Why Indy Wikis Work and Corporate Wikis Don’t

A friend pointed me to this interesting article at CNN today. The article focusses on the commercial Wikis started by the LA Times, Amazon, and Penguin Books, and why those wikis aren’t successful.

LA Times Wikitorials

The LA Times launched Wikitorials in 2005, and quickly pulled the site after being overwhelmed with vandals. Now, even the landing page has been taken down…


I’m am not as quick as this author to label AmaPedia a failure. But I do agree with the assessment that wikis should be started from the ground up, not the top down. Many of the editors on AmaPedia so far appear to be either robots or employees of Amazon…

Penguin Books

Penguin Books launched A Million Penguins; an experiment in wiki fiction. The test is to see if a crowd can write a novel. The answer so far is, yes, but not a very good one. You can follow the penguin blog to read the hilarious entries by the increasingly exasperated and beleaguered editor (also named Jon). Each day brings something new, like the crazy user who makes every chapter about bananas.

Indy Wikis Lead the Way?

The main thrust of CNN’s Article is that small, organically grown wikis can cultivate a core following of dedicated members before becoming explosively popular. Whereas large corporate wikis immediately open their flood gates to the masses before developing a culture and a platoon of protective editors.

I take their point, and hope this bodes well for ValueWiki. More and more I believe a wiki just needs 10 great editors in order to gain all the momentum it needs.


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