Esquire wikis article on Wikipedia

Jacobs decided to craft an article about Wikipedia, complete with a series of intentional mistakes and typos, and post it on the site. The hope was that the community itself would be able to fix the errors and create a clean version that would be ready for publication in Esquire’s December issue. The original version was preserved for posterity.

“The idea I had–which Jimmy (Wales, Wikipedia’s founder) loved–is that I’d write a rough draft of the article and then Jimmy would put it on a site for the Wikipedia community to rewrite and edit,” Jacobs wrote on the page introducing the experiment. Esquire “would print the ‘before’ and ‘after’ versions of the articles. So here’s your chance to make this article a real one. All improvements welcome.” —Daniel TerdimanEsquire wikis article on Wikipedia (C|Net)

Great concept. “Every factual error was corrected within minutes, and the focus moved on to refinement, clarification and making the article more readable,” according to a source quoted in the article.

Of course, if the article had not been about Wikipedia itself, chances are the responses would not have been as rapid or as informed.

How many cardiologists would be willing to correct a crappy draft of an article about heart bypass surgery, for instance?