Wikipedia disrespects experts says co-founder


16 Jul 2007

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Larry Sanger, who founded Wikipedia in 2001 with Jimmy Wales only to leave shortly afterwards, said that even as far back as 2001 the Wikipedia community “had no respect for experts”.

Sanger said he told Jimmy Wales that unless he did something about the fact that no special role was provided for experts to reign in the various abusive elements like vandalism of articles, he was going to distance himself from the project permanently.

Years later Sanger went on to launch his own collaborative, community-based online encyclopedia called Citizendium.

As far back as 2001 Sanger noted that complaints were beginning to pour into the online community encyclopedia about the authenticity of contributions and edits.

The difference, he says, is that Citizendium has expert editors that nominate articles for approval and constables that essentially police the site, and make sure it runs well.

He hopes that Citizendium will become a credible competitor to Wikipedia but with the same expert reliability as a traditional print encyclopedia.

“Wikipedia, to put it plainly, lacks the sort of credibility and reliability that traditionally edited resources have.

“Experts are needed in the approval process, not necessarily in the process of creating the content. They are needed to make an efficient judgment that the article captures what is known about a subject, ” he said.

Although Wikipedia is not for profit and is now very anti-advertising, Sanger pointed out that before the dotcom crash, Wikipedia did have advertising income, but following the drying up of money from that source it then became what it is today.

Sanger believes that such portals can be monetised while maintaining a professional presence as a resource tool. He is currently in the process of looking at ways to incorporate advertising in a non-intrusive way into Citizendium.

Apart from advertising, Sanger and co-founder Wales also disagree about who actually founded Wikipedia in the first place. Wales has previously claimed to be the sole founder of the online collaborative encyclopedia.

Maybe he should check his facts on Wikipedia which says that both men were identified as co-founders in 2001.

By Marie Boran

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