A co-founder of the Wikipedia online encyclopedia written in collaborative fashion by the Internet community announced he is launching a rival service edited by experts.
A test version of "Citizendium" to be launched this week in Harmon,
California will use experienced editors and subject authorities to tune
information submitted by web surfers.
"Wikipedia has accomplished great things, but the world can do even
better," said Larry Sanger, the Wikipedia founder who is spearheading the
Citizendium "free knowledge project."
"By engaging expert editors, eliminating anonymous contribution, and
launching a more mature community under a new charter, a much broader and
more influential group of people and institutions will be able to improve
upon Wikipedia's extremely useful, but often uneven work."
Wikipedia was created in 2001 as a website where users could freely
contribute, edit and refine entries. It relied on the principle that
people who knew better would correct factual errors introduced by others.
The website was based on "wiki" technology that lets visitors change text
as they please. The name "wiki" came from a Hawaiian word meaning quick.
Wikipedia blossomed into a widely consulted online reference bank with
accuracy reported to be on par with the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Sanger parted ways with Wikipedia in 2002 and became a vociferouls critic
of its accuracy.
The plan for Citizendium is to guarantee more reliable information.
Content from Internet users will have to pass muster with editors,
scholars or others with minimum levels of qualifications based on "real
world" markers such as college diplomas, according to Sanger.
Citizendium will start with "mirroring" Wikipedia's content and then set
out to improve or replace it, according to Sanger.
Participation in the pilot project launching this week was by invitation
only. Invitations could be requested at
It was expected to take several months for Citizendium to make a public