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Wikipedia Announces Tighter Editorial Control 407

Daedalus_ wrote to mention a Reuters article reporting from Wikimania. "Wikipedia, the Web encyclopaedia written and edited by Internet users from all over the world, plans to impose stricter editorial rules to prevent vandalism of its content, founder Jimmy Wales was quoted as saying Friday." (Update: 08/06 23:45 GMT by J : But see his response here!) Meanwhile, kyelewis writes "WikiMania, the First International WikiMedia Conference is open in Germany, but if you couldn't gather the money or the courage to fly over, you can listen online in Ogg Vorbis format, or if you miss the talks, you can download them later. The WikiMania Broadcast page has more information, and the WikiMania Programme is also available, so jump in and learn more about the mysterious technology that is the wiki."
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Wikipedia Announces Tighter Editorial Control

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  • by FortKnox ( 169099 ) * on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:33PM (#13253240) Homepage Journal
    Not to be mean (I looove wikipedia), but doesn't more control mean less 'wiki-like'?
    • by solive1 ( 799249 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:40PM (#13253301)
      The problem is that many people view Wikipedia, but when you see Emperor Palpatine in the spot where Pope Benedict's picture is supposed to be, Wikipedia loses credibility. Wikipedia wants to be a credible source of information that is open for people to add and contribute to, but since its popularity has risen, more and more people are going to abuse the power to contribute in less than meaningful ways.

      I like Wikipedia because I can look up almost anything and find an entry. They're trying to curb the problem of malicious users before it gets out of hand, which is good, IMO.
      • I'm not saying this is a good thing (trust me, I want it to stay very credible and use it often), but I just merely wanted to point out that they are growing out of their roots (which isn't always a bad thing).
      • by ifdef ( 450739 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @05:12PM (#13253549)
        I've been involved in editing some wikipedia articles, and in observing what was going in them.

        Certainly, you don't want to put too much of a damper on people's ability to modify the text in good faith, but some people are just vandals. In one case, somebody thought his version of history was the correct one, and whenever anybody edited the article, he would always just put his own version back. The thing is, he wouldn't discuss the issues, so there was no way to come to any kind of consensus about how to say something in a factual and neutral way, he would simply replace the current version with his own version. What little discussion he did actually get involved in was mostly him calling all the other editors extremely rude and racist names, and saying they should all go to the gas chambers. This is not a disagreement about the facts or the point of view, this is simply vandalism.

        I've also seen the text of articles replaced in whole or in part by obscenities. Not controversial articles, not appropriate or funny obscenities, just obscenities. Again, simply vandalism.

        As is replacing the Pope's picture, I suppose, but I would think that that was just a joke, which I suppose may have been offensive to some people, etc, etc, but that's the type of mistake I myself have made more times than I care to remember.
        • I think that about 99% of all of humanity's problems could be solved if someone could invent a reliable and reproducible process to take any text on any subject, and modify it so that it's objectively neutral. Personally, I think it's an inherent weakness in all human language, and quite possibly a fundamental component of human consciousness, that objective neutrality in an idea expressed in a human language, is actually impossible to achieve.

          (In other words, I think that just about any topic can and will
      • if that's the worst of it, wikipedia has little to worry about. Compare v. c2 which has to struggle under the weight of a deluge of wikispam and complete nonsense.

        I would rather simply enforce tighter controls on what it takes to get into the final visible version of wiki, and just have a serious approval process of edits - if a page seems short of information, then the more recent, unreviewed, edited copy can be viewed.
      • there is an optical similarity between Palpatine and this Benedict
        they both have this evil look
      • when you see Emperor Palpatine in the spot where Pope Benedict's picture is supposed to be, Wikipedia loses credibility.
        People need to learn to cope with variable credibility. They need to learn to apply their minds to stuff like edit histories and discussion pages. The anointing of "definitive" content is all of hubristic, limiting, and an unhelpful feather-bed for lazy thinkers. TANSTAAFL.

