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The Media

Wikipedia Reaches 100,000th Article 218

Posted by timothy
from the cdrom-size-archives-would-be-nice dept.
An anonymous reader writes "'Wikipedia, a community-built multilingual encyclopedia, is announcing that the English edition of the project has reached a milestone of 100,000 articles in development. In addition, the project itself has celebrated its two-year anniversary on January 15. But not just the English version has grown impressively: More than 37,000 articles are now being worked on in the non-English editions of Wikipedia.' Read the press release for more information or visit the website to enlighten yourself! It's great to see that this interactive project works; at least I don't have to boot into Windows to use Encarta anymore!"
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Wikipedia Reaches 100,000th Article

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  • by philovivero (321158) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:05AM (#5133337) Homepage Journal
    For any doubters you know that say collaboration can't generate something awesome, Wikipedia is a gigantic, glowing, neon proof that it can, indeed.

    I've spent hours browsing topics on that site, and remain constantly amazed at the depth and breadth of knowledge on it.

    For amusement, look up "slashdot [wikipedia.org]" on it. You will find more history and amusement than you remembered ever living through yourself.

    It even covers the troll era, with entries on Natalie Portman, grits, whatnot (I dare not type too many examples lest I be lameness filtered).

    • by philovivero (321158) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:19AM (#5133386) Homepage Journal
      Sorry for a second post, but another awesome wiki with a more technical bent is at c2 dot com [c2.com] (I linked you to starting points). Another place where I've spent hours and hours and... aaah. Collaboration rocks.
    • For any doubters you know that say collaboration can't generate something awesome, Wikipedia is a gigantic, glowing, neon proof that it can, indeed
      For another great success story, but one that does not (IMHO, YMMV) seem to have the depth of knowledge that Wikipedia.org has is Everything2 [everything2.com].

      While I'm not sure if either of these would qualify under an "open source movement," they seem to uphold many of those ideals (both are made by countless numbers of people, both revolve around things that cover broad topic material, both are freely editable and upgradable by anyone/everyone, both are free (as in beer)). Perhaps people can start to see just how powerful an Open Source movement can be, and begin to use other great tools developed by like-minded people (GPG, *nix, just to name a few!), if they're introduced to wonderful success stories like these.

      Spread the word about great sites and projects like this to your non-Open-Source-knowledgable people. Explain to them in plain terms that they can understand ("it's an online encyclopedia, like WorldBook or Encarta, but it's free"), and we can really see this movement take flight.
      • While I'm not sure if either of these would qualify under an "open source movement," they seem to uphold many of those ideals

        There was a paper, Coase's Penguin [benkler.org]. The author considered "open source" a subset of what he labled commens-based peer-production. Other examples he included in the paper are the NASA clickworkers, wikipedia, ODP, and even slashdot.

        It is an interesting read. However, it is not light reading. It is a 70+ page article that was written for the Yale Law Journal by an economist.

      • Ouch. Thanks for slashdotting E2. E2 is slow on the best of days, and right now it just doesn't want to load for me at all.

        E2 has 479,957 writeups. I don't know how many of those are daylogs (in other words, shit that belongs on livejournal or similar but people think someone will give a fuck about ten years down the road) but many, MANY of them are factual writeups. Some of them are STILL a single line entry from the original Everything, which sought to explain "everything" in a single sentence.

        The primary difference between E2 and Wiki is that Wiki tries harder to be an encyclopedia whereas E2 tries to become the sum of its readers by only disallowing content that is copyrighted (and noticed by an editor or brought to an editor's attention) or which is systematically downvoted by one's peers. You don't get any votes until you gain a level (which only requires making a few writeups and gaining some XP, which follows naturally from good writeups) so you cannot create an account and instantly pollute the validity of the voting system. Of course, plenty of people downvote a writeup for things other than the writeup; they don't like the author, they disagree with the author (which has nothing to do with the merit of the writeup unless you know more about it than they do, in which case, you should be doing your own writeup) or the writeup was "nodevertised", in other words, advertised in the "chatterbox" - the small integrated chat system which is frequently called the "catbox", or "cheddarbox" by the squeamish and/or cheese-loving.

        Like most of these sites, E2 states that all your content belongs to you. Hence I can use it to develop tons of content now, and then if I find that there is an actual market for some of that content, I can remove it entirely, or enhance it and sell a commercial version somewhere.

        What I would like to see happen to E2 would be a commercial/pro version coming out suited to data miners only, which would have two functions. One, you could flag your content as being licensable, and people could license your content straight from E2 using some kind of payment/micropayment system. I'd be perfectly happy with paypal. Also you could develop commercial-only content, which you could also lock up so only E2 users over a certain level could access for free. This way it provides additional motivation for people to develop content, and also provides potential revenue from the lazy.

        Incidentally E2 is based on the Everything Content Engine which was developed for the site. It runs in mod_perl (unfortunately) on apache and is backended (currently) by mysql. EVERYTHING (not the site, I mean *) is a "node", nodes are stored in the database. Nodes have display methods (which are nodes of course) and so on. I think mod_perl is a suck but the engine is pretty slick nonetheless. You can get it at everydevel.com. (I think I'm going to stop linking to sites that I know can't handle the load, and just put the hostname in or something.)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      And an even greater success story - so much so that it was listed in the Sunday Times' Top 50 Websites of 2002 - is h2g2 [h2g2.com], the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, as inspired by Douglas Adams' series of the same name.

      It has a nice collection of entries and the community feeling there is wonderful. You should check it out!
    • For amusement, look up "slashdot [wikipedia.org]" on it. You will find more history and amusement than you remembered ever living through yourself.

      Cool. I can relive the /. effect as a chronic hysteresis. Super. Just great. What are we supposed to do now?

      Would you happen to have a key?

      -B

    • I was looking at a couple of entries (Kevlar, AK-47) that I had contributed to in the past (hint, I added Twaron as one of the alternate trade names). One thing that struck me was that I expected them to have added pictures by now. For example, showing the AK-47, with maybe an exploded view and some close-ups, would have been helpful, as would maybe a picture of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor.
      • Lots of people can write articles. Drawing pictures is harder (particularly technical drawings), and getting copyright-cleared photographs of particular people is harder still.
        • True enough, but even if I had a drawing or picture to contribute, there doesn't appear to be a mechanism by which to do so.

          Remember, digital cameras are cheap, and people have all sorts of things in their garages (well, maybe not an AK-47, at least not in California anyways.) But if a museum curator decided to contribute a quick snapshot of say, the moon rocks, or if someone wanted to submit a vacation photo of the Arizona memorial under a Pearl Harbor entry, there ought to be a way of submitting it.

