Good To See: Wikipedia Moves Forward With Color Coding Less Trustworthy Text

from the teaching-people-to-be-skeptical dept

More than two years ago, we talked about a great idea to deal with the (somewhat misleading) question of the trustworthiness of Wikipedia: color code new edits from untrustworthy editors. Not only would this alert people to at least double-check that particular info, it would remind people that Wikipedia is a constantly changing site. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed that I hadn't heard much about this idea since that summer of 2007. However, apparently, it's been gaining in popularity, and now Wikipedia is set to start using it across the site. Here's how it works:
Based on an person's past contributions, WikiTrust computes a reputation score between zero and nine. When someone makes an edit, the background behind the new text gets shaded orange depending on their reputation: the brighter the orange, the less "trust" the text has. Then when another author edits the page, they essentially vote on the new text. If they like the edit, they'll keep it, and if not, they'll revert it. Text that persists will become less orange over time, as more editors give their votes of approval.
While there are some concerns about how well this will work (and how much processing power it will take), it seems like a worthwhile experiment.
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Filed Under: color-coded, trust, wikipedia

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  1. icon
    edgebilliards (profile), 31 Aug 2009 @ 9:07am

    i hate when i can't find sources...

    there have been two studies that came out recently that have shown that the nature of wikipedia has changed drastically since its inception. (there's also a long, labored discussion on...slashdot, i think?) long story short, these "trusted editors" just sit on the recent changes page and revert entries by "non-trusted editors" to get their edit count higher (and thus move up the ranks.)

    wikipedia doesn't need color-coded pages, it needs to do away with the rank system entirely. it was useful in getting people interested and contributing when wikipedia needed contributors. but reverting honest changes doesn't add any value to the project and their voices shouldn't take priority over the democratic whole.

    [as long as i'm on the subject, and you can ignore this off-topic rant, i don't see why any entries should be rejected for being too obscure. honestly, how much server space is needed for short entries on, for instance, phds working on important research projects or minor charaters from the star wars universe.]

    long story short, wikipedia is mounted on a high horse, and that is exactly how dysfunctional oligarchies get started.

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