        (Yes, I know this is ironic in context.)
        • by pomo monster ( 873962 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @06:20PM (#13254071)
          I'd like to think I know how to cope with variable credibility, but I'd really just rather not have to waste time digging through edit histories and discussion pages to figure out whose revision comes closest to the "truth" I'm after. Give me a source I already know and trust to be reliable, and I'll even be willing to pay you for the time I save.
      • by kngthdn ( 820601 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @06:37PM (#13254200) Homepage
        I couldn't believe Wikipedia could do this to us. The idea, of anyone being able to edit anything, is more important than the possiblity of Tiger Wood's page being replaced with "oMFg!! tIgeR WOODs sux". The only reason I have ever contributed to the site was because I am so amazed that it works. Yes, I have had my user page replaced with porn as a Troll's revenge for cleaning up vandalism, and egomanics have rolled back changes that I made.

        But it *always* gets fixed, very quickly. It's easy to imagine vandalism sitting undetected until it's "found", but that isn't the way it works. As soon as changes are submitted to an article, all the information (# of bytes changes, user or anonymous, article name, and a link to the last diff) is output on an IRC channel anyone can join. Using CryptoDerk's Vandal Fighter [wikipedia.org], a handy java program, makes it even better. Trolls are blacklisted, shared between peers on the network, and shown in bright red. All you have to so is watch it for a while, wait for an anonymous user to make a big change (always to the same articles, Bush, Homosexuality, Anus, etc.) and...you click the link and roll it back. That simple. People do this all the time, which is why there is so little vandalism that survives.

        At any rate, this article is totally 100% bogus. This is off the Wikipedia Announcements page [wikipedia.org]:
        Numerous news outlets are quoting a Reuters report that Jimmy Wales has stated that there will be a "freeze" on editing. This statement has not been corroborated by any of the Wikimedia board, nor by any present at the Wikimania conference. General agreement among long-time Wikipedians is that Jimbo has been misleadingly quoted, and that the report is a giant steaming pile.
        Makes me feel better. ; )

        To all the doubters, Wikipedia works, and millions of people love it. If vandalism bothers you, download Cryptoderk's program and get to work.
    • Yes, but it will me more 'pedia-like', which IMHO is better.

      While wiki can be dynamic and fluid, it was never meant to be a bulletin board or a chat room. With some highly contentious topics you end up with an off-topic name-calling match between 2 authors (if you read the revisions), and that's not in anyone's best interest.

      We're not talking about imposing a complete editing and peer-reviewing process like a print encyclopedia (which is also good, since dissenting opinions tend to not get preserved
    • I'm active in another site that has a wiki based documentation section. The damn spammers have found it and almost daily add lots of links to porn and other unwelcome and unrelated sites. More recently they have also started deleting good information when they insert their spam rather than just appending it. And the wiki software doesn't present a good way to just back their changes out. There is a history that one can find the old information in, but that still seems to cause problems with loss of formatti
    • It means Wikipedia is turning into Everything2 [everything2.com]
  • by TheOtherAgentM ( 700696 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:33PM (#13253244)
    "Hollabackgirl" will still be some term that Gwen Stefani just made the fuck up and tried to pass off as normal speech.
  • I realize you can rollback the pages and all, but judging from the amount of trolls on slashdot, was anyone not expecting this?

                            no... my slashdot troll days are over
      at work anyways
      or should I say good hunting
      that's what cags are supposed to say!
  • Hint hint (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:34PM (#13253250)
    Hey now, maybe a certain *other* site could take this opportunity to review the quality of its editors...
  • by imstanny ( 722685 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:35PM (#13253255)
    "There may soon be so-called stable contents. In this case, we'd freeze the pages whose quality is undisputed..." The question is, however, how do you determine when something is undisputed. A lot of politically driven pages are constantly edited until there forms a 'balance' between opposing views; that, however, takes time and is never 'undisputed'.
    • I think the issue is when someone writes an article about abortion in the American legal system and someone attempts to replace it with several copies of the word "murder." Other good targets for stasis would be pages pertaining to evolutionary biology, the holocaust, and similar areas where there is a small, vocal lunatic fringe which is militant in publicizing its incorrect dogma.
      • I think they may mean biographies of minor dead people, old TV shows, etc.

        Freezing these would stop the totally ramdom vandals who pick rarely visited pages and insert incorrect information.
    • Well in this case I think it means "whose quality no one we think matters cares to dispute." Which is really the case in for any editor. But the point made by an earlier post still stands, having official editors makes it less "wiki-like."
    • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) * on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:42PM (#13253323) Homepage
      "There may soon be so-called stable contents. In this case, we'd freeze the pages whose quality is undisputed..." The question is, however, how do you determine when something is undisputed. A lot of politically driven pages are constantly edited until there forms a 'balance' between opposing views; that, however, takes time and is never 'undisputed'.