          Maybe someone should develop a visual wikipedia, layered on top of the wikipedia proper?
          • True enough, but even if I had a drawing or picture to contribute, there doesn't appear to be a mechanism by which to do so.

            If you create a user account and log in, an "Upload" link will appear in the sidebar, through which you can upload pictures and other media files for use in articles. (We restrict uploads to logged-in users because it cuts down a lot on random people who have no interest in the project finding "Upload" from google and putting in their personal photos and/or pirated mp3z and/or pr0n to link to from RPG BBSs in the Netherlands or what-have-you.)

    • User-driven volunteer-maintained projects on such a large scale tend to be more unreliable than the alternatives. Just look at DMOZ. Self-interested individuals allowed to run unchecked can ruin the experience.
      • As a long-time (but lapsed) DMOZ volunteer editor, I have to say we do take abuse very seriously, and certainly I've not noticed much abuse in my areas of focus since the earliest days. If you'd care to post or email me with any specific examples, I'd be happy to look into it or pass it on to others who can clean it up.

        Wikipedia, by contrast, appears to have no access controls - so I'm surprised it hasn't turned into a crapflooded mess by now.

    • The name was chosen for its humorous URL, "http://slashdot.org" (or "http-colon-slash-slash-slash-dot-dot-org").

      : O

      No way!? Damn. I never heard the history of the name, but I always assumed /. was intended to mean vaguely "the root directory" based on the UNIX filesystem. (ie. "cd /." I had kind of had a fanciful more philosophical meaning in my head like that. You know, a kind of "where it all starts", "top of the pile", thing. I guess I read too much into it. :(

  • by saitoh (589746) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:07AM (#5133342) Homepage
    One would think that educational institutions would snatch something like this up in a heartbeat (same goes for the GPL version of education documents and reference material). Or is it that the maturity of the project isnt near what standard university requirements yet is the hold up?
    • by scrote-ma-hote (547370) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:18AM (#5133382)
      The big problem with this is it's best feature. Accuarcy. I was just browsing the site for something that I know in a reasoable amount of depth, and came across the entry for heart attack [wikipedia.org].

      It states things like "Infarct refers to the artery being plugged or clogged up", where it actually is the death of tissue cause by a lack of oxygen. Things like that restrict it's use severly. I think I'll stick with peer reviewed articles for the moment. Universities tend to have libraries full of them.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:22AM (#5133394)
        Try The 'Earth Edition' of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy [h2g2.com], it has a vast array of well-written articles.

        The approach they take regarding peer review is interesting. There are two types of guide entry - edited and unedited. The edited guide is a collection of peer reviewed and edited articles, and likely to be more accurate and readable. The unedited guide entries are just anything, really. Could be total nonsense.

        Anyway you should check it out, it is a good site and has a much better community aspect than Wikipedia or Everything2. In a sense it is more like Fark or Slashdot, only more friendly.
      • by brion (1316) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:32AM (#5133423) Homepage
        I think I'll stick with peer reviewed articles for the moment.

        You're a peer, you reviewed it, you found a problem. Why didn't you correct it?

        • > You're a peer, you reviewed it, you found a problem. Why didn't you correct it?

          He did not review it. He stumbled on something glaringly obvious that written by someone who didn't have any clue what they were talking about. It's not his job to fact-check things that could have been verified by looking them up in other sources, when he could have just gone to the other source.

          I see wikipedia as a sort of free H2G2, and a great test to see how wiki scales -- not technically, since there's so many implementations (wikipedia uses usemod, which doesn't even use a db -- sql, bdb or otherwise), but in terms of being a commons and in finding the minimal mechanisms needed to avoid or at least ameliorate the tragedy of the commons.

          As an information resource ... enormous grain of salt.

          • Wiki's strength is that articles tend to get better as people contribute, not worse. There's certainly some vandalism, and even some idiots who think they know more than they actually do... But my bet is that if someone took it upon themselves to make the correction specified, it would stay correct.

            I wouldn't trust Wiki's accuracy as much as I might trust other encyclopedias (though EB has its mistakes too!) But I would trust it as much or more than the typical "I consider myself an expert, let me stick some info on my web page" page that you come across when googling. This at least has review, and incorrect facts are regularly uncovered.

            When Wiki reaches a certain level of maturity, snapshot articles will be lifted out of it and "frozen". Perhaps they'll be added to Nupedia, or some other non-editable encyclopedia with a dedicated fact-checking and copyediting system.

            You could never do that with H2G2 or e2, of course, because of the copyright issues.

          • You're a peer, you reviewed it, you found a problem. Why didn't you correct it?
            He did not review it. He stumbled on something glaringly obvious that written by someone who didn't have any clue what they were talking about.

            Speaking of which: Dictionary.com says it has six entries found for review [reference.com]. The VERY FIRST DEFINITION which comes up: "To look over, study, or examine again." And the third: "To examine with an eye to criticism or correction: reviewed the research findings."

            He is a peer, he did review it, he did find a problem, he should have corrected it, but he was too lazy. It is just that simple. It's okay to be lazy, he has no obligation to edit the wikipedia, but he's bitching about something he could have fixed in (I hope) less than a minute. It would have taken him little more effort to fix it there (assuming he needed to create an account) than it took him to bitch about it here.

      • I just checked, and the error has already been corrected.

    • I don't think you can speak that generally of Wikipedia -- the quality of articles ranges dramatically, but tends to improve with time (even then rather dramatically).

      I've written a few articles, contributed to others, and even replace one. One I'm very impressed with is the Vietnam War article. It has had contributions from many people with many different perspectives and experiences with that war -- veterans and peace activists and others. Emotions have run high in the /talk page more than once, but the product has been more balanced and inclusive than anything I've seen on the subject.

      But there are lots of annoying little problems -- duplicate articles that need to be merged, different models of organizing and presenting the same information that are going to be a bear to reconcile.

      Vandalism is a problem, but not as much as you might thing. I contributed to the "polyhedron" article by resurrecting it (somebody had replaced the text with "concave lenses are cool"). While I had it in front of me, I created a html table for presenting some of the data there.

      This is not a project for those with overly huge egos -- at least, not if they're going to try to do much outside the project -- because, over time, others will come by and change your articles, whether a little or a lot.

      For those looking for peer-review, keep in mind that there are connections between Wikipedia (which is rather wide open) and Nupedia (which is peer reviewed) in both directions.

      I would recommend that everybody look it over and contribute whatever they want to to make it better. But don't expect it to make any other encyclopedia obsolete -- at least, not quite yet.
  • Thank God for free online reference.

