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Wikipedia-killer goes live

Citizendum uses expert editors

Citizendium, an online encyclopaedia started by a founder of Wikipedia, will announce today that the wiki has been opened for public use.

The project, which was first launched as a pilot in November, aims to improve on Wikipedia's failings by requiring contributors to use their real names, the organisation said. Since November, 180 expert editors and 800 authors have joined the project to work on 1,000 articles.

"The modest success of our pilot project shows that there is hope that we can correct exactly the sort of abuses that people demonise Web 2.0 for," said Larry Sanger, editor in chief of Citizendium and a co-founder of Wikipedia. "You don't have to choose between content and accountability. We have shown that we can create open and credible content. We can, in fact, be open to all sorts of participants but still hold people to higher standards of content and behaviour as a community."

Wikipedia came under fire earlier this month when a popular contributor claiming to be a professor was revealed to be a college student. Last week, two officials from the foundation that manages Wikipedia resigned their posts without disclosing why.

As part of Citizendium, which is part of the non-profit incubator Tides Center, authors start new articles and edit existing articles. Meanwhile, editors make decisions about how an article should read and can approve specific versions of articles.

‘Constables’ aim to make the community run smoothly by alerting users if they make a mistake and explaining what’s wrong. Constables make decisions about behaviour, not content, the organisation said.


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