The debate is open yet again between Wikipedia and Britannica. This time it is not between readers or proponents or bloggers but between the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales and Dale Hoiberg, senior vice president and editor-in-chief of Britannica. The Wall Street Journal Online invited both for this E-Debate over Email. Check it out here.
The Wall Street Journal Online also hosted a poll asking its readers to vote on the following question: "Does Wikipedia's open-editing approach yield better results than traditional encyclopedias?". At the time of writing, 2654 have voted with 56% says YES while 31% says NO.
It is difficult to say who won the debate or whether the debate is finished at all? But just a little conversation between them without any one clearly making a point or proving some thing right or wrong.
I rarely visited Britannica online, though I referred to it a lot while in college. Mainly due to the fact that we did not have any alternative and wikipedia did not exist at that time. But after I once came to know about wikipedia, I never visited any other site but wikipedia for any reference. Critics ramble that people who are writing wikipedia are not experts. But I tend to disagree, based on my experience. All the articles in which I have expertise, they are accurate and most importantly very much up-to-date. And more over, even if there is a slight inaccuracy, it does not matter to me. I do not make mission critical or life changing decisions based on wikipedia or for that matter on britannica. The up-to-date information, openness, free to use and vast coverage of wikipedia are most important to me.