Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

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Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

WereSpielChequers-2
One key difference between Wikipedia and webypedia - you need to
register to search it. This novel approach will presumably be fixed,
but as they evidently haven't sussed that Wikipedia is in truth the
encyclopaedia largely written by anonymous IP editors, Webypedia will
not get out of the registration required mantrap that has helped kill
others before it.

If they fix that and go for open editing then they face the
disadvantages of a blog - people read Wikipedias article on Sarah
Palin because after/despite tens of thousands of edits there is a
coherent readable article. Without ruthless editing to condense 32
mentions of her high school basketball playing into one or two
sentences a blog based article would have degenerated into an
unreadable mess long before the thousandth entry.

Anyone forking wikipedia or considering a rival would do well to look
at the surveys of former users. Usability and technology are not as
big a problem as some might think, incivility and deletionism however
do drive people away.

I suspect there could be a viable fork for a rival that was stricter
on incivility, or was more relaxed about copyright or notability
(though the latter two would I suspect be at greater legal risk).
Faster connections in the third world could also be a killer ap. If
someone launched a fork that maintained a more civil atmosphere,
lowered the notability threshold to "anything that is reliably
sourced", and had faster response times in the parts of the world
where Wikipedia is slow, then I think we'd have a real challenge.

A challenge we'd only win because we were first and because we already
have the editing community in place.

WereSpielChequers


On 27 August 2010 06:18, Keith Old <[hidden email]> wrote:

> G'day folks,
>
> Killer Startups reports:
>
> http://www.killerstartups.com/Web20/webypedia-com-an-alternative-to-wikipedia
>
> Do we need yet another online
> encyclopedia<http://www.killerstartups.com/Web20/webypedia-com-an-alternative-to-wikipedia#>that
> is powered by the people a la Wikipedia? It seems we do, as that is
> exactly what WEBYpedia is all about. It is an encyclopedia entirely fuelled
> by users. Anybody can contribute to it, in the way that he wishes: by
> creating a new post, by modifying an existing one, by leaving a comment with
> his own ruminations on anything that has been published… But if we were to
> compare it with Wikipedia
> <http://www.killerstartups.com/Web20/webypedia-com-an-alternative-to-wikipedia#>,
> it would be necessary to mention that there is one difference at play.
> Granted, it is merely a technical one but it is a difference all the same:
> WEBYpedia is a blog encyclopedia. This means that contributing an article is
> considerably easier than submitting anything to Wikipedia. Any person who
> has ever blogged will know how to do it.
>
> Still, that is unlikely to make people desert Wikipedia and turn to this
> site massively. Wikipedia has got a prestige that is hard to take down. I
> guess that those who always think that it’s convenient to have alternatives
> to go around will check WEBYpedia out. I am not sure about the rest.
> This is their website. There seems to be a lot of how to material there.
>
> http://webypedia.com/
>
> --
> Keith Old
> 62050121 (w)
> 62825360 (h)
> 0429478376 (m)

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

Carcharoth
You have to find the right approach to maintain a civil atmosphere.
Some approaches suggested for improving civility cause more problems
than they solve. Trying out different approaches and seeing which
approaches work best in different situations might help. Ultimately,
though, incivility is something that arises from a community of people
interacting. One thing that might be worth considering is whether
having those responsible for maintaining civility being outside of the
community would help (paid moderators, though it might not scale).

Thoughtful deletion when properly explained can bring new users in on
a steep learning curve who have then been started off with the right
perspective. It is when initial and misplaced enthusiasm for
Wikipedia, often based on a misunderstanding or only viewing a small
part of the site, meets aggressive "defend the wiki" attitudes, that
the driving away you describe occurs.