      While there are a fairly small number of hotly contested pages, the vast bulk of the Wikipedia is comprised of short entries about fairly unremarkible subjects. These also tend to be the best pages to vandalize (especially in nonobvious ways) because they generally don't get looked at all that much.

      So while, say, the Robert Novak page is going to see a lot of dispute between now and whenever someone finally drives a stake through his heart, the page on the Byzantine Emperor Basil I (811-886 AD) probably isn't going to see a great number of worthwhile changes anytime soon.

    • If an article has been posted to the world, and stood the the test of time, like a year or more, and nobody has anything to add/edit to it, then it can be frozen.

      Nothing prevents someone from posting their own article on a similar subject.
  • Good Idea. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:35PM (#13253260) Homepage Journal
    It always seemed a little silly to me that anyone even without so much as a valid logon could change the content of these pages.

    But I wonder what it will mean for people like me who post edits to maybe 4 or 5 articles a year, when we find an error?

    I think the biggest problem is edits to 'contraversial' posts, like "Intelegent Design" or "Joseph McCarthy".

    Of course the "real" trolls will simply poison the well by inserting subtle errors.
    • by starseeker ( 141897 ) * on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:43PM (#13253329) Homepage
      I have no idea if that was intentional, but either way it's sheer genius :-).
    • > It always seemed a little silly to me that anyone even without so much as a valid logon could change the content of these pages.

      It worked semi-OK for a while, but a few months ago it became a popular trolling spot, and now if I look at my watchlist once a day I'll find about half a dozen acts of outright vandalism. I just don't have time to keep up with it anymore.

      > I think the biggest problem is edits to 'contraversial' posts, like "Intelegent Design" or "Joseph McCarthy".

      Yes, stuff that can be sp

      • Another problem is Wikipedia now high visbility especially in Google, is begining to attract spammers, and it's sometimes very hard to track them or ban them as they are even creating now bogus articles to put their spam in.

        Another problem is what I'll call "fan articles", their are lots of obscure people, bands, artists and so on making their way into Wikipedia, that have absolutly no Encyclopedic interest.
        • Re: Good Idea. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @05:27PM (#13253656) Journal
          Another problem is what I'll call "fan articles", their are lots of obscure people, bands, artists and so on making their way into Wikipedia, that have absolutly no Encyclopedic interest

          Well, not exactly "no interest". Someone had to be interested enough to create the article, yes?

          Do you mean "No interest to me, and to other right-thinking people like me?" Do you mean "No interest to the overwhelming majority of the reader base?"

          Yeah, generally, i vote "delete" in the inevitable "Vote for Deletion" calls on vanity pages and the like. But it bugs me that minority opinions are getting quashed because they aren't widely held. There's a fine line between "maintaining quality for the sake of credibility" and "maintaining conformity for the sake of the groupthink." Sometimes the voices of the crackpot are useful and, even occaisionally, right [wikipedia.org].

      • Yes, stuff that can be spun for the purposes of nationalism, religion, politics, or racism have always been problems. Nationalism gets inserted into all kinds of articles about history, archaeology, language, etc. Religious spin is creeping into everything.

        For me Wikipedia's strongest area has been the math and science pages, which don't seem to suffer from anywhere near the same kind of issues. Perhaps it's because the math pages I use and contribute to are all obscure so vandals don't go there, but in gen
    • by j1m+5n0w ( 749199 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:45PM (#13253350) Homepage Journal

      I have no idea how they plan on implementing this, but if it was up to me, I'd have a "stable" and "draft" version of each high-profile page. Anyone should be able to edit the draft. Periodically, the draft version could replace the stable version (perhaps a voting system could be in place, not unlike the kuro5hin submission queue).

      The importance of a page (to decide if a locked "stable" page is necessary) could be determined automatically either by number of hits, or computing the pagerank of each page given the link graph of the whole wiki.

      • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @05:03PM (#13253506) Homepage
        Mod Up!

