The site is based around collaboration within Wikipedia, whereby Wikipedia articles that meet Veropedia's reliability criteria are chosen by its editors, scraped, and then a stable version of the article is kept on Veropedia. Any improvements required for articles to reach a standard suitable for Veropedia occur on Wikipedia itself. This model is intended to provide benefits to both projects with Wikipedia providing a large amount of free content suitable for potential improvement, and Veropedia contributors providing improvements and fact-checking within Wikipedia articles.
As of April 2008 the site, still in beta, has checked and imported over 5700 articles from the English Wikipedia into its public database. Although Veropedia intends to eventually support itself completely through advertising as of January 2008 the project is run mainly from personal savings, investments and loans of those involved in the project.
Veropedia was started by a group of experienced Wikipedia editors, including founder Danny Wool, who had prior experience editing a variety of reference works including Encyclopedia of the Peoples of the World and was an employee of the Wikimedia Foundation until Spring 2007. As of November 2007 roughly 100 Wikipedia editors are involved in the project, which is also seeking the help of academics who have worked on Wikipedia.
The FAQ also states that similar projects in languages other than English may be launched in the future, and attempts to distinguish Veropedia from "expert-driven" projects such as Citizendium.
Management and legal statusEdit
Veropedia is operated by Veropedia, Inc., a for-profit corporation registered in Florida, and founded by Daniel Wool, a former co-ordinator at the Wikimedia Foundation, the parent organization of Wikipedia.
Contrast with WikipediaEdit
The Veropedia editorial community is far smaller than Wikipedia's, and is intended to be geared towards quality article writing, seeing involvement in Veropedia as a means to return to the roots of knowledge building by focusing upon articles rather than editorial difficulties. Other notable differences include:
- One-time uploads - Articles are uploaded when they reach a high quality and meet all current criteria. Articles are not edited once uploaded; instead at a future time, a further upload may be undertaken if the article on Wikipedia has since been improved. This is used to ensure reliable encyclopedic content, at the cost of far lower degree of responsiveness to topics where articles may change rapidly, or ad-hoc improvements. As a result, existing articles may be updated only after an extended period, or if there is a significant change to their content.
- Quality control system - Veropedia uses only experienced article editors, and also operates an automated system for uploading which checks proposed articles for a wide range of issues, and refuses to accept them if any are present. Independent human expert review of articles is planned for the final site, but not yet fully implemented.
- Editorship subject to approval - In contrast to Wikipedia, which allows almost anyone to edit, contributing to Veropedia is by approval (following a request) or invitation only.
- Smaller range of content - As a new project, Veropedia's content covers a smaller range than Wikipedia (some 5700 articles vs. 2.4 million). The focus is explicitly upon articles that are likely to be widely useful, and are improved to a high quality standard. As of December 2007, Veropedia's growth rate was around 300 articles per month.
- Prohibition of 'fair use' images - Another difference from the English Wikipedia is a number of tighter restrictions, for example, exclusion of fair use images and other content. The Veropedia FAQ states: "We have decided to... go back to the core principles of the project by focusing on free content. Only by insisting on free content can we revert the current trend of extending copyright and encourage people to release their content to the public."
- Funding - In contrast with Wikipedia's donation-based model, Veropedia's business model uses paid advertising. Danny Wool commented: "I was in charge of fundraising for Wikipedia, and I feel a lot more comfortable taking ads from Amazon than the donations of high school students."
Role of expertsEdit
In Veropedia's own words:
- "Each article will be given to recognized academics and experts to review. These experts can either provide their stamp of approval or make suggestions as to how the article can be improved further. In that way, users will know that the article is reliable."
- "Our material is written by Wikipedia contributors. The role of experts and academics will be to check it and, ideally, approve it. Their comments will be given back to our contributors to incorporate back into the articles to make them even better."
Criticism and evaluationEdit
Veropedia, newly founded in 2007 is still in its beta stage. It has an Alexa traffic rank over 1.5 million – indicating it is significantly less popular than Wikipedia, Citizendium and Scholarpedia.
Nicholas Carr, a critic of Web 2.0 in general and Wikipedia in particular, has criticized Veropedia as trying to "scrape" the "cream" of Wikipedia. Carr has also stated that Veropedia has an unclear interface with clicks bouncing one back and forth between Wikipedia and Veropedia.
Tim Blackmore, an associate professor at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies of the University of Western Ontario, expressed scepticism toward the project, since there are already encyclopedias in existence where "content is checked and articles are reviewed". The main lure of the internet, according to him, is "free information" and Wikipedia has already emerged as a pioneer in open content information resources.
A different evaluation in The Australian said Veropedia "seems more likely to succeed" than Citizendium, another recently founded online encyclopedia, because "it is less directly competitive" with Wikipedia. The story opined that both Veropedia and Citizendium "should in theory help improve the fairness and accuracy of available online information about many contentious topics although the academic bent to each raises questions over what, exactly, they will construe as fair when it comes to coverage of corporations and their actions.
A story in Wired News discussed whether Veropedia (and Citizendium) could avoid some of the same problems that Wikipedia has supposedly encountered: "Though office politics and internecine bickering abound at the Wikimedia Foundation – one former insider described the atmosphere as "MySpace meets 'As the World Turns' for geeks" – both Wool and Sanger deny that internal squabbles were why they started their own encyclopedias. Whether their ventures fall prey to the same turf wars, bureaucratic quagmires and academic catfights as the site that spawned them remains to be seen."
In a review of various Wikipedia alternatives, TechNewsWorld argued that Veropedia's estimation of 5000 articles was not credible, as "many of these articles are small and insignificant almanac-type entries that serve mainly as filler". It thus argued that like Citizendium, Veropedia avoided "the tough challenge of handling controversial and time-sensitive subjects" that Wikipedia had taken on. The article also stated that most Veropedia articles were identical to their Wikipedia counterpart.
The St. Petersburg Times, a well known Florida newspaper based in the town from which Danny Wool operates Veropedia, listed Danny Wool and Terry Foote, a Veropedia investor as "people to watch in 2008".
<ref>tags exist, but no
<references/>tag was found