Mahalo carefully gives the audience not so insane levels of control

Mahalo carefully gives the audience not so insane levels of control

Blog hero Jason Calacanis has announced on that his human-powered search engine Mahalo will embrace the Wikipedia idea of letting anyone edit any page at any time. He explains why:

This feature has allowed everyone to get involved, even if their contribution is bad. The brilliance of this move is that the bad editors grow to be poor editors, and then poor editors then become average editors, and over some period of time some small percentage of the bad, poor, and average editors become great.

The obvious threats

I’ve happened to see the CEO of Wikia, Gil Penchina, speaking at The Next Web conference. He said that “when giving away insane levels of control is done right, it is incredibly strong“. Though he did mention the obvious dangers of welcoming everyone as an editor. Calacanis has experienced one of this threats himself:

A month or so ago I had a huge political figure by my office and I was showing him how Wikipedia works. I change his nationality from Irish-American to Greek-American and he was stunned that the vandalism stayed up there for so long (five days). Of course, I had to change it back… so it’s possible that it could have stayed there for a month or a year.

Wikipedia 3.0

So the Mahalo CEO decided to adopt a Wikipedia 3.0 model: anyone can edit the page, but experts have the final say. These experts are Mahalo editors whose full time job is to check all the changes made by Mahalo users. Yes, I said users, because in order to edit a page, you’ll have to register first. Also, Mahalo allows companies and individuals to correct the facts on their own page.

All in all, Mahalo carefully gives their users not so insane levels of control. Let’s see how this works out. If it succeeds, more companies might embrace the wisdom of crowds while checking all of their users’ moves. It simply isn’t as scary as giving your users insane levels of control.

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