        You HAVE to have a way of getting new data into Wikipedia pages. Even long-ago historical events need to be updated when new evidence or new analysis brings new facts to light. History is never cemented. And Wikipedia has proven remarkably capable of keeping up-to-date with new events.

        But yes, Wikipedia editing is sometimes like making sausage. No matter how good it tastes in the end, the intermediate steps aren't always good looking. You need to simultaneously hide this sausage-making from the casual user (by making the "stable" page be the default one to appear), while also making it not too difficult for people to contribute to the sausage-making process (by making the "draft" page only a single click away).

      • Great solution.
        But would the users change over drafts to stable, or would the editors? I'm just curious if the editors would be able to keep up with even checking draft/stable relationships in a timely mannor...
      • I am not sure this is a good idea. the English version has nearly 600 000 articles now. It will be very hard to find volunteers to make a stable version of this. I contribute somtimes to Wikipedia when I have time or when I am in the mood of contributing, or when I am looking for information, but I sure will not be interested in devoting hours and hours for developing a stable version.
      • I have no idea how they plan on implementing this, but if it was up to me, I'd have a "stable" and "draft" version of each high-profile page. Anyone should be able to edit the draft.

        This is almost certainly what Jimbo said (or at least meant to say), before being selectively quoted.

      • by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @05:38PM (#13253730) Homepage Journal
        When an article goes unedited for maybe 4 hours it automatically becomes stable.

        That way wikipedians can always view the draft version, but it's highly unlikely that vandalism will stay around long enough to be stablized.

        People coming in from google or such like will automatically get the stable version unless they deliberately choose draft.
        • When an article goes unedited for maybe 4 hours it automatically becomes stable.

          Not a bad idea, but maybe it could be based on page views instead of time. If a draft has been read a certain number of times without a modification, it could be moved to stable. Four hours may be too short in the early morning, or too long for current events.

          Either way, there's a significant danger of a troll getting their edit into the stable version, then editing the draft frequently enough to prevent it from stablizing

    • Re: It always seemed a little silly to me that anyone even without so much as a valid logon could change the content of these pages.

      I think the low barrier to entry is something that really helps wikipedia. I've often added information to subjects that I look up. For example, I was curious what years Mork & Mindy [wikipedia.org] ran on TV because I now live near where it was filmed. I happened to know where the original house was located, but it wasn't in the entry ... 30 seconds later and it was. Get a little info,
  • We want total freedom from censorship and total creative control!
    We want to be protected from malicious actions of both others and ourselves!
    • That's a rather profound contradiction! Have you considered submitting it as an Ask Slashdot? ("For example, smarmy nerds constantly sneer at viewers of reality programs. And yet they watch anime, which is for complete morons!")
    • We want total freedom from censorship and total creative control!
      We want to be protected from malicious actions of both others and ourselves!

      Defacing of informative wiki content by trolls is a form of censorship [webster.com], where the troll objects to clear, informative content.

      P.S. To anyone about to reply "only guvments censor!1!": I linked to a dictionary, go read it.
  • Sounds good to me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    But I certainly hope that the changes are "you can't make a change without some kind of external board approving it" not "you can't make a change, EVER!". Like, let's say they lock the Pope Ratzlinger page to prevent vandalism, saying "this page is perfect! it doesn't need more changes!". Then then the Pope dies. Um... what now? Do we have to wait for whoever holds the key to the Pope page to wake up so wikipedia can be updated?

    I also wish they'd have better/clearer rules for what to do when some kind of ca
  • by Corsican Upstart ( 879857 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:39PM (#13253287)
    Hmm.. I don't know if this really goes along with the openness aspect that Wikis have. I do know what they mean though; vandalism is a problem.

    Maybe for the "frozen" entries, updates should be allowed to be submitted, but then there'd be a voting, where the update would only be applied if enough people accepted it.

    Maybe they could even impliment a reputation system, where the votes of people with higher reputations count more, and/or where people with higher reputations can make changes without needing a vote...

    • IMO a better solution is to just delay changes for a while. Have the main page shown for each article be one that is 1+ hours out of date from the current page (when you go to edit it takes you to the most up-to-date page).

