Is Knol a "Wikipedia Killer"?

Posted by Ginkgo100 | 1:12 PM

Knol is Google's newest launch. It's a site where authors can write articles on any topics they like. "Knol," if you were wondering, is a neologism meaning "a unit of knowledge."

ProBlogger wondered whether Knol will be a Wikipedia-killer. I love Darren's ministry very helpful site, but I have to say that if he is even asking that question, then he does not know very much about Wikipedia.

Wikipedia may seem both wide and deep (with almost 2.5 million articles in the English version, more than twice as many as when I first started as an editor), but casual readers may not realize how much isn't there. The Wikipedia community loudly declares that it is not many things, among them "a publisher of original thought" nor a "manual, guidebook, or textbook." And while anybody is free to add to Wikipedia, they are not free to add anything they like to Wikipedia.

At least several hundred entire articles are deleted every day. Over 3000 pages were deleted in the last 24 hours (including articles, images, user pages, and all other types of pages). That's not counting content edited out of existing articles, which is immeasurable (literally — there's no way to tell from the logs).

I imagine that little of what will likely be found in the Knols will overlap with Wikipedia's scope. And virtually none of it will carry authority remotely like Wikipedia's. Since anybody with an Internet connection can change Wikipedia instantaneously, one might think Wikipedia would not have much authority, but the net energy put into keeping Wikipedia sound is far greater than the net energy put into Wikipedia misinformation and disinformation. And that is why so many people trust Wikipedia. (More than they really should; even Wikipedia rejects its own self as an adequately reliable source for Wikipedia.)

Knols may give About.com a run for its money, and may nudge a few Wikipedia articles around in the Google rankings, but Wikipedia is a behemoth that won't feel much from the little flies that are Knols.

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