[Foundation-l] In defence of Google

Anthony wikilegal at inbox.org
Sat Jan 20 11:47:18 UTC 2007

On 1/20/07, Ray Saintonge <saintonge at telus.net> wrote:
> I'm sure that this move will do wonders for their growth.

Can't do much worse, there are currently only about 10 active
contributors to Citizendium.

> I only one
> year they could be as big and successful as Nupedia.

It seems to me they've already surpassed Nupedia.  I'm not sure why
you'd make the comparison, though.  Wikipedia and Nupedia *both*
started from scratch (Rambot and FOLDOC aside, anyway).

> How they choose to
> handle licensing is their problem.  I can't see how starting everything
> from scratch will make their work very easy.  It's like shooting oneself
> in the foot as a cure for corns.
Personally I'm a big supporter of them starting from scratch.  It
won't make things easy, but it's the only way I can see the quality of
their articles truly surpassing that of Wikipedia.  If an article can
be improved incrementally, then Wikipedia is in the best position to
do that, not Citizendium.

Where I think CZ is going wrong is that they are making this policy
too late and too abruptly.  Mediawiki is not designed for the kind of
writing that facilitates producing a really high quality article.
There's a talk page attached to each article, but that's it.  Nowhere
to store notes from reading materials, nowhere to produce an outline,
nowhere to store detailed information about your sources.  Sure, you
can put this information on the talk page, or you could put it into
the article itself, probably using complicated templates that are only
intuitive to the seasoned pros, but this isn't very convenient, and
such a process hasn't really been adopted anyway.  I suppose also you
could put this information somewhere outside the wiki, but that's
going to cause a serious setback to the ability to collaborate.  None
of this was talked about at CZ.  Instead, Larry announced from very
early on that being a fork was the best way to go, and so all the
plans from there on out about how to proceed assumed that was how it
was going to be.

Maybe taking about CZ in this context is beyond the scope of this
mailing list.  I don't really think so, though, because watching CZ
make mistakes and learn new things is a good exercise.


More information about the foundation-l mailing list