      So in order to vandalize, the changes would have to survive a 'burn in' period where those people watching the article have a chance to cancel it before everybody sees it on the main page. This takes away the primary motivation for vandalism since nobody sees the change except to revert
  • I know this is Slashdot and someone is bound to call me a grammar/spelling Nazi for saying this, but one of the biggest problems I have with Wikipedia is that articles that have been handled by many people tend to start losing any semblance of decent grammar and coherent thought. I hope the editors take a closer look not only at blatant vandalism, but also ensure that the articles are written well. If Wikipedia is to be taken seriously by a more mainstream audience (I love it, personally, but many academi
    • Well, I hope you improved the articles that you are moaning about. YOU are an editor. That is how Wikipedia works. If everyone sat around moaning about WP instead of helping improve it, there wouldn't even be a Wikipedia.

      Anyway, WP has little to gain by being "taken seriously by a more mainstream audience". People can use it if they find it useful or they can not use it if they don't. There are now enough people that do care about WP to pay the bills.

      It will never be like Encylopedia Britannica - but it

  • No Surprise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:40PM (#13253295) Homepage
    The bigger the population, the more sociopaths it'll have, and the more damage any one sociopath will be able to do. You either have to take steps to fight it or let the sociopaths pare the population down to the point where they're not a problem anymore.

    Personally, I prefer the former solution. Good luck, Wikipedia!

  • About time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jolar ( 905312 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:40PM (#13253298)
    I'm tired of seeing vandalized pages, pages for 14 year old kids who think their ability with Flash warrants their own page on Wikipedia (I shit you not, I deleted one of these), and other stuff that just shouldn't be there. Their "talk pages" seem to make a simple issue take a long time to resolve. With a little tighter control, I think that the article quality will be a little higher. I, for one, welcome this development.
    • yep. there are tons of other wikis for that kind of personal crap. Portland Pattenrns has a good guide to wikis in there somewhere, wpedia is not hte place to start.
  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:42PM (#13253316) Homepage Journal
    ...of a wiki at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki [wikipedia.org]:

    A wiki is a web application that allows users to add content, as on an Internet forum, but also allows anyone to edit the content.

    So this definitely goes against the spirit of a Wiki. That said, I think a little editorial control is probably justified, especially with mature/stable articles, which have reached a high level of quality and experience only infrequent updates.

    Rather than having such articles targeted by vandals, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have an occasional valid update go through an editorial vote. Wikipedia already does this currently with "Controversial" articles which are likely to experience Edit-wars.

    Extending the control a little probably would do Wikipedia good. The emphasis there being on "little", since overextending editorial content is likely to cause the same problems that regular encyclopedias do - biased content, inaccuracies due to limited knowledge of editors, outdated content, etc.

  • by bgfay ( 5362 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:42PM (#13253318) Homepage
    When I first started reading /. the contents were completely wide open and free. At first, when changes were made to tame the wildness of it, I was skeptical. Such changes often kill off the spirit of the site. However, the /. changes have been good for me. I read only those responses that score a 3 or better, I meta moderate, I moderate, and all of that seems to work well.

    The question I have with Wikipedia is how they will go about imposing stricter editorial control. Discipline is often a good thing, but almost as often it can be a very bad thing. I'll be watching what they come up with, commenting on it when possible, and trying to keep the site as one of the most useful on the web.

  • Thanks, Wikipedia, for a wonderful resource.

    My total contribution so far: One sentence (a very good one. grin) and two small corrections.
    • My total contribution so far: One sentence (a very good one. grin) and two small corrections.

      With that sort of contribution, you should make a Wikipedia page about yourself, to tell others what you have done ;)

      ...oh wait, the article was trying to stop those kinds of Wikipedia entries? Oops!
  • by GPLDAN ( 732269 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:44PM (#13253335)
    Ebay and Wikipedia. I thought neither of them had a chance in hell to work. Ebay was an intermediary broker and I figured would go down in flames from bogus sales, and I thought Wiki would be flooded with ass clowns who wrote a lot of silly joke pages.

    I was wrong about both of them. Of the two, Wiki is an actual valuable contribution to mankind. The Wiki project, like the Gutenberg project, is about the proliferation of knowledge. It needs creative input from the whole net community in order to thrive, but as it gains status it becomes a bigger target for systematic abuse. I think this move is sound, Encyclopedia Brittanica and the World Book are bereft after the Internet. What Wiki needs is some sort of incentive system. If Gates wanted to buy some good will, he should give a billion or so to the WIki crew (despite the relationship with Google) and have the editors pay net citizens with Paypal for especially valuable work, or really excellent photos, etc. That is the next step in the evolution of the online knowledge center.
    • "Of the two, Wiki is an actual valuable contribution to mankind."