Carcharoth

On Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 9:56 AM, WereSpielChequers
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> One key difference between Wikipedia and webypedia - you need to
> register to search it. This novel approach will presumably be fixed,
> but as they evidently haven't sussed that Wikipedia is in truth the
> encyclopaedia largely written by anonymous IP editors, Webypedia will
> not get out of the registration required mantrap that has helped kill
> others before it.
>
> If they fix that and go for open editing then they face the
> disadvantages of a blog - people read Wikipedias article on Sarah
> Palin because after/despite tens of thousands of edits there is a
> coherent readable article. Without ruthless editing to condense 32
> mentions of her high school basketball playing into one or two
> sentences a blog based article would have degenerated into an
> unreadable mess long before the thousandth entry.
>
> Anyone forking wikipedia or considering a rival would do well to look
> at the surveys of former users. Usability and technology are not as
> big a problem as some might think, incivility and deletionism however
> do drive people away.
>
> I suspect there could be a viable fork for a rival that was stricter
> on incivility, or was more relaxed about copyright or notability
> (though the latter two would I suspect be at greater legal risk).
> Faster connections in the third world could also be a killer ap. If
> someone launched a fork that maintained a more civil atmosphere,
> lowered the notability threshold to "anything that is reliably
> sourced", and had faster response times in the parts of the world
> where Wikipedia is slow, then I think we'd have a real challenge.
>
> A challenge we'd only win because we were first and because we already
> have the editing community in place.
>
> WereSpielChequers
>
>
> On 27 August 2010 06:18, Keith Old <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> G'day folks,
>>
>> Killer Startups reports:
>>
>> http://www.killerstartups.com/Web20/webypedia-com-an-alternative-to-wikipedia
>>
>> Do we need yet another online
>> encyclopedia<http://www.killerstartups.com/Web20/webypedia-com-an-alternative-to-wikipedia#>that
>> is powered by the people a la Wikipedia? It seems we do, as that is
>> exactly what WEBYpedia is all about. It is an encyclopedia entirely fuelled
>> by users. Anybody can contribute to it, in the way that he wishes: by
>> creating a new post, by modifying an existing one, by leaving a comment with
>> his own ruminations on anything that has been published… But if we were to
>> compare it with Wikipedia
>> <http://www.killerstartups.com/Web20/webypedia-com-an-alternative-to-wikipedia#>,
>> it would be necessary to mention that there is one difference at play.
>> Granted, it is merely a technical one but it is a difference all the same:
>> WEBYpedia is a blog encyclopedia. This means that contributing an article is
>> considerably easier than submitting anything to Wikipedia. Any person who
>> has ever blogged will know how to do it.
>>
>> Still, that is unlikely to make people desert Wikipedia and turn to this
>> site massively. Wikipedia has got a prestige that is hard to take down. I
>> guess that those who always think that it’s convenient to have alternatives
>> to go around will check WEBYpedia out. I am not sure about the rest.
>> This is their website. There seems to be a lot of how to material there.
>>
>> http://webypedia.com/
>>
>> --
>> Keith Old
>> 62050121 (w)
>> 62825360 (h)
>> 0429478376 (m)
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

David Gerard-2
It's not clear there's room for another general encyclopedia on the
web. What they're describing Webypedia as sounds a bit like Knol,
which was more like an unmoderated about.com than a Wikipedia
competitor per se. (The notion that it was a Wikipedia competitor was
entirely media-originated as they desperately cast about for something
to say about it, and not from anything Google or Wikipedia said at any
time.)

That said, there's already a Citizendium fork in progress, Argopedia
http://www.argopaedia.org/ - though they appear not to understand CC
licensing.

Wikipedia needs competitors. The trouble is working out how one could be viable.

Is Webypedia content going to be under a proper free license? That's
the important question. If it is, I think we should be actively
offering encouragement.


- d.

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

Ryan Delaney
In reply to this post by WereSpielChequers-2
On Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 1:56 AM, WereSpielChequers <
[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I suspect there could be a viable fork for a rival that was stricter
> on incivility,
>

Hahaha.

- causa sui
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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
David Gerard wrote:
> That said, there's already a Citizendium fork in progress, Argopedia
> http://www.argopaedia.org/ - though they appear not to understand CC
> licensing.
>  

That would be consistent with a search for the Golden Fleece. :-)
> Wikipedia needs competitors. The trouble is working out how one could be viable.
>
>  
+++ 1

Ec

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

Ian Woollard
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 27/08/2010, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Wikipedia needs competitors.

