The LA Times on Sunday announced a couple new avenues -- a "Thinking Out Loud" feature and wikitorials -- for editorial page readers to enter the dialogue.
The description of the wikitorials is sketchy -- "an online feature that will empower you to rewrite Los Angeles Times editorials" -- so reaction has been based on speculation as to how this concept will work:
- Ross Mayfield, posting at Many2Many, notes that wikis work best on unfinished reference material and suggests this experiment could lead to edit wars.
- Ernest Miller suggests that perhaps the Times is planning wikis that will fork into two or more different viewpoints.
- Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly says, "It seems like interactivity just for the sake of interactivity."
Michael Kinsley, LA Times editorial and opinion editor, told the New York Times (registration required), "It may be a complete mess but it's going to be interesting to try. Wikitorials may be one of those things that within six months will be standard. It's the ultimate in reader participation."
While I share some of the skepticism about how a wikitorial will work -- I echo Mayfield's comment about the wiki being best suited to reference material -- I'd rather see a news site experimenting than doing nothing. Even if this effort fails, the LA Times will have learned some tricks that it can use in its next experiment.