March 22, 2006

Embrace and extend Wikipedia?

I thought Winer wanting to get OPML Editor talking to wikis was a smart-move, in the sense that it showed how fast he moved when he became aware of potential rivals to his world-outline project, and was planning to make an alliance.

Nevertheless, I didn't think that the result would be all that exciting. But some people seem to find the idea compelling.

However what got me thinking is this. Wikipedia pages are trees. They have a TOC, sections and subsections. What would it mean if I could edit wikipedia in my OPML Editor.

Well, first, that I'd likely have my own local copy of my ideal version of a page.

And, second, that updating the central server (Wikipedia), would be a matter of hitting a "sync" button.

Now imagine fighting an edit-war on a Wikipedia page, armed with this tool, against someone who's going via the browser. I think the guy with the OPML Editor is going to have a big advantage. It's going to be trivially easy to simply keep my version of the "truth" locally and keep hitting "sync" every time someone tries to change it.

In fact, if the editor allows batch updating of dozens of pages, people going through the browser won't have a chance. OPML Editor based users will own Wikipedia. In essence, Wikipedia will just become one hosting node in the world-outline.

I think I was wrong when I said that Wikipedia wouldn't be affected by the OPML campaign. How much does the successful ecological balance on wikipedia depend on a slow network; a roughly egalitarian speed of access for editing the pages?

Might the OPML Editor actually have the capacity to destroy this fragile ecology as we know it?
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