Realistically, the space that Wikipedia occupies seems to be a more or
less a natural monopoly.

And Wikipedia doesn't even make money per se, so why would anyone even
want to be a competitor to it? There's no market. A market is where
people pay for stuff.

It's not like Wikipedia is abusing its monopoly power. Is it?

> - d.

--
-Ian Woollard

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

Gwern Branwen
On Sat, Aug 28, 2010 at 12:07 PM, Ian Woollard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 27/08/2010, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Wikipedia needs competitors.
>
> Realistically, the space that Wikipedia occupies seems to be a more or
> less a natural monopoly.
>
> And Wikipedia doesn't even make money per se, so why would anyone even
> want to be a competitor to it? There's no market. A market is where
> people pay for stuff.

Wikipedia doesn't make money by choice. But remember there are many
ways we *could* make money. For example, if we had switched to a
CC-NC, there are all the licensing fees we could have charged. (And
the Foundation makes money even with CC-SA - although I don't remember
how much it charges Ask.com and others for the live feed of
revisions.) And the most obvious way to monetize Wikipedia is
advertising, and that has been estimated at millions a month (a quick
Google turns up http://www.watchmojo.com/web/blog/?p=626 estimating
~50 million USD a month - in 2006).

> It's not like Wikipedia is abusing its monopoly power. Is it?

Depends on how you interpret the existence of Wikias like Memory Alpha
or Wookieepedia. There is a case to be made that they exist only
because we have abused our powers to excise their content from
Wikipedia, forcing them to resort to their own sites (a very
suboptimal situation).

--
gwern

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

Mark
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 08/27/2010 04:12 AM, David Gerard wrote:
> It's not clear there's room for another general encyclopedia on the
> web. What they're describing Webypedia as sounds a bit like Knol,
> which was more like an unmoderated about.com than a Wikipedia
> competitor per se. (The notion that it was a Wikipedia competitor was
> entirely media-originated as they desperately cast about for something
> to say about it, and not from anything Google or Wikipedia said at any
> time.)

This is actually an area I think there is some opening to "compete" with
Wikipedia in a sense, by providing more essayish articles by a
individuals giving their takes on a subject, which tend to be a bit more
coherent, with more personality, stronger stands/opinions, etc. Of
course, it's better if most of the articles are reasonably good.

That idea actually predates Wikipedia, though, and imo it hasn't been
much improved by these new entrants. I still find Everything2 and h2g2,
both late-1990s projects, to be the most successful of the
user-produced, non-wiki "webs of knowledge", and I still refer to them
now and then. Am I missing new innovations in this area?

-Mark

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

Carl (CBM)
In reply to this post by WereSpielChequers-2
On Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 4:56 AM, WereSpielChequers
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> but as they evidently haven't sussed that Wikipedia is in truth the
> encyclopaedia largely written by anonymous IP editors,

Perhaps that is true in some areas, but the articles I edit on
wikipedia (on mathematics) are almost completely written by registered
editors.  If you'd like to explain what criteria you use for "largely
written", I would be interested in testing whether articles in various
fields meet that criteria.

- Carl

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

David Gerard-2
On 29 August 2010 13:57, Carl (CBM) <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 4:56 AM, WereSpielChequers
> <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> but as they evidently haven't sussed that Wikipedia is in truth the
>> encyclopaedia largely written by anonymous IP editors,

> Perhaps that is true in some areas, but the articles I edit on
> wikipedia (on mathematics) are almost completely written by registered
> editors.  If you'd like to explain what criteria you use for "largely
> written", I would be interested in testing whether articles in various
> fields meet that criteria.


Aaron Swartz found that most of the text is written by IPs, with the
regulars then formatting the heck out of it.

(I looked just now and found his initial 2006 post on the topic, but
I'm pretty sure he wrote a more detailed assessment.)


- d.

