Wikia Search: Edit anything and everything

Jimmy “I invented Wikipedia” Wales gave a demo of the latest version of Wikia Search tonight, at the Social Media Marketing conference in Long Beach, and there is a new alpha site that you can play around with — if you don’t mind a page that yells “Beware!” at you in red type, and throws Javascript errors every time you click a button or launch an Ajax script (I particularly like how the URL is; nice touch there, Jimbo). It’s actually kind of impressive in a way, if only because everything on the page is editable by any user, without leaving the page.

When Wikia Search was first released, it was dismissed by Mike Arrington at TechCrunch as one of the most disappointing products he had ever reviewed — primarily because it just added social features such as user profiles on to a rather lame search tool (powered by the Nutch engine). I had to agree at the time. But this alpha allows a user, through the wonders of Ajax, to click and edit in place any one of the search results, including title and description, and even allows search results to be completely deleted. You can also add new URLS, and pull data from a preview, which also appears in place.

Obviously, this is wide open to abuse — in much the same way that Wikipedia is. In fact, it’s even easier because you don’t have to click to go to an incomprehensible “edit” page with weird wiki commands for links. You just click and edit. Whether Wikia Search can develop the same kind of community of editors and overlords that Wikipedia has, which prevent the entire effort from degenerating into outright anarchy, remains to be seen. But it’s an interesting experiment, I think.

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