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> Alternatives to Wikipedia, Competitors to the beast
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DawnofMan
post Mon 15th March 2010, 9:18pm
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I've been wandering the internet wasteland in search of alternatives to Wikipedia. Here's what I've found so far:

Brittanica: follows the traditional model of an encyclopedia written by experts, although it does allow some input allowed from readers. Seems to be failing slowly and falling behind more open models.

[Encyc]: is a tiny effort that is even more dysfunctional and anti-social than Wikipedia.

Neturalpedia: a start-up narrowly focused focused on criticisms of mainstream climate coverage including Wikipedia's cabal driven effort.

Wikinfo: a more open community allowing original research, attribution, articles critical of subjects, and creative writing and research. The most successful alternative I've come across so far although most of its content seems to consist of copies of Wikipedia articles. I don't really understand how that part of its content is useful. Created and governed in large part by Fred Bauder who is an admin in good standing on Wikipedia? More information on this forking of the Wikipedia effort and its founder would be interesting.

Encyclopedia Dramatica, a sarcasm and humor site.

Uncyclopedia, an "unencyclopedia" site that provides an opposite day type alternate universe to Wikipedia where deleted articles, irrelevancies, and the inappropriate are the focus.

Wikademia: a Wikiversity alternative? Not really an encyclopedia.

What have others found?

This post has been edited by DawnofMan: Mon 15th March 2010, 9:28pm
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thekohser
post Tue 16th March 2010, 1:56am
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QUOTE(DawnofMan @ Mon 15th March 2010, 5:18pm) *

What have others found?


I've found that you complain a lot. Just who are you? Why is your quest so meritorious? Are you some sort of scholar or something? What bugs you most about Wikipedia? Have you given Wikipedia Review a try? Jon Awbrey could probably explain why he likes its hybrid "protected and open" qualities.
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MZMcBride
post Tue 16th March 2010, 3:14am
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Mon 15th March 2010, 9:56pm) *
Just who are you?

Image

Speaking of which, anyone seen the new Alice yet?
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GlassBeadGame
post Tue 16th March 2010, 3:23am
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QUOTE(DawnofMan @ Mon 15th March 2010, 3:18pm) *


What have others found?


The alternative to Wikipedia is no Wikipedia. There is no void to fill.
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DawnofMan
post Tue 16th March 2010, 4:53pm
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Why have only one option for an online encyclopedia? I'd rather have a healthy competitor.

As far as Wikipedia Review, it's focused on advertising and promotion. Also, its owner operator has anti-social tendencies and lashes out at anyone who doesn't see things exactly his way. So it doesn't seems like a very good option.

I think it's too bad there isn't a place without the abusive bureaucracy of Wikipedia where collegial encyclopedia builders can work together. If BLP issues are a concern or there are other problems on Wikipedia then it can simply be modeled differently. That's why I started this thread: to discuss the models that exist and their strengths and weaknesses.

There are some interesting set-ups and structures for encyclopedia type Wiki communities, although I haven't found one yet that's viable. So I was interested in seeing if there were people interested in discussing and possibly building a more moral and collegial Wikipedia variant.

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thekohser
post Tue 16th March 2010, 5:19pm
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QUOTE(DawnofMan @ Tue 16th March 2010, 12:53pm) *

Why have only one option for an online encyclopedia? I'd rather have a healthy competitor.

As far as Wikipedia Review, it's focused on advertising and promotion. Also, its owner operator has anti-social tendencies and lashes out at anyone who doesn't see things exactly his way. So it doesn't seems like a very good option.

I think it's too bad there isn't a place without the abusive bureaucracy of Wikipedia where collegial encyclopedia builders can work together. If BLP issues are a concern or there are other problems on Wikipedia then it can simply be modeled differently. That's why I started this thread: to discuss the models that exist and their strengths and weaknesses.

There are some interesting set-ups and structures for encyclopedia type Wiki communities, although I haven't found one yet that's viable. So I was interested in seeing if there were people interested in discussing and possibly building a more moral and collegial Wikipedia variant.


Such a discussion is very possible. Now, who are you, again? I'd rather not be wasting my time on this with a teenager or with someone who's just trying to stir up a drama fest.

Anti-social tendencies? How'd I get these 322 friends on Facebook?
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Emperor
post Tue 16th March 2010, 7:11pm
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It seems to me that Encyc functioned just fine in the last few days. We had a vandal show up, who seemed ok at first but then within a matter of hours became profane and abusive. One of our experienced administrators handled him right away.

I wonder why everyone but you seems anti-social?
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Eva Destruction
post Tue 16th March 2010, 7:35pm
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QUOTE(DawnofMan @ Tue 16th March 2010, 4:53pm) *

As far as Wikipedia Review, it's focused on advertising and promotion. Also, its owner operator has anti-social tendencies and lashes out at anyone who doesn't see things exactly his way.

Speaking from past experience by any chance?
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NuclearWarfare
post Tue 16th March 2010, 7:36pm
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QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Tue 16th March 2010, 3:14am) *
Speaking of which, anyone seen the new Alice yet?