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

Carl (CBM)
On Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 9:51 AM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Aaron Swartz found that most of the text is written by IPs, with the regulars then formatting the heck out of it.

Like I was saying, that does not match my experience with mathematics
articles. I very rarely see significant amounts of content (say, a new
paragraph) added by an anonymous user.

I randomly picked a few mathematical logic articles and ran a script
on them to see how much text had been added by anons (see below). This
is obviously not intended to be scientifically rigorous. But the data
does cast doubt on the claim "anons add most of the content" being
valid over our entire set of articles.

My hypothesis is that the claim is more likely to be true for
broadly-known topics or current events. For example, "Normal
distribution" has had much more anonymous editing than "Cumulant". But
the depth of Wikipedia comes from the latter sort of articles, and for
every one of the former kind we have lots of the latter kind.

Also, about half of our articles are stubs, and new articles cannot
even be created by anonymous users without going through some hoops. I
would assume the majority of content in stubs was added by registered
users.

- Carl

-- Data --

I wrote a script that goes through all the revisions of a page in
chronological order and tracks the absolute size of each change. So if
an anonymous user adds 100 byes, then a registered user adds 100, then
an anonymous user removes 5, and then a registered user adds 10, the
script will say "anonymous: 105" and "registered: 110". I do not try
to take reverts into account at all.

Here is the data for a selection of mathematical logic articles.  You
can see that several of these have had a relatively small amount of
information added by anonymous users.

Article: Projection (set theory)
Total edits: 17
Anon users: 102 bytes in 3 edits
Registered users: 1224 bytes in 14 edits
Current size: 1074 bytes

Article: Borel hierarchy
Total edits: 29
Anon users: 165 bytes in 2 edits
Registered users: 9265 bytes in 27 edits
Current size: 8850 bytes

Article: Algebra of sets
Total edits: 90
Anon users: 1542 bytes in 25 edits
Registered users: 17181 bytes in 65 edits
Current size: 11941 bytes

Article: Indicator function
Total edits: 149
Anon users: 1550 bytes in 22 edits
Registered users: 15114 bytes in 127 edits
Current size: 10922 bytes

Article: Complete theory
Total edits: 37
Anon users: 12 bytes in 1 edits
Registered users: 2893 bytes in 36 edits
Current size: 2691 bytes

Article: Background and genesis of topos theory
Count: 56
Anon: 133 in 9
Registered: 11662 in 47
Size: 10807

Article: Background and genesis of topos theory
Total edits: 56
Anon users: 133 bytes in 9 edits
Registered users: 11662 bytes in 47 edits
Current size: 10807 bytes

Article: Association for Logic, Language and Information
Total edits: 14
Anon users: 21 bytes in 1 edits
Registered users: 1982 bytes in 13 edits
Current size: 1985 bytes

Article: Extension by definitions
Total edits: 20
Anon users: 4 bytes in 1 edits
Registered users: 8123 bytes in 19 edits
Current size: 7887 bytes

Article: Unfoldable cardinal
Total edits: 32
Anon users: 23 bytes in 2 edits
Registered users: 3124 bytes in 30 edits
Current size: 2933 bytes

Article: Gluing axiom
Total edits: 37
Anon users: 302 bytes in 4 edits
Registered users: 9271 bytes in 33 edits
Current size: 8843 bytes

Here are some other articles I picked off the top of my head. Again,
notice that anonymous edits are dwarfed by registered edits.

Article: Group ring
Total edits: 151
Anon users: 1761 bytes in 23 edits
Registered users: 33828 bytes in 128 edits
Current size: 16851 bytes

Article: Product topology
Total edits: 97
Anon users: 3804 bytes in 22 edits
Registered users: 20526 bytes in 75 edits
Current size: 8858 bytes

Article: Linear multistep method
Total edits: 107
Anon users: 1573 bytes in 28 edits
Registered users: 18287 bytes in 79 edits
Current size: 18890 bytes

Article: Normal distribution
Total edits: 1985
Anon users: 355031 bytes in 582 edits
Registered users: 502215 bytes in 1403 edits
Current size: 82984 bytes

Article: Cumulant
Total edits: 342
Anon users: 2528 bytes in 52 edits
Registered users: 35277 bytes in 290 edits
Current size: 31639 bytes

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

David Gerard-2
On 29 August 2010 17:27, Carl (CBM) <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 9:51 AM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> Aaron Swartz found that most of the text is written by IPs, with the regulars then formatting the heck out of it.

