The decentralized Wikipedia rival frees Ethereum's blockchain for launching on EOS


Following the failed plans to launch on Ethereum ETH the decentralized encyclopedia Everipedia has announced that its operation is live on the EOS blockchain.

Everipedia wants to rival Wikipedia by offering a database of information that is truly open and free of censorship. Its developers claim that Wikipedia suffers from too many regulations and "bureaucratic overseers" that make it "attractive only for a relatively small portion of potential encyclopedia writers".

There is an intrinsic connection also between the two platforms: in particular the presence of Dr. Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, who is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Everipedia.

The hope that Everipedia will benefit from the supposedly decentralized nature of EOS – but how much resistance to censorship can be derived has not been proven.

The migration from Ethereum to EOS

Its launch was long: the project appeared last year, originally built for Ethereum. In December, the team boarded EOS, which coincided with the recruitment of Sanger. The developers claim that building on Ethereum is "hardly sustainable", at least until it resolves its scalability problems.

Although this is a fair subject, it is worth noting that EOS has its own brand of problems related to the way it handles the sharp increases in traffic. In particular, he had problems finding a solution for the distribution of critical resources to app developers, or RAM.

"Not everything works or is ready on the EOS platform, but it's the same for Ethereum", the Everipedia team told Hard Fork in an email. "Scalability solutions are still being processed, storage costs, RAM and bandwidth change a lot, of course, things need to be improved and the economy elaborated."

How Everipedia Works

Everipedia presents a system of incentives powered by its native cryptocurrency – IQ. Collaborators and validators are rewarded for objectivity and high standards with tokens. This, coupled with the blind loyalty to decentralization, is apparently sufficient to control quality.

The introduction of money in the editorial process also raises some ethical issues. The answers, it seems, come through the idyllic "free market": the best content will inevitably rise at the top, provided there is an incentive.

Not having a central authority also brings new challenges. We already know that problems can be with maintaining the quality of decentralized content. That is to say, there may be too many cocks – and even widespread astroturfing.

This problem is certainly not unique to decentralized platforms, as Wikipedia is famous for trolls. To fight it, Wikipedia keeps track of IP addresses to see who is doing what – a sequence of data that resembles a blockchain, in the way records are kept of all page changes.

Sanger has further elaborated the way he imagines the platform will work, in an e-mail to Hard Fork:

Because the network is decentralized, the network will bring together articles from multiple encyclopedias, not just Everipedia. It will be possible to have different articles on the same subject, and at the end we will have an evaluation system that will allow people to find different articles on the same topics, classified by different categories of people, groups and experts [19659017] Like Wikipedia, but with money [19659006] Its success depends on whether the system inspires legitimate content or not. Even if it lives today, it is still an experiment still in its early stages. He claims to have already over 8,000 contributors and a larger volume of English voices than Wikipedia.

This is probably due to Everipedia which has an advantage: its original database was an exact copy of Wikipedia – a complete set of entries. Sanger has assured Hard Fork that it will be totally different – even if at the end.

While started as a fork of Wikipedia and will always maintain a collaborative wiki-style encyclopedia, in the coming years, we anticipate the network evolving into something fundamentally different from Wikipedia.

In the end, this is indeed an attempt to put together a global workforce of encyclopedists – something that Wikipedia has tried, but because of its non-profit nature and lack of incentives, the integrity of its contributors has often aroused criticism. A few years ago, The Atlantic reported that the Wikipedia entries were judged by those who paid to influence consumers and even medical patients.

"We need a wider variety of people to feel comfortable contributing, instead of about 10,000 contributors – this is my estimate of the number of active Wikipedians – a more open and decentralized network will be able to to organize the work of millions of intellectuals from all over the world. "Sanger told us. "This is what should exist, but you can organize that number of people only in a highly decentralized and neutral way without leaders, in the same way that the Internet itself has been organized, through neutral technical protocols."

EOS can you handle it?

EOS has a history of block makers that avoid constitutional responsibilities and do what they want, regardless of consensus. Recently, seven accounts were frozen after they were suspected of having stolen funds. Usually, an arbitrary body makes such decisions, and although they rejected the motion, the block makers went ahead and they did it anyway.

There are also concerns about the influence that has on EOS. Dan Larimer recently stated that he will take part in the elections for the right to produce blocks in the network. At first glance, this may seem overwhelming – but considering that EOS uses Proof of Stake's consent, the large amount of EOS controlled by challenges some decentralization claims.

As creators, has enough EOS to control 25 percent of the votes, raising significant problems of conflict of interest – not to mention if this centralizes any decision-making process. Two days earlier, however, Dan Larimer was discussing completely eliminating his constitution, stating that it was "unwise".

The whole thing justifies the questions, in particular regarding the effect that EOS governance could have on Everipedia. If you can make hasty decisions to freeze accounts outside the protocol, can decisions be made to silence contributors by blocking their accounts?

If we are really building a new internet, a decentralized one, it should probably have its own encyclopedia. Having a monetary reward system for contributors certainly sounds good, but reimbursement for content creation inevitably hinders editorial ethics.

Any potential consequences have yet to be played, even if Everipedia is finally open to the public and certainly gives us a front row seat.

Published August 9, 2018 at 4:19 pm UTC

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