    If you've ever priced a full set of encyclopedia... whew... it's around 1200$

    100,000 articles is great... The more the merrier.

    • Re:Free is good (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SN74S181 (581549) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:41AM (#5133444)
      I got my set of Britannicas for fourty cents per volume at a thrift store.

      People are throwing out their classic paper encyclopedias.

      And lets face it: for many topics, i.e. mathematics, history, etc. an old edition of Britannica is damned fine.

      People go out and buy a CDROM version of Britannica and say 'why do we need these books.'

      Ten years from now I will still have my Britannica set. Their CD-ROM won't access in whatever is the latest-greatest-shiney OS.

      Sorry for being a curmudgeon, but it's things like traditional books in traditional libraries that are the basis of our cuture, that got us to the Moon.
  • Everything2 (Score:4, Informative)

    by mr100percent (57156) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:09AM (#5133348) Homepage Journal
    I'm a bigger fan of Everything2.com [everything2.com]. Currently at 479,928 writeups.

    • In my opinion, E2 is a failure. Because writeups are only editable by their authors, they rarely get updated. The prose is usually clearly subjective, often poor and frequently annoying. Lots of conservative political rambling there.

      There's no useful criteria for what is acceptable content and what is not. The voting/experience system has led to the development of a strict hierarchy, where many highly ranked members go around deleting articles arbitrarily. The "reason" for deletion is sent to you via an anonymous bot. It's the Slashdot story rejection system in perfection. The number of votes for an article is often completely irrelevant for whether it is deleted or not -- I've had write-ups with over 25 votes deleted because another write-up in the same node was considered spam. Uh, yeah. On the other hand, every next geek can freely post their "Dream Log" and boyfriend/girlfriend experiences. It's a mess of diary-type and almanach-type content. Discussions are basically impossible because write-ups are supposed to stand on their own.

      And then the links. On E2, you are almost required to link every third word in an article -- it's about "everything", after all. But there's no distinction made between pages that exist and those that do not. On Wikipedia, links to non-existent pages are red, normal links are blue. On E2, all you can do is guess.

      E2 is interesting because of its experience system which makes it somewhat addictive. But that very same system rewards quantity, not quality. Gaining experience points is trivial, but to advance to the next level (yes, they actually use RPG-like levels) you have to create lots and lots of write-ups. So many people do, and the result is crap, crap, crap. There may be brilliant prose on Everything2, but it's hard to find. Much of it is like Slashdot at 0/1. Other annoyances: no images, web-links largely prohibited.

      E2 is good for lyrics and some tech stuff. Sadly, even though the creators should have known better, they have not put the project under an open content license. That makes it very hard to re-use content in any way until around 2120 or so, when most of its contributors are dead for more than 70 years, bless Sonny Bono.

      Wikipedia is the antithesis to E2. World-editable, it encourages massive cooperation. All content is GNU FDL and therefore open for all kinds of re-use. But there's a clear focus, and unverifiable or POV material is not tolerated. There are images (often photos shot by the users themselves) and many good weblinks. There's plenty of brilliant, well-researched prose. Plenty of poor articles, too, but you know you can fix them.

      Generally speaking, the more it is edited, the better it gets. What Wikipedia needs is a certification system to build a selection of accurate articles, this is being discussed. You can help build it [sourceforge.net] by working on the software, which is, of course, free (GPL).

      Wikipedia is truly lovely. I need to write a manifesto about it some day.

      • Re:Everything2 (Score:3, Informative)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        I just wrote a comment on How and Why E2 works [slashdot.org]. You would do well to read it, because your objections to the fact that users actually own their own content (which is good for the site, and good for the users) are unfounded.

        There's no useful criteria for what is acceptable content and what is not.

        The reason E2 has a graded level system which takes more effort to progress as you go on is that you can learn from higher-level users, and as you gain an understanding of what is and is not popular, your progress is displayed so others can learn from you. In that sense it is MORE collaborative than Wiki.

        The number of votes for an article is often completely irrelevant for whether it is deleted or not -- I've had write-ups with over 25 votes deleted because another write-up in the same node was considered spam. Uh, yeah.

        This does happen. Editors have the final say. It's unfortunate that your WU was blown away but it probably was insufficient to the task of adequately explaining the title of the node. I've had nodes deleted which were factual but an editor found offensive. That's unfortunate, but them's the breaks. I *am* really annoyed that a comment is not required when a node is deleted, but anonymous is okay; we don't need pogroms against editors on E2.

        Discussions are basically impossible because write-ups are supposed to stand on their own.

        You don't want a discussion in a node which should stand on its own. If you have a brilliant discussion with someone on a topic, node the discussion separately and quit whining.

        The fact that WUs should stand on their own is also the reason for no web links. If you have to link to a website to explain something, you haven't explained it. I do list the URLs of my references (when they are websites, as they usually are) so that people can find them for more information. This is the way it is done in professional literature; This is the way it was meant to be done on E2. This is why the bibliography was invented.

        And then the links. On E2, you are almost required to link every third word in an article -- it's about "everything", after all. But there's no distinction made between pages that exist and those that do not. On Wikipedia, links to non-existent pages are red, normal links are blue. On E2, all you can do is guess.

        The lack of a different link color for those links which go somewhere annoys the piss out of me but it's also a blessing. I have been known to click on a link, get frustrated that it doesn't go anywhere, and construct a writeup so that it does.

        E2 is interesting because of its experience system which makes it somewhat addictive. But that very same system rewards quantity, not quality. Gaining experience points is trivial, but to advance to the next level (yes, they actually use RPG-like levels) you have to create lots and lots of write-ups. So many people do, and the result is crap, crap, crap. There may be brilliant prose on Everything2, but it's hard to find. Much of it is like Slashdot at 0/1. Other annoyances: no images, web-links largely prohibited.

        On the other hand, if your writeups are too crappy, then they get nuked, and/or you lose experience due to downvoting. While it IS trivial to gain experience, writing COMPLETE crap will cause you to lose it. Writing crappy writeups and setting them hidden will cause them to get nuked later, with the corresponding drop in level since you need so many WUs and so much XP to stay there. I've lost a level before, though I did get it back five minutes later.

        The experience system does two really major things; it prevents new users from voting, and prevents relatively new users from doing much damage by voting. It DOES also make it addictive (though my interest has somewhat tapered off, and I only need like 20 more WUs to hit level 5, I do a node every two weeks or so lately) which can help produce more content.

        Even a mediocre writeup which provides some content is useful. As per the comment I link above, when it has been superseded, it can be deleted. I have personally superseded a fair number of writeups which were more than a couple paragraphs.

