In response to some high praise from British Education Secretary Alan Johnson, who recommended that students should use Wikipedia in their studies, Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger stated that the site is no longer useful, and suffers from many problems ranging from “serious management problems, to an often dysfunctional community, to frequently unreliable content, and to a whole series of scandals.”
He goes on to add that Wikipedia is still somewhat useful, and called it an “amazing phenomenon”.
I have always held the opinion that Wikipedia is an excellent place to start your studies, but by no means is it a total all-in-one solution. I always liked that you could find information on contemporary subjects that you wouldn’t normally find in a book, but the quality of this type of content has definitely dropped in the past year or so.
So what are we to do? Naturally, Sanger has the perfect solution: HIS NEW SITE! Citizendia competes directly with Wikipedia, but unlike Wikipedia, contributors are not hidden behind anonymity. Instead, contributors must sign up before adding anything to an article, including your real name, and a 100-word biography about yourself and why your opinion should be considered useful. Account submissions are all screened for approval, and articles are constantly screened by academics.
Like Wikipedia, Citizendia is a non-profit enterprise. As long as people are willing to contribute all over again, it might make for a great alternative. However, I’m concerned that we might not get as many of those contemporary articles that make Wikipedia so useful when it’s at its best.