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Knowino (formerly known as Tendrl) was an internet encyclopedia, and the first Citizendium "fork," initiated by Australian computer programmer Thomas H. Larsen. The website was founded on November 15, 2010, following uncertainty about the future status of Citizendium. The announcement of a Citizendium fork was met with a hostile reception by some Citizendium council members.
Larsen called it a "principles" fork rather than a "content" fork, which is lucky, since he didn't add much content, but disappointing, since he did not define any principles, leaving Knowino as little more than a playground for three disaffected ex-Citizendium belligerents (and one RationalWiki user).
By January 2014, it mostly consisted of spambots and reverting spambots. Account creation had been disabled, and no new content was being generated. It managed to be even more dead than the site it was a fork of.
In December 2014, after a long period of the only contributors being spambots, the site's domain expired and reverted into a holding page. As of April 2019, it redirects to a dodgy virus site.
Avoiding the mistakes of Citizendium
Although Knowino was created with the objective of avoiding the problems of Citizendium (itself created to avoid perceived problems at Wikipedia) it was not clear how it would manage to do this. Furthermore, exactly which problems of the two other sites it was meant to solve was unclear because it was reticent about enumerating them.
For example, our Citizendium article talks at length about the difficulties at that site which include:
- Problems with community management.
- Lack of financial transparency.
- Ownership of articles by non-expert "experts" who in fact are cranks with an axe to grind.
- Tolerance and protection of said cranks, leading to integration of pseudoscience and woo into the project; contrasting with...
- Browbeating and micromanagement toward those with genuine academic expertise.
While Knowino seemed to be making some positive movements in respect of community management and financial transparency, it's not clear how they intended to overcome the "expert" and pseudoscience problems that plague Citizendium. There was a temporary workaround of simply avoiding "polemic" articles, but it raised another issue, of how Knowino handled privacy violations.
Like Citizendium, Knowino used the MediaWiki platform, but adopted the MySQL database system, as opposed to PostgreSQL. Financial, legal, and higher-level community administration would have been done by a "Community Council," composed of seven members, elected from the Knowino membership. Although it shared similarities with Citizendium, Knowino used the same default skin as Wikipedia, Vector, has eliminated the Metadata tab box present at the top of each Citizendium page, and dispensed with the author-editor dichotomy.
Knowino was VPS hosted by the Canadian owned MyHosting.com site. Tendrl was formerly hosted by JC-Hosting, based in Nashville, Tennessee, in Larsen's space on the BasicProgramming.org website. This was a temporary arrangement from November 15, 2010, to December 17, 2010, when the site migrated and was renamed.
Motivated by Citizendium's many failures, in July 2008, Larsen had proposed a project named "Wikipendium." It would've required participants to register an account with a username "in the form of" a real name (but not necessarily their actual names).
- Citizendium promotes itself as a "citizen's compendium," as opposed to an encyclopedia.
- Thomas H. Larsen's userpage on Citizendium.
- "Anyone interested in a fork...?" Citizendium Forums. 2010 November 19.
- "I have made a formal request to the Constabulary to delete this entire thread. I find it truly outrageous that Thomas H. Larsen... is allowed to start, and then perpetuate, a page calling for a direct competitor to CZ -- using CZ resources to do so." Source: Hayford Peirce. "Anyone interested in a fork...?" Citizendium Forums. 2010 November 19.
- Polemic articles on KN
- Knowino:Village Inn, User talk:Thomas Larsen
- Knowino:Community Council
- Thomas H. Larson. "Justification of Wikipendium’s account implementation." Wikipendium blog. 2008 July 13.