        • The reason E2 has a graded level system which takes more effort to progress as you go on is that you can learn from higher-level users,

          There is an assumption behind that notion: Higher level users are inherently "better" in many ways and therefore good teachers. The problem with it is that, because of the way E2 works, any reasonably eloquent and motivated writer can and will easily advance to a higher level -- it doesn't take knowledge or social skills, it just takes motivation. As a result, many of the high level users are, frankly, arrogant jerks and get off by pushing newbies around and feeling superior. Don't tell me this isn't true -- you just have to look at the level names. "Seer","Godhead","Pseudo_God". I know, this is all very sophisticated and ironic, but many people seem to take it very literally. Of course, you can also see this as an advantage: E2 is great for masochists and for sadists alike.

          In that sense it is MORE collaborative than Wiki.

          Abusing each other is not collaboration ;-). On Wikipedia we learn constantly from each other without needing any experience system. We don't even need to talk to each other that much (although we do talk a lot), because we just look at each other's edits. There are many cases of people who came to Wikipedia writing entirely biased articles and who quickly learned how to follow our NPOV guidelines and become valuable contributors. On E2, it's very easy to make enemies; it's a relatively closed circles with arbitrary rules. I have seen more than one newbie get "borged" (another of those ingenious inventions) or abused in the chatterbox. On Wikipedia, we have clear behavioral guidelines. All of us can be rude sometimes, but we generally forgive and forget, because we share the common goal of building an encyclopedia.

          It's unfortunate that your WU was blown away but it probably was insufficient to the task of adequately explaining the title of the node.

          See, this kind of attitude is one of the problems with E2. Failures in the system are not acknowledged. "Your write-up was deleted? Well, it was probably insufficient anyway." A mistake made by an editor? Arbitrary deletion? This kind of thing doesn't happen. The E2 FAQ calls abuse of editorial power a "remote possibility". Here's a node of mine that was deleted, at a reputation of 24:

          The greatest mind in human history? That's a question impossible to answer, since we can only judge the little remaining writings that we have. Most of what has been written in ancient times was lost over the Dark Ages, including some complete encyclopedias. In the Middle Ages and even later, books were burned and their distribution prohibited. Many authors were murdered before they could finish their works, many others after they finished them. And we can only judge what has been written, not the brilliant thoughts that were never written down or not even spoken, for fear of persecution or mockery.

          Even if we had more information, judging a single mind as "the greatest" would be inappropriate, since what makes a mind great? It is the thoughts and musings of its teachers, but also of its friends and enemies. The creation of ideas, the development of one's own worldview, is a process that is determined by the environment. Nowhere is this more obvious than on Everything2, where you can often follow the line of thoughts that has lead to the creation of a particular node.

          Therefore, the notion of quality in this context makes little sense. What we can judge is the influence that a certain "mind" has had, and the correctness of their overall worldview, based on what we know today. Based on this, there are several people who I can think of -- and mind you, these are just the ones that we know about.

          Let's go backwards in time. From the 20th century, I would nominate Carl Sagan, for his skills of teaching and storytelling, his wonderful vision, and his scientific achievements during his work for NASA. Other candidates would be Noam Chomsky, Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman. Before the 20th century, there were Charles Darwin (publication of results long postponed for fear of consequences), Louis Pasteur, Isaac Newton, Christiaan Huygens, Leonardo da Vinci, Giordano Bruno (murdered by the church), Johannes Kepler, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei (put on trial for his views), Roger Bacon -- and many others, many of whom were persecuted for their views. In ancient times, there were Hypatia (librarian in Alexandria, brutally murdered by a Christian mob), Aristotle, Plato, Archimedes, Erasthostenes, Aristarch, Thales and many others, some we know, most we don't.

          Before that there were many wonderful people we know nothing about, people who often hadn't mastered the art of writing yet, but who could tell great stories at the campfire, knew how to talk to the animals, mused about the movements of the planets, developed simple mathematics without any precedence to build upon, rescued their wives and children from wild animals, fire and thunderstorm through the application of simple, yet impressive science. Great minds among them? Certainly. Put in the 20th century, who knows what they would have become. Biologically, the human mind hasn't changed much in the last 10000 years.

          Of one thing I am absolutely certain, however, if there is such a thing as the "greatest mind in human history", it is certainly not Ayn Rand. The Randian ideology is the background for many of the evils of capitalism, and although I wouldn't say that Rand is responsible for that -- things weren't much different before she arrived -- she has certainly created a religion of greed and egoism that has many followers.

          The write-up was created in response to a rabid objectivist rand, and because of that, the entire node was deleted. Sure, I could have re-added it, but realistically, why should I? Why are these kind of arbitrary deletions even possible? That was one of my last write-ups. Contrast the write-up cited by another one in this discussion, "pukeporn". That one still exists.

          I've had nodes deleted which were factual but an editor found offensive. That's unfortunate, but them's the breaks.

          Not on Wikipedia!

          I *am* really annoyed that a comment is not required when a node is deleted,

          Not on Wikipedia!

          but anonymous is okay; we don't need pogroms against editors on E2.

          The fear is justified, but it shows a problem inherent with the process of appointing editors (again, according to the wrong criteria) instead of using an open forum (such as Wikipedia's Votes for deletion page) to decide which content should be deleted.

          You don't want a discussion in a node which should stand on its own. If you have a brilliant discussion with someone on a topic, node the discussion separately and quit whining.

          That's great, except that such discussions are deleted, too. There was a long node called "Why are you an atheist?", and I wrote a long explanation which I can gladly paste here. The entire node was deleted. Oh, I know, that's a "getting to know you" page and therefore bad[TM]. Please, please explain to me how a Dream Log is more valuable than such a discussion?

          The fact that WUs should stand on their own is also the reason for no web links. If you have to link to a website to explain something, you haven't explained it.

          The relatively small number of users on E2 cannot realistically provide all the information that is already on the web, no matter how much the project grows. Restricting yourself to "original" content (much is still copied and pasted, but without a source) only means that the information you provide will always be inferior to what you could provide if you linked to the hard work that others have already done. For example, in the Bible node I provided a link to the Skeptic's Annotated Bible, a comprehensive collection of nonsense, atrocities, lies and contradictions. Of course, it was deleted -- but the effort that went into that project will never be duplicated on E2.

          I do list the URLs of my references (when they are websites, as they usually are) so that people can find them for more information. This is the way it is done in professional literature; This is the way it was meant to be done on E2. This is why the bibliography was invented.

