by Mike Masnick
Wed, Aug 8th 2007 11:53am
It always seems misguided when people complain about quality problems in Wikipedia while ignoring identical quality problems in other media -- and the fact that it's easier and faster to make corrections in Wikipedia when those errors are discovered. One thing that defenders of Wikipedia often point out, is that it's easy to check the history page of any Wikipedia entry to get a sense of whether or not a particular tidbit of info has survived the test of time or was just recently dumped on the page (or if there's been any controversy over it). However, the truth is not too many people actually bother to check the history page (even among those who bring it up as a defense of Wikipedia). It appears that Wikipedia may start experimenting with a creative idea to help deal with this: color coding sections of Wikipedia entries. If a change was made by a new or untrustworthy user, Wikipedia could color code it as red so any readers would know to be even more skeptical than usual about that information. As the information survives the test of time, then it could fade to black (so to speak). At the same time, users who have a long history of making trustworthy edits would have their edits more quickly "trusted" within the color coded system. It's a creative idea that seems to make a lot of sense for improving the overall quality of Wikipedia. It's almost a shame we can't do the same thing with other forms of media as well. The plan is apparently to test this system on the smaller Wikia community before rolling it out on Wikipedia, but it seems like an experiment worth following.
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