[Textbook-l] Some concept ideas

Jimmy Wales jwales at bomis.com
Thu Jun 26 14:30:27 UTC 2003

Magnus Manske wrote:
>I would like to limit editing to logged-in people 
>only. Now calm down, I don't try to rip the wiki 
>principle apart.

I wouldn't be extremely opposed to this, but I think we should be very
cautious about moves in this direction.

Particularly since textbooks are, by their nature, not as general as
an encyclopedia, there is a smaller pool of authors *per book*, so
that we need to be very careful about any barriers to participation.

Here's the thing that I want to keep reminding everyone: the whole
idea of wiki is completely insane.  It's obvious to me, based on
everything I know about human nature, that it just can't possibly
work.  But... it does.

So my inclination is to discourage 'a priori problem solving', as
least to a degree.  Nupedia was an exercise in excessive a priori
community design, and it failed miserably.  But trusting people to do
the right thing seems to work remarkably well.

Even so, it's entirely possible that the community dynamic for writing
a textbook is very different from the community dynamic for writing an
encyclopedia.  So experience might teach us that radical-wiki-openness
really can't work here.

Still, isn't that something that we should let experience teach us,
rather than making assumptions beforehand?


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