Friday, April 20, 2007

Wikipedia Reloaded

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger tries again with Citizendium, a new wiki site--they arent comfortable about using the word 'encyclopedia' yet--that aims for a more favorable balance between experts and 'dabblerists' (Sanger's word), autodidacts, and the general public. The whole philosophy behind Citizendium is in this article by Sanger, Who says we know: On the new politics of knowledge.

In this reboot, Citizendium aims to add 'gentle expert oversight' to overcome the anarchy that has plagued Wikipedia. It's primary focus is on mainstream or consensus views but will not neglect to give non-mainstream views their proper airing if only to better debunk them.

I'll have no truck with the view that simply because something is out of the mainstream—unscientific, irrational, speculative, or politically incorrect—it therefore does not belong in an encyclopedia. Non-mainstream views need a full airing in an encyclopedia, despite the fact that "the best expert opinion" often holds them in contempt, if for no other reason than that we have better grounds on which to reject them.

Citizendium is not quite a move from direct democracy to representative democracy, although it's a step towards that direction by giving experts oversight powers. For Citizendium, "Experts arent scum;" despite their fallibility, they are more likely to be correct than non-experts. Sanger holds mainstream views himself, and it is always a good idea to start with the mainstream, study it well, and learn from expert opinion on the matter.

I wish Citizendium success.

1 comment:

grifter said...

alternatively, there's always uncyclopedia.