[Citizendium-l] What happens when there are no experts?

Anthony DiPierro cza at inbox.org
Sat Sep 23 12:54:40 EDT 2006

On 9/22/06, sanger-lists at citizendium.org <sanger-lists at citizendium.org> wrote:
> Should the fork be manual or all-at-once?
> The reason I support an all-at-once fork (with unchanged articles
> refreshed) is simply that this will result in faster and more creative
> build-out of the resource.  This is a question I considered at great
> length last year, actually, and after thinking that it might be better
> to import articles piecemeal, this is the conclusion I've come to.
> I've looked at Kim van der Linde's arguments and Ori Redler's, and I am
> not convinced.  I don't mean to forestall debate of this, though, I'm
> just reiterating that I've seen the debate and the arguments on the
> other side strike me as weak.  If I had more time, I'd explain why.  It
> really comes down to whether one wants to take the idea of a *fork* and
> of *improving Wikipedia* seriously.
I must say that if I were going to set things up I'd go with a manual
fork.  In fact, I'd lean toward not directly forking at all, at least
in part so that a more sane license such as CC-BY-SA could be used.

However, I've thought a bit about how an all-at-once fork might work,
and I think it just might be possible.  I'm impressed by the interest
expressed in this mailing list, and I see how *if* there is enough of
a critical mass of interest the all-at-once fork might just work.  The
key difference between Citizendium and Wikipedia, then, would be the
dispute resolution process.  Citizendium, in what I believe is the
crux of the different methodology, plans to have "editors" available
to work out disputes.  The editors will (in general?) be experts in
the fields they participate in as editors.

I can think of one major concern I'd have in combining this with an
all-at-once fork: What happens with subjects where there are no
participating experts?  Taking a look just at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment, there are
an awful lot of topics of dispute in Wikipedia, and that "RfC" process
only covers a portion of them.

I don't think this problem is by any means unsurmountable.  I can
think of a few possible solutions.  But it's something which should
probably be addressed from the very beginning, in order to not become
a problem.

Other than that, I'm starting to have quite high hopes for this
project.  Fighting the vandals might be a bit difficult in the
beginning, but the use of real names has the potential to cut this
down dramatically.  Hopefully enough good contributors will arrive
early enough on that the process of creating a new account won't have
to be made too difficult, but even if new account creation does have
to be slowed down in the beginning this can be kept temporary.


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