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Wikipedia adds RSS to every entry

via Chris Anderson at The Long Tail via Steve Rubel at Micro Persuasion:

Wikipedia has added RSS feeds to the 1.25 million entries in the encyclopedia. This means you can now more easily track the revision history for important articles, such as those about people, brands or corporations. Simply click on the history link at the top of any entry page and you will see the RSS link on the left hand side. Here’s the feed for the ever-popular podcasting page.

This is a very interesting and very powerful. Wikipedia is arguably the single point of aggregated knowledge with the most active participants anywhere on the planet. The fact that those participants can now, a little more passively, keep up with the topics that most interest them is truly ripe with potential.

One of the OneTrueWiki’s greatest strengths and points of the most contention is that anyone can edit the content at any time. The resource that so many people are linking to and citing now as vetted fact can be changed by anyone – horror of horrors!

What is left from these discussions oftentimes is that there are a great number of watchers who see every change made to an article and swoop in with great fervor to defend the honor and NPOV of their joint creation.

To help complete the feedback loop of content creation and policing via RSS, I propose Wikipedia publish, Feedburner style, the number of subscribers to each Wikipedia article (bandwidth and CPU cycles notwithstanding). This will perhaps give more pause to those edits of inconsequence, the toes in the water of community edited content.

There is a potential downside to publishing these numbers though. Knowing how many people are watching your actions is a great catalyst – either for subtlely and rational good behavior, or for rash inflated headline-grabbing stupidity. I think the full information loop of disclosed RSS readership outweighs the potential for rashness though – let the masses use their power for good.

And they even render well in my newsreader – bonus!

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