God...just don't. I honestly felt like demanding my money back from Walt Disney Pictures afterwards. There were zero redeeming qualities to it.
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Eva Destruction
post Tue 16th March 2010, 7:36pm
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I hear Wipipedia is very good. Lots of interesting people there.
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DawnofMan
post Tue 16th March 2010, 10:25pm
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I'm not discouraged by the responses here smile.gif and I remain hopeful that a more healthy alternative to Wikipedia can and will be developed.

As far as existing alternatives I think they are interesting efforts with some approaches and innovations that are worth discussing, such as Wikinfo's use of "criticism of" alternative articles for every subject. I think forking that way can be useful in many cases where there is a need to alleviate the stress and tension of competing content interests. Giving appropriate balance and weight to negative assessments of a subject seems quite reasonable, although including such a link in every article seems a bit over the top. I think the way the criticism of articles were deleted across Wikipedia with the Chosen One's election was pretty ridiculous. Does anyone really think criticisms of Bush, Obama, Cheney, or other controversial figures isn't a notable subject all its own?

I also think that approaches to dealing with the BLP issues raised here are worth considering (one alternative would be to have an encyclopedia with no biographies of living people or only very notable people or only very public people or to segregate them in some way). But I think a template noting that biographical content is assumed to have been contributed in good faith and that errors are possible is enough when combined with a proactive approach to dealing with vandalism (such as having a community more focused on content contributors instead of just vandals and vandal fighters). I think starting a smaller and more limited community might be an effective approach. Or a system where anonymous edits and edits from noobs were reviewed. But of course that's a whole can of worms all it's own and not a huge concern of mine personally. Nasty things are said about people in the media and on the web all the time. Maybe an opt out clause would work?

Gregory, I'm not sure how to answer your question about who I am because I'm not sure what it is you're asking exactly. I'm well past my teens. And I'm not interested in drama. I do think an encyclopedia project can be built that lives up to the aspirations established on Wikipedia, but that haven't been lived up to there, such as respect for participants, maintaining a level playing field, and fair play. A place that actually embodied these ideals would be a big improvement.

Does thinking about an alternate Wiki make me Alice? Is Wikipedia Review a looking glass?

This post has been edited by DawnofMan: Tue 16th March 2010, 10:27pm
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GlassBeadGame
post Tue 16th March 2010, 11:14pm
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QUOTE(DawnofMan @ Tue 16th March 2010, 10:53am) *


As far as Wikipedia Review, it's focused on advertising and promotion. Also, its owner operator has anti-social tendencies and lashes out at anyone who doesn't see things exactly his way. So it doesn't seems like a very good option.




Why don't you take your personal and hidden agenda back to your very own revenge engine where it belongs, asshole.
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Sarcasticidealist
post Tue 16th March 2010, 11:35pm
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Tue 16th March 2010, 1:19pm) *
Anti-social tendencies? How'd I get these 322 friends on Facebook?
Well, in fairness, you do cast rather a wide net.
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anthony
post Wed 17th March 2010, 12:06am
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QUOTE(DawnofMan @ Mon 15th March 2010, 9:18pm) *

What have others found?


Well, the first rule of it is I'm not supposed to talk about it.
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Milton Roe
post Wed 17th March 2010, 12:12am
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QUOTE(NuclearWarfare @ Tue 16th March 2010, 12:36pm) *

QUOTE(MZMcBride @ Tue 16th March 2010, 3:14am) *
Speaking of which, anyone seen the new Alice yet?


God...just don't. I honestly felt like demanding my money back from Walt Disney Pictures afterwards. There were zero redeeming qualities to it.

You don't like smokey eyes? blink.gif It's Tim Burton, so you have to expect that it's Alice in Wonderland But EveryBody Looks Like a 2-Day Corpse. Why people put up with this, I do not know. I'd rather see a good zombie flick, where they blast those characters with major weapons. tongue.gif
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John Limey
post Wed 17th March 2010, 1:01am
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The alternative to Wikipedia is not one site but several. First you have the other non-profit competitors that compete in various niches:
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Supported by Stanford University and various foundations. Excellent articles written by experts on philosophical topics, but suffers from spotty coverage.
  • Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Supported by the University of Tennessee. Good coverage. Expert written, pitched at a slightly more accessible level than the SEP.
  • Encyclopedia Virginia - Supported by the State of Virginia. Mostly historical articles which are of uniformly excellent quality and written by experts.
  • Australian Dictionary of Biography - Published conventionally but available online through the support of the Australian Research Council. Professionally written and almost always superior to Wikipedia.
  • Holocaust Encyclopedia - Expert written and available in many languages, though the articles are generally short. Funded by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • Encyclopedia of Earth - Supported by a variety of nonprofits. Expert-written coverage of scientific topics, particularly those related to the environment
  • Encyclopedia of Alabama - Funded by Auburn University and the State of Alabama. Expert written and excellent, basically like the Encyclopedia Virginia only for Alabama.
  • Similar projects for Georgia and Oregon
  • Encyclopedia of Ukraine - Supported by the Canadian Institute of Iranian Studies and private donations. Expert written.