          And that's the way Wikipedia does it. But because of the way E2 works, I cannot just go to a node and add a link to the existing material. If I do so, it's deleted, because the write-up does not "stand on its own". I cannot edit other people's write-ups. On Wikipedia, if I know an interesting link about a topic, I just go to the respective article and add it. On E2, I would have to write a complete, separate article to justify the link. Or hope that the maintainer of the node will read my message and add the information (if he isn't an anti-weblink person).

          The lack of a different link color for those links which go somewhere annoys the piss out of me but it's also a blessing. I have been known to click on a link, get frustrated that it doesn't go anywhere, and construct a writeup so that it does.

          I know that a lot of the E2 satisfaction comes from this process, but ask yourself: Are you really writing anything useful here? Right now, the top of the "Cream of the cool" page is this:

          ...

          We are no stranger to these late night snow falls. Even so, it is with a child's wonder that I watch as tomorrow's stark white glittering fields fall from the sky. If not for the scattered ambience of street lights, there would be only a dark and beautiful midnight. Instead, there are a thousand tiny snowflakes flitting in and out of the light - a million frantic fire flies struggling to see who might reach the ground first. There is a way that a bitterly cold winter night will hold onto the day here, between the earth and sky a warm orange glow - the sort that seems a work of the sun, no other.

          Oh yeah, Mr. or Mrs. Hamster Bong, I am deeply touched. If you like that kind of thing, E2 is for you. And because every other word in an article is linked, it is encouraged to write stuff like that. What useful content could I put in a node called "like having a knife pushed into our hearts and slowly twisted"? Emotional, yes. Fictional, yes. Factual? Perhaps, with some thinking, but it would hardly be usefully searchable.

          While it IS trivial to gain experience, writing COMPLETE crap will cause you to lose it.

          Absolutely! Morons will not get far on Everything2.

          The experience system does two really major things; it prevents new users from voting

          If you want voting, there are numerous ways to limit it. Wikipedia is more oriented towards finding consensus.

          Even a mediocre writeup which provides some content is useful. As per the comment I link above, when it has been superseded, it can be deleted. I have personally superseded a fair number of writeups which were more than a couple paragraphs.

          On Wikipedia, the evolution of an article is vastly more interesting. What starts as just a short comment by an anonymous user evolves in different stages --copyedit, added links, rewrite, more copyedit, photo, new links, NPOV debate about a certain link, presentation of additional POV .. it's absolutely fascinating.

          Your addiction to E2 is fading. Give Wikipedia a try, you may well be hooked again. :-)

    • E2 is very cool, but I don't want to read about what somebody dreamed about last night. Cool if you're looking for that sort of thing, but Wikipedia is more of just the facts.

      That being said.. when you tread through all of the dream nodes and nodes about alphabet soup and whatnot, E2 is an excellent pop culture reference. Here's a great example [everything2.com].
  • by Ack_OZ (64662) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:11AM (#5133355)
    Does anyone know how they make sure all the submissions are accurate?

    from their FAQs ...

    Since anyone can edit any page, why would I give any credence to anything I read here?

    We operate on the idea that many eyeballs make all errors shallow. Wikipedia is, self-consciously, an experiment in public collaboration quite unlike any print or online encyclopedia, and therefore it will be difficult to project the results, in terms of their credibility, until the project is farther along. But even then, you'll have to judge the results based on the articles themselves, rather than the credentials of their writers (which is itself often an unreliable way to determine credibility).

    Some people think Wikipedia will give Britannica a run for its money. m:Making fun of Britannica.

    Some people have plans for peer review or article certification systems to work on top of Wikipedia. We'll be sure to point them out if and when any get up and running.


    • Ermm, forgot to add my own comments to that...

      Personally I think think they should get some sort of moderation system up ASAP ... there are a lot of people out there who just like to break things for the fun of it.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        That's just hilarious! No self-respecting professor would accept this open-source trash as a reference source. EVER. You need something accreditied. I mean, you could write your own article and submit it, then use yourself as a source! What kind of shit is that?!?
        • That's just hilarious! No self-respecting professor would accept any self published trash as a reference source. EVER. You need something accreditied. I mean, you could write your own book and publish it, then use yourself as a source! What kind of shit is that?!?
        • by vrt3 (62368)
          Nupedia [nupedia.com] is also o free collaborative encyclopedia, but uses rigourous peer review. Comparing Wikipedia and Nupedia, one can see that Wikipedia has articles on much more topics, while the quality is certainly comparable.
      • by Billly Gates (198444) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:36AM (#5133430) Journal
        Agreed.

        I am amazed at it and I believe this project may have potential. The problem with a moderation system is how do you prove the accuracy of all the subjects? With over 100,000 articles this could be a problem. What would be nice in addition to a moderation system would be a bio from the author or place where the article originated. If a dispute ever comes by someone with a stronger background could rewrite the article and put his/her bio on it. For example if I want to search for information on aspergers syndrome, I would want an article written by a researcher or phsycology professor and not some mom with a son with the condition.

        If I write a paper with a reference to the page I can also include the bio to prove to my professor that the source is reliable or at the individual is. I do agree if I was a professor I would worry about the quality of the data being published and would only take papers with bibs to the site with a grain of salt. But the bio and the ban on anyone editing anything unless he/she can prove that they are more knowledgeable in the subject then the previous author might make this project work.

        I do think there should be some paid volunteers and experts in particular subjects to check the authenticity of the work. Professors or researchers would be nice. A company sponser would also help since they can pay people to do this. I would think Yahoo for example would love to fund this so they can compete with AOL and Microsoft. They already have the most popular portal on the web.

        I hate the idea of anyone just editing the content. Bad bad bad! Beyond bad. This could kill it.

        • Well, there's a general consensus that mainstream reference sources have been going down in quality over the past decade (not really the advanced stuff, I'm thinking more like grade school textbooks).

          It's gotten so bad that the publishing trade group has a report textbook error [publishers.org] link.

          But of course, those errors won't be fixed until next year (if ever). Collaborative effort has that kind of thing beat cold.

          Though it will take time...
        • a dispute ever comes by someone with a stronger background could rewrite the article and put his/her bio on it.

          Experience doesn't always correspond to accuracy. A much better solution is to simply to address the facts in dispute, which is generally what happens on Wiki. If someone disputes a fact in an article (say, that the relapsing-fever tick has a soft outer shell), they should be prepared to provide evidence, either citing literature or some other reliable websites.

          At worst, someone needs to go to the library or contact an expert. You'd be surprised how much information is available even to non-experts.

          I do think there should be some paid volunteers and experts in particular subjects to check the authenticity of the work. Professors or researchers would be nice.

          I agree that this would be nice. However, the great thing about professors is that they already have a source of income. What you really need to do is bring this project to their attention and try and get them to take it seriously.

