Like Erik, I don't feel I can send some people a link to Wikipedia. The "notorious goat-man" can strike at any time. This means that no matter how bright my little girls get, I don't dare tell them about Wikipedia.
So far, my family has not needed to use NetNanny, SafeSurf or anything like that. I gave my girls a start page, and they click links from it. www.pbs.org/kids is a safe starting point, and I've collected Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony links (no Powerpuff Girls) for them.
But until the 'pedia creates a filtering mechanism, it remains (in my mind) an experiment: we are several dozen or maybe a few hundred people TRYING to build an open, free encyclopedia. We are SEEING IF it can be done.
I don't know how to filter out vandalism and maintain openness.
I don't know how to certify quality and maintain openness.
But I think we should keep trying to figure it out. Larry, Elian, and Erik have come up with good ideas. And Cunctator has come up with some good objections :-) But it ain't over yet.
I noticed this afternoon that something at IP 126.96.36.199 was
spidering the site, loading up thousands of page diffs, user
contributions pages, and other slow things at a rate of several per
second -- apparently as fast as it could get them in. I blocked its IP
from access to the /w/ directory (so it can only access regular pages
and default-view special pages via the / and /wiki/Foo paths; I put a
general prohibition into robots.txt as well), and the server load has
gone *dramatically* down.
It appears to be someone running 'WebStripper' trying to copy the whole
site; either it doesn't have sane throttling controls or they've
The IP is an unnamed host belonging to University of Arkansas at Little
Rock; probably some college kid enjoying the wonders of uni network
-- brion vibber (brion @ pobox.com)