> Like I was saying, that does not match my experience with mathematics
> articles. I very rarely see significant amounts of content (say, a new
> paragraph) added by an anonymous user.


Yeah, it's eminently plausible it may not work that way on specialist
topics. And it appears your data bears that out. Data is good ;-)
Would be interesting to test this for other specialist areas.


- d.

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

Ray Saintonge
David Gerard wrote:

> On 29 August 2010 17:27, Carl (CBM) <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> On Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 9:51 AM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>    
>>> Aaron Swartz found that most of the text is written by IPs, with the regulars then formatting the heck out of it.
>>>      
>> Like I was saying, that does not match my experience with mathematics
>> articles. I very rarely see significant amounts of content (say, a new
>> paragraph) added by an anonymous user.
>>    
> Yeah, it's eminently plausible it may not work that way on specialist
> topics. And it appears your data bears that out. Data is good ;-)
> Would be interesting to test this for other specialist areas.
>
>  

Mathematics is an a atypical subject area.  Even those who are most
prolific in their output of wrong opinions will admit that they are
clueless when it comes to mathematics.

Ec

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Ian Woollard
Ian Woollard wrote:
> On 27/08/2010, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> Wikipedia needs competitors.
>>    
> Realistically, the space that Wikipedia occupies seems to be a more or
> less a natural monopoly.
>  

What makes any monopoly "natural"?

> And Wikipedia doesn't even make money per se, so why would anyone even
> want to be a competitor to it? There's no market. A market is where
> people pay for stuff.
>  

That seems to reflect the fundamental error of economists: that anything
that cannot be monetized is by definition worthless.

> It's not like Wikipedia is abusing its monopoly power. Is it?
>  

How can you know? Without competition there is no way of evaluating that
statement.  NPOV cannot be evaluated when there are no POV sites for
comparison.  Even when there are other sites supporting the ideal of
NPOV about a given subject they can reach different results. Abuse of
monopoly power does not come from any willful intent, but from the
zealous belief that the monopoly is right.

Ec

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Ray Saintonge
On 30 August 2010 00:36, Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Mathematics is an a atypical subject area.  Even those who are most
> prolific in their output of wrong opinions will admit that they are
> clueless when it comes to mathematics.


How's the crank problem in mathematics on WP?


- d.

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Ray Saintonge
On 30 August 2010 00:58, Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Ian Woollard wrote:
>> On 27/08/2010, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

>>> Wikipedia needs competitors.

>> Realistically, the space that Wikipedia occupies seems to be a more or
>> less a natural monopoly.

> What makes any monopoly "natural"?


This is a term of art in economics. As such, I understand there is a
popular online encyclopedia with a reasonable article on "natural
monopoly", which would answer your question.

In this case, I'd guess first-mover advantage and network effects.


>> And Wikipedia doesn't even make money per se, so why would anyone even
>> want to be a competitor to it? There's no market. A market is where
>> people pay for stuff.

> That seems to reflect the fundamental error of economists: that anything
> that cannot be monetized is by definition worthless.


Economics is not quite physics, but it's not entirely composed of
balderdash; ask Mugabe about Zimbabwean fiscal policy.

In this case the market is attention and reputation. You know full
well there are a lot of people tearing their hair out that a charity
site that doesn't run advertising is #5 in the world and has a
stupendous Google page rank with no actual effort towards such.


- d.

