Mick O’Leary, writing for Information Today/ECT in the article “Would-Be Wikipedia Replacements Stumble,” gets the Citizendium very badly wrong. Mr. O’Leary could easily have interviewed me to check his facts, but he didn’t. Indeed I wonder whether he even looked at the website at all.
First, are we “stumbling”?
We are not. Mr. O’Leary’s remarks are shot through with errors — even in the title. So far from “stumbling,” we are growing, and indeed accelerating by all measures, including the number of active contributors and the number of articles started per day. I get the impression that he would like us to stumble, but we are not accommodating him.
In this respect it is extremely misleading to lump Citizendium in with Veropedia. The Citizendium is more active by about two orders of magnitude. We average well over 500 edits per day, have 40-50 different editors and authors working on the website each day, and over 200 different contributors each month. By contrast, Veropedia features only a dozen of log entries per day, which amount to someone copying an article over from Wikipedia. And, in fact, it does not use named, verified experts.
Observing this exchange, Deep Jive Interests points out that I was able to make a quick rebuttal by using Google’s “Comments by People in the News,” which is a good new thing under the sun:
Upshot of this was that Mr. Sanger felt the author got several facts wrong, and proceeds to go on a lengthy rebuttal as to exactly what numbers and facts were, in fact, wrong.
Through Google News’ ability for people who are directly involved *in* a news piece to comment *on* that the news that is published.
Now, several months ago, I ranted and raved about this (not unlike, for example, how others ranted about the Jesus Phone, but I am a media geek, I suppose) — and still today, I stand by my initial irrational exuberance.
The ability for principles *in* a story to comment *on* a story, on a platform that has a gargantuan reach is *important*. It allows people to give their opinion that is unrestricted by the 5 second media byte, and it allows people to make sure that they are quoted correctly, or more importantly to set the record straight — particularly if the author of the story got the “angle” wrong.
And perhaps most importantly, it gives people who would not otherwise have a widely read platform *for* their opinions, to *give* their opinions without censorship — and, perhaps *just* as importantly — have their opinions be front and center.
I agree with DJI’s analysis of the importance of this Google News feature; when I first saw it, I thought, “Geez, why didn’t anybody do that sooner? It’s a no-brainer.”
UPDATE: Mathew Ingram weighs in.