Tuesday, June 21, 2005

L.A. Times kills "Wikitorial"

The Los Angeles Times' "open source" editorial experiment is over.

The paper reports that the editors of L.A. Times Interactive decided to end the project after an incident of digital "vandalism"

The Los Angeles Times has canceled a novel Internet feature that allowed readers to rewrite an editorial on the newspaper's website, after some users sabotaged the site with foul language and pornographic images.

The newspaper launched the experimental "wikitorial" Friday and killed it early Sunday after an unknown user or users posted explicit photos.

An announcement on the newspaper's website, http://www.latimes.com , said the feature had been removed "at least temporarily, because a few readers were flooding the site with inappropriate material."
The term "wikitorial" is a reference to the open-source writing project popularized by the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which allows readers to edit its entries.

It is difficult to understand why the L.A. Times was not prepared for such a problem. I did not really see the value of the "wikitorial" beyond the novelty of it, but it was an interesting idea. I took for granted some due diligence on the paper's part.