Sticki wiki

Sticki wiki

: Via Dan Gillmor at Bayosphere, I see that the LA Time is planning to start wikitorials — wikified editorials that can be rewritten by readers, one of many interesting changes in the paper’s opinion pages.

Sounds like a cool idea… but I think it goes up against the essential nature of wikis and probably won’t work.

Wikipedia brags about its NPOV (neutral point of view) enforced by the wisdom of the crowd and the desire to get the facts right and maintain a valuable resource.

An editorial is, of course, not neutral. And so what you’ll likely find is a never-ending wikiwar: yes he did, no he didn’t, he did, no he didn’t, yes he did, no he didn’t, nya, nya, nya…

Besides, I think this does what papers do too much: It tries to make the paper the center of the discussion. Turn around, guys, and look outside the newsroom and see what everybody else is saying.

: Here’s editorial page editor Michael Kinsley on the changes, quoted in the NY Times:

“It may be a complete mess but it’s going to be interesting to try,” he said. “Wikitorials may be one of those things that within six months will be standard. It’s the ultimate in reader participation.”

Mr. Kinsley also started an experimental feature, “Thinking Out Loud,” where readers, op-ed and editorial writers hash out tough issues like immigration and traffic. “We hope within a year that we will have a solid, consistent, intelligent and correct position on these two issues and it will result from a process that is not only transparent but readers will participate,” Mr. Kinsley said.

: Ross Mayfield says that wikis work best not when the public is offered something baked but something unbaked.

: Ernie Miller is also dubious.

You know, the best, most open, most bloggy and webby way to do this might have been to post a note saying, “I’m thinking about doing this… what do you think?” And then the best minds online — Ross and Ernie among them — would have been happy to share their reaction and wisdom.