“People that I would say are trolls sort of took over. The inmates started running the asylum,” said an outspoken critic of Wikipedia in an interview with Vice in 2015. The speaker was none other than Dr. Larry Sanger, who also happens to be one of the site’s co-founders.
Dr. Sanger, who earned a PhD in Philosophy from Ohio State University, conceptualized Wikipedia and was the only paid editor of Wikipedia shortly after its creation. However, Vice reported that Sanger became disillusioned with the platform when troubles with other users began. “Some of them [were] trolls, who plagued Sanger with ‘edit wars’ and resisted input from experts.”
In a move that will “disrupt his own creation”, as CoinDesk wrote, Dr. Sanger has joined with Everipedia as the company’s new Chief Information Officer. Everipedia, a blockchain-based startup that wants to record the world’s knowledge with distributed ledger technology, has already been in operation for some time. Since its launch in December of 2014, the platform has amassed more than 6 million informational articles.
Historically, the site has used a points system to incentivize editors to contribute content, as well as to keep the space free and clear fraudulent information, something that Wikipedia has had continuing issues with. If an edit is approved, the editor earns ‘IQ’ points. After Everipedia moves to a blockchain in January of next year, the rewards for approved edits will be issued in the form of crypto tokens.
Good Edits Will Be Incentivized with Crypto Tokens; Spammers Will Lose Money
To prevent malicious trolls or other users from spamming the network with ‘edit wars’ and false information, users will need to submit a crypto token of their own with their edit as collateral. If the edit is approved, the user will get their token back along with an additional reward; if not, they will lose their token entirely.
Everipedia co-founder and CEO Theodor Foselius told Wired that he is excited to provide the opportunity to financially reward contributors who may have operated as unpaid volunteers on Wikipedia in the past. “In places where Wikipedia has the most active user bases, like India, all these people edit for free,” he explained. “The ability to be a stakeholder in the encyclopedia they edit and get real monetary value back, it’s really exciting to me.”
In addition to the financial incentives, using blockchain to store any kind of information has a series of benefits that make it very well-suited to house the knowledge of the world. For one thing, the decentralized nature of a blockchain networks eliminates the costs associated with the maintenance of central servers. Additionally, the network is virtually impervious to hacking, and since all of the information that has ever existed in a blockchain can never really be deleted, it is an excellent means of record-keeping.
Wired reported that Lunyr was actually the first startup to outline plans to implement a blockchain-based encyclopedia, but Everipedia may have beaten Lunyr to the punch with its launch coming up in January. In the era of fake news, the possibility of a self-cleaning source of reliable information is exciting, to say the least – Everipedia has the opportunity to give the world the cool drink of truth that it needs.