These are just a sampling of the non-profit offerings. What they all share is that they are freely accessible and written by experts. All of them are also primarily supported by organizations and individuals with expertise in the specific area of focus. They are all excellent, but limited to small subject areas.

Commercially, there are also several competitors to Wikipedia. Most obviously, Answers.com, which draws together hundreds of commercial encyclopedias and lets you search them all, as well as WIkipedia and dictionaries. I hate the way answers.com presents its content, but they probably have the largest database of commercial encyclopedia content on the web available for free, and much of it is excellent.

If anyone really wants to put together a Wikipedia killer, the way to do it is to do roughly what Answers.com does, only for the many non-profit encyclopedias, examples of which I presented above. All of these projects have excellent content and completely compatibly goals - making their content available to a wide audience, but they don't have much pull on Google. Someone with the right skills could probably find a way to pull them all together under some broad umbrella.

At the very least, it would be incredibly useful if someone created a portal that allowed you to search the universe of high-quality open-access encyclopedias all at once from a single page. If I had any idea how to do anything with websites, I'd make something like that myself.
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A User
post Wed 17th March 2010, 1:23am
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QUOTE(John Limey @ Wed 17th March 2010, 12:01pm) *

Commercially, there are also several competitors to Wikipedia. Most obviously, Answers.com, which draws together hundreds of commercial encyclopedias and lets you search them all, as well as WIkipedia and dictionaries. I hate the way answers.com presents its content, but they probably have the largest database of commercial encyclopedia content on the web available for free, and much of it is excellent.

If anyone really wants to put together a Wikipedia killer, the way to do it is to do roughly what Answers.com does, only for the many non-profit encyclopedias, examples of which I presented above. All of these projects have excellent content and completely compatibly goals - making their content available to a wide audience, but they don't have much pull on Google. Someone with the right skills could probably find a way to pull them all together under some broad umbrella.


Except answers.com won't kill wikipedia because the bulk of their search content relies on wikipedia articles, to exist.
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GlassBeadGame
post Wed 17th March 2010, 1:49am
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QUOTE(John Limey @ Tue 16th March 2010, 7:01pm) *

The alternative to Wikipedia is not one site but several. First you have the other non-profit competitors that compete in various niches:
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Supported by Stanford University and various foundations. Excellent articles written by experts on philosophical topics, but suffers from spotty coverage.
  • Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Supported by the University of Tennessee. Good coverage. Expert written, pitched at a slightly more accessible level than the SEP.
  • Encyclopedia Virginia - Supported by the State of Virginia. Mostly historical articles which are of uniformly excellent quality and written by experts.
  • Australian Dictionary of Biography - Published conventionally but available online through the support of the Australian Research Council. Professionally written and almost always superior to Wikipedia.
  • Holocaust Encyclopedia - Expert written and available in many languages, though the articles are generally short. Funded by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • Encyclopedia of Earth - Supported by a variety of nonprofits. Expert-written coverage of scientific topics, particularly those related to the environment
  • Encyclopedia of Alabama - Funded by Auburn University and the State of Alabama. Expert written and excellent, basically like the Encyclopedia Virginia only for Alabama.
  • Similar projects for Georgia and Oregon
  • Encyclopedia of Ukraine - Supported by the Canadian Institute of Iranian Studies and private donations. Expert written.
These are just a sampling of the non-profit offerings. What they all share is that they are freely accessible and written by experts. All of them are also primarily supported by organizations and individuals with expertise in the specific area of focus. They are all excellent, but limited to small subject areas.

Commercially, there are also several competitors to Wikipedia. Most obviously, Answers.com, which draws together hundreds of commercial encyclopedias and lets you search them all, as well as WIkipedia and dictionaries. I hate the way answers.com presents its content, but they probably have the largest database of commercial encyclopedia content on the web available for free, and much of it is excellent.

If anyone really wants to put together a Wikipedia killer, the way to do it is to do roughly what Answers.com does, only for the many non-profit encyclopedias, examples of which I presented above. All of these projects have excellent content and completely compatibly goals - making their content available to a wide audience, but they don't have much pull on Google. Someone with the right skills could probably find a way to pull them all together under some broad umbrella.

At the very least, it would be incredibly useful if someone created a portal that allowed you to search the universe of high-quality open-access encyclopedias all at once from a single page. If I had any idea how to do anything with websites, I'd make something like that myself.

What are more thing that don't need to exist? Alex.
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DawnofMan
post Wed 17th March 2010, 3:32am
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That's an interesting list Limey, and I know that some of the conventional wisdom is that only sub-wikis can compete, but I'm not buying it. I think a broad Wiki start up that's built with a good community of good people will prosper. Who wants to put up with the bullshit on Wikipedia? Sure there will need to be things worked out, trials and error, but I think it's doable. All Wikipedia content is importable anyway, so it's not like it can't be duplicated if need be to fill in the gaps.
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anthony
post Wed 17th March 2010, 3:48am
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QUOTE(DawnofMan @ Wed 17th March 2010, 3:32am) *

Who wants to put up with the bullshit on Wikipedia?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:ActiveUsers

This post has been edited by anthony: Wed 17th March 2010, 3:59am
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