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Here's a list of frequently asked questions, along with answers.


[edit] What's the point of Knowino?

Our aim is to build a reliable compendium of encyclopedic information. Wikipedia has demonstrated that it is possible to engage a huge community of contributors on an open wiki project to create a significant amount of fairly good content. But Wikipedia suffers from a number of problems (see further down this page), and we think it's possible to do better. We hope to build an excellent resource by combining Wikipedia's "anyone can contribute" principle with the concept of engaging experts to review articles.

[edit] What makes Knowino unique?

[edit] Anyone can contribute

Anyone can contribute to Knowino! Our sign-up process is very simple: for us to get lots of great contributors on board, there must be as few barriers to entry as possible. The wiki system makes it very easy to undo damaging edits, and our article certification process lessens the effect of bad edits.

Because open wikis are susceptible to "vandalism", it is tempting to close editing to the public—to create walled gardens that are guarded by "gatekeepers". This is the approach that Citizendium has adopted: to start contributing, a person must provide some details about himself or herself, file an account request, and wait for it to be processed by a human being. That approach works nicely if there is a tangible reward for contributors; but a volunteer wiki project can offer no such reward to potential participants, other than being part of a fascinating and friendly community. Most people are not willing to provide a reasonable amount of personal information just to correct a minor grammatical flaw in an article. And people have no real incentive to contribute for the long run, except out of loyalty or on a principle; but loyalty does not come right away, it is developed by being a part of a community for a while.

[edit] Experts can review articles

See also: Knowino:Reviewers, Help:Article certification.

Expert editors can review articles for factual accuracy.

[edit] Forking eases content disputes

See also: Knowino:Dispute resolution.

Content disputes are inevitable in any wiki community. An article can be in only one state at a particular time, for obvious reasons; this means that some users feel compelled to "edit war", or revert the changes of others, in an attempt to impose their own version on readers. We hope to lessen this tendency by implementing a procedure called "forking". If a genuine dispute about the content of an article cannot be resolved quickly through communication between involved parties, we will temporarily "fork" the disputed sections of the article and let each "branch" develop independently. Once a resolution is achieved, we can simply "un-fork" the branches, merging them back into the original article.

[edit] Multiple articles on individual topics

Most general encyclopedias, including Wikipedia and Citizendium, have one main entry for each topic that they cover. But this is really a disservice to readers, because there are multiple valid approaches to almost every subject fit for an encyclopedia. Consequently, we allow multiple articles—each with a unique style and structure—on individual topics. We don't force articles to conform to a single, site-wide approach, although every article must comply with our general content principles.

[edit] Other differences

[edit] What about other projects?

There are many other projects which aim to create a free general encyclopedia. We support, in principle, these efforts; the world need not be limited to a single endeavour to document and distribute human knowledge.

[edit] Wikipedia

In 2001, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger started "Wikipedia". Wikipedia was originally intended to be a content-feeder for a traditionally reviewed and edited encyclopedia project called "Nupedia". Wikipedia proved extremely popular, due partly to its "anyone can edit" maxim, and experienced exponential growth; Nupedia eventually closed down due to a lack of funding. Wikipedia remains an extraordinary endeavour—but, like any first attempt, it has flaws. Here are some of them:

We aim to avoid these flaws by implementing both technical and cultural solutions. For example, we provide tools to let expert editors review and "certify" articles. This helps us to identify articles that are factually accurate, and makes it easier to keep track of changes to articles over time so that we can reduce article degradation. We give users lots of opportunities for input into how the project is run, and strive to be a friendly, welcoming, and helpful community for new contributors and veterans alike.

[edit] Citizendium

In 2006 Larry Sanger started "Citizendium", which he hoped would become a competitor to Wikipedia. Citizendium differs from Wikipedia in two main ways: all contributors are expected to identify themselves by their own real names, and credentialed experts are invited to "approve" articles. Its public launch was met with great media fanfare; however, in 2011, about four years after its inception, Citizendium shows little sign of promise. Many problems with Citizendium have become apparent:

Knowino implements technical and cultural solutions to prevent these problems. It takes a whole community to consistently, reasonably enforce rules and standards; and, ultimately, it takes an effort on the part of every contributor to keep insularity from being a problem. We have very few barriers to entry: it's possible to contribute without even registering an account. It's our intention to foster responsible, honest, and transparent management,[5] while keeping bureaucracy to a minimum by creating processes as we need them.

[edit] Why should I contribute to Knowino?

[edit] Where did Knowino come from?

[edit] Where's Knowino going?

[edit] Notes

  1. On December 16, 2010, the Secretary of Citizendium's Editorial Council said, about a gentleman who refused to join Citizendium because he regarded the questions as too intrusive, "Your friend may be the world's leading expert on whatever subject you say he is, but he's also the world's leading imbecile. And you may tell him that I said so, and use my name as well. What a cretin! And if all the other myriad people you tell us about share his feelings (which I seriously doubt, by the way), then they are cretins too. And we are better off without them."
  2. Refer to Citizendium's statistics page for details on the size of the community, and then read Citizendium's Charter for a small sampling of the project's bureaucracy.
  3. For example, "Homeopathy" and "Memory of water".
  4. For instance, after the first Management Council was elected in 2010, they discovered that the previous administration had left the project in dire financial straits, and were forced to run an urgent fundraiser.
  5. For example, you can take a look at our current budget.
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