          Maybe Wiki's too young and rough for their taste. But I imagine that there are enough professors who would find the concept intriguing enough to contribute a few proofreads and edits here and there, just on principle.

        • The idea of the bio is interesting, but a typical article can have hundreds of authors, some of whom did nothing but fix a typo or two. It makes things more complicated.
        • The way it's done on E2 is that there are editors who can edit anything; Most people can only create additional writeups under each particular topic node. You can also create nodes.

          The way you ensure validity is to examine the quality of their references. If they do not give references, then you cannot assume any validity but at least it gives you some more search terms to work with. Most of the information I get for my e2 writeups comes from the web anyway, and I cite my sources in almost all cases.

          If you could find a corporate sponsor willing to pay for the creation of this kind of content (which is almost invariably owned by the author) then no changes would have to be made to the system to support them. The author would simply have to come to an agreement with the sponsor about what kind of advertising will end up in the writeups. If it's too obtrusive, the node will be downvoted. Obviously the really desirable kinds of ads (Interstitial) are right out on both Wiki and E2 as they would interrupt the flow and they can't handle the load anyway.

          The whole point is that the sites are peer-reviewed. Often on E2 you will see two writeups in a node; One which is almost correct, and one which corrects it. Some time later, one of several things happens:

          1. The original author sees the new writeup, corrects their writeup, and the new writeup is removed.
          2. The author of the new writeup sees that the original author is just never going to correct their writeup, so they supersede it and message an editor, who removes the original writeup.
          3. A third party comes along and supersedes both writeups, and the others are removed.
          4. A third party comes along and simply adds more content, and then we wait for one of the previous options to take place.

          I have been involved in all forms of this procedure from both sides. I've added and superseded, I've been superseded, I've added additional notes, and I've simply superseded. I am by no means an old school E2 user - I've been a user for 1.1 years and I've done less than 250 writeups.

          Incidentally there is an "everyone" account on e2 which owns a lot of content. Anyone can log in as everyone (Well, anyone who's gotten the password) and change nodes owned by everyone, or add nodes to be owned by everyone. This seems dumb to me, why wouldn't you want to own your own content? Someone else can always supersede it if they really feel your content needs work.

      • OK, there is some aspect of "moderation" that already exist. The regular contributors to the site, many of whom are rather clueful people and with a variety of political axes to grind, spend a fair bit of time reading other people's edits, and then taking action from a) doing nothing and leaving the new version as is, b) requesting references for the new facts cited, c) modifying the article further, or sometimes d) reverting the edit entirely.

        What the Wikipedia doesn't have is an approval process, where credentialled people can approve a version of the article. There have been some proposals to add such a feature, but nobody's got around to coding one yet. If anybody knows PHP, a little SQL, and is prepared to help add such a thing I'm sure most of the developers and contributors would be delighted. I certainly would.

        As for the actual quality of the Wikipedia, try a random article in an area you're reasonably knowledgable in, and see. And while you're there, fix anything that's wrong :)

      • Personally I think think they should get some sort of moderation system up ASAP ... there are a lot of people out there who just like to break things for the fun of it.

        Yes, people always say that about Wikis. But it turns out not to be necessary.

        Note the announcement: Wikipedia has been up for two years. It has 100,000 articles. They have made it this far without traditional notions of moderation. Ward's Wiki, the original one, has been around for much longer, and it's just a bunch of pages.

        So all ye who think that moderation, access control, and similar dominance hierarchies and territory markers are necessary, think again.
  • Quality? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jason1729 (561790) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:14AM (#5133368)
    Is the quality as high as when they started? I went there when they were first mentioned on slashdot. The quality control process they described was very impressive but also daunting for anyone wanting to contribute. If they've reached the 100k article threshold with the same quality control it is world-class resource.

    Jason
    ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]
    • You'll be amazed to know that the quality is constantly increasing. It works very similar to open source. Go check out the Recent Changes [wikipedia.org] page. See how many changes there are that fix a spelling error, add a link, or add a couple of lines of information. That's massively parallel bugfixing and feature addition for you. They also attract very few vandals, because they're easily spotted, and because there's no incentive.
    • The quality control process they described was very impressive but also daunting for anyone wanting to contribute.

      Nupedia was the one with the rigorous proofreading system and quality-control process. It never went much of anywhere. There are a few articles up, but the project is pretty much in hiatus.

      One of the biggest problems with Nupedia was that it required you to write an entire article yourself. Wikipedia, since it's completely wide-open and collaborative, is much easier to deal with. You can start an article with a paragraph or so; people will add information; someone will rearrange and rewrite so it looks better; people will copyedit it; etc.

      At some point an article may reach a level of maturity that would be a good starting point for the formal copyedit/review process designed into Nupedia, thus the two projects might complement each other eventually.

  • How does 100,000 articles compare to 'old style' encyclopedias (e.g. Brittanica, World Book, etc)?

    And when can I buy a nicely bound hard-copy for the cost of printing (plus a buck for the FSF)?
    • Re:comparison (Score:4, Informative)

      by brion (1316) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @04:01AM (#5133497) Homepage
      You'll find some vague comparisons to paper encyclopedias at Wikipedia:Size comparisons [wikipedia.org]. It's hard to compare directly, though; Wikipedia tends to divide up large subjects into a number of separate entries, and includes quite a few entries on subjects that aren't likely to be in traditional encyclopedias (imported US Census data on 30,000 communities, including one-horse towns in the midwest somewhere of little historical importance; culturally significant films, games, internet culture phenomena, yadda yadda).

      If you're interested in publishing a dead-tree edition, we'd love to hear from you [wikipedia.org]. ;)

  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:24AM (#5133399)
    I've used wikipedia on several occasions and have even contributed a few articles relating to my university, city, and province. What an excellent project!

    The breadth is pretty good. I've looked up things from world history to technical (modern day). I'd have to say the technical entries are stronger than the historical ones.

    I worry a bit about historical inaccuracies, political leanings, bias etc. but then again all that stuff exists in any other published work out there. Maybe this thing we create together, with peer review and editing is no worse (bias-wise) than a collection of documents from a publisher?
  • And who does check the articles? They could contain false information, right?

    I think this is a great project, but I'm still using some other references to check the information , provided by sites like this.

    • Re:Correctness (Score:5, Insightful)

      by brion (1316) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:48AM (#5133458) Homepage
      You should always consult multiple sources of information if you're concerned about bias and correctness. That goes for your Brittanica or Microsoft encyclopedia, too.

      The thing that makes Wikipedia a little different is that, once you've consulted other sources and come to your own balanced conclusions, you can edit the article to bring it more in line with accuracy and the project's Neutral Point of View [wikipedia.org] goal/policy.

