Wikia Search project abandoned


Following poor traffic, Wikia Search will be shut down, says Jimmy Wales, trustee of the Wikimedia foundation. It was originally intended to be a search engine where users could influence the ranking of results, but recently it’s struggled for traffic – attracting just 10,000 unique users per month ovedr the last six months.

Wales says: “This one is too far away. It was going to take at least a another year to two before it’s usable by the public, and we can’t afford that right now. I’ll return to this again when the economy is good.”

Part of Wikia Search’s decline can probably be attributed to Google SearchWiki, launched last November, which allows users to comment and influence, though not fully determine, the rankings of individual results on Google searches.

Wales also discussed Microsoft’s shuttering of Encarta, commenting that it’s “disappointing to see a center of knowledge going away”. He said that he’d been attempting to contact Microsoft about integrating some of Encarta’s content into Wikipedia. Due to Encarta’s relatively small size, however, “the community probably wouldn’t find it useful. However, the images might be useful.”.

Wikia Search (via Cnet)

Wikipedia eyes introduction of 'flagged revisions' worldwide


Wikipedia is considering banning unregistered users from making alterations to certain articles. It would be a radical policy change for the Encyclopedia whose slogan is “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit”.

Last week, during President Obama’s inauguration lunch, US Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd were both taken ill, quite seriously in the case of Kennedy. They have both since recovered, however shortly after the event, their Wikipedia entries read that they had died.

Although the changes were removed within five minutes of going up, the site’s founder, Jimmy Wales, went on record saying that a “flagged revisions” system would have prevented the problem. Such a system has been trialed on the German Wikipedia, and means that any unregistered edits have to be approved by a ‘trusted editor’ before they appear to the public.