      And eBay isn't? The ability to find classic books, games, movies, albums, art - it's a valuable asset to a society.

      eBay has helped facilitate the re-use of millions of computers. Thanks to eBay, anyone with $200 can get a decent used notebook. Thanks to eBay, I can buy an RCA CED system if I want. I can buy laserdiscs. I can buy a TRS-80 Portable or a 128k Mac.

      That's valuable to me.
    • have the editors pay net citizens with Paypal for especially valuable work

      I'm not sure that's actually a good idea. This is the usual feeling with open-source software and other freely collaborative projects. "Look how good they are! Imagine how much better they could be if they had some money! Imagine how much better it would be if the contributors were being paid!" However I think this is a fallacy. Those who contribute to such open collaborations do so for fun (or for reputation, to scratch an itch,
    • I thought Wiki would be flooded with ass clowns who wrote a lot of silly joke pages

      It is; only the "superuser" admins are deleting them (I am a WIkipedia admin). Take a look at the Wikipedia deletion log [wikipedia.org]; in the last 24 hours almost 1000 pages has been deleted, and that is a typical day. That works out to almost one page delete per minute.
  • One of the fun things about Wiki is reading well-written and moderate view on some nasty subjects, like porn stars or the history of shock sites. The internet is full of 'shock' media and seeing juicy subjects dismantled into enclyopediese makes me laugh my ass off. I can't understand why people would want to hurt a 'good thing' like wikipedia.
    • I am a teacher and I wanted my students to have access to Wikipedia. The raw site on the web had lots of stuff that was inappropriate in a K-12 school so I took a snapshot from their download area and edited the whole thing. It took two weeks to screen 24 gB of images. As an indicator of quality, I had only to delete about 100 images. Some were clearly irrelevant to the articles in which they appeared and some were just too much information for young kids, That took me two weeks. I also looked for things th
  • by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) * <jhummel@@@johnhummel...net> on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:44PM (#13253347) Homepage
    I've been thinking about this as well as I launch my own wiki. Probably the most logical thing is to have a karma like system a la slashdot (granted, perhaps more modular) tied with voting, and tie changes into articles into votes, then tie that karma to kinds of articles.

    For example, news require low karma to post (since by their nature they are fast, and you want information now). Other items, such as definitions, etc, would require higher karma, and you could even tie voting into how high karma on a specific article can be. This way, during presidential elections the community could have voted to have the definitions of "John Kerry" and "George W Bush" very high, so up to a 10.

    A person with a karma of 5 would need only 5 more "points" for the article to become accepted, while someone with a 3 would need even more. Unregistered users would be 0, so anonymous people could still register - but they'd just need more "votes".

    Granted, this is just a brainstorm, and I'm sure people smarter than myself can find holes, but it's just something I've been considering as I work on my own wiki project.
    • The problem with this is that it could potentially be used to enforse "group think". Whatever group of people get enough karma to get past some magic threshold first have the ability to block everyone else. For instance, if enough left wing American democratic party activists establish themsleves first, they can create pages of unflattering propaganda about republicans and use their votes to prevent republicans from gaining enough karma that they could remove the propaganda.
  • by grungebox ( 578982 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:46PM (#13253361) Homepage
    How does having a "commision" who oversees when content is "undisputed" work? Do they rely on an expert in a subject area? If so, isn't that pretty much like most encyclopedias such as, say, the Britannica? You know, the ones /.ers refer to as antiquated or obsolete relative to Wikipedia? I think they should just make people log in to edit entries, so anyone can still edit stuff, they just need to make an account (i.e., give enough of a damn to create an account), and let it be. If you get pics of Palpatine as Pope for a few minutes then so be it, Jedi. Price you pay for a democratic info source, that's what I say.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am a long time contributor and see that just the last year the number of vandalisms have increased sharply. Just pick any article, check the history and look for commenstr like "reverting vandalism" or just "rv" for short.

