The NYT continues to impress me with their coverage of search and social media, this time reporting on the invite-only launch of Thoof.com. Thoof is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Ian Clarke and appears to offer a news submission and voting site similar to Digg, but with the ability for users to edit the submissions and update the content, a la Wikipedia.
Mr. Clarke expects that a small percentage of the siteâ€™s users will contribute links to articles, while most readers will come to the site because it will match articles with their interests.
Active members of the Thoof community will be able to alter the contributions of other users, changing headlines and even substituting a link to a better article on the same subject. The community will then vote on the changes.
It’s certainly a nice spin on Digg. I’ve always found it frustrating to keep up with the comments on anything submitted. One user may add a link to a better resource, while another will point out something incorrect – all nicely buried deep in the comments section. Still, offering the ability to edit the submissions has its risks…
The challenge, he said, was that in turning editorial functions over to the consumer of news, these sites were both taking advantage of the wisdom of crowds and running the risk that people will try to game the system.
You can bet that Digg’s Kevin Rose will be watching Thoof closely to see if the consumer editing aspect works or not.
UPDATE: Techcrunch has more details and screenshots.