      A malicious or unthinking person could skew it away, but so can you put it back on track.

      In addition, as the 'pedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, you're welcome to republish a culled version that includes only 'known good' revisions of articles. There has been some talk of a semi-official project along these lines run by Wikipedia's former editor, Larry Sanger, but it hasn't been put into place yet.

      Remember, Wikipedia is still very much under construction; it's only two years old and just getting the hang of walking around. There's no need to rush into driving yet. ;)

  • by DrEspenA (517292) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:32AM (#5133424) Homepage
    I recently did some consulting for a large, public organization, and suggested they do their in-house documentation Wiki style. This organization has a huge body of mostly textual documentation for technical equipment - and letting everybody update it seemed to me to be a great idea. You need a couple of organizational safeguards, of course, such as version tracking and rewards for people who do a lot of editing and write well. And you definitely need to assign some people of moderator quality to hammer out a culture of neutral point of view, attention to detail and frequent cross-checking of each others material.

    But the sheer simplicity of this solution, especially if you are starting from available documentation, should, as I have long advocated, make it useful for a lot more than a GPL Encyclopedia.

    • Wiki needs is a phrase or one-liner that helps people visualize what it is/does/and what benefits it has, so that they just get it.

      How about "It's what the web should have been like, in a perfect world."
  • by imag0 (605684) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:34AM (#5133427) Homepage
    Wikipedia has been "slashdotted", July 26, 2001. [wikipedia.org]

    Oops, looks like that one will have to get updated.
  • by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes.xmsnet@nl> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:41AM (#5133445)

    25 posts, and already 4 alternative online encyclopedias have been mentioned. Isn't this a gigantic waste of effort?

    • by brion (1316) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @04:37AM (#5133589) Homepage
      H2G2 and everything2 are copyright-encumbered, making it impossible to create derivative works (ie, republishing a culled 'good parts' version, hardcover or CD-ROM editions, or continuing the whole project if the current sponsor drops it) without explicitly licensing content from the BBC or the individual authors.

      Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License [wikipedia.org], making it proof against the current network provider going out of business or losing interest, and opening its content up to reuse and repurposing. This in itself is, I think, worthwhile; what GNU and Linux provide to the world of operating systems, Wikipedia hopes to provide for the encyclopedia: something that's good enough and not subject to draconian use prevention.

      Wikipedia is also a multilingual project [wikipedia.org], with another 37,000 or so entries in the younger sister projects. I believe this is fairly unique among the field of competitors.

      (If you want to talk about duplication of effort, though, see the Enciclopedia Libre [enciclopedia.us.es], a fork of the Spanish section of Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] which split last year in protest over a since-repudiated proposal to include optional banner ads on the English section of Wikipedia to help offset the costs of operation.)

  • rap and scratching would go nowhere?

    wiki wiki wiki!
  • apparently the wikipedia is a reference source no slashdotter [wikipedia.org] should be [wikipedia.org] without [wikipedia.org].
  • by csnydermvpsoft (596111) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @03:52AM (#5133477) Homepage
    Their page on slashdotting already includes the following: [wikipedia.org]

    Wikipedia has been "slashdotted" on July 26, 2001 and January 22, 2003.

    Talk about timely information!
  • by lingqi (577227) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @05:07AM (#5133660) Journal
    But not just the English version has grown impressively: More than 37,000 articles are now being worked on in the non-English editions of Wikipedia.

    I don't know - I am not completely certain that slashdot editors actually care about this: I mean, action speaks louder than words.

    • while posting unicode / asian characters in comments used to be possible, now it is not
    • Slashdot *still* does not declare a default character set (UTF-8 would be nice)
    • lameness-filter has bugs when it comes to international characters (especially "non-breaking" ones like chinese, korean, and japanese), but it was decided "not going to fix"

    Now, I have to admit, maybe they are making progress on it and it's just not public yet... but disabling asian character posting (i was encoding in UTF-8, btw) in comments seem like a backward thing if it was going the "internationalizing" direction.

    I sincerely hope that slashdot will be completely UTF-8 someday (it's not that hard, really)... Here's to hoping...

    • I'm all in favor of Internationalization, but I don't see how this applies to Slashdot. Slashdot is an English website, for discussion among English-speaking people - so it makes sense that they would filter out other languages, since 99% of the time it wouldn't be legitimate.

      Besides, there are Slashcode-based sites in many other languages.

      They should declare a default character set, though. I think ISO-8859-1 would be a better choice, since that's what most people posting comments would be using.

      • Well, it would be trivially easy to not strip out Unicode-numbered character references (eg, &x108; for C-cirumflex). This would be quite useful in discussions that might be about other languages. One could quote a text in a foreign language, or give actual demonstrations of original spellings and other alphabets in one's posts.

        And, I could spell my sig right. ;)

      • That is a very "american" viewpoint: we've got our shit so fuck you if you can't deal with it. Same happens to the metric system, languages, and forign policies, etc - way too many / much to mention.

        I don't believe you realize, or realize the extent of which slashdot is visited by people who are not only capable in english, but also fluent in other languages. Allowing expression otherwise impossible in a ISO-8859-1 environment would only enrich slashdot and the pool of knowledge.

        For example, it is not possibe to accurately translate the actual title of "Spirited Away" into other languages because the phrase of exact meaning and context simply does not exist outside of japanese (an exception MAY be chinese). However, if I wanted to post the said title in Japanese to show you which part was translated and which part fudged, I would not be able to.

        Just to give an idea of the fudging:
        In Korean the title became roughly "Chihiro is 'missing in action'"; in French it is "Chihiro's trip/travel"; etc.

        Furthermore, you would be surprised how easy it is to handle unicode in slashdot: it's about three-fold:

        1) declare default encoding in UTF-8
        2) set flag in Perl to handle unicode (Perl has had support for a while now)
        3) to ensure older comments come out, write a converter to change everything over. (this is actually easier than you think it is, because you can use Moz character set detection code on individual comments out of the database)
        DONE!

