If Wikipedia is Open Source, Who is Red Hat?

There has been so much written about the "character assassination" of John Seigenthaler Sr. in the false Wikipedia entry about him that alleges, among other things, that he was involved in the real assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy.

It has led a number of people to suggest that the Wikipedia model is badly flawed.  I know a number of people who have gone to wikipedia and were stunned to see that there was an entry about them and then horrified to find out that it was all false.  Character assassinations in Wikipedia are not new.

But the reality is that Wikipedia suffers from the same curse that all user geneated content services face, and that is when something is truly open, people will abuse it.  The Internet itself is the proof that that.

So I believe that Wikipedia is a great resource and is one that should remain open in its present form.  Many others have blogged the same thing in the wake of the Seigenthaler fuss.

But the most interesting idea coming out of this fuss comes from Jeff Jarvis.  He suggests that someone can build an edited version of Wikipedia on top of it and make it commercial.  I wonder if Wikipedia should be the "open source" encyclopedia and if there should be a Red Hat like company that builds a "commercial version" of Wikipedia that has advertising on it, but also has editors who vet all the entries.  It’s an interesting idea and I like it.

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