March 26, 2007 9:48 AM PDT

Wikipedia rival makes its debut

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A new rival to Wikipedia launched its public beta Sunday.

Citizendium, a self-proclaimed "citizens' compendium" of general knowledge, works much like Wikipedia in that anyone can submit information. This community encyclopedia, however, requires users to register with their real names, and its articles are governed by an editorial board.

The wiki encyclopedia was started by Larry Sanger, a co-founder of Wikipedia, according to his own biography.

Citizendium seeks to improve on the wiki model by offering encyclopedic content with "gentle expert oversight," according to its main page.

The content, which has 1,100 articles as of this publication, includes imported Wikipedia articles that Citizendium volunteers and editors are in the process of "cleaning up" and outfitting with templates that track an article's status.

Sanger, who started private testing of Citizendium in November 2006, claims to now have gotten approximately 820 authors and 186 editors on board with the project. Authors can start or edit articles. Editors decide which version of an article is approved and which requires an academic background in a particular area of expertise.

Anyone who registers with their full name is free to contribute. But those contributions will be monitored by constables. A "CZ Constable" is a volunteer who is required to have a bachelor's degree and be "at least 25 years old." These constables (Sanger is one of them) will have the authority to ban inappropriate contributors.

Articles that have been vetted by Citizendium editors and constables are marked as "CZ Live."

This gives Citizendium control over what's posted and avoids some of the problems that have plagued Wikipedia.

Because of its free-form nature, Wikipedia has experienced some problems with defamation and vandalism, in addition to factually incorrect entries. Wikipedia banned comedian Stephen Colbert from its site after he encouraged fans to make funny edits to entries in order to illustrate the vulnerability of an open wiki encyclopedia.

See more CNET content tagged:
Larry Sanger, Wikipedia, Wiki, encyclopedia, editor

8 comments

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What a mouthful for a name.
There's the number one fault right there--the name. Catchy? Not quite. More like the Mary Poppins line "super calafragistic expialidocious"
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
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The problem is the lack of domain names
.coms are all gone.

So you need to make up a name that doesn't exist.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
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scalability
86 editors for 1100 articles. How many editors are needed for 1 million plus articles? Will editorial control decreases with increase in number and scope of articles, eventually asymptotically to that of Wikipedia?
Posted by thanhvn (51 comments )
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So...
<i>The content, which has 1,100 articles as of this publication, includes imported Wikipedia articles that Citizendium volunteers and editors are in the process of "cleaning up" and outfitting with templates that track an article's status.</i>

they are stealing articles from Wiki and cleaning them up acting as if they did something new?

They should be starting from scratch... seems a little cheap.
Posted by volterwd (466 comments )
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Good point
not to mention that the whole look and feel is identical to Wikipedia. How is this site not plagerism?
Posted by shoffmueller (236 comments )
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Full Name?
They're actually expecting people to post more honest stories because they need to make up a fake full name rather than a single word alias? Are they actually going to go to the person's house and check their ID? I'm pretty sure if someone can write a fake article or edit things incorrectly they can come up with a fake full name. Or figure out that if they say they were born before 1982 they'll be "at least 25 years old", say they have a BA or BSc and can be a constable. If you're actually bored enough to waste your time making fake postings I'm sure you could find ways around their system.

At least the article wasn't about Conservapedia, but that site is pretty funny.
Posted by umcrouc0 (53 comments )
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