        So I don't think there really is a logically sound excuse to not support internationalization on slashdot, hence my reasoning comes two ways:
        1) they give the same "american attidude" mentioned above,
        2) they (hopefully) are working on it.
  • Neato concept.
    How feasable would you think it be to burn the site to cd and offer it for sale? I think not only would it make an exellent research tool, but it would be a way to give money to the people who put it on as well.
    For me it would be pretty cool to have a permanent copy if I made a contribution to the site, a nice way to brag about open software and online collaboration as well. Even if you have to bundle it with a tiny httpd server for windows users, it would still rock. That would be something I would happily throw a chunk of change at.
  • by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @05:37AM (#5133716) Homepage
    It's great to see that this interactive project works

    Except that it doesn't. Aside from the dozen+ comments here already speculating about the trustworthiness of the write ups, and aside from their own FAQ sort-of disclaiming any level of accuracy, they lose a lot of backend stuff. For example, I contributed a number of write ups. Good luck trying to find my name on any of them. The revision histories got wiped out at some point. My entries have also been wiped out by random strangers, and even reverting the data back isn't much of an option (the last time I tried this, I couldn't revert either because I needed admin authority, or because it no longer showed me as the original author -- whatever the case, I got tired of pasting in my originals, and losing any GOOD edits that qualified people had made).

    I hope it's different now. I gave up on it shortly after the previous slashdot story attracted a ton of people who wanted to screw with the system. I gave up on it because it didn't seem to work well at all. They desperately need moderation systems, the ability to cut off random changes to articles that are verified accurate, the ability to certify people as experts, and so on. All of that could be automated with voting systems. But the people behind the system will need to stop thinking in terms of quantity, and start thinking in terms of quality.

    • For example, I contributed a number of write ups. Good luck trying to find my name on any of them. The revision histories got wiped out at some point.

      The old UseModWiki [usemod.com] software (which was used to run Wikipedia until January 2002) automatically deleted old entries after a couple of weeks. Our newer software keeps track of every edit in every page's history (unless the page is completely deleted, but even then an admin can restore it), but the ones that vanished back then are simply lost to the ages. Other pages had their histories broken by careless rape-and-paste renaming, though this can be corrected manually with some massaging of the database.

      They desperately need moderation systems, the ability to cut off random changes to articles that are verified accurate, the ability to certify people as experts, and so on.

      Of course, no one can agree on the best way to set up moderation! If you really want a moderated Wikipedia, you can do it right now as a secondary project which imports articles and certifies them as 'known good'.

    • Accuracy (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MarkedMan (523274)
      This represents one of the classic false truisms (Falsisms?) of the dot com era. Editors are unnecessary. People will have access to all data. But you know, access to a mountain of junk with a few diamonds in it is fine for professional diamond miners. It's a pain the arse for everyone else.

      As for a voting system! In the twenties, the state legislature of Mississippi(?) voted to make pi = 3. Voting doesn't make nonsense true.

      Four or five years ago NPR did an article on how students were using the web. One 16 year old was waxing poetic on how it made his research on Malcolm X so much more efficient. He found one site with everything he needed, well laid out and beautifully organized. What did the site say about the evidence supporting the theory that the Nation of Islam assasinated Malcom? Silence. Whose site was it? The Nation of Islam site.
    • The software was updated a while ago (which added a bunch of new features and improved performance no end) and in that update edit histories got lost. This was unfortunate, but it wasn't malicious.
    • Why do you care if your name is on them? In a collaborative system, if your goal is to achieve some sort of bragging rights, yes, it will fail to achieve that goal. If your goal is to have everything you contribute be guaranteed to be retained, it will fail to do that, too.

      However, if 50% of your valuable contributions are lost, and the same is true for 10,000 other contributors, you still have valuable contributions from 5k people. You still have a system that produces quality material, and lots of it. If mistakes are made 10% of the time but caught within one month 50% of the time, you still progress toward more correctness.

      So, if you can get over your egocentric view and decide what you want is unbiased (or at least biased toward some median instead of to a specific agenda) information and lots of it, the system works beautifully.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In order to survive the Slashdotting as long as possible, some features of Wikipedia have been disabled.

    From a Wikipedia developer (Brion):

    As temporary measures, I've:

    Put up a static HTML copy of the main page for people following the
    direct link to http://www.wikipedia.org/ . (It won't reflect new edits
    or login state.)

    Disabled updates to the page view counters. (They can bunch up when
    things are really busy and use all available webserver processes,
    stalling new connections.)

    Put the heavy special pages that are disabled part of the day into
    disable mode full-time (sorry, will re-enable these tomorrow)

    Re-enabled the Alternative PHP Cache, which should speed up page load
    times a little bit by bypassing the PHP script parsing.

    Since APC slightly breaks the current RDF spool generator script, I've
    disabled updating of the RDF spools.
  • Everything 2 (Score:2, Informative)

    Yeah but do they have anything on Everything 2 [everything2.com]?
    • Wiki content is shared and GPL. E2 content is owned by the authors. If you want to give your content away and never get it back again (and frequently see it stepped on later, from what I've been reading in this story) put it on Wiki. If you want to own your content and maybe have it deleted later when someone supersedes it, but you still own it anyway, if you have your own copy - Put it on E2.

      For those who are wondering at this point, yes it is generally possible to get your deleted E2 nodes from the site backups if you ask nicely, so if you were gone for a month and you missed the time when it was marked for destruction, you can still get your content back in most cases even if E2 was the only place you were keeping it. Like me.

      • If you want to give your content away and never get it back again (and frequently see it stepped on later, from what I've been reading in this story) put it on Wiki.

        Being "stepped on" is what the quality-conscious call "editing". ;)

        Note also that you *do* own your own content that you submit to Wikipedia, but to submit it you must license it under the GFDL [gnu.org]. (Not GPL [gnu.org] -- the software that runs the wiki is GPL, though.) You are always free to turn around and release the same material under a strict license, but any derivative works that other people make from your Wikipedia submissions will be likewise under GFDL, and you can't use their additions under a non-GFDL license without explicitly asking to relicense them.

        The point, though, is that other people can also republish your submissions elsewhere -- as long as they share and share alike.

        If you want your prose to vanish forever once e2 goes under and you've forgotten about it, then post on e2. If you care about the right to read [gnu.org], if you want your work to live on forever and still be published and improved on after you and/or the present hosting provider of Wikipedia have turned to dust, post on Wikipedia.

        (And yes, you can get your refactored Wikipedia pages back from the edit history. If your contribution was deleted completely because it's not encyclopedic material, ask nicely and we'll be happy to dig it out of the archives and send you a copy.)

  • by Duds (100634)
    An alternative (and obviously more british) version of this is the Hitchikers Guide to the galaxy 2.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/

    (although it appears to have been pre-slashdotted right now)
  • As with many others, I feel this is great. I've just looked around the site, but didn't see anything regarding citations. I think the next level would be to have a bibliography for each article so that readers wishing to verify facts or to read further would know where to start.

    I can't believe this hasn't been suggested before. I hope it is in the works.

    • Many articles do include links to further references, both net and dead-tree, in an "External links" or "Further reading" section at the bottom of the page.

      If you'd like to organize a systematic effort to add more bibliographic references, that would be great.

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