Forking Wikipedia

Wikipedia is being forked.

It may be the best news the beleaguered Encyclopedia Brittanica has gotten in some time.

Wikipedia is being forked.

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger of the Digital Universe Foundation is taking a leave of absence to head the new effort, called Citizendium.

"By engaging expert editors, eliminating anonymous contribution, and launching a more mature community under a new charter, a much broader and more influential group of people and institutions will be able to improve upon Wikipedia’s extremely useful, but often uneven work," said the press release. "The result will be not only enormous and free, but reliable."

The new library will begin by mirroring the existing Wikipedia, under its GNU Free Documentation License. For now the new project will be hosted at the University of Chicago, with mailing lists run out of Purdue.

Editors are now being selected for the pilot project, and based on the page devoted to it, only tenured professors need apply. A full FAQ is available.

So is this good news? Will this kill Wikipedia? Or will the new effort fail to gain the traffic (and buzz) needed to compete?

Compete, I feel, is the operant word here.