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« Wikipedia and slashdot: I was wrong | Main | CTC: Collaboration Is IT's Last Chance to Matter »

June 18, 2005

Wikitorial Fork

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Posted by Ross Mayfield

I was quite skeptical that the LA Times Wikitorial experiment could foster anything but an edit war. Especially when the first editorial (and Wikitorial) was on war itself. But as it turns out, it is a wiki, and the users have forked the project. In a brilliant move, Jimmy Wales himself started a Counterpoint Page. Here's the first edit of the discussion page:

It seems impossible for someone who disagrees with the central thrust of the original editorial to both respect the intentions of the authors, and also to have a voice. So I'm proposing this page as an alternative to what is otherwise inevitable, which is extensive editing of the original to make it neutral... which would be fine for Wikipedia, but would not be an editorial.

LA Times editors couldn't have possibly hoped for Neutral Point of View editing, and my only guess is they were trying to whip up a good fisk. With Jimbo's fork, Wikitorial gains distinction from Wikipedia and may allow constructive community building. Will be interesting to participate in the Editorial Desk and watch it grow.

Wikis can be adapted to most any form of content and conversation. They inherently foster trust through shared control. By de-emphasizing identity wikis are fairly disarming. When conflict arises, because there is infinite space, you can fork conflict and give everyone space to own.

By quoting Jimbo's comment, this post, depending upon how you interpret fair use, is in violation of the Terms of Service:

You may not, for example, republish any portion of the Content on any Internet, Intranet or extranet site or incorporate the Content in any database, compilation, archive or cache. You may not distribute any Content to others, whether or not for payment or other consideration, and you may not modify, copy, frame, cache, reproduce, sell, publish, transmit, display or otherwise use any portion of the Content.

There is already a discussion on licensing. But this conversation cannot be one-sided and the LA Times staff are nowhere to be seen to address this issue before the next fork.

UPDATE: /. -> goatse -> shutdown -> failed -> history. At one point, I removed a goatse myself by tracking recent changes. How disappointing for the MSM to open and close with a single slashdot, forsaking our contributions? I'm sure they will open up again, and there are other MSM pilots, but let's clarify the social contract.

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