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Re: Nature: A call for a public gene Wiki

From: Tom Stambaugh <tms@stambaugh-inc.com>
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2006 16:39:22 -0500
Message-ID: <004401c62cf8$234c43b0$0200a8c0@TMSMAIN>
To: "hclsig-pub" <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>

> You raise important issues on this. But I take the converse position, I 
> think:
> [snipped]
What he said ... and ...

A more tightly focused Gene Function Wiki (or perhaps "interwiki"...) 
promises to provide specific benefits to the life science community for the 
same reason that the existence of Encyclopedia Brittanica does not preclude 
publication in "Nature" and "Science". Were we to begin posting the 
contemplated content into Wikipedia, I suspect it wouldn't take long before 
we'd be accused -- at least by some -- of "wiki-squatting" 
(http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiSquatting). Never mind how the wikipedia 
community might hear our proposals to add experimental semantic web markup 
to wikipedia.

Some sort of semantic web/rdf markup is probably going to contribute a LOT 
to the Gene Function Wiki, and will have far more value to the life science 
community than to the broader wikipedia audience. It seems to me that the 
interest being shown in Nature (Nature has published several wiki-related 
pieces recently) reflects a growing recognition that the wiki approach:

1) Offers benefits above and beyond traditional channels, and
2) Is still evolving

It is much easier to try new things and experiment with approaches that may 
not work on a more tightly focused wiki whose users are generally 
professional than on something like wikipedia, now a mainstream resource. I 
don't doubt that over time, the Gene Function Wiki will mature into 
something much more stable and perhaps even eventually be subsumed by 
something like wikipedia. Long before that, I would expect wikipedia to view 
the Gene Function Wiki as one of its many sources.

I suggest we seed a small pond, see what sorts of fish grow, and after we 
have a bit more first-hand community experience then explore how we might 
incorporate the Gene Function Wiki material with Wikipedia.

Just my 0.02....
Tom
Received on Wednesday, 8 February 2006 21:39:35 GMT

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