There isn’t much to talk about Knol technology – it is either nicely engineered or missing (they probably thought that search is main tool for collaboration). Of course, many issues are already covered by others, but…
My first look was at the featured articles. What was wrong?
- It features ‘closed collaboration’. Actually, thats no different from a blog, then…
- It doesn’t care much about the licensing – featured articles had images with “all rights reserved”, or images taken from Wikipedia, with attribution but without share-alike clause. Also, no share-alike license forbids importing of content from many other places, but as we see it – nobody cares. ;-)
- It doesn’t care about linking. Google search was based on the web links. Wikipedia was built on top of lots of broken links (oh, and working ones too). And nobody is going to type a Knol URL.
- It doesn’t seem to have community tools. It just doesn’t.
- WYSIWYG editing leads to articles without structure, just some text parts bolder than the other.
So for now, it seems to be pure-engineering approach at the problem, without looking at actual work done, social implications or properly respecting copyrights.
One needs community for that. Community helps not only with content, but with style, metadata, organizing, and most of all – ensures that project maintains values and spirit.