The Associated Press reports on Citizendium, an attempt to create a user-written online encyclopedia that’s more reliable than Wikipedia. Citizendium’s founder, Larry Sanger, says he’s a co-founder of Wikipedia — a claim that’s vigorously disputed by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
As you’ll see if you follow the links, Citizendium and Wikipedia look much the same, and they’re based on the same idea. The difference is that Sanger says he’ll require real names and use a more rigorous system of expert verification.
There’s no doubt Wikipedia has had its problems, such as the editor who fooled the New Yorker — and everyone else — about his credentials. Like many college instructors, I tell my students not to cite it, though I also tell them it can be a great starting point.
Still, Wikipedia has achieved a certain critical mass. Citizendium will be worth watching, but I wonder whether it might be easier to fix Wikipedia than to start all over.