lack of funding.  I'm sure in his opinion, if
Wikipedia could have afforded to pay 10 times as many experts for
twice as long, they wouldn't have the credibility problem they have
today.

Anthony
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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Stan Shebs
Stan Shebs wrote

> DU has a lot of hurdles, but they know all about WP and are
> seeking to capitalize on our weakest points. We shouldn't get too
> complacent.

Agreed.  But I don't mind the division of labour too much if we accept the
bright grad students with time on their hands, who IMO are just the people
to push our coverage off the well-marked paths onto more current areas, and
leave them the post-docs with tenure worries.

Charles


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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Mark
In reply to this post by Anthony DiPierro
Anthony DiPierro wrote:

>If the source text written for free is well referenced an hour
>wouldn't be too bad.  Of course, what people really seem to be missing
>is that the $10 million is merely the seed money.  *If* they can get
>some good content created by that (even just 2000 articles would
>probably do it), there should be no problem raising more money
>(through donations, sales, services, etc.).
>  
>
This is possible, but I think still a bit of a stretch.  Apart from
starting with no articles, they have a number of disadvantages:
* They're a commercial organization rather than a non-profit, which
tends to make people less willing to donate and volunteer
* They are known to have $10m, which makes people less likely to donate
or work for free
* They appear to be charging for user accounts, which will drastically
reduce the number of people who create them
* The end result appears to be under a murky and possibly proprietary
license, which will not encourage people to work on it for free

Not necessarily fatal flaws, but I'd say it's a long-shot that they will
be a serious competitor to Wikipedia anytime in the near future.
 
-Mark

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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Anthony DiPierro
On 1/9/06, Delirium <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Anthony DiPierro wrote:
>
> >If the source text written for free is well referenced an hour
> >wouldn't be too bad.  Of course, what people really seem to be missing
> >is that the $10 million is merely the seed money.  *If* they can get
> >some good content created by that (even just 2000 articles would
> >probably do it), there should be no problem raising more money
> >(through donations, sales, services, etc.).
> >
> >
> This is possible, but I think still a bit of a stretch.  Apart from
> starting with no articles, they have a number of disadvantages:

I'm not sure what you're comparing them to, but I'll comment on your
points as is.

> * They're a commercial organization rather than a non-profit, which
> tends to make people less willing to donate and volunteer

Digital Universe Foundation is a non-profit organization incorporated
in Nevada.  See for youself at
https://esos.state.nv.us/SOSServices/AnonymousAccess/CorpSearch/CorpSearch.aspx.
 There is a for-profit which runs the ISP but supposedly this is set
up in a way so that most of the profits from the for-profit go to the
non-profit.  I'm not sure exactly what the arrangement is, though.

> * They are known to have $10m, which makes people less likely to donate
> or work for free

Small time people, maybe, but the larger grant money which they are
probably targetting is actually more likely to donate to a company
which isn't hanging on by a thread.

For donations of time, I'm not sure I agree, but you might be right.
I think it depends more on how they spend their money than how much of
it there is, though.

> * They appear to be charging for user accounts, which will drastically
> reduce the number of people who create them

I have an account and didn't pay anything.  AFAIK you only have to pay
if you subscribe to the ISP.

> * The end result appears to be under a murky and possibly proprietary
> license, which will not encourage people to work on it for free
>
Seems to me they will release *some* things under proprietary licenses
and some things under free licenses.  I certainly agree it will be
tough to get people to contribute to those parts under the proprietary
licenses for free, though if it's set up right maybe not too hard
(people will donate time to proprietary non-profit projects in some
circumstances).

What's murky, it seems, is exactly what they're going to do.  I'm sure
it'll be clear once they start publicizing this.

> Not necessarily fatal flaws, but I'd say it's a long-shot that they will
> be a serious competitor to Wikipedia anytime in the near future.
>
> -Mark

Well, you seem to have been misinformed on all your points.  But I see
them filling a different niche from Wikipedia anyway.

I have my doubts as to whether or not DU will be successful.  It's
really a matter of how well it's managed.  I think the idea is a good
one, though.  (I've personally watched a company I've co-founded, with
a similar idea, waste millions of dollars and go out of business,
during the dot-com days.  Actually when I showed this to one of the
other co-founders he asked me if this was our old CEO, who botched the
thing up back then, trying the idea again.  It isn't.)

Anthony
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Re: Did I miss the great Digital Universe debate?

Justin Cormack

On 9 Jan 2006, at 19:34, Anthony DiPierro wrote:

>
> Well, you seem to have been misinformed on all your points.  But I see
> them filling a different niche from Wikipedia anyway.
>
> I have my doubts as to whether or not DU will be successful.  It's
> really a matter of how well it's managed.  I think the idea is a good
> one, though.  (I've personally watched a company I've co-founded, with
> a similar idea, waste millions of dollars and go out of business,
> during the dot-com days.  Actually when I showed this to one of the
> other co-founders he asked me if this was our old CEO, who botched the
> thing up back then, trying the idea again.  It isn't.)

I just hope they feel that they can use some of what we have done
(commons, perhaps, as a minimum) and dont try to remake the world from
scratch. And realising this, use a compatible license.

Justinc

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