Introducing the Nupedia Chalkboard

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Thursday, July 19, 2001, 4:33 PM -- As you probably know, Wikipedia's peer-reviewed cousin, Nupedia, has been producing articles much more slowly than Wikipedia. The Nupedia project is very proud of its carefully-developed peer-review system, but it has become clear to many Nupedians that it poses so many roadblocks to progress, that some change is necessary if Nupedia is to become useful anytime soon--some change, but without sacrificing quality.

Having seen Wikipedia's very real success, we've decided, as at least an experiment, to set up a wiki of our own, which we're calling our "Chalkboard":

This will, we hope, provide a lot of new high-quality content for Nupedia. Soon, we are going to announce the Chalkboard to the over 3,000 subscribers to Nupedia's newsletter. Just a few minutes ago, I announced it to Nupedia's Advisory-l, Nupedia-l, and General-l mailing lists.

So, what relationship do I envision between Wikipedia and the Chalkboard? Basically, I hope that, when an article on Wikipedia seems to be of a very high quality, the person mainly responsible for it will post it on the Chalkboard. There, we hope, it will be vetted by many more experts than there are on Wikipedia (not, of course, that we haven't got our fair share of experts on this and that here). Authorship should be worked out on a /Talk page before transferring it.

The Chalkboard will be able to supply Wikipedia with articles as well--as long as they are "live" articles. Chalkboard articles-in-progress, unless they started life on Wikipedia, shouldn't be copied to Wikipedia until they've been approved by Nupedia.

The existence of this cluster of websites, Wikipedia, the Chalkboard, and the main Nupedia site is, we realize, an imperfect division of labor, but each website does have a distinct purpose. Wikipedia exists as a place where any articulate person can come and offer what knowledge he or she has, and have that work critiqued by other people who find the open environment congenial. The Chalkboard exists as a place where experts can easily collaborate on articles, in a managed and demanding, but still largely open setting. Wikipedia and the Chalkboard can easily exchange material. Wikipedia is probably always going to be the fastest-growing part of the cluster, on the vanguard, as it were. It can only benefit from the results of the work of the many people who might be willing to work on the Chalkboard, but not on Wikipedia. Nupedia, meanwhile, is the slowest-moving but doubtless the highest-quality of the cluster. Its purpose, as we see it, is to act as a careful, professional approval mechanism for articles, including (and later, perhaps especially) articles that begin life on the Chalkboard--and therefore, for articles that begin life on Wikipedia.

For this reason, it is much less likely that Wikipedia will ever get anything like an article approval mechanism of its own, because that is what the Wikipedia-Chalkboard-Nupedia path will constitute.


What is the difference between a "live" chalkboard article, and article-in-progress? Is it that the a-i-p is already going through the Nupedia editorial process? And a "live" article is before that stage? I just copied an article from there, and i'm not sure if I should erase it.

Edits to an article on the Chalkboard are discouraged, if that article has become article-in-progress in the Nupedia system. A live article is an article that's been approved and posted on the main Nupedia website (not the Chalkboard). So the process might go something like this, in some cases: Wikipedia --> Chalkboard --> Nupedia system ("article in progress") --> Nupedia ("live article," approved and posted) --> Chalkboard (posted with a notice that it's a live article; edits to be made on a special "Edit" page). Hope this helps! --LMS

(Pre-nupedia Chalkboard articles are under the copyrigth of the authors, no the GPL, or in the Public Domain).

That's correct. Actually--it depends on whether the Chalkboard article appears already on Wikipedia, in which case it IS covered by the GNU license. --LMS1