    Moreover, and to me more serious, are the deletionists, whose agenta is to cull all they can on a darwinian principle. This annoys me in particular since they succeeded in wiping one of my articles. First attempt that it was "fan work" I managed to hold off, anohter attempt was made and
  • by aftk2 ( 556992 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @04:48PM (#13253378) Homepage Journal
    Why couldn't they have done this several months ago, before my boss started looking closely at Wikipedia, and their method of allowing anyone - even users not logged into specific user accounts - to edit a given page? It's taken a bit of effort and time to reengineer our CMS to do the same, should someone desire the option.

    Sigh. I fully expect to walk into work on Monday and see "One-button page locking" as the next feature to implement.
  • Dvorak was right!

    "Wikis and any public reviewing or consensus processes have to be regulated and closed to the public at large for them to work effectively over time."

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1835858,00.as p [pcmag.com]

  • The whole point of a Wiki is that anyone can edit it. Even if the page is factually accurate and up-to-date, someone can always decide that the text of the article needs to be reworded for clarity, because it'll look better, etc. Or things can change--like the Pope for example. Things can be accurate for the moment, and then something happens--he says something notable (and/or controversial), he retires, he dies, etc.

    However, I think Wikipedia needs to crack down even harder on vandals. For example, there [wikipedia.org]
  • I would prefer see a banner reading 'You're seeing the stable revision of this article. Click here to access the draft for the next stable revision (beware of vandalism).'. It's like moving a STABLE tag in a revision control system.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @05:00PM (#13253477)
    I decided I didn't like this new policy, so I went to WikiPedia and rewrote it.
  • delay mechanism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chronos2266 ( 514349 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @05:02PM (#13253490)
    They should have a period of delay between the edited version of a page and when the page is actually published. This gives the edits some time for review before they 'go live'. It isn't perfect but with that many eyes it should keep down on new users from being turned off because they came to the site the second it has been vandalized.
  • It's always the same thing. Build something nice, make it available, and somebody(s) will try to tear it down.
  • Citing a recent example of vandalism, Wales recalled how following the election of the new Pope Benedict in April, a user substituted the pontiff's photo on the Wikipedia site with that of the evil emperor from the Star Wars film series.

    You know, in it's own way this is funny! But it's also out of place.

    What Wikipedia needs is a sister publication run by the same people called Fakipedia for people to post their best jokes and vandalisms on. And this way people looking for vandalisms will know where to

  • by wikinerd ( 809585 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:14PM (#13255346) Journal

    Wikipedia is based on the old 18th century encyclopedia concept, but this isn't effective in the digital era of the Internet. Many Wikipedia articles are intentionally written for the common people, not containing specialist scientific or rare information you can find in specialist books. For example, Wikipedia's article on quadratic classifiers [wikipedia.org] is a stub written in April (after I raised this issue on their mailing list in February), and their article on software agents [wikipedia.org], although much improved since I pointed that it was as short as a kid's poem some months before, is still inadequate if you consider that some people study agents for years in universities. Now, what will happen if we go there and improve these articles so much that they contain all the relevant information you can find in computer science and mathematics books, including detailed examples and HOW-TOs, to the extent that these articles become 300-page books? They will remove that extra "unencyclopedic" and "specialist" knowledge, since they believe it should not be part of an encyclopedia. They may move the information to their other wikiprojects, such as Wikibooks. That's bad, because some information will inevitably be duplicated, and duplication leads to ommisions and errors (someone may fix something in Wikibooks, but the fix won't show up in a Wikipedia article which may contain the same information). They believe in old monolithic ideas and they still think in terms of "books", "articles", "pages", something they write and the reader reads in the same monolithic form. They must proceed and understand what the future holds for wikis and the Web, and they must adapt to that future.

    The future lies in personalised information. You can see that it's coming if you notice the rise of RSS and you understand why it's so trendy now: People want to control the information they consume. The don't want to read an HTML page which may contain markup and CSS errors, be incompatible with their browser, full of flashy f*cking irrelevant advertisements and whatnot. They prefer RSS which provides an easy-to-parse XML representation of the information they want. Similarily, people use free/libre open-source software because they want to have control over their PCs and their lives, they don't want their software to spy on them nor to control what they can do with their computer with evil technologies like Trusted Computing [againsttcpa.com] and stupid DRM. People want freedom and choice. Books and articles are like closed-source software: You cannot control with fine granularity what you want to read. You have a choice between different authors, but that's all, and this isn't true freedom. What if we had a magic piece of paper which could erase the words and phrases we dislike? We could then read exactly what we want to read, from any author. How many times have you bought a 500-page book only to find out later than 75% of its text is unnecessary pseudo-literary decoration? Some people have lots of time and like to read anything they can, others want to invest their time in reading only the absolutely necessary text which contains the information they urgently need. We need a way to have total control over the information that enters our brain, or else we are at the mercy of the author.