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

William Beutler
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
As to the "natural monopoly" question, well, there is this resource:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_monopoly

There are some markets where network effects and very high entry costs, such
as building infrastructure, make it very difficult for competitors to arise.
Regarding Wikipedia, the financial costs may not be prohibitive, but the
social capital necessary to create a serious rival may be (just ask Larry
Sanger). And the network effect should be fairly plain; Wikipedia is the
place to be. (And I do not underestimate Google here.)

I do think alternative wiki projects that seek to fill "gaps" created by
Wikipedia's choice not to include some types of information stand the best
chance of success -- going head-to-head with this entrenched incumbent is
foolhardy, unless the Wikipedia community falls apart and the site falls
into total disrepair -- even then I think there is so much value here
already that it's far more likely Wikipedia would be resuscitated, than any
rival wiki encyclopedia taking the lead.


On Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 7:58 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 30 August 2010 00:36, Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Mathematics is an a atypical subject area.  Even those who are most
> > prolific in their output of wrong opinions will admit that they are
> > clueless when it comes to mathematics.
>
>
> How's the crank problem in mathematics on WP?
>
>
> - d.
>
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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

David Gerard-2
On 30 August 2010 01:14, William Beutler <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I do think alternative wiki projects that seek to fill "gaps" created by
> Wikipedia's choice not to include some types of information stand the best
> chance of success -- going head-to-head with this entrenched incumbent is
> foolhardy, unless the Wikipedia community falls apart and the site falls
> into total disrepair -- even then I think there is so much value here
> already that it's far more likely Wikipedia would be resuscitated, than any
> rival wiki encyclopedia taking the lead.


I said a few years ago that in ten years (so 2015 or so), the only
general encyclopedia would be Wikipedia or a fork of it. This was
intended with trepidation, not triumphalism.

There are various niches for other wikis.

* Subject-specific and allowing original research. This is quite a
common format.
* Subject-specific and allowing opinion. (TV Tropes is a huge winner here.)
* Just use MediaWiki as a CMS, not functionally a wiki at all. (Wikileaks.)

Having a lax notability policy is a common divergence, but others are possible.

* Multiple articles on a topic - Wikinfo, arguably Knol. Gives some
writers what they want, not a hit with the public.
* Credentials required. Dangerous - CZ tried this and was infested
with cranks and pseudoscience. Cranks may not have expertise, but they
sure know about pieces of paper.

What have I missed?


- d.

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

Ian Woollard
On 30/08/2010, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> What have I missed?

Somebody that forked the wiki and removed the no advertising policy
might make lots of money. ;-) As in, advertising is allowed *within*
articles (for example an article on a business) as well as at the top.

The trick is to do this *without* their wiki descending into absolute,
total chaos, because if that happens nobody will read it and it won't
be worth anything for advertising anyway.

In principle, Wikis are stable enough to handle this, if you enforce
NPOV and verifiability.

> - d.

--
-Ian Woollard

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Re: Webypedia - another doomed alternative to Wikipedia

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by William Beutler
On Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 5:14 PM, William Beutler
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> As to the "natural monopoly" question, well, there is this resource:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_monopoly
>
> There are some markets where network effects and very high entry costs, such
> as building infrastructure, make it very difficult for competitors to arise.
> Regarding Wikipedia, the financial costs may not be prohibitive, but the
> social capital necessary to create a serious rival may be (just ask Larry
> Sanger). And the network effect should be fairly plain; Wikipedia is the
> place to be. (And I do not underestimate Google here.)

I don't wish to beat up on Larry Sanger, but I think we've seen from
experience that he may not be the best person to start a new project.

Social capital is a real issue, but it's a combination of social
capital of the person, of the idea, of the way the rules come
together, the way the community forms there.

I think even the most die-hard Wikipedians all have some longing for
"Maybe we could be better...".   I think there's a pool of potential
capital there to work with.

The questions are:
1. Who's trying to do it, and how well are they thought of by a
potential editor and reader community?
2. Why are they trying to do it - what is the differentiating factor
or factors?  How do those attract editors or readers?
3. What policies are proposed, and why?
4. Who ends up showing up in the early days, beyond the core team?



--
-george william herbert
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