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In the news

Britannica ready to take on Wikipedia

In an interview on January 22, Encyclopedia Britannica president Jorge Cauz announced that the Britannica website would soon be activating new features regarding user contributions. In an attempt to take on Wikipedia in Google search rankings, will now allow registered users to submit their own content. Unlike Wikipedia, all changes will be reviewed by Britannica's paid staff. Cauz criticized Wikipedia as being "very uneven, the facts are not always correct, the model contains a lot of pitfalls," and scolded Google for continuing to rank Wikipedia articles highly in search results. In a response to the article, author Mike Masnick criticized Cauz's statements for "trash talking" the competition instead of focusing on Britannica itself. This, he said, "screams out insecurity about the company's own products and their quality." The Web monitoring company Hitwise went on to discuss what would be "a long road ahead and a steep climb" for Britannica. According to Hitwise's analysis of online encyclopedias, Wikipedia receives 96.69% of visits, whereas only receives 0.57%. The problem, according to analyst Heather Hopkins, is that requires a paid membership for access to most of its content. "If content is locked up behind the paid content walls, people will be much more likely to link to other websites with free content."

Kennedy and Byrd suffer death by Wikipedia

Ted Kennedy, who has been undergoing treatment for brain cancer, suffered a seizure during Barack Obama's post-inaugural luncheon. Robert Byrd, upset by the seizure, left the room, though initial press reports incorrectly stated that he had suffered a medical issue as well. Kennedy's page was later edited to say that "he was removed in a wheelchair, and died shortly after" and a death date was added to Byrd's article. The Washington Post compared the incidents to other highly publicized controversies, such as the Seigenthaler incident. The Register reported on Jimmy Wales's wishes to activate Flagged Revisions, citing the Kennedy-Byrd incident as being one that "would have been 100% prevented by Flagged Revisions." The New York Times Bits Blog also covered the possibility of activating Flagged Revisions (see related story).


Also this week:
  • Flagged Revisions
  • Mobile devices
  • News and notes
  • In the news
  • Dispatches
  • Features and admins
  • Technology report
  • Arbitration report

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