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Wikipedia: Is A Paid Alternative Really Better?
Posted 06 March 2007 - 08:30 PM
Does anyone actually do that, pay for an online encyclopedia?
A friend once said "we forget where we came from" , and I think people forget what the pre-wikipedia internet was like for these sorts of things, as people struggled to find ANY source of information, and rather than having one slightly dodgy source that you could learn to correct the bias of, we had brazillians of them, and you didn;t know from Adam which was good and which was absolute lies!
Seems to me that wikipedia, as bad as it can be (and it can be bad) is better than the alternative: absolutely ^%$$ all, or the need to relearn trillions of site's unique issues. At least this way i only got to know one's problems.
IMHO, a paid solution no one ever uses versus a source with some nice articles and AWESOME links, to me, is about as useful as an online encyclopedia needs to be.
What are other people's thoughts?
Posted 06 March 2007 - 09:23 PM
IMHO Widipedia is one of those handful of sites that demonstrate very well what the idea of the Web was all about. Truly opensource and done by those who watch over it for the love of creating a wonderful resource. I personally hope we never lose such places.
By the same token, I fully understand why there are issues when something gets that large and has that many contributors. One of the master strokes of the majorest (gotta make up a new word) opensource progject --namely Linux-- was that Linus Torvalds manage to keep some control over the final product even though thousands of people were contributing. Of course it's much easier to maintain some control and focus when you're releasing software. It's much more difficult for informational resources.
I will say though that much of the grousing lately seems to be traceable back to Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales. I actually feel for the guy because truth be told he should be a multi-millionaire at least because of the Wiki. And he's not. I guess he's earned the right to raise the spector of problems and be a bit bitter. After all it is his baby. I just hope the Wiki doesn't go away when he starts the Paid version.
Posted 06 March 2007 - 11:07 PM
The paid competitors have existed for a long time. Wikipedia can be freely copied, so even if Jimbo tried to close it up, anybody could take a recent copy and start their own free replacement.
Posted 06 March 2007 - 11:25 PM
I just don;t see how a paid version,. no matter how much better, is worth it. An encyclopedia is a bunch of information that skims the surface in such a way that it is ONLY useful for third grade assignments. How much do we need such a service, and is it worth paying for?
Seems to me the wikipedia model is perfect (except for no revenue).
Edited by projectphp, 07 March 2007 - 01:09 AM.
Posted 07 March 2007 - 08:05 AM
I'm really not convinced that a paid version would be any more reliable or up to date!
Posted 07 March 2007 - 09:55 AM
Who said that? I've always thought of Matt Cutts as Google's Michael Motherwell...
Posted 07 March 2007 - 10:03 AM
I believe in freedom of information - what the web was originally designed for. Information should be freely accessible. Maybe a paid for version could exist in parellel (surely they do already) but not to replace free information.
Surely if someone wanted accurate information they would consult multiple sources not just one? And then who is to say what is right, certain things are always from one persons perspective or can be influenced by politics or whatever.
Personally I dont actually look things up specificially in Wikipedia, I search on Google and usually Wikipedia is among the pages that come up, and I usually read a few different sites.
Posted 07 March 2007 - 06:30 PM
The context was all the edits you made to the SEO section (I think it was an old taped version of the show), and comments that the Matt Cutts article was poorly formatted (which was true).
I really just don't get what is wrong with wikipedia. Third graders everywhere geteasy assignment answers, and the rest of us get "back of a cigarette packet" overviews of issues. Perfect, and not somethign i would pay $5 for.
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