    In wikis, we need a wiki that can build personalised wiki-articles based on our preferences, getting data and information from a flexible database. This is a multi-step process. We must first create a wiki database which contains all the data we can document, if possible a perfect copy of our brains I would say, then we must develop software to tag its contents and let the user to retrieve the information in any way they like, and if we use a good design there is no need to duplicate any data.

    Special software needs to be developed in order to materialise my vision. This software should be based on the concepts of "co

  • Wikipedia is a cabal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Saturday August 06, 2005 @01:31AM (#13256460)
    Wikipedia divides itself up into eight master categories. Two of these are mathematics and science - topics it handles well. There is cooperation, deference to expertise and those categories are usually pretty good. Then on the other end of the spectrum you have categories like history and society. Those categories it does not handle well at all - there is no cooperation, and unending arguments break out for nationalist reasons (see Gdansk [wikipedia.org] or Palestine [wikipedia.org]) or left vs. right reasons (see Ken Mehlman [wikipedia.org]), or both.

    Wikipedia's is owned by a millionaire who is a big fan of Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises and so forth. This should begin to give you an idea of where it's head is at. He has appointed people to positions of power like admin, bureaucrat, arbitrator, and mediator, more often of a like mind then not. One of these people is part of the far-right Moonie cult.

    Then we have the natural bias of an English-speaking audience of people mostly from England and its former and current colonies (the US, Canada, Ireland, Australia etc.) On top of this, the editors tend to be male, white, professional and whatnot. That this bias exists is recognized at a high level. But what is done about it? Most editors who are of more of a say world-view than US/UK-centric view, left than right and so forth are persecuted. Most left-wing admins have been persecuted - Secretlondon (sent a nasty e-mail by Jimbo Wales), 172, and Everyking. There are a few more who are more moderate, some have privately told me more recently that Wikipedia is going bonkers in this respect, that the inmates are taking over the asylum.

    I believe wikis can survive only with cooperation. A wiki, like Slashdot, can survive mostly good users and a few vandals. But when say 30% of Wikipedia is left-wing, with 70% being right-wing or what in the US would be called centrist, you have a problem that is not going away. It just gets worse, really.

    My prediction is that since wikis need cooperation, the controversial categories (history, society, life) will break off into separate wikis - right-leaning ones like Wikinfo [wikinfo.org] and left-leaning ones like Dkosopedia [dkosopedia.com] or the even further left Red Wiki [redapollo.org].

    This is inevitable. The edit wars over the Israel/Palestine pages mimics the actual war going on. The arbitrators are just becoming more and more overburdened over time, and these sections are becoming more and more chaotic and sectarian. On the other hand, articles about scientific and mathematic concepts like quantum mechanics [wikipedia.org] are doing just fine. I think eventually, Wikipedia itself will see the wisdom of the Kahanists and jihadis leaving for their own respective wikis. It will be better for everyone.

  • by jwales ( 97533 ) on Saturday August 06, 2005 @04:03AM (#13256889) Homepage
    Wikipedia hereby formally announces tighter editorial controls on Reuters and Slashdot... ;-)

    I spoke in English to many journalists yesterday and the day before (90 journalists registered to cover Wikimania). I spoke to one journalist about our longstanding discussions of how to create a "stable version" or "Wikipedia 1.0". This would not involve substantial changes to how we do our usual work, but rather a new process for identifying our best work.

    I spoke in English, and this was translate to German. Then the German was translated back to English, and then translated again into the Slashdot story.

    There was no "announcement". We are constantly reviewing our policies and looking for ways to improve, but we have not "announced" anything. We don't even really work that way... if you know how Wikipedia works, it's through a long process of community discussion and consensus building, not through a process of top-down announcements.

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