Wikipedia contrasted with Knol

/ 12 August 2008

danah boyd has an excellent piece up comparing and contrasting Wikipedia with Google’s Knol. Among other reflections:

What makes me most annoyed about Knol though is that it feels a bit icky. Wikipedia is a non-profit focused on creating a public good. Google is a for-profit entity with a lot of power in controlling where on the web people go. Knol content is produced by volunteers who contribute content for free so that Google can make money directly from ads and indirectly from search traffic. In return for ? When are we going to learn that the Internet is really good at collective action? When are we going to learn that getting people to develop and maintain bodies of knowledge on the Internet is an art? When the incentives are all wrong (e.g., Yahoo! Answers), the result is pure crap. When are we going to learn that experts alone never produce the best content? Hell, even a high school kid can improve most articles with some simple editing.